House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-38.


Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's question. He touched on a number of issues in his question.

First, I would like to talk about the democracy he mentioned. Democracy is alive and well here in the House of Commons. But when one single NDP member took several days in the House to debate this bill when it was first introduced, leaving only a few minutes for the Liberal Party to respond and no time for other, independent members to raise any objections, I also wonder if the delay amounts to nothing more than a filibuster.

Is that what the hon. member really thinks democracy is? Frankly, the delays are a real obstacle.

In terms of tourism, I just talked about rental vehicles. For some time now, the hon. member for Yukon has talked about the challenge of bringing rental vehicles to Yukon to allow tourists to visit Yukon and the Canadian north. And now we have a provision in this bill to address that situation, a measure that will help us in the tourism sector.

Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to attend the budget implementation act technical briefing. This was an opportunity for all members and their staff to ask questions with regard to all the amendments and so on that were taking place on the bill. We found that people realized that any of the major questions and concerns that were being raised were of a political nature and certainly not a technical nature.

One example had to do with the integrated cross-border law enforcement operations act, Just a few moments ago, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands indicated that she did not approve of this particular clause.

My question is for the parliamentary secretary. Who was consulted in the development of the act and why is it such an important measure?

Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Red Deer for the incredible work he does, not only in his riding, but in the House of Commons. He has been instrumental in helping us with the bill.

I want to address this very important clause in the bill. I was disappointed to hear the member from the Green Party say that she was not in favour. Let me list the stakeholders that were consulted. We consulted provincial attorneys general, police associations, local governments and aboriginal groups in close proximity to the border. We spoke with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Association of Police Forces, the Canadian Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, First Nations Chiefs of Police Association, the Canadian Bar Association, the Barreau du Québec, the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers, et cetera. We spent an enormous amount of time trying to ensure we got this right.

I would have thought we would have at least had support from the opposition parties when we look at legislation that would actually allow us to collaborate with our U.S. counterparts in the area of law enforcement, ensuring we restrict contraband from being smuggled into our country.

A pilot project also ran and something like 1.4 million contraband cigarettes were seized during that project. A child abduction was solved as a result of the pilot project.

Therefore, this is a good measure on which I would have anticipated support from all members. It is unfortunate that the member from the Green Party does not support it. I know her riding members certainly seem to support it.

Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario


Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to discuss some of the provisions in Bill C-38, the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act, and to explain why we must not let the New Democrats and the other opposition parties delay its passage.

As the Conservative government said very clearly, since 2006, our focus has been on the economy. As we have all noticed, we are on the right track in terms of jobs and growth. In many ways, Canada has done well despite the global uncertainty. For example, almost 760,000 jobs have been created since July 2009. That is the strongest job creation record in the G7.

The IMF and OECD both project that Canada will have among the strongest growth in the G7. For the fourth straight year, the World Economic Forum rated our banking system the world's best. Forbes magazine ranked Canada as the best place for businesses to grow and create jobs. Canada also has the best fiscal position in the G7 by far. Canada also has the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7.

In the words of respected financial analyst and commentator, Camilla Sutton, of Scotiabank, “the long-term story for Canada on a relative basis is still a very, very good one. There's very few other places I'd rather be than Canada...when it comes to these uncertain times, Canada holds its own and shines”.

However, we all know that global economic recovery remains fragile, especially in Europe. That is why we are focused on jobs, the economy and implementing economic action plan 2012 through Bill C-38. As successful as our past has been, we must stay focused on the present and the future. The economy must remain at the forefront of our priorities. It is the right thing to do.

The well-being of Canadians depends on a healthy economy. The well-being of my constituents of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell depends on a healthy economy.

A strong economy makes it possible for all Canadians to benefit from growth and long-term prosperity. By making sensible and responsible decisions today, we will provide everyone with a better standard of living tomorrow.

That is the goal that the Conservative government has set for itself with this bill. And that is why it is so important to move forward with this bill today, and not allow the New Democrats and the other opposition parties to delay its passage with their stalling tactics.

In my remarks today, I would like to focus on a few of the measures in Bill C-38 that would help strengthen Canada's housing sector.

