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House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Papineau.

[Members sang the national anthem]

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, it comes as no surprise that the government did not take the opposition's legitimate objections into account and that it will pass its budget without amendment. This cold and heartless budget will have tragic effects on the lives of thousands of Quebeckers in the coming weeks.

Starting today, devoted workers will find out that they no longer have jobs. People in the regions will feel the effects of cuts to Canada Economic Development. Unemployed workers will lose five weeks of employment insurance benefits. People in the forestry industry will see cuts to foreign market development. CBC and Telefilm will have to make tough choices.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives will be patting each other on the back and celebrating this fiasco. What a sorry spectacle.

North York General HospitalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I send congratulations to a notable institution in my riding of Don Valley East, the North York General Hospital. It has recently been evaluated by Accreditation Canada and has been given an exemplary standing, a 100% rating, the highest rating it can possibly receive from Accreditation Canada. It must be noted that this kind of designation is very rare for hospitals or any other service provider.

This achievement is emblematic of how the highly qualified staff of North York General Hospital acts with professionalism and is committed to its patients. Those who need the services of the North York General Hospital can come in with confidence. Their needs will be looked after by some of the most professional staff in the world with the most modern and sophisticated medical technology.

Once again, I congratulate the North York General Hospital for its outstanding achievement.

Refugee Rights Day in CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the daughter of refugees, I am delighted to celebrate Refugee Rights Day in Canada. On this day in 1985, the Supreme Court recognized that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms also protects the fundamental rights of refugee claimants.

Unfortunately, 27 years later, the federal government is trying to take away these rights by politicizing the refugee selection process, which must be fair, independent and equitable. Bill C-31 will discriminate against some refugees by revoking their right to appeal.

Not only will this government be engaging in discriminatory practices, but it may even deport refugees who have become permanent residents. In 2012, this is cruel and makes no sense. I believe that I am a good example of how refugees can integrate well into life in Canada.

I invite my Conservative colleagues to abandon their divisive politics. They should instead recognize and celebrate the socio-cultural and economic contributions of thousands of refugees living in this country, like my parents, who have helped build the Canada that we know today.

Yukon Native Hockey TournamentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, the Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, the largest hockey tournament in the Yukon, celebrated its 35th anniversary this past weekend in Whitehorse. Forty-two teams and more than six hundred players from across the Yukon, Northwest Territories and British Columbia, as well as their family and friends, caught up, had some fun and watched some great hockey.

This tournament is an opportunity to promote aboriginal hockey for all ages and provides the opportunity for Yukon first nations athletes to compete with other Canadian provinces and territories in the sport. It is a commitment to hockey for all ages in the spirit of friendship and goodwill on a local, regional and national level. This tournament is the biggest and best native hockey tournament north of 60.

Thanks go to the sponsors, volunteers and organizers. Congratulations go to all the teams and to 35 fantastic years.

Montague Intermediate SchoolStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, on March 28, Megan Morrison's grade eight class at Montague Intermediate School in my riding won the Canada's Coolest School Trip Contest.

This contest had classes submit videos that recreated a significant Canadian moment. It was sponsored by Parks Canada. Ms. Morrison's class finished first out of 69 entries from across the country, and won a class trip to Banff, Alberta. The winning video was called The Charlottetown Conference of 1864. It featured the class playing the Fathers of Confederation as they met at Province House in Charlottetown to discuss the birth of our nation. It is inspiring to see our youth become so passionate about the history of our great country. It reflects on the wonderful community of teachers and students at Montague Intermediate.

I want to send Ms. Morrison and all of her grade 8 class who worked so hard on this video heartfelt congratulations from me and every member of this House of Commons.

PalliserStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce two leadership changes in Palliser.

First, I would like to congratulate the new commanding officer of the Saskatchewan Dragoons, Major Chris Hunter, and to thank the outgoing officer, Major Brad Hrycyna.

Second, I would like to congratulate the new honorary colonel Jim Hunter at 15 Wing Moose Jaw and thank the outgoing honorary colonel, Yvette Moore. Jim Hunter began his aviation career by training as a pilot at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, later served as wing commander and currently is the president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority. Yvette Moore is a Saskatchewan entrepreneur, well known for her naturalistic portraits of prairie landscapes.

Thanks again to Major Hrycyna and Yvette Moore for their service. Best wishes to Major Chris Hunter and Honorary Colonel Jim Hunter.

Komagata MaruStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, April 4, 1914 was the ill-fated date the Komagata Maru departed from Hong Kong and reached Vancouver's Burrard Inlet on May 23. For two months the Komagata Maru remained in Burrard Inlet and passengers were denied basic necessities like food and water. The discriminatory continuous journey regulation prevented the passengers from disembarking.

