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House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Human Trafficking in Peel RegionStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Conservative Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to call attention to a serious problem in the Peel region of the greater Toronto area. It is a cause for great sadness and concern among my constituents in Mississauga South, as well as other residents of Peel region, to know that human trafficking is being carried on there.

This government takes this problem very seriously. I am glad to know that in 2007 this Conservative government allocated funding to theMinister of Public Safety to combat child exploitation and trafficking. In 2009, the Minister of Public Safety established a program to increase awareness and to inform Canadians. The RCMP has a human trafficking national coordination centre to combat and disrupt human trafficking in Canada, but still it is my understanding that Canada is a primary destination for human trafficking from other parts of the world. There is still much to be done to eliminate this horrible crime.

Environmental SensitivitiesStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker,I rise today to draw the attention of the House to environmental sensitivities, a health issue that affects the quality of life of over a million Canadians.

Environmental sensitivities occur when individuals become sensitive to chemicals and other substances in the air that are commonly tolerated, resulting in a multitude of often severe symptoms that can be devastating to those affected.

The Environmental Health Association of Québec does outstanding advocacy work that includes creating awareness campaigns about air quality, providing educational resources on this phenomenon and, most recently, constructing a healthy housing project, which makes available to those with severe sensitivities a living space free of toxins.

On behalf of the association, I am asking the government to support those suffering from environmental sensitivities by working to declare the month of May in Canada environmental sensitivities month and May 12 environmental sensitivities day.

Falun GongStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Conservative Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, Falun Gong practitioners promote the cultivation of mind and body and encompass the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. However, the Falun Gong are persecuted ruthlessly. In China, freedom of belief is non-existent, and the Falun Gong are subject to arbitrary arrest, torture, lack of medical attention and, most disturbing, live organ harvesting.

I am proud to serve as the chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong, and as such I spoke at a rally on Parliament Hill on Wednesday that was attended by hundreds of Falun Gong observers. The Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong call on the Chinese government to put an end to the ongoing persecution of the Falun Gong. Falun Gong are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, and there is no excuse for the human rights violations they have endured.

As the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King said 50 years ago, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals”. I am inspired by the passion, the sacrifice and the struggle exemplified by the practitioners of Falun Gong.

Events in Scarborough SouthwestStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, one year later, the honour and privilege of representing the people of Scarborough Southwest, this vibrant and diverse community that my family has called home for over 80 years, is even greater than it was.

Last weekend I attended the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 13's 90th anniversary in the community and thanked them again for their continued service to our veterans. It was a treat also to go to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tea, put on by the local osteoporosis society.

Over the coming months I look forward to the many wonderful local events. I look forward to the 100th anniversary of Courcelette Public School later this month. That is 100 years of teaching our kids. This summer, many weddings will take place at Rosetta McClain Gardens and many family events in Bluffers Park. There is Art in the Park, Birchmount baseball, many festivals and fairs by local schools and BIAs, and farmers' markets too.

I am very proud to be the MP for Scarborough Southwest and humbled by the continued trust of my constituents.

Events in BrantfordStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is springtime in Brantford, and I am excited to tell the House that whether one is a local, a tourist, or just passing through, my riding has something exciting to offer this wonderful season.

The Brantford Red Sox kick off their 2012 season tomorrow and begin their drive for five as they seek to tie their own record and become the second team in Intercounty Baseball League history to win five consecutive championships since 1945. Soon after, we will kick off the sixth annual Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament, which holds the record for the largest ball hockey tournament in the world, with participants showcasing their hockey skills in a vibrant, friendly competition.

Events kick off in our beautiful downtown Harmony Square and at the breathtaking and historic Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which will host the fifth annual Brantford International Jazz Festival later this summer.

With all of this and so much more, I invite all Canadians to come and take part. I guarantee they will have a blast.

Niagara Folk Arts FestivalStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow morning, back in St. Catharines, the Niagara Folk Arts Festival will kick off its 44th annual folk arts festival. It is Canada's oldest continuous heritage festival, and I am proud our government has given more support to the folk arts festival than any government previous.

These events are important, as our government has welcomed more immigrants than any other government has in decades. We have reunited more families than previous governments and have cut landing fees for new immigrants. We have strengthened Canada's citizenship guide with updated citizenship tests and a new guide itself. We have invested in skills training and accreditation for immigrants and are attracting more economic immigrants who suit Canada's labour market needs.

Our government is moving beyond the era of backlogs, fraudulent refugee claims and unrecognized foreign credentials. I am proud we are building a fast, fair and flexible immigration system that will serve the country well.

