This page is in the midst of a redesign. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #107 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was general.

Topics

Human RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by literally thousands of Canadians, mostly of Vietnamese origin, to raise attention to human rights violations in Vietnam.

The petitioners call on the government to urge Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. The petitioners also request that the Government of Canada integrate universal human rights into trade and aid relations.

Finally, the petitioners request that the Government of Canada urge the Vietnamese government to repeal or modify the vaguely defined articles in the penal code and various decrees that are used to criminalize citizens who peacefully advocate for their rights.

I join the petitioners in their call for action. We need to all work together and support those who are promoting freedom and democracy in their homelands.

AbortionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions to present today.

The first petition is from the people of Chilliwack calling upon the House of Commons to speedily enact legislation that restricts abortion to the greatest extent possible.

Criminal CodePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls upon the House of Commons to amend section 223 of the Criminal Code in such a way as to reflect 21st century medical evidence on the human being.

Airline IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the House is aware of the thousands of workers, who used to work for Air Canada and then went to Aveos, who are now unemployed.

This petition deals with the issue of article 6.1(d), which reads, “provisions requiring the Corporation to maintain operational and overhaul centres in the City of Winnipeg, the Montreal Urban Community and the City of Mississauga“.

The petitioners are asking the Government of Canada and the Prime Minister to hold Air Canada accountable under the law.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to introduce a petition signed by literally tens of thousands of Canadians who call upon the House of Commons to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known. They point out that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial and occupational causes combined and yet Canada remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world. 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 call upon Parliament to ban asbestos in all of its forms and institute a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities in which they live, to end all government subsidies of asbestos, both in Canada and abroad, and finally, to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the United Nations Rotterdam Convention.

41st General ElectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I have the honour of presenting two petitions.

The first petition concerns electoral fraud. The petitioners are from three provinces: British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. They are urging the Prime Minister to launch an independent inquiry to uncover the truth about who did what during the last election and to find the person or persons responsible.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition comes from residents within my own riding of Victoria, Salt Spring Island and Ottawa.

The petitioners are asking the government to cease and desist from acting as a public relations arm of the oil industry, to allow the public review under the joint review panel of the National Energy Board, to conclude full, fair, transparent and science-based hearings prior to taking positions on the threat to the coast of British Columbia constituted by oil supertankers.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

April 5th, 2012 / 12:45 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, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 475, 485 and 495.

Question No. 475Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

With regard to the Prime Minister’s Office, as of February 1, 2012, how many people did it employ and of those (i) how many make a salary of $100,000 a year or more, (ii) how many make a salary of $50,000 a year or less?

Question No. 475Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office’s response is as follows. The total number of full-time equivalent employees in the Prime Minister’s Office as of February 1, 2012 was 94. The total number of individuals with an annual income of $100,000 or more was 21. The total number of individuals with an annual income of $50,000 or less was 23.

Question No. 485Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

With respect to Export Development Canada’s (EDC) 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report and other commitments to social responsibility: (a) what methodology does EDC employ in its human rights assessments; (b) what criteria are employed by EDC to determine whether a human rights assessment will be undertaken for Category A and B projects; (c) to date, on the basis of what policy has EDC not publicly disclosed its human rights assessment methodology; (d) to date, on the basis of what policy has EDC not publicly disclosed the precise amounts of its loans, guarantees and insurance policies; (e) what is the definition of “benchmark” used by the Environmental and Social Review Directive; (f) what is the process for benchmarking projects by the Environmental and Social Review Directive; and (g) before issuing a $1 billion line of credit to Vale Ltd. in 2010, did EDC conduct an evaluation process concerning Vale’s environmental and human rights practices in its overseas operations, and what overseas operations were reviewed?

Question No. 485Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, with respect to Export Development Canada’s, EDC’s, 2010 corporate social responsibility or CSR report and other commitments to social responsibility, the following is our response.

