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House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Protecting Canada's Seniors ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, this bill is oversold. I certainly support it. However, it is called “Protecting Canada's Seniors Act” and it adds one very small consideration at sentencing.

Does the member not agree with me that we need a fuller effort that actually draws attention to, for instance, the rights of seniors once they are in long-term care facilities, in care where they are unable to protect themselves from some senior abuse which is institutional?

Protecting Canada's Seniors ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more with my colleague.

It is telling that on the very same day the government proposed this bill, I tabled my private member's bill in the House that would automatically enrol every senior who qualified for the guaranteed income supplement into this program.

We see very different approaches from the government side and from the NDP. Although we support the bill, we believe that things like the guaranteed income supplement, or things that really attack poverty among seniors are the solutions that we need to attack this problem at its roots.

We can talk about long-term care or we can talk about the price of prescription medicine. There are so many things we need to do to help seniors. We invite the government to look at those things.

Protecting Canada's Seniors ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this issue. It is interesting that we are dealing with legislation called “Protecting Canada's Seniors Act”, which is effectively a one paragraph bill. The title is almost longer than the bill itself. It is especially interesting that we are dealing with this after we dealt yesterday with an opposition day motion on the issue of the OAS and moving the age from 65 to 67.

We can tie all of these issues together and I do not think any of them are particularly helpful when we talk about the future of our seniors. A lot of the issues are tied into the vulnerability of seniors, poverty, lack of independence. Therefore, rather than have a comprehensive review of how many different areas we could improve on, we have one paragraph that criminalizes people

Many of the people I have talked to say that it is usually their family members who unfortunately are the ones who abuse the elderly, the mother, the father or whomever. I cannot find any people who say that they will have their son, daughter or daughter-in-law charged, which is all the bill would allow to happen. A frail, elderly person would run away from that.

I do not think the bill will do a whole lot, but, again, the government will stand and tell us all the wonderful things it will do to protect seniors. No one I know would put his or her son, daughter, family member or caregiver in jail.

To get to the seriousness of the issues, the world population is expected to exceed 9.2 billion people by 2050. This means that in less than two generations, the number of people on planet earth will grow by as much as 34%. Of that number, it is expected that people who are 55 years of age or older will constitute the largest segment of the human population. It is certainly a group of people to whom we need to pay attention.

Today, Canadians over the age of 55 make up about 27% of our entire national population and that number is expected to grow to 35% by 2031, which is only 19 years away. It might feel like a long way away, but it really is not.

These changing demographics mean that we must prepare and make certain that the seniors today and in the future have the protection they need, and the bill does very little in that way.

Seniors are a gift that we all need to treasure. We all hope to be a senior some day. Having a robust and growing seniors population is positive thing for our society and we need to be investing in all of the health and wellness opportunities. Yes, seniors are living longer, but that is because there is a lot more initiatives for them to be involved in and there is much more focus on living better and living longer.

If we look around, seniors for the most part are volunteering. They are community leaders, resources people and they are the keepers of our country's institutional knowledge, something that we need to treasure, count on and rely on for guidance. We all think we know everything, but when we get advice from those who were there before us, we often learn many things.

Seniors are an asset that can continue to help Canada advance and develop, but in return they deserve our respect, our appreciation and, most important, our protection.

Elder abuse is a reality in our world, not just in Canada, very sadly, but it is a reality with which we are all attempting to deal. Statistics Canada reports that in 2009 more than 154,000 Canadians over the age of 55 reported having been victims of not just of any crime, but of violent crime.

These people are our mothers, fathers, grandparents, neighbours and friends. They are victimized at a rate far greater than one would expect to see in the national population, and 154,000 represents 2% of the population in that age bracket.

Clearly we do not have the required legal and social safeguards in place and that is what has brought us to this point. Will Bill C-36 do the trick? Unfortunately, no.

While I applaud the government for at least acknowledging that this problem exists, I am very disappointed with what the minister has set out on the table as a solution.

Protecting Canada's Seniors ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I will stop the hon. member there. She will have 15 minutes left to conclude her remarks, but now we will move on to statements by members.

The hon. member for Simcoe—Grey.

World Meningitis DayStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I proudly stand in support of World Meningitis Day.

Meningitis is a serious infection caused by inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It kills children and adults all over the world. The disease has no boundaries based on wealth, colour, creed or country and is often mistaken for the flu.

Approximately 10% of individuals who contract this disease will die. Of those who survive, one in five suffer permanent disabilities, such as hearing loss, neurological damage or limb amputation.

The Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada was established in 1998 to prevent death and disability from meningitis and other infections of the central nervous system. Through education, it provides support to patients affected by meningitis and to their families, increases public awareness and promotes better understanding of the disease to health care professionals.

