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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environmental.

Topics

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the mini address. It was very well put but I am afraid I am not quite sure how to respond to it because changes at the border are in a state of flux. That is the best we can say. Nothing has been formulated to really exclude or include different aspects of trade with the U.S.A. The latest information I have is that it continues to be our largest trading partner, so I guess things are not going too bad between America and Canada.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, there are many aspects of the budget I could talk about, and many other aspects I could talk about with regard to the 70-plus pieces of legislation that the government would be changing through the back door with this budget.

There is one issue that kind of eats at a lot of Canadians, and that is an issue of credibility. The Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence have talked a great deal about the need to replace the F-18, something the Liberal Party agrees with. There is a need to replace the F-18. Where we disagree is with the manner in which it has been done.

There has been a great deal of deception from the government to Canadians. At some point, it said $9 billion was going to be the cost, and we are finding out that the cost is going to be more than double that.

My question to the member is this. How can Canadians believe the numbers the government is purporting to talk about on issues like the deficit, when it has really made a whole mess, and there is evidence to show it misled Canadians on the pricing of the F-35 contract? Why should Canadians believe the budget document is a legitimate document in the first place?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly glad I had the opportunity to speak first, because mini questions one and two have pretty well eaten up most of the time.

To answer my hon. colleague as best I can, I would say that the F-35 has been adjudicated by people who fly aircraft. We are talking about fighter pilots and those who train fighter pilots. I am referring to 15 Wing Moose Jaw, the base that trains all the pilots who are trained in Canada.

In discussion with pilots at the base, fighter pilot students and trainers, as well as others from the Winnipeg operation, I am given to understand that there is no plane that equals the F-35 in any which way, regardless of the fact that it is a single-engine plane.

I am not a pilot. I have to accept the word of experts. I do not profess to be an expert, but I know experts. That is their take on it, that we as a country should be looking very carefully at that aircraft because as far as they are concerned it is still the best one.

As far as whether the plane has been tested, it is still in the developmental phases. It has not been tested. Therefore, I am at a loss as to why we would think we could put a price tag on it when it is still in the developmental process. That plane actually being on the production line is a few months or maybe a few years away.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the short title of the bill includes long-term prosperity, and so we must discuss in my speech funding for basic research, because that is very important for our future prosperity. There has been a trend toward less and less funding for basic research under the government.

Allow me to take a little bit of time to talk about basic research, what it is and why it is important, because I do not know if it has ever been explained in detail in this House by somebody who has spent many years working on it.

What is basic research? It starts with curiosity. Scientists are human beings. They are passionate people. Why is it that scientists spend so much time and work so hard, like crazy, to try to figure out things and discover things? It is because they have passion. We cannot have scientists who are simply told, “Check one, two and three and see which one works the best”. Scientists work best when they do practical work in the world but they are allowed to step back and ask why things are the way they are and they are given the resources and are encouraged to try to answer that question.

Second, basic research is about finding a complete understanding, making logical sense of the world around us. There is a famous paper entitled “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural World” by physicist Eugene Wigner. In mathematics, in any logical system, any falsehood causes the entire logical edifice to fall apart. If we translate that into the natural world, any little inconsistency or oddity is worth sorting out, because it can lead to dramatic new understanding.

There are some really good examples of that. In the discovery of insulin, people noticed that when the pancreas of a dog was taken out, flies would be attracted to the sugar in the urine of dogs. In the discovery of stem cells, people noticed that there were little clumps of cells of different types on the spleens of irradiated mice. The study of the difference between theoretical models and actual measurements of the neutrino flux from the sun led to a complete changing of our understanding, our model for the physical universe and of the cosmos.

I mention these three examples because they are related to basic research that was done in Canada.

If we look very closely at nature, we find that there is always a lot more going on than we think. Science will surprise us, but after we have worked in research, we get used to that. It is why it is always possible to keep discovering new and important things.

That leads to the last thing about basic research, which is that it gives us hope for fundamental changes that will lead to a better life. It is not just technology or medicine; it is about learning better ways to take care of one another, better ways to communicate and co-operate, cleaner and more enduring ways to be prosperous and also for society to realize the real tangible value of intellectually honest pursuits of the truth. There is that value of basic research that I think is important.

The knowledge that comes out of basic research is like a piece of LEGO, a hard piece of plastic, hard, reliable, but it also has a history of dramatically changing the world. Knowledge is not really in books, journals and PowerPoint slides. It is in the minds of people. Basic research is where we train a lot of our graduate students who have the skills and acquire the knowledge, the experience in the ways of looking at the world and the discipline and rigour of working in scientific research, which they can then carry on and use elsewhere in their careers to benefit all of society.