The tragedy of Komagata Maru marks a dark chapter in Canadian history. The federal government must provide closure for the trauma this has caused the South Asian community so that the process of healing and reconciliation can begin. That is why I have put forward a motion demanding that the Prime Minister formally apologize in the House of Commons.

I urge the Prime Minister to finally steer the Komagata Maru to shore after 98 years and offer a dignified, respectful official apology for the Komagata Maru tragedy.

Great Northern RideStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, 13 years ago 13 businessmen from Brantford set out on their snowmobiles to raise $35,000 for children with special needs. Thirteen years later, that adventure has evolved into the annual cross-country snowmobile trek known as the Great Northern Ride, having raised over $1.3 million.

The driving force behind the ride is a good friend, Bob Caissie, a larger than life personality. Riders have covered almost 15,000 kilometres of terrain from Cold Lake, Alberta to Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula. They are an exceptional group of individuals who like to work hard, play harder and share a commitment to improving children's lives.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. Great northern riders have done just that, charting their own path, leaving behind not just a trail of snow but a trail of very special kids whose lives will never be the same.

Thanks to Bob and thanks to Great Northern Riders.

BurmaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, the nation of Burma has just held a set of byelections and early results are in. Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy party, has won a seat in parliament. We are pleased that reports indicate voting was conducted without violence or overt intimidation. Burma appears to be making progress toward democracy once more. We hope this progress continues.

Despite these gains, we are concerned, however, about the protection of individual rights of Burmese citizens. We call on the Government of Burma to respect the fundamental rights and freedoms all people should enjoy. Those freedoms include freedom of the press, of expression and of religion. We also call on the Burmese government to seek peace in Kachin State and to put a stop to the abuses, such as the recent burning of Christian churches and destruction of villages which have been reported there. We continue to call on the government to respect the lives and property of the Kachin, Karen, Mon, Karenni, Chin, Shan and other ethnic and religious minorities.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, on behalf of my NDP colleagues, I moved a motion in the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to hear from witness Dan Wicklum, the chief executive of Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance.

“Loaning” this senior Environment Canada official to an oil industry lobby raises serious ethical questions. How can someone be on the payroll of a regulatory agency one day and on the payroll of Shell, BP, Imperial Oil and Suncor the next, only to resume his position at Environment Canada as though it were no big deal?

Instead of adopting my original motion, the committee instead decided to study “the positive environmental impacts” of the oil sands lobby.

It is clear that the Conservatives are more interested in spreading big oil propaganda than in shedding light on this blatant conflict of interest. It is shameful.

French Language World ForumStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, French is much more than just a language. In addition to being one of our official languages—spoken by over 9.5 million Canadians—French is an essential element of our history and our heritage.

Yesterday, my colleague, the hon. Minister of State for La Francophonie, announced $950,000 in funding for the French Language World Forum, which will be held from July 4 to 6, 2012.

Canada is proud to contribute to this first French Language World Forum, which will take place in Quebec City, the very birthplace of our francophone heritage in North America. Our government is firmly committed to promoting the French language and linguistic duality. That is why we are committed to promoting French at home and abroad by participating in activities like this one. And I am very pleased that this first forum is being held in Quebec City.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative budget does not meet the needs of the women in Gatineau, in Quebec or in Canada.

It is obvious that no gender-based analysis was done during its preparation.

No gender-based analysis was done during the preparation of this budget. Raising the minimum age for old age security benefits will have a disproportionate effect on women because 53% of them depend on the program to ensure a decent income.

The proposed tax cuts will not help low-income women who cannot take advantage of them. In Gatineau, the public service cuts will have a greater impact on women, who account for 55.2% of public servants. This budget does very little for women. In fact, many women from across the country contact me every day to express their disappointment.

I strongly encourage the Minister for Status of Women, whose organization was ignored in the budget, to do her job and make sure that the measures in the budget are adjusted to reflect the gender equality that this government so often claims to champion.

Canadian Grain CommissionStatements By Members

April 4th, 2012 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, since 1912, a hundred years ago, the Canadian Grain Commission has been helping to establish Canada's reputation as a consistent supplier of high quality grain.

Our Conservative government has always supported the Grain Commission. Last week's budget provided $44 million in new funding to help the commission modernize and make sure that the next hundred years are as successful as the past century.

Our government will continue to introduce legislation that will modernize the commission and ensure its continued success. Indeed, the CGC will continue to play an important role in an open market when farmers get marketing freedom on August 1.

Mr. Speaker, I invite you and all parliamentarians to a reception tonight at the government conference centre to congratulate the grain commission on its historic past, serving farmers, grain companies and our international customers.

