House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jobs.

Topics

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 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. 534, 542, 543, 544 and 550.

Question No. 534Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

François Pilon NDP Laval—Les Îles, QC

With respect to the 2020 biodiversity targets adopted by the Parties in Nagoya: (a) which targets does Canada plan to meet; (b) what strategies will it implement to meet these targets; and (c) what timetable has the government set to implement each of these strategies?

Question No. 534Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in Nagoya in 2010, Canada worked with parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, to adopt global targets that were both ambitious and realistic. The CBD strategic plan is a non-binding flexible framework that parties are expected to adopt or adapt as appropriate at the national level. Canada is committed to doing its part to contribute to achieving the Aichi biodiversity targets.

Canada’s domestic targets have not been finalized nor adopted yet. Over the past year, the government has been working with provinces and territories on a domestic adaptation of the Aichi targets as Canada’s response to the CBD strategic plan. Canada has a biodiversity outcomes framework, approved by federal, provincial and territorial ministers in 2006, which is a logical framework for 2020 goals and targets.

The government is currently developing a proposal for strategic goals and 2020 targets and will be seeking input from key stakeholders in the next few months. The government plans to finalize the domestic targets in advance of the next Conference of the Parties to the CBD in October 2012.

With regard to (b), given the crosscutting nature of biodiversity, all jurisdictions and sectors of society have an important role to play. A number of strategies will continue to be important in helping Canada achieve its objectives in this area, including in meeting whatever new domestic new targets are established.

The Canadian biodiversity strategy, developed jointly by federal, provincial and territorial governments, is the blueprint for the conservation and sustainable use of Canada’s living resources. The biodiversity outcomes framework complements and builds on that work. As federal, provincial and territorial governments have shared responsibilities for managing biodiversity, continued co-operation is key. In addition, the federal government continues to work with provinces and territories in areas of mutual interest, including, for example, wildlife management, protected areas planning and strategies related to invasive alien species.

Ongoing delivery of relevant federal strategies, programs and legislation will be a core element of achieving Canada’s biodiversity outcomes. The federal government took an important step in 2010 with cabinet approval of a new federal sustainable development strategy, FSDS. Protecting nature is one of the central themes of the FSDS. The strategy includes biodiversity targets that all federal departments will need to report against in their departmental sustainable development strategies. The federal commitments and actions through the FSDS will support implementation of the Canadian biodiversity outcomes.

Many provinces, such as Ontario and Nova Scotia, have recently developed or updated their own biodiversity strategies. Similarly, a number of local governments are developing biodiversity strategies. Initiatives by aboriginal organizations, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and academia will also continue to contribute to results.

With regard to (c), it is expected that Canada’s new domestic targets will be scoped within a 2020 timeframe, in line with the time period of the Aichi targets. The timetables to implement the complement of domestic strategies that will support achievement of the targets varies. However, Canada and other parties to the CBD are expected to report on domestic progress every four years, with the next national report to be submitted in 2014.

Question No. 542Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

May 7th, 2012 / 3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

With respect to oil tankers on the Pacific coast that receive oil and oil products from the Westridge terminal and/or any other facility in Burnaby that loads oil and oil products onto tankers: (a) what permits are required for tankers to receive and ship oil and oil products from this facility; (b) which department issues and oversees such permits; and (c) what public consultation, if any, is undertaken prior to the issuance of such permits?

Question No. 542Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), (b) and (c), no regulatory permits are required for tankers to receive and ship oil and oil products from Westridge terminal. However, a licence to export the oil and oil products may be required, as set out in the National Energy Board Act and the associated National Energy Board Act Part VI (Oil and Gas) Regulations.

Question No. 543Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

With regard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Fleet Separation and Owner/Operator policies: (a) will the government proceed with a policy change and, if so, when will a decision be made in this regard; (b) has the government conducted an analysis in the past relating to a possible change to the policies; (c) what steps has the government taken to consult fishers regarding the policies and when, before holding consultations did the government give notice of the consultations; (d) how many consultative submissions have there been from corporations with regard to the policies and how many have there been from independent fishers; (e) what (i) economic, (ii) social, (iii) cultural ramifications would result from a policy change; and (f) what (i) research, (ii) actions, (iii) investments has the government undertaken to develop a plan to change the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Fleet Separation and Owner/Operator policies?

Question No. 543Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a) and (b), while the department seeks to continuously improve commercial fisheries management and undertakes various analyses as part of its regular policy work, no decision has been made by the government to proceed with a policy change regarding Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s, DFO’s, fleet separation and owner/operator policies. Formal processes have been used in the past to review various policies; for example, in 1999 the Atlantic fisheries policy review, AFPR, was launched to propose a framework for managing east coast fisheries and build consensus around a renewed vision for the fishery. DFO also receives frequent requests from stakeholders for flexibility from various commercial fisheries management policies and management measures. As a matter of process, this often results in thorough analysis of existing policies to see where change may be needed to help improve economic outcomes. Subsequently, flexibilities such as licence stacking, licence combining, exemptions and other actions have been taken for the benefit of harvesters.