Basic research produces models. It allows us to explain patterns we observe, and we need models. For example, if we want to sequester carbon dioxide underground, a rather important subject, we have to ask ourselves: Do we understand basic geology enough to be able to model the behaviour of that carbon dioxide underground for thousands of years?

The last thing I would say is that basic research produces unexpected discoveries. The results of basic research are uncertain. By definition they are uncertain, and basic, unexpected discoveries can be game changers. An example of that is basic research that was done in my riding on the ability of dissolved carbon dioxide to dissolve things, which may lead to the elimination of the need for tailings ponds in oil sands projects. Basic research can lead to a lot of unexpected things.

Why is government funding for basic research important? There are three reasons I would like to talk about today. One is that basic research leads to a public good. The market does not put a proper value on research that benefits more than just the people who do the research. There is a public good and that is why the government should get involved.

Second, the market fails when the funder of research has a commercial interest in the outcome. So in that case, sometimes private research creates ethical conflicts, and that is another time when government should step in.

Third, because basic research is intrinsically uncertain, it is intrinsically risky and small companies may not be able to take that risk, and that is another reason why a larger partner like the government should step in.

How do we know that funding for basic research in Canada has declined? We could look at the statistics, showing a decrease in funding for NSERC from $420 million in 2006 to $360 million in this year for basic research. Funding at SSHRC has declined after inflation. If we look at the success of grant applications to CIHR for basic research, it has hit 17% recently and has been going down for about a decade. Many research proposals, rated excellent by their peers, are being rejected and this is not limited to CIHR. We hear statements like, “I am appalled by the lack of the support for fundamental research in this country”. This is coming from top researchers in the country.

There is more money being spent on research, but that is money where an industrial-academic partnership is required and it is not basic research. It is a good thing to fund that, but not at the expense of basic research.

Let me give an example of one cut occurring in basic research that is pretty harmful. It is the cut to NSERC's research, technology and instrumentation grants program. This is funding that allows researchers to buy medium-sized equipment. As an analogy, instead of cutting from ten carpenters to nine carpenters, it is like keeping the ten carpenters but not letting them buy any tools. That is the problem with the RTI program. That is why researchers are furious about this grants program being cut. One researcher says:

Without the possibility to maintain and expand these fairly inexpensive research tools, my research will grind to a halt, in turn losing my ability to support the training of highly qualified personnel....

Another researcher says:

The changes to NSERC under the...government have been incredibly destructive, and the RTI cut will be an unmitigated disaster.... If this plan goes forward, then when these essential tools inevitably reach the end of their life, so will my research.

So what could we do besides spend more money? People have been saying we do spend a good amount of money on basic research, but we do not seem to be reaping the economic benefits. What needs to be done already exists out there, and one example of that is something called the GreenCentre in my riding. That is a centre in which there are dedicated scientists who are familiar with the basic research that is done at universities, the discovery centres out there. They look at the discoveries and they are trained to detect or decide on discoveries that may have a commercial application. They talk to their industrial partners and get some advice on which discoveries could be commercialized, and they work to commercialize those discoveries.

So it is not just people in industry saying they have a problem and they want to get the government to pay for a university researcher to figure it out for them. It is unlocking the value that is already there in the research that is at our universities.

In conclusion, we know that businesses do not spend enough on research and development in Canada, and money spent on research does not appear to be affecting rates of innovation and commercialization of research as much as it should. That is because we need a better strategy. We need to not ignore the value of basic research or to cut basic research, but we need to invest our efforts in pushing out the value of the discoveries we already have made in basic research, our world-leading capacity in basic research, and we need to push that out into the marketplace instead of letting everything be driven by industry asking researchers to change what they are doing and simply solve problems of industry.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my friend, the member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, has a very impressive science background. Therefore, I can understand why he addressed his speech to that point. I will address my question to the same point.

When I saw $67 million in the budget for the National Research Council, I was pleased. However, when I saw it was specifically required under the terms of the budget to be “business-led and industry-relevant”, I asked myself what Albert Einstein would have done with that. The greatest inventions of the modern era have been made by brilliant minds operating unfettered. In other words, it was basic research with an element of serendipity, not trying to get people to make a better widget and confine the human brain to the most base commercial elements.

Would my hon. colleague agree that is where the best inventions have been found?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do agree. There is a good example of that in Canada, which is canola. The research on canola was not done with a one-year research grant. It was planned and it was something that took many years and quite a bit of an investment. Look at what we have now. It is a major part of Canada's agricultural sector. It was developed not with a focus on immediate results, but a long-term vision and careful research to develop a product that could have commercial value.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the speech on innovation and research by my colleague from Kingston and the Islands. The question I have is not directly related to what he said.