The housing sector is one of the most important pieces of our economy. In my riding, certain towns like Clarence-Rockland have seen tremendous growth. Local businesses are benefiting. The local economy is benefiting. For that to continue, there is a real need for new families to choose housing in these communities. We can all agree that the housing market requires ongoing stability and close monitoring.

For most Canadian families, the biggest investment we make in our lifetimes is the purchase of a home. Families will not buy if they think the housing market is unstable. Ensuring that such an investment is secure is the responsible thing to do. That is why our government regularly monitors housing finance risks and takes action when necessary.

For example, we have adjusted the rules for government-backed insured mortgages recently on multiple occasions. In addition, in June 2011, Parliament approved legislation to formalize arrangements with private mortgage insurers and Canada Mortgage and Housing, CMHC, in an effort to better manage risks arising from the mortgage insurance sector.

Now, as part of the Conservative government's ongoing efforts to strengthen the mortgage sector, we are proposing amendments in today's bill that will reinforce supervision of CMHC and guarantee that its commercial activities are managed with a view to promoting the stability of the financial system.

Specifically, the amendments include the following: an additional objective for CMHC of ensuring that its commercial activities promote and contribute to the stability of the financial system, including the housing market; legislative and regulatory powers given to the Minister of Finance in respect of CMHC's securitization programs; powers given to the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to review and monitor the safety and soundness of CMHC's commercial activities and to report to the CMHC board of directors and HRSDC; and the addition of the deputy minister of human resources and skills development and the deputy minister of finance as ex-officio members of CMHC's board of directors.

We believe these amendments would contribute to the long-term stability of the housing market and would benefit all Canadians. We have heard a great deal of positive reaction.

Louis Gagnon, a professor at Queen's University, stated:

I believe that the federal government's plan to bring CMHC under the direct supervision of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is long overdue.

OSFI is responsible for the oversight of insurance companies and it only makes sense to bring CMHC under its purview, since CMHC is the most systematically important insurance entity in the land and also the most vulnerable one.

This is what the respected Finn Poschmann, vice-president of the C.D. Howe Institute, said:

...the legislation will require at least annual inspections from OSFI, with reports to the board and the responsible ministers. Formalizing the requirement in legislation could do wonders for reporting and accountability, and will help the board and management reassure themselves that CMHC is carrying out its activities...“in a safe and sound manner … with due regard to its exposure to loss.” This is good....

Before concluding, I will turn my attention to the health sector where we are proposing changes to the tax treatment of certain health related goods and services. Health care is very important to the people of my riding, as it is to people across Canada. As a father of five children, I know very well how easily the costs add up when someone is affected by illness. The more our government can do to alleviate these costs during these stressful periods the better.

These changes will better reflect the changing nature of the health sector and will acknowledge the impact of the expenses related to health and disability that Canadians encounter for their own care or that of their loved ones.

For example, we are proposing to remove the GST from the professional services of pharmacists beyond those related to dispensing prescription drugs, which are already tax exempt.

We also propose to expand the list of health care professionals who can order certain medical and assistive devices that are zero rated under the GST. This reflects the increasing involvement of health care professionals, such as nurses, in giving orders for these devices. We also propose to expand the list of GST zero rated medical and assistive devices and the list of expenses an individual may claim for income tax purposes under the medical expense tax credit.

These measures represent a simple, thoughtful and appropriate way to ensure that our tax system remains fair and up to date.

I note that during the finance committee's study of today's act, the Canadian Medical Association voiced its support for the measures that I have just mentioned.

Today's act would accomplish a great deal for Canadians and it contains a host of other measures that deserve my colleagues' attention. As an example, today's act would take the first step toward making important improvements to the registered disability savings plan, or RDSP, by allowing spouses, common-law partners and parents to establish an RDSP for adult individuals who might not be able to enter into a contract themselves.

It has been my pleasure to highlight some of the key measures recently proposed by the Conservative government to keep the country on the path to growth and prosperity.

Now it is important that we work together and continue to co-operate for the good of Canada and Canadians. The measures in today's bill are necessary and will have lasting benefits.

Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know that my colleague represents a mostly rural riding with many farmers. I would like to know whether he has had the chance to talk to his constituents, especially those in the agricultural sector, about the changes to employment insurance.