For the most recent round of consultations on commercial fisheries policies and management measures, the purpose of the consultations was threefold: to consult with stakeholders on conservation policies under the sustainable fisheries framework, to inform stakeholders about plans for long-term stability in fisheries and to seek stakeholder views on measures to provide opportunities for the industry to achieve greater economic prosperity. It was another step in the ongoing effort to continuously improve commercial fisheries management and provide greater opportunities for economic prosperity in Canada’s fishing industry.

With regard to (c), Fisheries and Oceans Canada, DFO, developed a discussion document, "The Future of Canada’s Commercial Fisheries", detailing the department’s policy direction to modernize commercial fisheries management. DFO provided access to this document by posting it online, emailing it directly to various stakeholders and mailing it to aboriginal groups throughout Canada.

A two-pronged approach was developed to engage people in the discussion: face-to-face meetings and an online process. The full-day face-to-face meetings were held in each DFO administrative area over the course of January and February 2012. Invitations were sent out several weeks in advance of each respective meeting.

For the online component, email notifications were sent on January 12, 2012, to stakeholders in the commercial and processing sectors, as well as aboriginal groups, environmental non-governmental organizations, economists, academics and industry associations in an attempt to engage a wide variety of views.

As the process progressed, the consultation period was extended to March 14, 2012, and additional meetings were held to engage with specific groups to hear their unique perspectives separate from the industry.

With regard to (d), during the consultative process DFO did not require participants to identify themselves as “corporations” or “independent fishers” when making a submission. The categories used were ”aboriginal groups, academic, commercial, economist, ENGO, province/territory, DFO, other federal department, processing, recreational, other”. These are not easily transferable to the categories highlighted in this particular question.

With regard to (e)(i), (e)(ii) and (e)(iii), the purpose of the consultation process was to seek feedback from stakeholders on the entire fisheries management regime. This approach was taken so as to not restrict what stakeholders could comment on concerning their experiences with the current management practices.

With regard to (f)(i), (f)(ii) and (f)(iii), as indicated in the answer to (a), the department undertakes policy research and analysis work on a regular basis to improve the fisheries management regime in Canada.

Question No. 544Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

With regard to the proposed Muskrat Falls hydro-electric development: (a) who conducted the economic analysis of the project for or on behalf of the government; (b) when was this analysis (i) started, (ii) completed, (iii) submitted to the government; (c) has the analysis been publicly released; (d) if the analysis has not been publicly released, (i) why not, (ii) when will it be publicly released; (e) if the analysis was conducted on behalf of the government by a third party, (i) who conducted it, (ii) on behalf of which department or agency was it conducted, (iii) what was the total cost of the analysis, (iv) was the contract for the analysis awarded on the basis of competitive bid or was it sole-sourced; and (f) what were the risks and uncertainties identified in the course of the analysis?

Question No. 544Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the economic analysis was undertaken by Natural Resources Canada.

With regard to (b)(i) and (b)(ii), the economic analysis began on September 29, 2011 and was completed on January 25, 2012. With regard to (b)(iii), the report on the economic analysis was submitted to the government on March 9, 2012.

With regard to (c), yes, the economic analysis can be found at the following link: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/news-release/2012/31/6064.

Part (d) is not applicable, as the economic analysis has been publicly released.

Part (e) is not applicable, as the economic analysis was not conducted by a third party.

With regard to (f), the risks and uncertainties are discussed in the report. Briefly, they relate to the forecast assumptions of oil prices, capital and operating costs of various supply options; the drivers of future demand of Newfoundland and Labrador, including population, economic activity, technological change, consumer tastes; and opportunities for future electricity exports from the project.

Question No. 550Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

With regard to the 2011 General Election, for every federal electoral district in British Columbia and for the province of British Columbia as a whole: (a) how many contacts has Elections Canada received, including all contacts lodged directly with Elections Canada, forwarded by returning officers or from any other source, of (i) repetitive, late-evening, bizarre, or rude phone calls, (ii) misdirections to wrong polling station addresses; (b) how many of (a) were received (i) during the writ period, (ii) in the week following the general election, (iii) since then; (c) according to the contacts Elections Canada has received, how many of (a) indicated they were from (i) the Conservative Party of Canada, (ii) the Liberal Party of Canada, (iii) the New Democratic Party of Canada; and (d) how many late voter registration papers were approved in British Columbia by a returning officer without the voter’s current or previous address appearing on the voter registration form?