The Government of Canada spent about $8 billion or $9 billion on research and innovation over the last number of years. The Jenkins report talked about moving from the tax credit system to maybe more direct investment. Has the member read the report and what does he think of the Jenkins recommendations?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned billions of dollars being spent on research and development. Yes, money is being spent on research and development, but it is really being targeted at industry academic partnerships at the expense of basic research. That was the point I wanted to make in my speech.

I want to answer the member's question about the recommendations of the Jenkins report and replacing tax credits and the scientific research and experimental development tax credit by more direct grants. Reforms needed to take place in the SR&ED program. I disagree with some of the recommendations in the Jenkins panel report, for example, the recommendation to exclude the eligibility of capital expenditures from the tax credit. Some of the direct grant programs are quite good. The reputation of IRAP is very good. The industrial technology advisers have really good knowledge of the region that they are supposed to cover and, as far as government granting goes, are pretty good allocators of capital.

That is a good idea to discuss. We can talk about the details. There are some good things and there are some things that could be improved. It would be a good thing if the government would allow members of Parliament to make these suggestions, take them seriously and—

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I am sorry to interrupt, but time is limited.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Guelph.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, everywhere we travel, we hear a common message, and that is our country now relies too much on the exploitation of our natural resources. We are again becoming hewers of wood and drawers of water. On the other hand, I hear from many other people who suggest that we have to rely more on our innovation and that in the future we will be thinking our way to prosperity.

Particularly for non-resource rich provinces, what does my hon. friend have to say about the future prosperity and its reliance on invention and innovation?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, humanity has always relied on innovation, ingenuity and hard work, the kind that I see a lot of among my colleagues, to move forward and create economic growth where there were no natural resources. We can see examples of that in the Asian tiger economies, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, all the places where investments were made in people, knowledge and innovation to encourage certain industries to prosper. They succeeded, and we need to do that. Not every part of Canada is rich in every natural resource and we need to remember that as we think about how to move Canada's economy forward and improve the productivity of our people.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure, as the member of Parliament for the riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke and on behalf of the people of my riding, to speak in support of Bill C-38, the budget implementation act, which speaks to our economic action plan 2012, Canada's blueprint for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

One of the reasons that Canada, relative to our economic trading partners, continues to outperform other western economies is the ability of the government to have a forward thinking vision, to plan for the future prosperity of all Canadians. It is clear that any thoughtful Canadian reading our budget sees the goal that we have set out to deal with some fundamental challenges that will arise if corrective action is not taken today. This is being done, while at the same time following our careful, prudent course that has made our finance minister the envy of the G7 countries.

Thoughtful Canadians in my riding have spoken out loud and clear. They like what they read in Canada's 2012 economic action plan. They understand leadership means making difficult decisions today to secure a confident, secure future for tomorrow.

As a Conservative member of Parliament, who makes it my business to directly speak to my constituents regarding the policies put forward, I am pleased with the positive reaction that our budget has received from all Canadians. I read every comment that I receive. For this government, public consultation means just that. We take the time to listen to our constituents, and I am grateful for the many positive suggestions, comments and observations I receive. All comments are welcome.

As a member of the government, I ensure that our Prime Minister and our Minister fo Finance know what is on the minds of Canadians. Suggestions from constituents from Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke have played an important role as our government charts a future course intended to benefit most Canadians.

For many people, our budget does go far enough in cutting the deficit, particularly in cutting unnecessary government spending that seems to creep into every program, however well-intentioned the program may have been when it was first proposed.

The people of the Ottawa Valley are well-known for their fierce independence, as well as their common sense approach to living. Their responses to our budget reflect this back. They are people like Lance Bridges, who wrote the following in response to a series of questions I asked individuals to respond to concerning our economic action plan 2012, which will be implemented with the passing of Bill C-38, the legislation before us today.

In response to my question about lowering the deficit, Lance responded:

“I suppose it is a good thing. Unfortunately all my time is taken up trying to figure out how I'm supposed to keep up with my bills and repairs on my home. I used to be able to save on living off of the land but I had to quit when Bill C-68 (the liberal long-gun registry) came into effect, and now that it's gone, my deepest thanks for that, I have no means to get my licenses back since they won't grandfather them to me. It would be a big help if things were set up like fishing licences. It would be a large financial burden lifted from us if all these fees were exempt to the disabled. It would be even nicer if all these unnecessary licences (guns, fishing, hunting, etc.) were eliminated completely.

