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House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Charlottetown.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Red Deer Optimist RebelsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, determination, teamwork and belief in their coaches propelled the Red Deer Optimist Rebels to gold at the Canadian Men's Midget Triple A Championship on April 29 at the Telus Cup in Leduc.

Checking the score on the way to the airport, I heard the result after two periods: five to one for their Quebec opponents, but Red Deer did have a power play to start the third.

The Rebels owned the third, burying four goals to send this exciting game into overtime.

After a scoreless 10 minute extra period, Nick Glackin tipped a shot from Rebel captain, Brady Bakke, to cap off one of the most thrilling games in tournament history.

Coach Doug Quinn truly instilled the pride it takes to build champions. He told his team that anything could happen, and it did.

In this, their ninth appearance at this tournament with three previous gold medal games where they had come up just short, they truly are deserving of the title of National Champions.

I congratulate the Red Deer Optimist Rebels, the players, their coaches and their fans.

Montreal's Homeless OrganizationsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish my father a wonderful 80th birthday. He taught me that altruism is far better than individualism.

It was this desire to help others that led a number of organizations to establish RAPSIM, the Réseau d'aide aux personnes seules et itinérantes de Montréal, 35 years ago. These organizations, such as the well-known Maison du Père, help the least fortunate in society.

RAPSIM's work is highly respected and has been supported financially for a number of years by the homelessness partnering strategy, the HPS, which is governed by the Canada-Quebec agreement. But after 12 years, the funding has disappeared. The Minister of Human Resources suddenly decided that she would no longer honour the agreement, which was renewed less than a year ago, or abide by the recommendations of Quebec's health network or the HPS federal-provincial committee.

Where is the respect for provincial jurisdictions? Are groups like RAPSIM being punished because they are daring enough to stand up for such subversive rights as the right to housing or to health? Is this a case of my way or the highway?

French EducationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to a historic event that took place in the beautiful riding of Pickering—Scarborough East, home of Canada's first urban national park.

On April 25, Le Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud marked the start of construction of two French Catholic elementary schools in Toronto.

We are proud that one of the schools will be built in our riding at 29 Meadowvale Road, a picturesque location beside Wanita Park and a short distance from the Rouge Park.

The school will open its doors in a modern eco-friendly building in September 2013 and will accommodate 250 students from kindergarten to grade 6.

I thank Mr. Yves Lévesque, chairman; Mr. Rejean Sirois, director of Education Le Conseil Scolaire; and, Mr. François Broileau, Ontario French Languages Services Commissioner for the excellent work they have done in improving French education in our community.

I would also like to thank all the members of the community for actively participating in and supporting this important project.

David WeatherheadStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 25, David Weatherhead, the first member of Parliament for Scarborough West passed away.

David was first elected in 1968 and again in 1980. While fiercely partisan, David had the generosity of spirit which enabled him to extend his hand in friendship to all members of Parliament.

David arrived in this place feeling that the rules and procedures of the House and committees needed to be reformed. He felt that, in order to deal with a backlog of legislation, the rules needed to be changed. One of the suggestions he put forth was that speeches by members should be limited to 20 minutes. However, David believed that the rights of all members, especially those of opposition members, to express themselves on an issue should be respected.

On behalf of the Liberal Party, I extend our condolences to David's family and friends. I also want to thank David for his service.

SportStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, minor hockey, baseball, soccer and other sports programs teach our youth the skills of sport as well as discipline, sportsmanship and teamwork.

April marked the end of another hockey season in Don Valley West for the York Mills Hockey Club, the Don Mills Civitan Hockey League, the Leaside Hockey Association, the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey League and the Pro Action Hockey League playing at Angela James Arena.

May marks the start of yet another season of baseball and soccer throughout the neighbourhoods of Don Valley West.

Today I want to pay tribute to all the parents, coaches and other volunteers from these and other minor sports groups in Don Valley West who give so generously of their time and energy to make possible these minor sports programs for our children.

Their hard work is worth it. On behalf of our youth and the whole community, we give a heartfelt thanks.

Multiple SclerosisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, the carnation is Canada's oldest and most recognized symbol of hope in the quest to end multiple sclerosis.

Many Canadians living with multiple sclerosis are mothers. Others, either children or adults, have mothers affected by this disease because women are diagnosed with MS three times as often as men. That is why every year the MS carnation campaign takes place over Mother's Day weekend.

From May 10 to May 12, thousands of volunteers in more than 280 communities across Canada will be showing their dedication to finding a cure by selling carnations on street corners, at malls and other public spaces.

Today there is renewed hope for MS victims as new treatments are being discovered and validated.

I know that members on both sides of the House will join me and the many families that have been touched by MS in supporting the research necessary to bring hope into reality. Let us support this effort by purchasing a carnation. Today, together, we can end MS.

Freedom of SpeechStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have seen the absurd censorship on certain university campuses regarding pro-life issues. This is a serious concern and now this censorship has become an issue in some schools with the “life is wasted without Jesus” T-shirt issue and others like it.