Back home with the folk arts festival and our understanding of where we are going in the direction of immigration, we are going to have a good time for the next two weeks.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Marc-André Morin NDP Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-38, a perfect bill for the paper shredder. The Cascades paper company would be happy to de-ink the confetti and make useful, recycled paper out of it.

The death of democracy is seldom sudden. It is almost always a slow and painful death caused by indifference, apathy and cynicism. The first signs of this death are the authoritarian regime's loss of perspective and its insensitivity towards the people. Next, people lose their freedom and the means to criticize the regime.

I would like to read a quote in English. I am relying on the interpreters to ensure that the member opposite understands.

“There is no doubt that dictatorship is a much more efficient way to govern”. That was George W. Bush.

Osgoode Carleton Snowmobile Trail ClubStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report to the House that the Osgoode Carleton Snowmobile Trail Club is officially the best in Canada. The club has almost 700 members, 200 volunteers, 20 different activities, 300 kilometres of land and 175 generous property owners who donate their land for snowmobile use.

I was pleased to work with Councillor Doug Thompson to help deliver a multi-use pathway that has helped to invigorate the local snowmobile community.

As a result of all these achievements, the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations has declared the Osgoode club to be the best in Canada. Club president George Darouze deserves special praise for winning best snowmobile volunteer in Ontario. He is a great leader who makes Osgoode proud.

Organizations like this in the community help to lift the quality of life, unify local citizens and make Osgoode one of the funnest and friendliest places to live in all of Canada.

Mother's DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to commemorate Mother's Day and the strong, beautiful women who are our mothers, aunties, sisters, grandmothers and daughters.

Mother's Day was started by a woman who wished to honour her mother, a peace activist, at the turn of the 20th century. Ann Jarvis was a mother who fought for peace in her country for the sake of her children. Her daughter, Anna, was so struck by the integrity of that fight she worked to have a day to commemorate her mother and all mothers.

Today, mothers are still fighting for rights for their children, be it affordable housing, equal pay, reproductive rights, child care, retirement security or access to education. These are the dividends of peace and should be a reality for our children.

On Sunday, we should all take some time to thank our mothers for their care, their love and their hopes for better lives for their children, and show them that we appreciate all that they do.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, the no development party continues to rail against jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Its anti-jobs, anti-trade agenda is quite clear. It call for a moratorium on oil sands development and for slower growth. It sends MPs to Washington, D.C. to attack the Canadian economy and good, high paying unionized jobs in the energy sector. In fact, a number of NDP members actually praised the U.S. when it turned down an earlier application to build and operate the Keystone XL pipeline.

Now the NDP leader is attacking the economic success of the Prairie provinces.

Canada deserves better than an official opposition that cheers and rails against the prosperity of our country. Canada has seen three-quarters of a million net new jobs created since July 2009. The NDP should support further growth and not attack Canadian jobs and the families that they support.

National Nursing WeekStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, this is National Nursing Week and this year's theme is “Nursing - The Health of Our Nation”. We have over 266,000 registered nurses in Canada, constituting the largest group of health care professionals in Canada.

Nurses work on the front line of our health care system and have a real influence on Canadians' lives. Nurses play an important role. They provide care when we are sick; they do their best to reduce wait times; and they work together with other health care professionals in order to provide the best care possible.

We have seen how nurses can play a leading role in reforming our health care system through the National Expert Commission, as well as through their role in multidisciplinary community health care teams.

I encourage all members to take a moment today and celebrate the valuable work that nurses do each and every day on behalf of Canadians.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, the NDP leader continues to say one thing in one part of the country that he will not say elsewhere. Canadians are noticing and the Premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta have called him out for criticizing responsible resource development.

The NDP leader is trying to pit Canadians against one another instead of supporting sectors of the economy that create good. high paying jobs.

Yesterday, the NDP trotted out Lorne Nystrom, a senior advisor to the NDP leader, to say that the NDP leader will soon clarify the no development party's position against gives jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. This is totally unacceptable. Canadians are not buying it.

Premier Redford said this about the NDP leader, “I always think it's better for people to comment once they have the information than before they do”.

Using a former Saskatchewan MP to try to cover up the NDP leader's real position, its anti-jobs, anti-growth agenda is not going unnoticed by the people of the Prairies and, in particular, the people of Saskatchewan.

Government AppointmentsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, the Conservatives reached a new level of absurdity. In an outrageously over-the-top statement, the Prime Minister said that government appointments have never been based on anything but merit.

