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House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was labour.

Topics

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 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 question will be answered today: No. 583.

Question No. 583Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

With regard to government Web sites: (a) is there a government-wide standard for the retention or maintenance of (i) press releases, (ii) other documents on departmental or agency Web sites; and (b) if the answer to (a) is in the affirmative, (i) what is the standard, (ii) in what document is that standard established, (iii) when was the standard established or most recently re-established?

Question No. 583Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada provides significant direction to departments and agencies on the management of information, regardless of its publishing medium or format.

Specifically, the Policy on Information Management and the Directive on Recordkeeping outline requirements that apply to all information that is created and used by the Government of Canada, including web content published on Government of Canada websites. In addition, the Standard on Web Accessibility and the Standard on Web Usability specifically outline requirements that apply to Government of Canada websites.

The links to the above-noted documents are found below. The dates on which they became effective are found on the websites.

The Policy on Information Management document may be found at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=12742&section=text.

The Directive on Recordkeeping document may be found at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=16552&section=text.

The Standard on Web Accessibility document may be found at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=23601&section=text.

The Standard on Web Usability may be found at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=24227&section=text.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

May 28th, 2012 / 3:15 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. 578, 580, 581, 582 and 584 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 578Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

With regard to the planned reductions in departmental spending for the International Assistance Envelope announced in Budget 2012, for the each of the fiscal years between 2012-2013 and 2014-2015: (a) what is the total dollar amount of reductions in official development assistance; (b) what is the total dollar amount of reductions in non-official development assistance; (c) what is the total dollar amount of reductions to administrative costs at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); (d) when will the restructuring plans for CIDA be announced; (e) what is total dollar amount of reductions to each of the 2011-2012 countries of focus; (f) what is the total dollar amount of reductions to CIDA’s program activities, specifically, (i) fragile countries and crisis--affected communities, (ii) low income countries, (iii) middle income countries, (iv) global engagement and strategic policy, (v) Canadian engagement; (g) what is the total dollar amount of reductions for each of CIDA’s thematic priorities, specifically, (i) increasing food security, (ii) securing the future of children and youth, (iii) stimulating sustainable economic growth, (iv) ensuring stability and security, (v) advancing democracy; (h) what is the total dollar amount of reductions for each of the branches of CIDA, specifically, (i) the geographic programs branch, broken down by country programs, regional programs, and Canada funds for local initiatives, (ii) the partnerships with Canadians branch, (iii) the multilateral and global programs branch, broken down by international humanitarian assistance, other initiative-specific programs with multilateral organizations, and core funding to multilateral development institutions; (i) what is the total dollar amount of the reductions to each of the programs at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, specifically, (i) Security and Stability, (ii) Democracy, broken down by the Glyn Berry Program Democracy Envelope and the Rights and Democracy core funding, (iii) Children and Youth, (iv) Sustainable Economic Growth, broken down by the Investment Cooperation Program and Environment and climate change, (v) Contributions to International Organizations, broken down by the World Health Organization, the Francophonie, the Commonwealth, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and all others, (vi) Global Partnership Program, (vii) Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program, (viii) Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program, (ix) Afghanistan Counter-Narcotics Program, (x) Services rendered abroad; (j) what is the total amount of the reduction to each of the following programs at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), (i) the Development Innovation Fund, (ii) climate change adaptation in Africa, (iii) ecosystem approaches to human health, (iv) environmental economics, (v) rural poverty and environment, (vi) urban poverty and environment, (vii) Acacia, (viii) connectivity and equity in the Americas, (ix) Pan Asia networking, (x) telecentre.org, (xi) the IDRC Research Partnerships Challenge Fund, (xii) innovation, technology and society, (xiii) the global health research initiative, (xiv) governance, equity and health, (xv) research on international tobacco control, (xvi) globalization, growth and poverty, (xvii) peace, conflict and development, (xviii) think tank initiative, (xix) women’s rights and citizenship; (k) what is the total amount of the reduction to each of the following themes at the IDRC, (i) agriculture and environment, broken down by health and the environment, agriculture and food security, climate change, and energy supply and use, (ii) science technology and innovation, broken down by science, technology, and innovation granting councils in developing countries, the role of the university within the national innovation system, and creative industries, (iii) information and communications technologies, broken down by knowledge economies, information societies, collaborative technologies and social change, and policies for networked societies, (iv) social and economic policy, broken down by inclusive, sustainable growth, accountable governance, and inclusion of marginalized groups, (v) health and health systems, broken down by health systems, governance, and access to health, health information systems, health human resources, understanding the emerging chronic disease epidemic, demographic changes, and biomedical research, (vi) complementing thematic programs, broken down by Canadian partnerships-- universities, research institutions, and non-governmental organizations, fellowships and awards, and special initiatives; and (l) what is the total amount of the reduction to the operational cost of the IDRC?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 580Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