It's difficult to gauge how the federal budget really affects my family and as we have to survive on what little the Ontario Disability Support Plan offers us. And now with a freeze on, the help to keep up with prices doubling on almost everything is lost.

Thank you for what you've done in the budget”.

Our budget is intended for families like Lance's. I thank him for responding to our survey.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke will have six minutes remaining in her speech when the House next resumes debate on the question and the usual five minutes for questions and comments.

Statements by members, the hon. member for Ahuntsic.

Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the EastStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize the presence in Quebec of the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, His Beatitude Mar Bechara Boutros Al Raï.

The pride of all Maronites, he is an invaluable ambassador for many Christians in the Middle East.

Above and beyond his caring personality, his voice is heard wherever his mission happens to take him, but no matter where he goes, he can be found easing social tensions and promoting human rights, unity and love. His mantra is “communion and love” and he remains faithful to it in both word and deed.

In some parts of the world, religious minorities are being threatened. We therefore must remain humble and listen to those who fight extremism and show us the path to peace, reconciliation and life.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is that time of year again. Farmers are entering their fields for the annual spring seeding.

Western grain farmers are anxiously waiting for their chance to seed their wheat and barley crop, which, for the first time in 69 years, can be marketed through the Canadian Wheat Board or through an open market.

As we witnessed in March of this year, the new voluntary CWB established its first grain handling agreement, providing certainty and clarity to farmers as they prepare for the open market in 2012. This agreement demonstrates how every grain company, including the CWB, will be offering contracts and programs to earn farmers' business in the new marketing environment. Farmers now have the freedom to market their grain as they see fit.

Canadian farmers are shrewd and competent international businessmen. They know how the markets work and they know how to minimize their risk. In these exciting times for western grain farmers, I only ask of them one thing: be careful, work safe and stay alive to enjoy this marketing freedom.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration has heard from dozens of witnesses in a very short period of time, because the Conservatives want to pass Bill C-31 very quickly, but the bill does not correspond to any of the fundamental principles of Canadian justice.

In fact, too much power is concentrated in the minister's hands. He even has the right to remove permanent residents who have been living here for years.

This bill will foster intolerance of refugees and xenophobia. Deport, control, remove, incarcerate: Conservatives like to use these terms. They do not hesitate to promote a bill that, according to the Canadian Bar Association and the Barreau du Québec, violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This bill goes against too many of our principles.

I will leave the fearmongering up to them.

David DesharnaisStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people in my riding are proud of the success of David Desharnais from Laurier-Station, who is enjoying a budding NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens.

At just five foot seven, David has carved out his place among the big guys. Looking back at his journey, we see that our homegrown idol never gave up on his childhood dream. After his many minor hockey successes as leader and captain of the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, and after playing in Cincinnati, he returned full force, a year later, joining the Habs' farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs.

David Desharnais was called up to the NHL last year and scored his first NHL goal on January 12, 2011.

He had a very good year this season, playing forward on the first line and ending up as the third-highest scorer on his team.

To all of us in Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, David is a shining example of perseverance and determination.

Congratulations, and we wish you a long career in the National Hockey League.

James KinleyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour Jim Kinley, a former lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, who passed away last week.

The proud native of Lunenburg served as our province's 29th lieutenant-governor, holding the prestigious post from 1994 to 2000.

Mr. Kinley was also a successful engineer who started and ran several businesses, including Lunenburg Industrial Foundry & Engineering Limited, which is now headed by his son.

He served his country as a merchant mariner during the Second World War and went on to become a commander in the naval reserves and head of the Navy League of Canada.

In 2002 Mr. Kinley was appointed to the Order of Nova Scotia and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal.

I know Mr. Kinley's pride in his community and commitment to his family and country will continue to be an inspiration to his wife, Grace, his four children and nine grandchildren and to all Nova Scotians.

Mother's DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, we celebrate Mother's Day to acknowledge, honour and appreciate the strength, guidance and compassion of our mothers. Mothers are our most important role models, teachers and nurturers. Mothers are the foundation of the family and help make stronger families. Stronger families make stronger communities and a stronger nation.

As we pay tribute to our mothers around the world, we should take a moment to consider all the sacrifices they have made for us.

In fact, every day should be Mother's Day.

Our government recognizes the importance of supporting mothers, both at home and abroad. Canada is leading international efforts with programs through our Muskoka initiative to improve the health of mothers and children in some of the world's poorest countries. This will help save some of the 24,000 children who die needlessly every day in the developing world.