World Meningitis Day allows us to raise awareness to support all Canadians who are affected by meningitis and to work toward sparing the heartache of losing one more loved one to this devastating disease.

Community Access ProgramStatements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, here in Ottawa at the Debra Dynes Family House, over 800 people rely on the community access program to connect with the world. Children complete their school work and people get information about their communities and search for jobs.

Thanks to access to technology, young people from Debra Dynes Family House are now graduating as nurses, doctors, engineers and police officers. Crime is down, adults learn computer skills and parents have support for their families.

This year's Conservative budget kills the community access program. The government is pulling the plug on opportunity.

Nearly 54% of low-income Canadians do not have access to the Internet.

I call on the government to reverse this decision, invest in families and give opportunities to our young people.

Multiple SclerosisStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend many residents in my riding of Richmond Hill laced up and took part in the annual MS Walk to end multiple sclerosis.

The local MS chapter of York South had an impressive 436 people participate at its walk, held at Elgin West Community Centre in Richmond Hill.

A total of 58 MS Walk events will be taking place in communities throughout Ontario this spring.

I am proud to say that the York South chapter's Richmond Hill-Aurora-Thornhill MS Walk raised a total of $81,126. These funds will go a long way to providing innovative services and programs to help those affected by MS in our community and to support groundbreaking research dedicated to finding a cure.

I wish to congratulate all of the local volunteers, participants and supporters in the York South chapter on this very successful MS walk event.

National Pain StrategyStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Tuesday, April 24, the Canadian Pain Society and the Canadian Pain Coalition hosted the first ever Canadian pain summit in Ottawa, where more than 200 delegates, including consumers, caregivers, health professionals, scientists and educators came together to discuss the national pain strategy for Canada.

Initially developed by the Canadian Pain Society in 2010, the national pain strategy for Canada would ensure that health professionals are better trained in pain management, are aware of the existence of evidence-based treatment and see to it that all Canadians have equal access to the care they need.

The need for a national pain strategy is urgent, as one in five Canadians lives with chronic pain every day, and pain accounts for up to 78% of emergency room visits.

It is time for the federal government to show leadership and implement a national pain strategy to address the gaps that exist in pain management and to minimize its burden on Canadians living with pain, on their families and on society.

Recognition of ServiceStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I want to acknowledge some exceptional volunteers from my riding of Saint Boniface.

During the Easter break week, I attended three volunteer appreciation banquets at local community centres. Many incredible teams contribute to the success of these organizations, and community centres could not survive without dedicated volunteers.

Each club had countless people to thank, but awards were given out at each event to highlight those who have gone above and beyond.

I would personally like to congratulate special award recipients Morris Deveson, Neil Denyer and Terry Moon, from the St. Vital Curling Club; Ken Hiebert, Brian Pedden, James Sansom, Richard Balog, Alain Laurencelle and Ken Murdoch, from the Heather Curling Club; and Joyce Webinger, Sam Tascona, Eugene Fillion and Gail Adolphe, from Notre Dame Recreation Centre.

I ask the House to join me in congratulating these recipients and thank them for their hard work.

Climate Change in Canada's ArcticStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, this week I was one of 3,000 at the International Polar Year conference in Montreal. I joined many elected representatives from other northern countries.

Northern Canadians attended the conference in great numbers. Northerners are concerned about how their environment is being impacted by climate change and want to hear the latest scientific findings. Loss of sea ice, melting permafrost and southern species replacing northern ones are just some of the negative impacts climate change has wrought on the north already.

The government chooses to deny the reality of climate change. Canadian environmental policy is being drafted to suit the needs of foreign-backed resource exploitation. Canada's position on climate change places it completely out of step with the rest of the world, for which it is being criticized right now. Recently Norway's former prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, said Canada has been moving backward on this issue and that Canada's position on climate change is anti-scientific and naive.

The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs says the north is fundamental to our identity. It is too bad that the government's denial of climate change is destroying that fundamental identity.

Recognition of ServiceStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour Mr. Walter Burchnall, a Second World War Royal Canadian Air Force veteran who served as a pilot in Burma. Mr. Burchnall was recently awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs commendation medal for his years of selfless devotion to Canadian veterans.

After retiring from the Canadian armed forces in 1969, Mr. Burchnall devoted his time to the Royal Canadian Legion, where he has served in various roles, such as a branch president, and on various committees. He has even helped construct a new community cenotaph. Beyond that, Mr. Burchnall serves families of veterans on a more personal level, helping them apply for services and benefits, and even assisting in funeral and memorial planning.