In response to (a), see http://www19.edc.ca/publications/2011/2010csr/english/9-1.shtml for the methodology EDC employs in its human rights assessments.

In response to (b), EDC’s human rights risk assessments continue to evolve, consistent with the commitments made in EDC’s statement on human rights. See http://www.edc.ca/EN/About-Us/Corporate-Social-Responsibility/Pages/business-ethics.aspx and the link in the box under the human rights section. Human rights assessments are being completed for all category A and category B projects in non-OECD countries that are reviewed under the environmental and social review directive.

In response to (c), EDC has disclosed information about its human rights assessment process, as detailed in our 2010 CSR report, available at: http://www19.edc.ca/publications/2011/2010csr/english/9-1.shtml.

In response to (d), as outlined in EDC’s disclosure policy, http://www.edc.ca/EN/About-Us/Disclosure/Documents/disclosure-policy.pdf, EDC will not disclose confidential information without the required consents of its customers. The Export Development Canada Act, section 24.3, precludes EDC from disclosing information obtained from its customers without the required consents or in accordance with the statutory circumstances where such disclosure can occur.

In accordance with EDC’s disclosure policy, EDC will disclose or seek to make available, as applicable, the following: aggregate information on its business volume for all of its signed insurance and financing support, as outlined in section D1; certain information on individual transactions related to its signed financing support, as outlined in section D2; and prior to signing, environmental impact information for projects classified as category A projects under EDC’s environmental review directive, as outlined in section D3.

In response to (e), though not explicitly defined within the environmental and social review directive, EDC uses the term “benchmark” to mean the process of comparing a company or project’s management of environmental and social impacts and risks to the best standards and practices for the industry in question. This process usually involves detailed review of the environmental and social assessment documentation and active consultation with the project company and/or the independent environmental and social consultant hired by the lenders to support the benchmarking exercise. Benchmarking or reviewing a project against the relevant IFC performance standards, or other comparable standards, is an iterative process.

In response to (f), the process for benchmarking projects by the environmental and social review directive is outlined on EDC’s website at http://www.edc.ca/EN/About-Us/Corporate-Social-Responsibility/Environment/Documents/project-review-booklet.pdf. See pages 3-6.

In response to (g), yes, a thorough review was completed before issuing a $1 billion line of credit to Vale Ltd. EDC’s due diligence typically looks at the borrower’s operations, including practices related to the company’s management of a wide range of environmental and social issues. This review covered the company’s international operations in Brazil, Canada, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, New Caledonia, Indonesia and Guatemala. EDC also reviews any human rights issues if the company has significant operations in a country that has been identified as potentially having a higher level of human rights risk. See http://www19.edc.ca/publications/2011/2010csr/english/9-1.shtml for a description of the country classification system.

Question No. 495Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

With respect to the recommendations in the 2010 report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, which studied the role of the government in reducing poverty in Canada: (a) does the government intend to create a federal action plan with specific goals and timetables to reduce poverty and accountability mechanisms to monitor progress; (b) has the government established a poverty reduction plan that would incorporate a human rights framework; and (c) has the government been collaborating with the provincial and territorial governments, the aboriginal governments and organizations, the public and private sector, and people living in poverty to develop a federal action plan to reduce poverty in Canada?

Question No. 495Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has already tabled its official response to the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the House of Commons on March 4, 2011. This response clearly articulated our approach to addressing poverty, which remains relevant.

The Government of Canada’s approach to reducing poverty emphasizes providing Canadians with skills and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, while offering targeted supports for those facing particular barriers. The measures announced since 2006 have demonstrated our efforts to support Canadians, both during periods of economic growth and now as our country is emerging from the global recession. Budget 2011, “The Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan: A Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth”, supports job creation and continues to lay the foundation for sustainable economic growth.