I ask him the question because I have talked to the farmers in my riding. I can say that they are infuriated over the changes. In my riding, as in his I am sure, agriculture provides seasonal employment. The people in my riding see the employment insurance provisions as an obstacle to seasonal employment and a headache for the farmers, as businesspeople who need to retain their workforce.

Has my colleague consulted with farmers to see what they think about this?

Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a member for an agricultural region and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, I naturally work closely with the farmers in my riding and all across Canada. It has to be said that farmers support our efforts to strengthen the Canadian economy.

Farmers thrive in a healthy economy. They have enough challenges in front of them without also having economic instability. They see that our measures with respect to employment insurance would help Canadians find work. They are particularly concerned about this because they have problems finding help on their farms. They must go to the extraordinary measures of bringing people in from outside of Canada to work on their farms. They would much rather employ people right here within Canada on their farms. These EI measures would help in that regard.

Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, twice now the government has brought in a new fisheries act to change the existing Fisheries Act. Twice it has been sent back to the drawing board to come back with another act. In two throne speeches it has promised a new fisheries act but has not lived up to those commitments. It has now jammed the fisheries legislation into this bill.

Why will the government not have a separate debate on the Fisheries Act itself? Twice in its throne speeches the government was going to bring in a new fisheries act and now it has jammed it into the budget bill.

Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would invite my opposition colleagues to work with the mayors in small rural communities, such as mine, and in other rural communities across Canada. They would then hear feedback from the mayors who are trying to maintain the infrastructure within their ridings and yet it is far more costly, far more time demanding and requires more resources because the way in which the Fisheries Act is currently written is employed within small rural communities.

I believe the fisheries minister has his focus right, which is focusing on Canada's fish stock and fish resources and ensuring that we do whatever is possible to protect those resources without compromising what our rural municipalities are trying to achieve.

Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba


Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I just got off the phone half an hour ago with one of my constituents, Doug Dobrowolski, who is a farmer, a businessman and the president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities. He represents hundreds of mayors, reeves and councillors who have been asking our government, since I have been elected and before that, to change the Fisheries Act in order that it is not punitive to small towns and farmers who are trying to dig ditches and culverts.

It seems that the opposition is always ignoring the needs of rural Canada and putting its needs first. I think it is time that we all realize that we can balance the interests of rural Canadians, protect our fish habitat and do what is good for the country and good for the economy. Would my hon. colleague comment on that?

Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to comment on that because my colleague is absolutely right. I am from a rural riding myself. My mayors for the past six years have been pressuring me on the difficulties and the challenges they face in maintaining rural infrastructure. What my colleague just said in terms of a discussion that she has had with one of her mayors, it is the same discussion I am having with my mayors. They are asking us to simply find a balance that would allow them to fulfill their responsibilities in a cost-effective and time-effective manner. I believe that this review of the Fisheries Act conducted by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is exactly what Canada needs.

Motions in AmendmentJobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to be able to say that I am pleased to be rising in this House, but that would not be entirely true given our current topic of debate, which is, of course, Bill C-38, the budget implementation bill.

I have heard Conservative members say again and again, and even a moment ago, in the House, in committees and during the first debates we held, that this bill is a marvel and absolutely must be passed for the sake of prosperity, jobs and so on. As a member of the Standing Committee on Finance and the official opposition’s assistant finance critic, I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a very harmful bill. Based on our reading of it, the bill is nothing more or less than an attack on the middle class and less well-off families. It is obvious in several respects that many provisions of this bill have been inserted specifically to put downward pressure on Canadians' wages. Consequently, it is not Canadians who will benefit from it. It will probably be the business world as a whole, which will benefit from declining wages and the competition among a larger pool of unemployed or low-income individuals on which it can draw.

What are those provisions? There are a few. There is obviously division 23 of part 4, which repeals the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act. That act established wages that, as its title indicated, were fair for employees, particularly in the construction industry. There are also provisions concerning the Employment Equity Act. The bill will remove employment equity requirements and thus represents a step backward in its approach to companies doing business, that is to say subcontracting, with the government. And there is obviously the issue of employment insurance.

