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House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was elections.

Topics

Public Sector Integrity CommissionerRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour pursuant to section 38 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act to lay upon the table the special report of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner concerning an investigation into a disclosure of wrongdoing.

This report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 8th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in relation to its study of the access to information dispute and the resulting court actions concerning CBC.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109 the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report. However, notwithstanding the deadline of 120 days stipulated in Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the comprehensive response to this report be tabled within 60 days of the presentation of the report to the House.

Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague just tabled a report by the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics concerning CBC. Pursuant to Standing Order 35(2), I will take a few minutes this morning to briefly explain the dissenting opinion we included in the report.

Following a study undertaken by the Conservatives in committee, several principles underlying our parliamentary system were challenged. Allow me to explain. We were very concerned by the questionable procedures the committee employed for this study, including the adoption of a government motion to require that redacted and unredacted documents at the heart of a legal conflict be reviewed by committee members. This motion overstepped the boundaries of a Commons committee's jurisdiction.

A legal opinion provided by Rob Walsh, retired law clerk and parliamentary counsel, reinforced our concern about this procedure. He noted the political nature of the study, which was being carried out at the same time as a case being heard independently by the court. He said:

A House Committee should not, in my view, take on the role of a court—or even appear to take on the role of a court—by addressing whether particular actions taken by a party are permissible under the Act. To do so is to encroach upon—or to appear to encroach upon—the constitutional function of the courts. Such an encroachment would offend the separation of powers between the judicial and legislative functions and possibly call into question the validity of ETHI's proceedings.

We firmly believe that the Conservatives have exceeded their authority in committee to the point of challenging certain fundamental principles of our political system.

I am pleased to have had this opportunity to talk about our dissenting opinion today.

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates in relation to its study of the supplementary estimates (C) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.

I am pleased to report that the committee considered a vote under Privy Council and reports the same to the House.

Status of Women Canada ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-406, An Act respecting the mandate of Status of Women Canada.

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to wish a happy International Women's Day to all my female colleagues in the House.

I have the great honour to introduce this bill on the mandate of Status of Women Canada. This is a goal that I have been working toward for many years so far—since 2004, in fact, when I began my political career. It has not yet been achieved. Status of Women Canada deserves to be a stand-alone department so that it can fulfill its mandate.

This is 2012, and if anyone in this House wants to try to prove to me that gender equality has been achieved, I am prepared to debate with that person any time, anywhere, for as long as it takes, because that is completely untrue.

I sincerely believe that the mandate of Status of Women Canada must be enhanced and that it must be made a separate department that would be in a position to promote and coordinate policy related to gender equality. It should also promote the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country. It should work with the federal government to ensure that women are equally represented and that gender-based analysis is truly implemented and is not just a concept that is added as an afterthought to the end of a bill. Programs must be truly equal and must remain that way. Status of Women Canada must support programs that promote the status of women and the organizations that work in this field, particularly those that focus on research and advocacy, since so much of their funding has been cut over the past few years. Finally, this department must be able to maintain an active dialogue with stakeholders from all areas related to the status of women.

If the hon. members in this House truly believe in gender equality, I hope that they will support this bill.

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

Financial Administration ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-407, An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (gender balanced representation).

Mr. Speaker, I would add my congratulations to all women on this International Women's Day.

Volunteerism is a wonderful thing in all of our communities but it does not promote the equality of women, which is the reason for my bill. It would require that federally regulated boards be made up of at least 40% women.

The reality is there is a growing body of research that shows that gender-diverse corporate boards are more effective, perform better, access the widest talent pool, are more responsive to the market and lead to better decision-making.

Because women are active participants in the democratic governing of the country, both as voters and as politicians, they should have balanced representation in the management of crown corporations.

According to a report from the United Nations on the status of women, there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth.

The reality is that, despite our best efforts in regard to federal organizations, only 32.43% of those boards have women as active members despite the fact that women make up 47% of the workforce.

We have been criticized quite significantly by the United Nations in terms of CIDA because we have not promoted the equality of women. Many industrialized countries have enacted legislation to achieve gender parity. Countries such as Switzerland, Norway and Spain have passed a law requiring that women's representation on boards reach 40% within the next six years.

We have a lot of catching up to do and this bill aims to help Canada to move in a positive direction.

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

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among all the parties and I believe if you seek it you would find unanimous consent for the following motion:

That, at the conclusion of today's debate on the opposition motion in the name of the member for Hamilton Centre, all questions necessary to dispose of this motion be deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Monday, March 12, at the end of government orders.

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

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

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by literally tens of thousands of Canadians who call upon Parliament to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known and that Canada remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world even though more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial causes combined. They also point out that Canada spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry and blocking international efforts to curb its use.

Therefore, the petitioners pray that the Government of Canada should ban asbestos in all of its forms and institute a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities they live in; end all government subsidies of asbestos, both in Canada and abroad; and stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam Convention.

Citizenship and ImmigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I bring forward a petition from individuals who have expressed their concern with regard to the announcement by the Minister of Immigration on November 4, 2011, to have super visas wherein individuals could get a 10-year multiple entry visa. However, only a few weeks later, the minister established an eligibility criteria for a super visa which disqualified potentially thousands of families from being reunited.

The petitioners are calling on the Minister of Immigration to take corrective action to improve the super visa criteria to enable individuals of all economic strata to have their parents be able to come to Canada to visit for important engagements, whether that be for a funeral, wedding, graduation or any other important reason for people to want to come and visit with family in Canada.

PovertyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present.

The first petition is signed by a variety of people asking the House to adopt Bill C-233, an act to eliminate poverty in Canada.