I ask all members to please join with me in wishing mothers across Canada a very happy Mother's Day.

Armbrae AcademyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, 125 years ago this month, the Halifax Ladies College opened its doors to the curious and creative minds of Canadian women. The college was founded by Anna Leonowens, a trailblazer in her own right, who struck out on her own to teach around the world in the 19th century.

Soon after it opened, the college became home to Lucy Maud Montgomery, who used it as inspiration for part of her beloved Anne of Green Gables novels.

When disaster struck with the Halifax explosion, the college was even transformed into a temporary hospital to treat thousands of injured Haligonians.

Known today as the co-ed school, Armbrae Academy, this Halifax institution has become a beacon of acceptance and excellence in our community. Armbrae has kept the spirit of its history alive with a close-knit, forward-thinking school environment.

Tomorrow, I will be hosting a group of Armbrae students on Parliament Hill. I cannot wait to meet Halifax' next set of great minds.

My best wishes on the college's 125th anniversary.

Chalk River LaboratoriesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the innovative workers at Chalk River Laboratories have increased Canada's ability to produce helium-3 by developing techniques to extract it from operating CANDU reactors. As such, Canada possesses one of the largest repositories in the world of this sought-after isotope.

Helium-3 is a scarce resource that has a number of important applications in nuclear security, science and medicine. It is widely used in neutron detectors, which enable the detection of contraband nuclear materials at border crossings around the world.

Helium-3 is used in science for achieving extremely cold temperatures and for neutron-scattering research in material science at reactor facilities around the world.

Recently it has been successfully polarized for the first time at Chalk River Laboratories.

Polarized helium-3 can be utilized in the magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, of air spaces in human lungs. Having no interaction with the human body makes it a highly appealing alternative to current MRI practices.

AECL's Chalk River Laboratories offer jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

Sanofi BioGENEius ChallengeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, after months of research and hard work, nine of our country's brightest high school and CEGEP students arrived in Ottawa for the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge.

I will take this time to congratulate the participants for presenting an impressive and cutting edge number of projects. They are all winners.

Our government's top priority is job creation and economic growth. We recognize that, as the future workforce, young Canadians have much to contribute to our country's long-term prosperity. I see this every day in my riding of Simcoe—Grey.

Employers increasingly require highly skilled workers so competitions like this one are an excellent an way to inspire young people to explore rewarding new careers in high demand fields.

I am proud that our government supports the BioGENEius Challenge and is investing more than $93,000, through the youth awareness program.

As today's competition makes clear, our country's greatest asset is our youth, an inexhaustible source of creativity.

Canada is so fortunate to have so many brilliant young minds ready to take on new frontiers.

HousingStatements By Members

May 8th, 2012 / 2:05 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 44th National Congress on Housing organized by the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association was held from May 1 to 4 in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Representatives of 400 organizations, municipalities and businesses were there to examine the current state of housing in Canada. The consensus was that, despite some progress in the area of housing and homelessness, the housing crisis is nowhere near being resolved.

I had the honour of discussing Bill C-400, which I introduced last February, to establish a national housing strategy. Countless organizations support this bill. I cannot count the number of representatives from organizations located in Conservative ridings who asked me how they could convince their MPs to vote in favour of the bill.

While Canada is still the only G8 country that does not have a national housing strategy, while over 150,000 Canadians are living on the street and while about 1.5 million households do not have appropriate housing, what more will it take to convince the Conservatives that Canada needs a real housing strategy?

VE DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Conservative Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 67th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

We pay tribute to the more than one million Canadian men and women who fought and the more than 47,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who made the ultimate sacrifice.

I urge all Canadians from coast to coast to coast to take a moment to remember the heroic efforts of those who fought for freedom during the second world war.

The values they fought for are those that shaped our country and the courage, the honour and the valour they displayed are an inspiration to us all.

Their legacy lives on in the peace and freedom we enjoy today. Lest we forget.

Lest we forget.

Workplace SafetyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the Westray Mine explosion.

Although it happened in the small town of Plymouth, Nova Scotia, it was a tragedy for all Canadians. We remember the 26 miners who perished in this preventable disaster. I would like to think that we have learned from the tragic death of those 26 men. My thoughts remain with the families of those brothers, sons and fathers.

In 2003, this House passed the Westray bill that introduced laws aimed to hold employers accountable for the health and safety of their staff. However, since the tragic event in 1992, over 8,000 workers have died on the job and no one has ever been charged in those deaths.

We must take questions of accountability and safety in the workplace seriously. It is incumbent upon me, members of this House and all Canadians to recognize that nobody should have to sacrifice their health or their life for a job.