Never mind that the Senate is full of campaign organizers like Doug Finley or defeated candidates like Josée Verner.

I have a quiz for the people at home.

Is the vice-president of the CRTC: (a) a man with a strong communications background; or, (b) a friend of Senator Housakos with no experience?

Those who chose (b) are correct.

Was Bernard Généreux appointed to the board of directors of the Quebec Port Authority for his love of the blue waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or for the blue on his election signs?

The answer is obvious.

It is pathetic, but a fact is a fact. No agency can escape Conservative patronage.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the opposition recently announced his shadow cabinet, a team that threatens dangerous economic experiments, job killing taxes and reckless spending that Canadians simply cannot afford.

He made the member for Halifax his deputy leader and environment critic. The member does not stand with Canadians. She has, in fact, travelled to a foreign capital to lobby a foreign government not to support Canada's oil and gas sector and jobs for thousands of Canadians.

When faced with a choice between radical special interest groups that oppose Canada's ability to develop its natural resources and the ordinary Canadian families that benefit from that prosperity, the member of Parliament for Halifax would side with the radicals.

With the NDP against development of natural resources, it is no wonder Christopher Smillie, who represents around 200,000 trades workers, warned that the NDP would be very bad for workers and the entire Canadian economy.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence is having yet another challenging week. Back in October he told the House that the all-up costs of the mission in Libya would be $50 million. Today we learned that the mission in Libya actually cost $350 million. That is seven times more than the defence minister said it would cost back in October.

What is it this time? Is the government so incompetent that it still cannot get its numbers straight or was it misleading Canadians yet again?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to congratulate my friend from Hamilton on his promotion to deputy leader of the opposition.

The member could not be more wrong. The numbers that he speaks of were actually tabled before Parliament. Obviously, the mission to Libya was extended on two occasions. It was much longer than was originally envisaged.

The great news is that the members of the Canadian Forces did an exemplary job on behalf of Canada and Canadians. They saved literally thousands and thousands of innocent civilians and Liberals—I mean Libyans.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Forces are remarkable but they are not that remarkable.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yet one more challenge for the government to rise to.

We also learned today that the minister's department has decided that DND's strategic investment plan is now a classified document. This 15-year previously public plan for spending on equipment is now a national security issue.

However, every procurement program in this department is now behind schedule or over budget: F-35s, close combat vehicles, search and rescue planes, submarines.

Why does the minister think it is better to stamp “secret” on these documents rather than just fixing the problems?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, just a few short days ago, the Minister of National Defence tabled a significant amount of information in this House for transparency, openness and accountability.

Obviously, before any purchase can take place, we need to have a parliamentary appropriation and, therefore, no purchase can be made before Parliament is fully informed and appropriates the money.

Just this week the defence minister spent four hours answering questions in committee of the whole. That is an unprecedented amount of transparency in the last year for any minister.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister's troubles do not end there. We also learned today that the minister's old department of ACOA is being investigated by the Public Service Commission for 11 politically influenced job hires. It seems that being friends with that minister is becoming a new government employment strategy.

The Conservatives were elected by promising to put an end to political interference in hiring. Why do the Conservatives keep breaking their promises to Canadians regarding their perpetual political port patronage placements?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it seems that we have a new poet laureate in the House today.

There are strict rules in place concerning hiring to ensure that agencies run their own competitive processes free of political interference. These rules are tremendously important and must be respected.

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Manon Perreault NDP Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have one set of rules for their friends and another for the rest of Canadians. They really have no shame.

While hundreds of organizations are following the rules and waiting their turn for funding to make their buildings wheelchair accessible, the Minister of Foreign Affairs did not hesitate to give a free pass to one of his good friends, even though the project does not meet the criteria set by public servants.

Why is there a double standard when it comes to the Conservatives' friends?

EthicsOral Questions

May 11th, 2012 / 11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I will be very clear. I had a constituent approach my office asking for support for a project to help people with disabilities. I was very happy to inform my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, that this organization does good work. That was the extent of any involvement I had.

Members of Parliament from all sides of the House regularly represent their constituents, and good for them. That is their job and that is their responsibility.

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Manon Perreault NDP Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is not so-called interference, it is ministerial interference.

A project evaluation system was used to give money to organizations that really deserve it. When the project was refused funding because it did not meet the criteria, the Minister of Foreign Affairs had the nerve to go and see the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to have the rules changed.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs at least apologize to all the organizations that followed the rules and submitted better projects, but were denied funding because they did not have enough Conservative friends?