One of the most important investments to make work more rewarding for low income Canadians is the working income tax benefit, WITB. The WITB supplements the earnings of low income workers and reduces the “welfare wall” by helping to ensure that those Canadians on social assistance are financially better off as a result of getting a job. The WITB includes an additional amount for persons with disabilities, as these individuals generally face even greater barriers to work force participation. Introduced in 2007, this refundable credit was enhanced in budget 2009 by $580 million, effectively doubling the initial investment. In 2011, approximately 1.5 million working Canadian families are expected to benefit from the WITB.

The Government of Canada believes that the family is the building block of society, and what we can do as a country is to help families with the costs of raising their children. The Government of Canada provides over $14 billion per year in benefits for families with children through the Canada child tax benefit, CCTB, including the national child benefit, supplement for low income families, the NCB; the universal child care benefit, UCCB; and the child tax credit, CTC.

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has made significant investments in these benefits for families with children. The Government introduced the UCCB, which pays $100 per month to all families for each child under the age of six to help cover the costs of whatever form of child care they choose. The government has also made improvements to ensure that the UCCB treats single-parent families and those with joint custody fairly. The UCCB is complemented by the CTC, which benefits more than three million families, providing maximum tax relief of over $300 per child. The government also increased the amount that families can earn before benefits under the CCTB, including the NCB supplement, are reduced, thereby providing increased support for low and modest income families with children. Additional tax measures to recognize other expenses include the children’s fitness tax credit, introduced in 2007, and the children’s arts tax credit, announced in budget 2011.

The Canada social transfer is the main federal transfer program providing financial support to the provinces and territories for social assistance and social services, including early childhood development, early learning and child care, and post-secondary education. The transfer to the provinces and territories for 2012–13 will be almost $11.9 billion.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 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. 468 and 469 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 468Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

With regard to the Canada First Defence Strategy: (a) does the strategy include (i) acquisition of three strategic air transport aircraft and stationing them at CFB Trenton, (ii) doubling the size of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), (iii) acquisition of three armed naval heavy icebreakers, and stationing them in the area of Iqaluit, (iv) building a new civilian-military deepwater docking facility to accommodate the three armed naval heavy icebreakers mentioned in subquestion (iii), (v) establishing a new underwater sensor system, (vi) building a new army training centre in the area of Cambridge Bay, (vii) stationing new long-range unmanned aerial vehicle squadrons at both CFB Goose Bay and CFB Comox, (viii) stationing new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft in Yellowknife, (ix) increasing the size of the Canadian Rangers by 500, (x) establishing a 650-member regular forces battalion at CFB Comox, CFB Goose Bay, CFB Trenton, and CFB Bagotville respectively, (xi) adding 1,000 regular force and 750 reserve force personnel to the army in Quebec, (xii) establishing a territorial defence unit in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Saint John, St. John's, Halifax and the Niagara-Windsor corridor respectively, (xiii) recruiting 1,000 regular force personnel for the purpose of improving and enlarging the Atlantic fleet, (xiv) increasing the number of personnel in CFB Gagetown, (xv) stationing new aircraft and personnel at CFB Greenwood, (xvi) increasing the numbers of Pacific navy regular force personnel by about 500, (xvii) deploying new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft at CFB Comox and CFB Winnipeg, (xviii) upgrading fighter aircraft at CFB Cold Lake; (b) what is the rationale for the inclusion or exclusion, from the Canada First Defence Strategy, of each of the items mentioned in subquestions (a)(i) to (a)(xviii); and (c) for each item mentioned in subquestions (a)(i) to (a)(xviii) that is not a part of the strategy, (i) has the government taken any steps to carry out or implement the item, (ii) if the government has not taken any such steps, does it intend to do so, (iii) if the government does intend to implement the item, when does it intend to do so?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 469Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

With regards to letters or electronic mail messages received by Ministers from Canadians since January 1, 2012, how many have been received: (a) by the Minister of Industry concerning copyright legislation; (b) by the Minister of Canadian Heritage concerning copyright legislation; and (c) by the Minister of Justice concerning “lawful access” legislation in general or Bill C-30, An Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts, in particular?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Transportation Act be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.