Members should not get me wrong. I am not opposed to some censorship. Certainly grungy, smutty messages on T-shirts should be kept out of schools. However, a T-shirt that merely says “life is wasted without Jesus”?

Why the seemingly growing agenda against freedom of speech when it comes to Christian or pro-life issues?

This seems so un-Canadian, or at least it would have 30 years ago.

This ridiculous, unhealthy censorship is wrong. It is simply wrong and it must be stopped. So, who will stop it? It is up to the people.

Multiple SclerosisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to wear a carnation to support Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month and to help kick off the MS carnation campaign.

This program raises funds for MS research and provides support to individuals and families touched by the disease. Those of us who have a family member with MS understand the struggle that it can present.

And while Canada, unfortunately, has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, the good news is that we have some of the best researchers. In fact, there has never been a more hopeful time for Canadians with MS.

Canadian researchers continue to learn more about the causes and develop treatments to manage the difficult symptoms.

We must all commit to ending MS within our lifetimes.

Hunger Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, to mark this year's Hunger Awareness Week, Food Banks Canada has issued a challenge to parliamentarians from all parties to fast for one day so they can experience what it feels like to go hungry.

Hunger is a significant problem in our country. Each month, close to 900,000 Canadians are assisted by food banks, and 38% of those helped are children. In a country as wealthy as Canada, there is no excuse for letting our most vulnerable citizens go hungry. Hunger can be solved by addressing the root cause, which is poverty.

Two effective ways parliamentarians can address this issue is by increasing affordable housing and raising seniors' pensions.

I join with over 140 parliamentarians and staff who are going hungry today to make a point. I ask that all parliamentarians work together to eliminate hunger and poverty in our country.

Garth WebbStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Conservative Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently learned of the passing of Mr. Garth Webb, a veteran of the second world war and the D-Day landings. Mr. Webb was a determined leader who worked tirelessly to ensure recognition for Canada's veterans.

As the leader of the Juno Beach Association, Mr. Webb was instrumental in building the Juno Beach Centre in France. The memorial and interpretive centre, which pay homage to the Canadian effort in the second world war, especially the Battle of Normandy in 1944, exist today because of Mr. Webb's great dedication.

Even after his death, the Juno Beach Centre will remain as a testament to his passion and as a tribute to the courage and determination of Canada's Second World War veterans.

The sacrifice and service of Canadian veterans, such as Garth Webb, serve as an example to all. I offer my most sincere condolences to his family and to his friends.

Rape and Gender ViolenceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, this week the Nobel Women's Initiative launched the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. Rape is being increasingly used as an intentional strategy in conflict. Women are mainly targeted, in order to sever community ties, even after the conflict is over.

According to American researchers, 1,152 women and girls were raped every day in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006 and 2007. Unfortunately, in most countries, it is very difficult to get accurate statistics because very few rapes are reported.

However, what is certain is that the perpetrators of these crimes too often go unpunished. Women and girls as well as men and boys throughout the world have the right to access justice. The purpose of the campaign is to promote change and to put an end to rape by allowing victims to be heard.

I invite all members of the House to join this international campaign by visiting stoprapeinconflict.org. By spreading this message, we will finally be able to put an end to gender violence in conflict.

International TradeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 62nd anniversary of the creation of the European Union. Canada enjoys the oldest formal relationship with the EU, dating back to 1959. Since then, the already close relations between us have significantly strengthened because we recognize the importance of growing our mutual economic and security interests. As a result, the EU represents Canada's second largest trade and investment partner and is a natural ally on foreign and security issues.

The trade agreement we are now negotiating with the EU is our most ambitious trade agreement ever. It is a key part of our government's pro-trade plan to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in London, Ontario and across Canada. The benefits will be widespread and stimulate the economy in every single region of our country.

Our government's position is clear. We are taking a strong stand against protectionism as we move forward with new free trade agreements around the world. We do this for the sake of Canadian families. We do this for the sake of Canadian jobs. We do this to provide the conditions that will ensure Canada maintains the strongest economy in the industrialized world.

Workplace SafetyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago today, a spark deep in the southeast section of the Westray coal mine in Nova Scotia triggered a massive explosion that trapped and killed 26 miners. The force of the blast shattered windows and shook homes in nearby Stellarton and New Glasgow.

Today, we remember those miners who died needless deaths; deaths that were the result of greed, mismanagement and failed government oversight. Rescue teams and draegermen worked tirelessly in treacherous conditions in search of survivors. Their bravery and heroism captivated the nation and put the spotlight on worker safety and corporate accountability. Their efforts led Parliament, under the leadership of my former Liberal colleagues, Martin Cauchon and Andy Scott, to unanimously pass the Westray bill.

The Westray bill was a positive step, but we are reminded today that more can and needs to be done to improve worker safety and corporate accountability in our country.

French LanguageStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, allow me to say how proud I am to represent my constituents and to be able to do so in the language we cherish and defend in Quebec: French. Defending the values of the Quebec nation means affirming the French fact in Quebec.

The orange wave is causing French to disappear from this House, and it is an insult to our identity as Quebeckers to see all the NDP MPs from Quebec debate and ask half their questions in English.

I am proud of my French roots, of the people who founded our Canadian nation. At no time should a French-Canadian politician be attacked for honourably serving his country in his mother tongue.

Workplace SafetyStatements By Members

May 9th, 2012 / 2:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Westray mine disaster in Plymouth, Nova Scotia, where 26 coal miners lost their lives in one of Canada's worst mining disasters. Our hearts go out to all the families and friends of the miners who lost their lives.

We also honour the entire community that mobilized to assist in a search and rescue following the explosion, especially the search and rescue teams and those brave draegermen. Justice Peter Richard of the Westray inquiry described Westray as “a story of incompetence, of mismanagement, of bureaucratic bungling, of deceit, of ruthlessness, of cover-up, of apathy, of expediency, and of cynical indifference”.

Former NDP leader Alexa McDonough kept her promise to the Westray families by pushing for changes to the Criminal Code. She laid the groundwork for the 2004 Westray bill that holds corporate managers and employers criminally responsible for endangering the lives of workers.

As our brothers and sisters of the United Steelworkers remind us, we must enforce the law to ensure that another Westray never happens again.

May God bless the memory of those 26 miners.

Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry SocietiesStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Conservative Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, this week the newly minted, NDP, chief soft-on-crime spokesman and member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca stood in this House and, shockingly, delivered a statement praising the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies for standing up for the rights of both offenders and victims. No doubt the first part of that statement is probably correct.

Unbelievably, this is the same organization that claimed to the public safety committee that front-line prison guards strip-searching convicted criminals to prevent the trafficking of contraband and drugs was “state-sponsored sexual assault”.

Standing up for this special interest group shows just how opposed the NDP is to the values that are important to Canadians and Canadian families.

Unlike the NDP, our government will always put the rights of law-abiding Canadians ahead of the rights of criminals.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, one-third of the Conservative budget bill is dedicated to dismantling environmental protection. Canadians will no longer have the right to participate in public hearings. Key independent agencies will be cut out of the process. Ministers will be given the power to ignore the facts, ignore the science and reverse any decision they do not agree with.

Why is the Prime Minister trying to sneak through these changes in a 421 page budget bill?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the statement by the leader of the NDP is completely false. The fact of the matter is that as part of the government's economic action plan to encourage jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, we are streamlining the environment assessment process. It will be extremely thorough. It will be for major projects up to two years. We know that the NDP opposes these kinds of projects completely. However, we have to have a process that is environmentally thorough but that ultimately does allow projects to be approved under some circumstances.

Public Appointments CommissionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Project dismantle, Mr. Speaker.

It is not only environmental assessments that the government wants to scrap. During the 2006 election campaign, the Prime Minister promised to establish a new Public Appointments Commission. He said that such a commission would “establish merit-based criteria” and “ensure that competitions are widely publicized and equitably administered”. The Prime Minister has not kept his word and is now dismantling this commission.

Why is the Prime Minister hiding the fact that he is breaking a promise on accountability in a budget bill?

Public Appointments CommissionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is ironic, because the NDP voted against establishing that Public Appointments Commission. Furthermore, they are the ones who asked us to stop spending money on it. During that time, we established very clear qualifications for appointments, and we abide by them when appointing people based on merit.

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is giving us another history lesson. Actually, we voted for the accountability act.

Back in the days of the sponsorship scandal, the Prime Minister had great respect for the Auditor General. The Prime Minister campaigned on expanding the Auditor General's powers and increasing the Auditor General's budget,. However, buried in the 421 pages of his budget bill, the Prime Minister is taking away the power of the Auditor General to monitor 12 separate agencies.

What kind of budget act slashes oversight of the budget? Is that why he does not want anybody paying too close attention to his budget bill?

Auditor GeneralOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, these changes have been done in concert with the Auditor General.

Let me go back and remind the NDP of the record when this government tried to name a nominations commissioner. The NDP voted against the establishment of that. That is the fact. The fact of the matter is, of course, the NDP has long demanded that we cease spending money on this. What the government has done is established very clear qualifications for any appointed position in this government. We have named only people who meet those qualifications. That is why the NDP has not found a single instance of somebody not being nominated on merit.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is the government that has two sets of books on the F-35 and now is telling Canadians “just trust us” on the budget, on appointments, et cetera. I do not think so.

This is also the government that claimed for ages that each plane would cost $75 million and then attacked anybody who contradicted it. Last week, the Department of National Defence sent officials to Washington to get updated numbers on the escalating costs of the F-35.

Can the procurement minister share with Canadians the new cost numbers?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as has been said many times, we are following diligently the recommendations of the Auditor General and going beyond. There is a seven step action plan in place. We are following that process. Those answers will be forthcoming in the fullness of time.