With regard to Canadian Forces operations since January 1, 2006, how many times have Canadian Forces aircraft been dispatched, at the request of provincial authorities, to conduct an emergency medical transportation and, for each such dispatch: (a) which provincial authority made the request; (b) which aircraft asset was involved; (c) from which Canadian Forces establishment was the aircraft dispatched; (d) from what location was the patient or patients picked up; (e) to what location was the patient or patients transported; (f) what was the date of the medical transportation; and (g) was a news release or other statement issued to the media concerning the incident, and, if so, on what date was the release or statement made?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 581Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

With regard to search and rescue operations: (a) prior to January 31, 2012, what was the “call back procedure [which] is standard protocol followed by the [Joint Rescue Coordination Centre] and all provincial and territorial emergency management organizations”, as referenced in paragraph 5 of the memorandum from Major-General J.H. Vance to the Chief of Defence Staff, dated February 7, 2012, under file number 3120-1 (WH Ops 1-1); (b) in what document or documents was this standard protocol issued, laid down or promulgated; (c) what are or were the dates and file numbers of the documents in (b); and (d) have there been changes to this protocol since January 31, 2012, and, if so, (i) what is the nature of those changes, (ii) when were the changes made, (iii) when did the changes come into effect, (iv) in what document or documents were the changes issued, laid down or promulgated, (v) what are or were the dates and file numbers of those documents?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 582Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

With regard to the 2012 budget: (a) who provided the translation of the budget press release into the following non-official languages: (i) Arabic, (ii) Chinese (simplified), (iii) Chinese (traditional), (iv) Portuguese, (v) Spanish, (vi) Ukrainian, (vii) Persian, (viii) Polish, (xiv) any other non-official language, specifying which language; (b) how much did each translation cost; (c) for each translation, was the work carried out pursuant to a competitive contract, or was it sole-sourced; (d) what are the reference or file numbers associated with each translation; and (e) to which media outlets or organizations was each release distributed, and by whom?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 584Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

With regard to government employment levels: (a) what is the current total number of federal employees in each Census Metropolitan Area; and (b) what is the total number of anticipated job reductions in each Census Metropolitan Area for fiscal year (i) 2012-2013, (ii) 2013-2014, (iii) 2014-2015?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 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

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The Chair has notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest.

Alleged Misuse of Ten PercentersPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, it has come to my attention that what appear to be ten percenters have been mailed into various ridings in New Brunswick, including my own.

On many of these ten percenters, the return mailing address is to the Liberal member for Toronto Centre. One such mailing to my own riding of New Brunswick Southwest came in a franked envelope from the Liberal member for Cardigan.

I have submitted this evidence to you, Mr. Speaker, along with notice of this question of privilege. I ask you to consider the following points.

On November 3, 2009, the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore raised a question of privilege, claiming his position on the long gun registry was misrepresented in a mailing from another member.

In the subsequent decision by Speaker Milliken on November 19, 2009, it was found that the privileges of the member for Sackville--Eastern Shore were breached for these very reasons, and that it had the effect of “...unjustly damaging his reputation and his credibility with the voters of his riding...”.

Also, on November 19, 2009, a question of privilege was raised by the member for Mount Royal on grounds that his privilege was infringed by the actions of another member who sent a ten percenter into his riding. This resulted in Speaker Milliken stating that “...the mailing constitutes interference with his ability to perform his parliamentary functions in that its content is damaging to his reputation and his credibility”. This can be found in Hansard, November 26, 2009.

On March 15, 2010, the Liberal member for Malpeque moved a motion calling for the Board of Internal Economy to “take all necessary steps to end immediately the wasteful practice of members sending mass mailings, known as 'ten-percenters', into ridings other than their own...”. Again, this is from Hansard, March 15, 2010.