The petitioners indicate that poverty affects over 10% of Canadians and disproportionately affects aboriginal peoples, recent immigrants, people with disabilities, youth and children. They also say that Canada ranks far behind most other developed countries in the extent of poverty among working adults and children.

Finally, Bill C-233 would require the federal government to develop and implement a strategy for poverty elimination in consultation with provincial, territorial, municipal and aboriginal governments and with civil society organizations.

Canada-EU Trade AgreementPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is in regard to the Canada-EU comprehensive economic and trade agreement.

The petitioners indicate that most of what we know about the CIDA negotiations comes from leaked copies of the draft agreement and closed communications with various Canadian and European government officials, which is unacceptable for an agreement as wide and deep in scope as this one.

Therefore, the petitioners request that the Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments immediately cease negotiations with the EU while nationwide public consultations can be held on how and whether or not to proceed with the potential trade agreement.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is quite appropriate that I am tabling this final petition on International Women's Day.

The petitioners say that child care is often not acceptable or affordable for Canadian families and is often of uncertain quality for young children. They say that child care creates jobs, makes Canada more competitive, helps achieve women's equality, builds local economies and is a recognized human right.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to legislate the right to universal access to child care and provide multi-year funding to provincial and territorial governments to build a national system of affordable, high quality, public and not for profit early childhood education and care accessible to all children.

The federal government must establish funding criteria and reporting mechanisms that ensure accountability for how the provinces and territories use federal funding to ensure quality, accessibility, universality and accountability and that acknowledges Quebec's right to develop social programs with adequate compensation from the federal government.

Foreign AidPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions this morning. The first is from people in my riding who petition the Government of Canada to protect foreign aid spending.

The undersigned residents wish to bring to the attention of the government that departments have been asked to table plans for savings of 5% to 10% in preparation for the budget and that the Canadian International Development Agency accounts for only 2% of the federal budget, the budget which has been frozen for two years, which they say results in an actual cut of 5% in real terms when measured against inflation.

They indicate that CIDA's work results in substantial improvements in the lives of many of the world's poorest people. It goes toward training teachers in regions with limited education, improving health care and providing access to clean water. Moreover, they say that many non-governmental organizations in the development sector depend on CIDA as a source of funds in order to run their own programs.

The petition is from youth organized through Memorial University of Newfoundland Oxfam group. The petitioners say that while youth are suffering from the recession in Canada, they still support a strong foreign aid budget and call upon government to exempt CIDA from the budget cuts in the new budget to come down.

Search and RescuePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the second petition, which is one of many petitions we have received so far on this issue, calls on the government to reverse the decision to close the Newfoundland and Labrador marine rescue coordination centre in St. John's and to reinstate staff and services. They oppose this decision because they believe that the government should understand and acknowledge that the closure will result in the suffering of services and will put lives at risk.

There is a huge proportion of distress incidents in Canada, the largest in this region, responding to an average of 500 incidents per year and saving over 600 people in distress. The results, though, are due to the unique knowledge and understanding of the area of ocean and the people involved. That is very important to its protection.

Shark FinsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise here this morning to present three petitions.

The first petition comes from residents primarily in the Vancouver area of British Columbia and deals with the issue of shark finning. The removal of the fin of the shark for no purpose other than to prepare a particularly rare soup is leading to the annihilation of a species. Nearly 70 million sharks are killed every year for this reason.

The petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to ban the possession, trade, distribution and sale of shark fins in Canada.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition comes from residents from across Canada on the subject of the proposed Enbridge pipeline across northern British Columbia to Kitimat and the breaking of a 40-year moratorium against oil supertankers. This petition urges the government to await evidence before taking a position.

Bottled WaterPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the last petition is from residents in my riding from Pender Island, Galiano Island and Salt Spring Island. They point out that Parliament should stop the practice of providing bottled water within this institution. The petition ties in slightly with an important bill that we will be debating later today on banning bulk water exports. I certainly hope to speak to that bill, Bill C-267.

Seniors' PovertyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from a number of Canadians who recognize that in June the House unanimously passed a motion presented by me that the government take action to raise all seniors out of poverty by increasing the guaranteed income supplement. Of course, we know that has not happened. The government's efforts in this area have been less than acceptable.

As today is International Women's Day, it is appropriate to present this petition because most of those seniors living in poverty are single women who have no access to resources and desperately need that increase in the GIS.

The petitioners call upon the government to honour the motion that was passed in June and increase the guaranteed income supplement enough to lift every senior out of poverty.

Canada-U.S. Extradition TreatyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

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

The first petition concerns the matter of John Graham who was extradited to the U.S. over 35 years ago for a murder that was committed in South Dakota. These petitions are being collected by the John Graham Defense Committee located in Vancouver. The petitioners feel very strongly about this issue, as do many people.

The petitioners are calling for the immediate release and return of John Graham to Canada. They call on the Government of Canada to make a formal request to the U.S. for his return. They are also calling for a congressional investigation into the FBI's handling of the murder investigation, as well as an amendment to the extradition treaty between Canada and the U.S. to protect the rights of Canadian citizens from extradition based on hearsay evidence alone.

Canada Consumer Product Safety ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition contains pages and pages of signatures of petitioners, many from Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Ontario. I have presented many of these petitions before. They reflect the deeply held concern by many Canadians that every year hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are brutally slaughtered for their fur in a number of regions.

Canada should join the U.S., Australia and the European Union in banning the import and sale of dog and cat fur. Further, it should be mandatory that all fur products being imported or sold in Canada have a label identifying the species of origin.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to introduce and support government legislation to amend the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and the Textile Labelling Act.