Walter was also instrumental in initiating charitable casinos, which generated considerable revenue for his Legion branch and subsequent local charities it supports.

Mr. Burchnall has dedicated his life to our great country, and for that we are all eternally grateful. I know I can speak on behalf of all members of the House when I thank him for his years of service and congratulate him on receiving the prestigious award.

Preventing Persons from Concealing Their Identity During Riots and Unlawful Assemblies ActStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, for the last several nights fires have been burning in the streets of Montreal. Police officers and journalists have been assaulted, stores and other private property were vandalized, and over 85 people have been arrested in riots that started on Tuesday.

My private member's bill, Bill C-309, would protect Canadians from these crimes and would allow police to arrest masked troublemakers before these unlawful assemblies became full-fledged riots. It would defend Canadians and their livelihoods from senseless violence while helping maintain the right of all citizens to peaceful protest.

The NDP has refused to support this sorely needed measure. In light of the Montreal riots, will the NDP reconsider its dangerous position and help protect the businesses and citizens of Montreal, Quebec, and all of Canada?

In light of the riots in Montreal, will the NDP review its dangerous position and help protect the businesses and residents of Montreal, Quebec City and all of Canada?

Le Piolet Social Reintegration ProgramStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to talk about Le Piolet, a very special program in my community.

First and foremost, Le Piolet is a social reintegration program that helps many young people get their first jobs as waiters or cooks. Year after year, 30 or so graduates get well-paying, worthwhile jobs that enable them to reintegrate into society and join the workforce.

Le Piolet is also a safe and welcoming place for people who are too old for youth homes and who still need to be listened to and respected for who they are. Le Piolet is the only place in my riding that opens its doors to these young adults seven days a week.

Le Piolet has acquired buildings that it plans to turn into social housing to complement the range of services it offers. Le Piolet plans to provide medium-term housing for young people in need, making this one of the best and most comprehensive youth social reintegration programs in Canada.

Le Piolet helps to heal our society through its program based on empathy and respect for all people. My Louis-Saint-Laurent constituents truly hope that Le Piolet will garner the attention it deserves and serve as a model for the rest of the country.

Tom FoordStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 1953, Tom Foord and Jim Lockhead started a little tire shop in Vernon, in my constituency of Okanagan—Shuswap, and named the tire shop Kal Tire.

The company is now Canada's largest independent tire dealer, with 4,000 employees and 240 locations across the country. With its head office still in Vernon, B.C. Kal Tire has operations in 20 countries and is the number one supplier of tires to the world's mining sector.

Tom and Jim built the company on dedication to customer service and their commitment to the family of Kal Tire employees.

Tom Foord passed away on April 12, but his values and energy were passed on to the next generation of the Kal Tire family. Tom received many awards for his contributions to the community of Vernon and was named to the Order of British Columbia.

Tom Foord will always be remembered as the man with a big smile who would tell someone, “Go to the Kal Tire shop and tell them Tom Foord sent you.” Tom loved life and was loved in return. What more could a man desire?

Our condolences go to the Kal Tire family at the loss of their father, founder and friend.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

April 27th, 2012 / 11:10 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister accused the NDP of not doing enough to stop Hitler. I am sure the NDP's founding members would have found this pretty strange when they first gathered in 1961.

Last night, tens of thousands of Canadians responded with an outpouring of social media comedy. In the spirit of co-operation, I would like to offer the Prime Minister some great suggestions for next week's attacks on the NDP.

Comedian Dan Speerin led things off last night by tweeting, “Damn you NDP for not standing up to Genghis Khan.” Another person wrote, “It was really the NDP that helped organize the stampede that killed Mufasa in The Lion King.” Another person wrote, “The NDP refused to come to the aid of men when Mordor invaded Gondor. Shame.” Another person wrote, “The NDP got Fox to cancel Firefly.” Another person wrote, “The NDP cancelled Arrested Development because they oppose free enterprise banana stands.”

I hope the Conservatives take this humour in stride and do not respond with more of their humourless anger.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the truth hurts.

Canada's role in Afghanistan has ensured it is no longer a safe haven for terrorism. Our work there is also making a real difference in the lives of the Afghan people. Nine million children are now in school and the country's GDP has quintupled.

Canada is participating in an international mission to train Afghan security forces so that the country can continue to build on these achievements. Our commitment is until 2014.

The NDP leader stated this week that the NDP does not support this mission. This is not surprising from the left. In 1939, the leader of the CCF even said:

I would ask whether we are to risk the lives of our Canadian sons to prevent the action of Hitler....