I know my colleagues will definitely be discussing a lot of other provisions in the bill, particularly the increase in the age of eligibility for old age security from 65 to 67, immigration issues and other questions. We have a mammoth bill on our hands, as has been noted many times in the media, but I will limit myself to those three elements for the purposes of my speech.

What people need to realize is that the budget was presented in March and it has passed, although the government would have people believe that this budget implementation bill is the budget. The budget has already passed and it was an austerity budget. With $5.2 billion in cuts, it will have a rather significant impact. Not only is it an austerity budget, but it will clearly have recessionary consequences.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer stated his opinion in that regard and other economists have confirmed his opinion. This shows that the direction this government is taking will prevent us from reaching our economic growth potential, which could help us create many jobs. This austerity budget, which has been criticized by two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, represents a huge economic blow delivered by this government to Quebec and Canadian companies.

Based on his own modelling, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated that this budget could possibly cost more than 100,000 jobs by 2015-16, although those jobs can be saved if we are really careful, given that we are currently in a period of economic uncertainty. However, we are not Greece or any of the other countries currently affected by the crisis in Europe. Our reality is altogether different. Yes, we are experiencing some economic uncertainty and we need to be careful, but on the other hand, our problem is quite different from that in Europe.

I find employment insurance very interesting. I know that I only have a minute, but I could probably talk much more about this topic. So, that is a problem. I have spoken with many of my constituents, and those who are most affected are not necessarily the employees themselves—although they will be affected—but it will be the employers. For them, seasonal work is a reality. They have no other choice. That is the case with controlled harvesting zones or with companies that must shut down two or three months out of the year for various reasons, such as that cabinetmaking company in Saint-Jean-de-Dieu. These people fear losing their workforce. A business owner was even worried about the fact that she might have to pay employees to do nothing for two or three months in order to keep them.

I will stop here for now, and I will continue my speech about employment insurance later.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Jean-François Fortin Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives tried to seduce Quebeckers by making promises about an open federalism that would respect their differences. But now, the only federalism Quebeckers are seeing is fraught with contempt and arrogance.

The Conservatives with Bill C-38 are like pyromaniacs with a can of gas. They are torching relations with Quebec, in particular by exempting major banks from consumer protection requirements; trampling on the Kyoto protocol; reducing health care funding even though our population is aging; and proposing employment insurance reforms that, quite frankly, will harshly penalize workers, employers and the regions of Quebec.

While the Government of Quebec is stepping up its legal recourse to ensure its rights are respected, the federal government insists on saying that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Quebeckers will not put up with being treated with contempt.

Nature ConservationStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister recently announced the creation of a new hunting and angling advisory panel, HAAP, that will provide independent advice to the Government of Canada on national issues and policies important to fish, wildlife and habitat conservation in Canada.

It is made up of representatives from provincial and territorial hunting and angling associations and conservation organizations.

As co-chair of the all-party outdoors caucus, I am pleased to see HAAP become a reality. The outdoors caucus strives to promote fishing, hunting, trapping and sport shooting as safe and healthy outdoor heritage activities. HAAP will help to increase awareness of the economic importance of Canada's outdoor heritage while ensuring that government decisions on matters such as wetland protection, endangered species and nature conservation are based on sound, balanced advice.

In my riding of Yorkton—Melville, where there is an abundance of wetlands and wildlife, HAAP is welcome news, and I am very “HAAPy” that this government has pushed ahead with this important conservation initiative.

YouthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks, I have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of young people in my constituency, young people who have distinguished themselves through their excellence, their leadership and their involvement in our communities.

I applaud the 75 young people from all over Quebec who took part in the Sommet québécois Rio+20 de la jeunesse that was held at Collège Saint-Joseph in Hull. The statement they developed together will be presented to the Earth Summit in Brazil at the end of June.

Their statement offers solutions for the present and future challenges faced by our planet and lists the values that they wish to see Canada support at the summit.

I would also like to congratulate the winners and the nominees recognized at the awards gala of the Réseau du Sport étudiant du Québec en Outaouais. The personal commitment of these student athletes is outstanding.

Young people are the future of our country. By getting them involved in our communities, we help to shape the leaders of tomorrow.

Tax Incentives for Charitable DonationsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Peter Braid Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, charities are vital to the well-being of our society, and all members of Parliament can attest to the positive impact charities have in each of our communities.