Intergovernmental AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, economic action plan 2012 is providing support to families and communities. Federal transfers to provinces and territories continue to be at a record levels, and Alberta will continue to receive significant support through major federal transfers.

For Alberta, major transfers will total close to $3.6 billion in 2012-13. This long-term growing support will help to ensure that Alberta has the resources required to provide essential public services, and contributes to shared national objectives, including health care, post-secondary education, and key components of Canada's social programs, as well as infrastructure.

This support includes almost $2.3 billion through the Canada health transfer, an increase of $646 million since 2005, and over $1.3 billion through the Canada social transfer, an increase of $717 million since 2005, as well as continued support through the gas tax transfer fund.

While the opposition is making false accusations about our support for transfers to the provinces and territories, our government is continuing to provide growing support to these partners.

Holocaust Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate National Holocaust Remembrance Day, a remembrance of horrors too terrible to be believed but not too terrible to have happened, of the Holocaust as a war against the Jews in which not all victims were Jews but all Jews were targeted victims, being defamed, demonized and dehumanized as prologue and justification for their destruction.

This day is reminder of the dangers of state-sanctioned incitement to hatred and genocide; of the danger of the oldest and most enduring of hatreds, anti-Semitism; of indifference and inaction in the face of incitement and mass atrocity; of the targeting of the vulnerable, whom the Nazis spoke of as having “lives not worth living”; of the culture of impunity; of the dangers of forgetting, ignoring, trivializing or denying the Holocaust; and a reminder, on this centenary of Raoul Wallenberg, this hero of the Holocaust, that one person can resist, that one person can confront evil, that one person can prevail, that one person can transform history.

Let us pledge never again to be silent or indifferent in the face of evil. Plus jamais.

The HolocaustStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, every year, we take a moment to remember and reflect on an inhuman genocide carried out by human beings.

The systematic planning and carrying out of the destruction of six million human lives is an unequalled tragedy in a century that saw far too many.

On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust remembrance day, we are all called to contemplate the truth of the genocide: the brutal murder of six million Jews simply because they were Jewish, of six million women, men and children, in addition to the millions who were displaced and hunted just because they were Jewish.

Today, we remember, but we also must remember to act against intolerance, racism and hatred of any kind.

Holocaust Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the evening of April 18, Jewish communities around the world will come together and mark Yom Hashoah, a special day of remembrance for the suffering and murder of millions of innocent men, women and children during the Holocaust.

As parliamentarians, it is our duty to ensure that “never again” is more than just about words but about action.

While there are numerous examples of our government's work in the fight against anti-Semitism, I am most proud that in the 2010 Speech from the Throne our government committed to supporting a national Holocaust memorial, which will be located in the national capital region.

On April 18, this Yom Hashoah, I ask everyone to join me in rejecting anti-Semitism in all its virulent forms and in remembering the victims of the Holocaust.

Holocaust Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I now invite the House to rise and observe a moment of silence in commemoration of the Holocaust.

[A moment of silence observed]

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report on the F-35s is damaging to the government. One fundamental question remains unanswered. Can the Prime Minister tell us who in his cabinet, in his government, was responsible for the F-35s?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report was very clear about responsibilities. The government has accepted the Auditor General's recommendations and, clearly, we will act on them to ensure better oversight.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, our parliamentary system is based on the principle of ministerial accountability. The minister is accountable for what happens in his department. Ultimately, the Prime Minister is accountable for the ministers he has chosen. The F-35 file is the Department of National Defence's responsibility.

It was therefore the Minister of National Defence's responsibility to know what was happening and to ensure that parliamentarians had all the information and that the information was accurate.

Does the Prime Minister believe that his Minister of National Defence did his job properly?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Yes, Mr. Speaker, the government and the ministers accept their responsibilities and the Auditor General's recommendations. We will act on these recommendations. The government has not yet purchased any such planes. Clearly, we will re-examine the process and make changes.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, even if we were to believe that the Chief of Defence Staff and the generals were plotting behind the minister's back to lie to Parliament, to lie to Canadians, which is highly unlikely, it would only prove that the Minister of National Defence was not in control of his own department.

However, the Minister of National Defence knew the F-35 was a fiasco. The NDP, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, and media report after media report all highlighted the numerous problems with the plane and its budgeting.

When will the Minister of National Defence finally stand up and take responsibility for the F-35 debacle? Where is the accountability?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course the leader of the NDP is putting words into the Auditor General's mouth that he certainly never said.

The reality is that the government has not yet purchased any such planes. The Auditor General has given a recommendation on re-examining the cost estimates. The government will do that.

The government will also improve the process for cost estimates before moving forward. We have been clear on that.