This motion passed, and the Liberal member for Malpeque issued a press release on March 29, 2010, stating that “The Conservatives abused this privilege--both in quantity and content--by sending excessive partisan attacks into unheld ridings and wasting millions of taxpayers' dollars. The Liberal motion ended these partisan out-of-riding mailings and won a victory for Canadian taxpayers”.

So much for that.

I remind the House that according to the April 19, 2010, decision by the Board of Internal Economy, ten percenters are only to be distributed as bulk mail from the House postal services, effective May 1, 2010. The April 1, 2012 version of the manual on members' allowance and services states, “Ten percenters may only be distributed within the member's own constituency and may not be distributed as addressed mail”, yet the material sent into my riding and others by Liberal members is generic in nature. Inside the franked and addressed envelope there is nothing that addresses the individual whose name is on the outside of the envelope.

In the mailing from the member for Toronto Centre into the riding of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, the letter begins with a generic “Dear Friend”. In the mailing into my own riding by the member for Cardigan, there is not even a salutation line.

Regardless of whether these materials were produced by the House of Commons printing services, in the offices of the member in question or in the research offices, these mailings are bulk in nature. They are not specifically addressed to the individuals whose names appear on the outside envelope and they are printed using taxpayer-supplied resources.

As you will see, Mr. Speaker, from the paper I supplied to you, they are partisan in nature, generic in content and should not be sent using franked envelopes into other members' ridings.

If the Liberal Party of Canada wishes to launch bulk partisan mail into Conservative—or, for that matter, New Democratic-held ridings—it should do so with its own funds, not House of Commons resources.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that there is a breach of privilege in this matter and I am prepared to move an appropriate motion should you agree. That motion would involve sending this question to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

The actions of the members for Toronto Centre, Cardigan and possibly others are in direct contradiction of the spirit of the rules governing House of Commons mailings and, I believe, in contradiction of the letter of the law, which of course was to not only not direct such mailings into a riding held by another member but to do so with taxpayers' dollars.

It is clear that Parliament previously sought to end the practice of bulk partisan mailings being sent by one member into another member's riding. The Liberals seem to believe that they have found a way around this rule by stuffing bulk partisan materials into addressed and franked envelopes.

It is important that the House have the opportunity to examine this matter in the appropriate committee. It is necessary to determine whether the actions of some members are in breach of House of Commons rules. In addition to this, I think it would be prudent for the members of the Liberal Party who are participating in this practice, which they have previously publicly denounced, to apologize to this House and to Canadian taxpayers for their misuse of the resources entrusted to them.

If these mailings were paid for by the Liberal Party of Canada—meaning both the cost of printing and of postage—I would be the first to claim this matter was outside the purview of Parliament. That, however, is not the case.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for reviewing this important matter that I am sure you, like me, had believed was resolved.

Alleged Misuse of Ten PercentersPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, once we take a look at the blues from my hon. colleague's notes, we reserve the right to address his point of privilege, unless you are ready to rule on it right now.

Alleged Misuse of Ten Percenters—Speaker's RulingPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I am ready to rule now.

I thank the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest for bringing this matter to my attention. I have had a chance to read his letter and look at the items in question.

I do feel that it is not a situation exactly analogous to the two previous rulings that he cited, given that it seems here to be more a complaint about whether the House rules were followed than about the content of the items he questioned.

Therefore, I find it is not a question of privilege, but it certainly could be something that the Board of Internal Economy should look at. I can assure the hon. member that I will ensure its appearance on the agenda for the next board meeting in order for the board to determine whether these particular mailings followed the House of Commons' own internal rules for these types of publications.

The House resumed from March 29 consideration of the motion that Bill C-24, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Panama, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Panama and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Panama, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that the question be now put.

Canada–Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak today on Bill C-24, an Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Panama, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Panama and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Panama.

This trade agreement is one of a series of agreements that the government has gotten into very hastily. This is another one that was negotiated in record time, without proper consultation, and our party has opposed it.

I do not want anyone to think that our party is opposed to trade. I know it is a common mantra for those opposite that New Democrats are opposed to trade; we are not opposed to trade. However, we are opposed to this trade deal.

I only have 10 minutes, so I will try my very best to be succinct in stating why we are opposed to this particular trade deal.

As I mentioned, it was done hastily and without consultation with relevant stakeholders, as well as without consultation with trade unions and environmental groups in Panama. It was done without consultation with civil society or citizens in Canada and Panama who have an interest in these agreements. It was done without respect for labour standards and collective bargaining, despite the addition of a labour agreement.

