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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was affordable.

Topics

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, April 15 to 21 was National Volunteer Week. I would like to commend the dedication of two people in particular from Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.

For the past 20 years, Alice Daigle has been a dedicated volunteer at the Laflèche seniors' club in Saint-Hubert. She began spending time there before she was even a senior herself, as she went with her husband.

Also, for over 34 years, Roger Jolin has been volunteering at the Saint-Bruno horticultural and ecological society, and for over 18 years as a member of the Saint-Bruno beautification committee and at the Charles LeMoyne Hospital.

I would like to thank Ms. Daigle and Mr. Jolin for their commitment. I would also like to congratulate all volunteers in Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert on their efforts to make the world a better place.

Netherlands Liberation DayStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, May 5 is celebrated every year in the Netherlands as Liberation Day, and each year they honour the more than 7,600 Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of what matters most to our great country: peace, freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

These brave men and women served with pride and conviction to help liberate the Netherlands 67 years ago. Their courage and sacrifice not only helped liberate the Netherlands but also led to victory in Europe.

Today we remember not only the brave individuals who served during the Second World War; we also pay tribute to the men and women who are serving our country today.

We honour those who sacrificed so that we can live in peace and freedom today. We honour those who are currently serving our country to help build a better future for countries around the world.

Let us pay tribute to their bravery, their service and their commitment to our great country.

Diamond Jubilee MedalStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Madam Speaker, this year Canadians celebrate the 60th year of our Queen's reign.

The Diamond Jubilee is an historic event for our generations to reflect on the past and to set a vision for the future.

As part of this year's celebration, the Governor General, joined by our government, announced the creation of the Diamond Jubilee medal. This award will honour the Queen's service to all Canadians by honouring Canadians who serve. Canadians from coast to coast will be honoured for their contributions to our communities and to our country.

I am proud to represent some of the Canadians most deserving of this award. Peace Country residents serve their neighbours, communities and country without any expectation of recognition. This selfless giving has done a great deal to build our communities into great places where we can live, work and raise our families.

I call on Peace Country residents to reflect on the people who have transformed our communities by their selfless giving and nominate them for this prestigious award. Let us celebrate this exciting year by thanking those who have contributed so much to the Peace Country's past, present and future.

Organ DonationStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, 1,264 Quebeckers, including 16 children, are waiting for an organ transplant. In Quebec, the child who has lived the longest with an artificial heart is a courageous young man in my riding of Brossard—La Prairie. His name is Vincent Lambert and he is 15.

Last week, during National Organ Donor Week, Vincent and his family urged Quebeckers to simply sign the back of their health insurance card and to talk to their loved ones about organ donation. By signing our cards, we all have the power to save lives.

Organ donation is an incredible gift that can change lives and give hope to many people who, like Vincent, are waiting for a transplant.

I urge all Canadians to sign their donor card and to spread the word.

I invite you to tweet #AHeart4Vincent.

Vincent, we all hope you will get a new heart as soon as possible.

Russell District Women's InstituteStatements By Members

May 4th, 2012 / 11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise in the House to honour women across my riding who unite to serve their communities in many different ways.

In particular I would like to highlight the Russell District Women's Institute, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, and its member districts.

Over the years, the local districts have introduced educational programming and social events that unite and inform our residents. Their ROSE program is well known for engaging the public on topics relevant to rural life.

Tomorrow I will join members of the Russell Village district as they celebrate their own anniversary of 75 years. This marks years of community support and efforts to promote personal growth.

I would like to congratulate three special members, Mrs. Staal, Mrs. Bols, and Mrs. Hueweyer, for their great achievement of having been members for 50 years. These women are leaders in our community who are setting an example for future generations, and I wish them every success.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, with thousands of jobs about to disappear because of the Conservatives' deep cuts, thousands of Canadians will need the social safety net to which they are entitled, employment insurance.

These workers have contributed all their working lives, with the help of their employer and without the help of the government, in order to have some security in difficult times. However, this government is looking for every conceivable way to reduce access to employment insurance, which is already at a record low.

Fewer than four in ten unemployed persons currently have access to employment insurance, even though all workers contribute to the fund. Unwarranted changes to boards of referees, reduced wages for temporary foreign workers, and the outrageous appropriation of the authority to define the notion of suitable employment point to one thing: the Conservatives' professed contempt for the workers of this country and their rights.

The Conservatives must amend Bill C-38 to give Canadians the support they need when they most need it.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, Canadians need to know more about the NDP shadow cabinet.