I believe it is important that our government work closely with charities and collaborate with national organizations such as Imagine Canada and Community Foundations of Canada to ensure that the charitable sector continues to be effective and sustainable and responsive to our changing society.

As a result of my private member's motion, the finance committee is engaged in a study of the charitable sector, looking at ways to motivate increased giving. Witnesses are providing insight into the challenges faced by the sector and offering innovative ideas to capitalize on future opportunities.

I look forward to seeing the results of this important study and to advancing our collective efforts to build a more caring and compassionate society.

Animal ProtectionStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is disturbing to read stories about animal abuse in Canada.

Animals are, for millions of Canadians, an essential component of family life, forming special bonds that are valued and endearing.

Whether it is a seeing eye dog or a German shepherd providing services to our military and police forces, animals are valuable, loyal and dedicated. What they ask for in return is little.

Just recently we have learned how important dogs have become in support of our returning veterans, providing many of them with companionship in difficult times.

Former MP Mark Holland and the hon. member for Vancouver Centre have both attempted to strengthen animal protections by introducing legislation that would modernize laws against intentional cruelty and neglect.

Parliament must do more to protect animals.

I want to recognize community workers and humane societies throughout Canada, including Kelly Mullaly from the P.E.I. Humane Society, for giving a voice to animals.

100th Anniversary CelebrationsStatements By Members

June 11th, 2012 / 2:05 p.m.


Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that three communities, Avonlea, Briercrest and the Rural Municipality of Baildon, will celebrate their 100th anniversary this summer. They deserve to be proud of their progress since the first settlers broke ground, planted their first crops and made their homes adjacent to the railroad.

Hundreds of residents and visitors are expected to gather over the Canada Day weekend in Avonlea and Briercrest. Residents of Baildon will celebrate on August 4. Community volunteers are to be commended for their efforts in putting together these celebrations, which promise to be events to be remembered. It is truly the passion of residents that makes small communities a great place to live and visit.

I offer my congratulations to the residents of Avonlea, Briercrest and the Rural Municipality of Baildon for reaching this milestone and wish them all the best over the next 100 years. I ask all members of the House to wish these communities a very special 100th birthday.

PovertyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, dozens of Rosemont residents will meet to work together to change their neighbourhood. They will set up committees with representatives from community organizations to work on the seven priorities determined by the whole neighbourhood during an extraordinary citizen action process. A similar process is also taking place in La Petite-Patrie. On May 12, the Rosemont community development corporation held a major social forum.

I would like to inform members of the House that the hundreds of people who participated in the forum identified two main priorities: housing and food security.

The fact is that, in Rosemont, a central Montreal neighbourhood, hundreds of families do not have access to decent housing and rely on food banks. The people have made it clear that fighting poverty is a priority.

As a New Democrat, I am in full agreement with their view. Ensuring that every person in Canada has access to healthful food and decent housing is an urgent matter.

Budget Implementation ActStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, conservationists, not just Conservatives, are supporting Bill C-38, the budget implementation act.

First, the bill would eliminate needless duplication of proceedings by government. The targeted inefficiencies include overlapping reviews by federal and provincial governments that do nothing to protect fisheries but interfere with jobs and economic growth.

Second, the bill would correct problems with the current habitat protection program: by clearing up uncertainty; defining more clearly what “important habitat” is; and focusing resources of the fisheries department on areas about which Canadians really care. The bill would address these faults with clearer definitions of fish habitat and stiffer penalties for offenders. The bill would also grant the minister increased flexibility to respond to the particular needs of each province.

As we approach Canada Day, I am grateful to live in the most beautiful place on earth, with such abundant resources and people who care so passionately about the legacy, environmental and economic, that we are committed to leave to our children.

National Blood Donor WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate National Blood Donor Week, which is taking place between June 11 and 17. This annual event recognizes the valuable contributions of Canadian blood donors to the health and well-being of us all.

Every minute of every day a Canadian requires a blood transfusion. An estimated 52% of Canadians have indicated that either they or a family member has required a blood transfusion. These statistics underline the need to give thanks and appreciation to Canadians who take the time to donate their blood to anonymous strangers. Additionally, Canadian Blood Services also provides blood for members of our Canadian Forces serving overseas.