Question No. 550Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Chief Electoral Officer appeared before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on March 29, 2012, in regard to the allegations of wrongdoing during the 41st general election.

During his appearance, the Chief Electoral Officer indicated that Elections Canada received approximately 70 complaints during or immediately after the election, alleging various forms of improper telephone communications. The Chief Electoral Officer further indicated that close to 40,000 people have since contacted Elections Canada to express concerns. Of these contacts, over 800 were complaints alleging specific occurrences of improper or fraudulent calls across the country. As indicated by the Chief Electoral Officer during his appearance, providing further details on the complaints would risk interfering with the confidentiality and integrity of the Commissioner of Canada Elections’ ongoing investigation. Therefore, consistent with the spirit of the Access to Information Act, which recognizes the importance of preserving the confidentiality of the Commissioner’s investigation, Elections Canada is not in a position at the present time to provide additional information, including information specific to the Province of British Columbia.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 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. 533 and 551 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 533Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

With regard to the Market Basket Measure: (a) which government department is responsible for deciding how it will be calculated; (b) what changes were made to the calculation of shelter costs within the past three years; (c) who made the decision to change the calculation of shelter costs; (d) who was consulted on the decision to change the calculation of shelter costs; (e) what kind of evaluation was performed on the new calculation of shelter costs to ensure that it still represented a reasonable measure of the actual costs of housing; (f) when will the government review the shelter cost calculation again; and (g) what will be the process for reviewing the shelter cost?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 551Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

With regard to the Centenaries Program funded under the program authority of Western Economic Diversification (WD) and delivered by WD and Canadian Heritage: (a) what is the purpose, cost, and timeframe of all current, ongoing, or completed (i) programs, (ii) commitments, (iii) agreements, (iv) expenditures to commemorate the 100th anniversaries of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, including, but not limited to, capital legacy projects as well as commemorative and celebratory events or any projects or programs transferred at any point to other departments for implementation; (b) what is the (i) source, (ii) partner, (iii) commitment, (iv) value, (v) timeframe of all funds leveraged from other funding sources in support of (a); (c) how did the government measure the success, effectiveness, and efficiency of all projects, programs, commitments, agreements, expenditures, and timeframes referred to in (a) and (b); and (d) what steps has WD taken to ensure that recommendation number one of the March 2010 Evaluation of the Centenaries Program, which is that “the department should ensure its corporate database captures relevant project recommendations and financial information in a timely manner,” be implemented?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 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

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise on behalf of my constituents in Gatineau, but I am not proud to rise on Bill C-38, which should be extremely important because of what the budget contains. It is a huge document. The only bill I have ever seen that was bigger was Bill C-10, which was quite lengthy.

Bill C-38 is a hefty bill containing 753 clauses, only 51 of which have to do with taxes. The other 702 clauses set out a new way of governing. If that is not doing a bad job, I do not know what it is. That may be why the people of Gatineau are so fed up with this government.

Not a day goes by when I do not receive tons of messages via email, Facebook and Twitter from people in Gatineau who are fed up with the way the government does things: always acting without any transparency, in secret, without considering whether what they are doing makes sense or debating with the opposition to try to make the best laws here in Canada, and always trying to pull a fast one in big bills like this one.

The Conservatives are lucky to be in the majority with their big 39% of the vote because otherwise this bill would likely cause the same reaction as in 2008 when the Conservatives tried to slip into the economic and fiscal update two politically explosive measures, which had never been debated before: the abolition of public financing of parties and of the right to strike in the federal public service. It seems as though the Conservatives were not put off by the spontaneous reaction of the Canadian public on that occasion. The Conservatives do not give two hoots and believe that they have the majority with their impressive 39%, and they are trying to pull the same stunt yet again.

I certainly will not be encouraging the people in my riding of Gatineau to like this government any more than they do. They already tell me every day that they are not really happy with the government and that they are very much looking forward to 2015.

That being said, when you consider the overall impact of Bill C–38, it is enough to give you shivers down the spine. Moreover, I would ask the Conservative members to do more than simply rashly and blindly do what the first and second rows tell them to do. Indeed, they will have to explain in their respective ridings why particular ways of doing things have been instituted because Bill C–38 is going to affect a number of issues that are extremely important to Canadians.

By the way, for those who are not already aware of it, our debate is still subject to what I call a gag order. The government likes to call it a limited time for debate and boasts that it has allocated four long days for debate. The government has told us that the member who was finance critic before the end of the leadership race, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, has already used up all the available hours.