The member for Burnaby—New Westminster, the caucus chair and critic for energy and natural resources, has some strong views against free trade. He has opposed nearly every trade treaty that has come before the House of Commons during his time as an MP. He has argued that Canada should renegotiate or withdraw from NAFTA. He has opposed open trade with the European Free Trade Association, the EU and even the idea of a deal with South Korea.

His commitment to opposing free trade goes as far as actually supporting the Americans, who are proposing the buy America policy, which unfairly discriminates against Canadians exporters. He called that a perfectly logical policy.

Canada's future prosperity is dependent on open markets. That is why our Conservative government has been working to open doors for Canadian exporters around the world. The NDP wants to shut those doors. The NDP team's trade policy is just something Canadians cannot afford.

TD Scholarship for Community LeadershipStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, it is with immense pride that I congratulate Vancouver Quadra student Leah Bae, from my alma mater of Lord Byng Secondary School, for receiving the prestigious TD Scholarship for Community Leadership.

Worth up to $70,000 each, the scholarships recognize Canada's 20 most promising students who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to their communities.

I am deeply impressed by Leah's fierce devotion to youth engagement and social activism. As president of the Vancouver District Students' Council, she represents 58,000 students. She organized a youth forum to respond to the Stanley Cup riot and to offer the city a critical youth perspective in its report.

That is not all. Through the YWCA, Leah has mentored girls to guide them through their transition to high school. She is also principal violinist in Lord Byng's orchestra and an advocate for the rights of minority groups.

If anyone bemoans the lack of youth and women leadership, they should pay attention to Leah Bae. She is going to make us proud.

Liberation of the NetherlandsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Madam Speaker, the liberation of the Netherlands was a milestone in the battle for Europe during the Second World War.

Canadians played a crucial role in liberating the people of the Netherlands from enemy forces and brought peace and freedom after five years of Nazi occupation.

Canadian Forces displayed courage, valour and honour as they fought an enemy that had no understanding of these values. From the Battle of the Scheldt to Nijmegen to Arnhem, Canada was represented. In the final phases of the war, the First Canadian Army in northwestern Europe was the largest army that had ever been under the control of a Canadian general.

The liberation of the Netherlands forged a strong bond between Canada and the Netherlands, and over the course of 67 years, this friendship has only grown stronger.

Today we remember the brave men and women who fought to liberate the Netherlands, including my Uncle Joe Calkins from Rocky Mountain House. We also remember the thousands of Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice during the nine-month campaign.

We will remember them.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Madam Speaker, this government likes to strut about claiming to be tough on crime, but in reality, it is all just a sham. The Conservatives have been found guilty of an in and out scandal, and when we talk to them about the biggest electoral fraud in the history of the country, they shrug their shoulders as if to say, “Why worry about it when we are the ones benefiting?”

Now, a British offender who has just been released from an American prison is being allowed entry into Canada as though nothing ever happened. And the government is washing its hands of the situation. Clearly, it is much easier to keep peaceful protestors, separated families and real refugees out of the country than a lord who spent years using his newspapers to help the Conservative cause.

This government can claim to be tough on crime all it likes, but the fact is that criminals have a pretty nice life if they are Conservatives.

Member for PapineauStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Conservative Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Madam Speaker, the member for Papineau, who is the former chair of Katimivik, has some kingly tastes.

QMI reports that the member opposite billed double the rate of other Katimivik officials while staying at the “posh 4 Diamond Loews Concorde hotel”. He billed more for two nights than the group's president billed for his three-night stay. He expensed a $127 lunch for two that included “fine brandies”, as well as a $93 sushi lunch for two. Other receipts included expensing Grey Goose vodka.

In 2005, he charged taxpayers $350 for a steak dinner on another occasion.

This group was a taxpayer-funded organization. It is clear that he enjoyed a few nice lunches on the public dime.

This behaviour is completely inappropriate for someone who aspires to be more than just a dauphin.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, yesterday at the public accounts committee, Industry Canada testified that benefits from the F-35 deal would be less than $10 billion. The government has been claiming benefits of over $12 billion and the defence department has been claiming benefits of over $15 billion.

Here we go again. What is the real number? Why can the government not get its stories straight?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, we are in the process of working to find replacements for Canada's current fighter jets for the future. As part of that, we are implementing a seven-point plan following on the Auditor General's report to do exactly that. One of those seven points involves continuing to identify opportunities for Canadian industry to participate in the joint strike fighter global supply chain.