I hope this week will encourage many more Canadians to donate blood and promote awareness of this noble practice to their friends, families and colleagues.

On behalf of my constituents in Oakville and the Government of Canada, I wish Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec a successful blood drive and increased awareness on the occasion of this year's National Blood Donor Week.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the opening of the Baie-des-Brises nature preserve in Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka, in my riding. Thanks to the efforts of the Centre d'intendance écologique Latreille, and specifically its founder, Dr. Jean-Marie Latreille, this reserve will act as a purifier for the water of Lac Saint-François and will protect the ecosystem that helps preserve the quality of the water in the lake and the water table.

Now more than ever, we need to mobilize Canadians to protect our rivers, lakes and streams because this government has weakened all the environmental protection measures.

The government is eliminating the protection of habitats covered under the Fisheries Act, limiting the number of waterways protected by that same act and by the Species at Risk Act. It is repealing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which will make even more areas vulnerable and will give the minister the authority to make decisions on oil pipeline projects.

For every step forward for environmental protection, this Conservative government takes four steps back.

Fortunately, there is hope with people like Dr. Latreille, who believe in the need to preserve nature's beauty and benefits for future generations.

BurmaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is concerned by reports of violence in Rakhine state in western Burma, where a state of emergency was declared this past weekend.

We condemn the attacks and call on all sides to work toward a peaceful solution to this conflict. We urge security forces to protect the rights and safety of all concerned and to facilitate access by humanitarian organizations wherever assistance is needed.

Canada has consistently called for peace and reconciliation in Burma.

In light of the most recent events, Canada has updated its advice to travellers wanting to visit Burma and is now asking them to avoid all non-essential travel to Rakhine State. Canadians in Burma can get consular assistance from the Australian embassy in Rangoon or the Canadian embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.

City of Saint-EustacheStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, 40 years ago, in 1972, the city and parish of Saint-Eustache amalgamated to become a single entity.

In order to acknowledge the important contribution made by the seniors of Saint-Eustache, a founders ball is being planned for August 25.

I would like to congratulate Johanne Dupuis of the Les Cours du Moulin retirement residence and the city's community leadership service on this wonderful initiative to highlight our heritage.

The first mayor of the amalgamated city, Guy Bélisle, will lead the celebration, which will also serve as a fundraiser for the Fondation Émile-Z-Laviolette, a foundation that supports various anti-poverty organizations in the Deux-Montagnes RCM.

The people of Saint-Eustache are fortunate to live in a city that is so rich in culture and history.

I invite all my constituents to take part in this event in order to pay tribute to the founders of Saint-Eustache and to celebrate our city.

Yad Vashem Holocaust MuseumStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express the Canadian government's solidarity with the people of Israel and the Jewish community around the world after this morning's reports of vandalism at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum is dedicated to the commemoration of the six million Jews murdered during World War II.

The mission of Yad Vashem is in line with our government's belief in the importance of Holocaust education and dedication to speaking out against anti-Semitism. Holocaust education helps ensure such atrocities never reoccur.

An important expression of Canada's dedication to Holocaust education is our involvement with the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, which we will proudly chair in 2013.

Canada is committed to teaching future generations about the Holocaust, about the poisonous effects of anti-Semitic and xenophobic hatred and about the prevention of all acts of genocide.

Ontario Veterinary CollegeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, founded in 1862 by Andrew Smith, the Ontario Veterinary College is the oldest veterinary college in North America and celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Originally located in Toronto, it relocated to its present home in 1922 and was a founding college of the University of Guelph in 1964.

The college was initially founded to train and assist people in Upper Canada who were responsible for horses. Now it has grown to become an international leader in veterinary health care, learning and research.

The OVC is a cornerstone of the community in Guelph. More than a landmark physical institution, it has been the home for the past 150 years to thousands of men and women who have gone on to graduate and spread out across Canada and the world to improve the health and welfare of animals, ensure the safety of the food we eat and assist in the protection of our environment.

I am certain that 150 years from now, Guelphites will reflect on the ever-increasing and important role the Ontario Veterinary College will have played on its 300th anniversary.