Today the NDP still stands for radical ideas, reckless policy and dangerous left-wing ideology.

FootlooseStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I had the great privilege Saturday night to attend the musical Footloose, performed by students at Bluefield High School in P.E.I. Many in the House will know of the motion picture Footloose and its wonderful storyline and message.

I want to speak to the spirit, the quality, and the talent of those students, both in the play and in the orchestra. They were inspiring.

Choreographed by Brittany Banks, with musical direction by Dan Rowswell, the performance had the audience enthralled from the first backflip to the last bow.

Two performers, Brandon Banks, who played Ren McCormack, and Megan McCabe, who played Ariel Moore, deserve special mention, but every performer was superb.

Those young students, whether performing their characters or expressing their music, showed spirit, determination and talent, and honoured the musical's history.

I personally want to congratulate the Bluefield High School staff, the production team, the parents and especially the students for a performance to knock one's socks off.

EthicsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, while our government is focusing on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, the opposition is focused on baseless smear campaigns.

Just weeks after the member for Winnipeg Centre had to apologize numerous times for numerous baseless smears, the NDP has suffered yet another blow to its already dubious credibility.

Yesterday, the Ethics Commissioner rejected, I would say quite clearly and emphatically, the member for Acadie—Bathurst's claims and cleared the Minister of Labour.

The NDP's willingness to accuse without proof and without hesitation reflects a deeper rot within the whole party.

Now that Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has proven that the member for Acadie—Bathurst was wrong, and emphatically wrong, will he admit it and apologize here in the House to the Minister of Labour?

Service CanadaStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Rimouski are going through a period of tremendous uncertainty. The employment insurance processing centre in Rimouski is being relocated to Thetford Mines, which could jeopardize 37 jobs.

Consider the facts. Before 2009, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development announced that EI processing services would be consolidated. In 2009, a decision was made in Quebec: 25 centres would be reduced to 6, and there would be one in Rimouski. In August 2011, a press release indicated that the EI processing centre would no longer be in Rimouski, but rather in Thetford Mines, in the riding of the Minister of Industry and the member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

What has happened since? We learned a little later, from the local newspaper, that the member for Mégantic—L'Érable said that he had lobbied the minister and that the centre in Thetford Mines would be a good centre.

This is a brazen example of patronage, unworthy of a government that claims to represent all Canadians.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Timmins—James Bay was recently named ethics, ATIP and privacy critic. Keeping his word should be important to him.

His large northern Ontario riding has many law-abiding gun owners. For years the NDP member promised his constituents that he would vote to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry.

In 2009, when a bill to end the registry came up for second reading, he voted for it and sent out parliamentary resources saying “promise made, promise kept”. However, at the next crucial stage of the bill, he flip-flopped and opposed the bill. If he had kept his word, the bill would have continued on. Instead, the bill was defeated and the registry remained.

The member put his out-of-touch leadership ahead of the promise he made to the people of Timmins—James Bay, our great Kenora riding neighbours.

In 2011, he failed again to keep his promise.

Clearly, the bigger issue here is that the NDP leader and the members of the shrinking northern Ontario NDP caucus no longer represent the interests of their constituents.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General confirmed what everyone has suspected all along. The cabinet was aware of the rising costs of the F-35. In fact, the Conservatives approved it, but they went out of their way to hide the truth.

We are talking about significant costs, billions of dollars, hidden from Parliament and Canadians. Where is the accountability?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, before I answer that question, I know many members of the House will want me to congratulate the Ottawa Senators on a great season this past year.

The government has clearly communicated the budget we have set to replace Canada's aging CF-18s, and we will stay within that budget. Our budget covered the acquisition costs for the F-35. However, other numbers cited include operating costs.

The government has come forward, under the capable leadership of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, with a seven-point plan, which we will fully follow.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of giving Canadians the facts about the real cost of the F-35s, the Conservatives chose to send the Associate Minister of National Defence to Texas to placate Lockheed Martin. No doubt that is why two-thirds of Canadians no longer trust the Conservatives on the F-35 issue and believe that the Conservatives misled them.

When will this government admit that it has lost control over this file and no longer has an ounce of credibility when it comes to this issue?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with all of the statements in the member's question. The government has clearly communicated the budget that it set to replace Canada's aging CF-18s, and it will stay within that budget.

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services has announced a seven-point plan, and we will follow that aircraft procurement plan.

Government PoliciesOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, in fact what this government is doing is trying to find every excuse in the book to defend the failed F-35 process. From cutting environmental protection to putting more seniors into poverty, the Conservatives are turning their backs on Canadians.

Good public administration is about making good choices. Why do the Conservatives insist on choosing the wrong path?