There is no protection against money laundering and tax cheating in a country that has been decried a tax haven.

There is no commitment in the agreement to sustainable development and sustainable investment, which should be an important part of any free trade deal.

When we talk about trade in this country, we should not just be talking about the movement of goods. We need to be talking about a partnership, but what we have seen is the government making hasty trade deals that do not respect what Canada wants and needs.

If trade was all about free trade deals, Canada's trade would be increasing and improving, not getting worse. The government members talk about how they are very interested in trade and carrying on with these trade deals, but where are the results? When we look at the difference between signing free trade deals and actually increasing trade, Canada's trade has actually deteriorated. The quantity of goods and services shipped abroad from Canada is actually 7% lower than when the government took office. It is lower than it was back in the year 2000. What we do see in trade is an ever-increasing proportion of raw materials and raw resources, especially oil, making up that trade.

At one time, we had a very impressive trade surplus with other countries. That has now gone into a deficit. Even though we have increasing petroleum sales, 3% of GDP per year is in fact a decrease in sales.

This is from a report by Jim Stanford, an economist with the Canadian Auto Workers, that was published in The Globe and Mail on May 21. He is obviously very concerned about issues, particularly in the manufacturing trade. He has done a study of our longest-standing free trade pacts, which are with the United States, Mexico, Israel, Chile and Costa Rica. What is interesting is that our exports to those countries have in fact grown more slowly than our exports to non-free trade partners, while our imports from these countries have surged much faster than with the rest of the world.

Therefore, if our goal—which is a sensible one, according to Mr. Stanford—is to boost exports and to strengthen the trade balance, then signing free trade deals, as we have done, is exactly the wrong thing to do.

What is very interesting is that the five biggest trade deals we have had have resulted in more imports to us from these country, which is good for them, but fewer exports to them. We have not increased our trade nor boosted our proper partnerships.

The problem is pretty difficult, particularly for some aspects of our economy. We are seeing an endorsement by the government of an over-valued currency. We have heard our leader talk about that. I know many people in this country do not want to talk about that. The members opposite do not like to talk about the fact that our currency is over-valued and is trading at some 25% above its purchasing power parity with other countries,. However, it does hurt Canada's exports and skews our trade with other countries, particularly the kind of trade that takes place when we are exporting unprocessed materials, including crude oil, bitumen in particular, without refining it. If we are not refining the stuff here and we are not making mining machinery here, our capacity to produce higher-end products will further diminish.

We do have a significant problem with trade and we have a problem that is not being fixed by these free trade deals.

What does the NDP support? We support trade, but we support fair trade. We want to ensure that the trade agreements we sign with other countries are fair and reasonable for both parties, partnerships that build positive relationships and not just open doors.

For example, in Panama we have situation where the government of Panama has refused various Canadian requests to sign an agreement to share tax information. It is extremely important in terms of transparency to have a tax information exchange agreement. The Government of Panama has refused, but Canada goes along with it anyway.

What is it we want as New Democrats? What do we want to have in trade agreements? First, in order to have a totally fair trade strategy, we want to have a comprehensive, common sense impact assessment for each agreement that we enter into that demonstrates that trade deals with Canada are beneficial for Canadian families, workers and industries, and that we do not have a trade agreement that will lead to a net job loss.

Second, we want to ensure that any agreement we negotiate supports our own sovereignty, our freedom to chart our own policy in the future and our ability to be competitive on the world stage, and that it supports the principle of a multilateral fair trade system.

Third, it is fundamentally important that all trade agreements promote and protect human rights by prohibiting the import, export or sale in Canada of products that are deemed to have been created under sweat shop conditions, forced labour or conditions that are not in accordance with fundamental labour standards and human rights.

Fourth, we also want to ensure that all trade agreements respect sustainable development and the integrity of all ecosystems.

Fifth, we want to be clear that before we go ahead with any enabling legislation, it be subject to a binding vote on whether we accept the terms of the agreement. The current system of tabling agreements in the House for a period of 21 days prior to ratification is neither mandatory nor binding.

In the case of the Panama trade deal, we see a repetition of the failures of previous trade deals to be fair, to be reasonable, to respect human rights, to provide the kind of protections that Canadians need and actually lead to increased trade from Canada to these countries.