Already, as part of the development stage of this plane, together with many other international partners, a lot of Canadian companies do have substantial contracts, and that has been able to help our industry. We will continue to look for more opportunities for that in the future to create jobs.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, that is all well and fine, but the government is forgetting that there are no guarantees of any industrial regional benefits, none whatsoever.

The government's plan is to spend tens of billions of dollars in the hope that Canadian industry will benefit. Past major procurement deals have had clear guarantees, usually $1 in industrial benefits for every $1 spent by Canada.

My question for the government is straightforward. Why is the government not negotiating a deal that would guarantee benefits and jobs in our communities?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, jobs and economic growth for Canadians are an important priority for this government, which is why we are moving on economic action plan 2012, which I know the opposition opposes. That is why we are also exploring replacements for our existing fighter jets while at the same time looking for opportunities for Canadian industry to participate, many of which already exist.

The one thing that is clear, though, is that if the NDP were in government, there would be no replacement fighter jets, there would be no jobs and we probably would no longer have any aeronautics industry in Canada and no aeronautics jobs. We are ensuring that will continue. The NDP would wipe it out.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, the minister left out that there would not be any food, there would not be any water, no land, no moon and no sun.

The deputy minister of National Defence testified that he gave the government all the numbers, “$5.7 billion for sustainment, $9 billion for acquisition, $10 billion for operating”. That is $24.7 billion.

In February, the Minister of National Defence claimed there was only one figure, $14.7 billion, saying, “I have no idea where these other figures are coming from. They are simply made up or they are guessing”.

Who is right, the deputy or the minister?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, members should listen carefully to the deputy's words, because the hon. member opposite has put a very different characterization on them.

The deputy said:

The government decided to communicate exactly the same way they have communicated since 2004 on the acquisition of major airframe assets—acquisition costs and sustainment costs.

That is since 2004. That is before even this government. That is the way it was done under previous governments. That is the way I understand it has always been done, and we continue to do that. That is according to the deputy minister. That is what he said, not what that hon. member is suggesting he said.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, the Conservatives are promising more transparency, but when we ask them a straightforward question about the total cost of the F-35s, they are unable to give us a single figure.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer was clear: the Conservatives deliberately lowered the price of the F-35s to make it easier for Canadians to swallow. We have been saying that for a long time, the Auditor General has said so and yesterday the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed it.

When will the government be more transparent and accept its responsibilities?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, it is clear that my hon. colleague's statements are absolutely not true.

Let us be transparent right here and now: funding for the program to replace our CF-18 fighter jets has been frozen. That is part of a seven step plan we have been talking about at length in this House, but I can repeat once again that the estimated replacement cost and lifespan of the CF-18s will be presented to this House under a new secretariat. The costs will be independently verified by the Treasury Board, and we will—

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order. The hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, taxpayers are no fools. Between the Conservatives' version of the story and the Parliamentary Budget Officer's objective facts, the taxpayers will figure out what is going on. The Deputy Minister of National Defence confirmed that the figure given to cabinet was $25 billion. However, as the Parliamentary Budget Officer said yesterday, unfortunately that is the not the figure the Conservatives communicated to the public.

Lies and confusion reign in this file.

Who, in this government, made the decision to communicate false figures to the taxpayers?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, this government assumes all of its responsibilities. We presented the costs in accordance with Canadian procurement practices. We have never hidden the operational costs of the CF-18s.

What is more, the absolutely final costs for the entire life cycle of a plane to replace the CF-18s will be presented to this House in the coming years. They will be confirmed independently by an authority chosen by the Treasury Board.

DemocracyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, yesterday, the Conservatives forced time allocation for the 18th time on a massive omnibus budget implementation plan. What a legacy; 18 time allocations in their first year as a majority.

This is an incredible standard they are setting for this House of Commons. They are trying to prevent members from debating a 420-page document that amends or kills 70 acts of Parliament.

My question is for the backbenchers on that side of the House who surely campaigned in the last election to fight for democracy. Why are they so silent now? Why are they--

DemocracyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. government House leader.

DemocracyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, the priority of this government is job creation and economic growth and that is what economic action plan 2012 delivers.

We are proud that we have set aside more time for the debate on this bill than any other budget implementation bill in the last two decades, probably longer, but that is as far back as we went in our research. It is certainly a contrast with the party that the hon. member was part of when it was in government. The Liberals passed one budget implementation bill and sent it to committee, limiting debate to three hours.

We are happy to have this bill debated for the longest time in this House because for once we want to hear members from that side talk about the economy. That is our priority.