But the fact is that it was not a filibuster. It was simply a demonstration of the fact that we used the only time the government allocated to us, whereas normally in this House members are given an opportunity to express themselves, not necessarily to their hearts content, but in keeping with the principles of representation. I thought that we were here to represent our constituents, but that does not seem to be the case. I consider myself lucky to be one of the chosen few who will be able to rise during the couple of days that the glorious Conservative government has allocated to us to speak about such an important bill.

If I were to put on my justice critic hat, I would say that there is even a chapter that applies to this in Bill C-38. I would not have a clue what it is doing there. Perhaps it is for economic, budgetary or other reasons? Not at all.

It would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to eliminate the requirement of a hearing for certain reviews.

When you read this kind of thing in a budget implementation act, in Bill C-38, you wonder whether someone has made a mistake. You look at the printed pages and the computer screen in order to see whether some other sections or some other legislation has been mixed in with it. But no, this is really what Bill C-38, the budget implementation act, says.

In fact, it announces plans to review the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. Bill C-38 also talks about implementing the Framework Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America.

Just by themselves, these are all things that could take a some time to study and to determine whether this procedure is correct and in line with Canada's rules of law and natural justice.

Unfortunately, once again they are using the sledgehammers on us, just to satisfy their ideology that aims at reducing government with no other common thread than that of reducing for the sake of reducing and minimizing the things that they do not believe in. There will be changes to old age security, employment insurance and the Canada pension plan.

The people watching us know that we have talked a great deal about increasing the retirement age from 65 to 67, something that makes many people feel insecure, even those who are already in that age category and who will not necessarily be affected by the change. These people are well aware that if the government is now able to do this to the generation that is coming up behind them, nothing will prevent it from saying anything, any time, anyhow, and from changing the things on which they were once able to rely.

There is nothing that is certain in life any more, and this is perhaps the message I am sending to the people who are watching, and particularly to the voters in my riding who sent me here with 62% of the vote, unlike the Conservatives who received 39%, and who are pulling out their hair at hearing it said so often that it does not make sense. Is there anything that is untouchable in the opinion of this government? Are there rights that are not rights?

Another example is the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, which is being repealed. In Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, the government has decided that the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act will be repealed. This act was created in the 1930s to set wage standards and minimum hours of work for construction workers working on federally funded projects. Under the act, salaries are set in accordance with current industry norms, and hours are set according to provincial standards. Eliminating these minimum standards will allow employers to circumvent rates set by unions. Congratulations. This is yet another attack against those the government likes to call “big union bosses“.

I have some news for them. Thanks to all of that and perhaps to certain “big union bosses” and certain battles that have been fought over the past decades, children of a certain age have been prohibited from working, because it simply did not make sense. Pregnant women are no longer forced to continue working if their work becomes too dangerous. The government must stop painting people who fight for legitimate causes as brainless criminals who are doing this simply to upset the public. What upsets the public is when they see bills like this one, bills of this size, into which the government tries to slip all kinds of measures, because it cannot do so through separate bills, since it is afraid of attracting too much attention.

I will leave it to my colleagues to give plenty of other examples of things that will have a serious impact, for the examples I have given are merely small ones.

On behalf of the people of Gatineau, I say shame on this government for introducing this bill, which demonstrates its clear contempt for democracy and contempt for the most fundamental rights of the people of Canada.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech, which was very interesting.

I completely agree with the criticisms that the member has made of the budget implementation bill. I appreciate the stand the official opposition is taking that key laws must be removed and not passed all as one.

However, I am wondering if the member could help me as well. I know the Minister of Finance cannot, as stated in the House of Commons Practice and Procedure, include measures that were not mentioned in advance of the budget. I cannot find any reference in the budget to destruction of fish habitat laws, to changing the Species at Risk Act to allow the National Energy Board to permit destruction of species at risk, nor do I find any reference to changing the Navigable Waters Protection Act. How is it that those could even be purported to be part of a budget 2012 measure?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. I would have to say that I do not have an intelligent explanation for what the Conservatives are doing. Many measures in the bill are absolutely incomprehensible.

She gave some examples. but there are many others. We wonder how the government could be in favour of putting an end to the Kyoto protocol.

Just imagine: a single sentence in Bill C-38, the budget implementation bill, announces that the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, Chapter 30 of the Statutes of Canada, 2007, is repealed, effectively killing the Kyoto protocol. That is what this government does after we entered into international agreements and gave our word as a country.

I want to tell the people who are watching—and I say this with no ill will, because it is the truth—to be careful when dealing with the Government of Canada, because its word is not worth very much.

With a government that is prepared to do something like that, it is any wonder that the budget said nothing about the measures my colleague mentioned, yet they showed up in Bill C-38, the budget implementation bill? Nothing in this House surprises me anymore. There are things that disappoint me every day, but nothing surprises me anymore.