This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jordan.

Topics

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 44 defeated.

The next question is on Motion No. 45. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

(The House divided on Motion No. 45, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #257

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 45 defeated.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #258

Protecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

9:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion adopted.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Air CanadaAdjournment Proceedings

9:55 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in adjournment proceedings to follow up on a question about why the government did not apply the 1988 public participation act when Aveos declared bankruptcy.

We have seen a few developments since then. Today, for instance, Air Canada admitted to labour unrest and decided to launch a low-cost carrier, damn the evidence against such risky ventures. The only way that it could accomplish such a risky venture amidst all of this labour unrest is through the strong arm of the federal government and its rush to back-to-work legislation.

The government continues with its program of prosperity for the few and propping up the losers in our economy.

Let us look at the history of Air Canada. Some people in the chamber may remember Zip Airlines, which did not fare so well when competing with other low-cost carriers. Now Air Canada is trying again. Instead of Air Canada strengthening what it has, it is recklessly going out of its way in risky ventures because it knows that it has a friend in the Canadian government and can take on such risky ventures.

Let us look at the situation here. Top executives at Air Canada get double-digit compensation increases while the company preaches austerity for its employees who keep the company running. This is just not fair to the workers who have given their lives to Air Canada and its affiliated services.

Usually a system of merit exists for executive bonuses. At Air Canada stock shares are currently tumbling, yet executives are increasing their pay. It used to be that bonuses were awarded for performance and merit, but now the Conservatives' philosophy that the market will regulate all leads to this sort of wild capitalism in which compensation for Air Canada's executive team rises by a whopping 47%.

Let me name off some of the executive team of Air Canada who received bonuses: Calin Rovinescu, $4.5 million; Michael Rousseau, $1.68 million; Duncan Dee, $1.62 million; Benjamin Smith, $1.37 million; and David Legge, $1.15 million.

This is very disturbing, because the workers have been taking austerity measures for several years and shares are tumbling, yet this team takes executive compensation. The airline lost $249 million last year.

When asked about the truth in advertising bill, which said that consumers should know how much they pay in airline prices, the parliamentary secretary stated that “...we do need to ensure that the regulations...are not harmful to an industry that employs people across this country”. We see that from the Conservative government.

When it comes to labour regulations, the government is not there. When it comes to safety regulations, the government is not there. Somehow when it comes to protecting workers affected by bankruptcies or a balance between executives compensating themselves and workers getting paid money owed to them, the government is not there to regulate that either.

It is an unfortunate situation. We hope that the Conservatives will come around to seeing things our way.

Air CanadaAdjournment Proceedings

10 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, everyone regrets when 2,600 people lose their jobs as a result of a company going bankrupt, but what do the NDP members propose that we actually do about it? They say that we should apply the Air Canada Public Participation Act. On that point, I asked the assistant deputy minister for business and regulatory law at the Department of Justice during the March 29 committee hearings. He is an independent and non-partisan public servant.

I asked him, “Is there anything in the Air Canada Public Participation Act that would require Aveos to come out of bankruptcy protection? Is there any section in the Air Canada Public Participation Act that would compel taxpayers to provide a bailout to Aveos to bring it out of bankruptcy protection?”

His response to both questions was “No”.

I asked, “Could the Government of Canada ban Aveos from filing bankruptcy protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act?”

Mr. Legault said, “The Government of Canada has no relationship with Aveos itself, so I would not speculate on that.”

I said, “What I'm saying is that if ACPPA is being violated now, as the opposition argues, there is nothing to stop a court from independently finding that after a complaint is brought.”

Mr. Legault said, “Possibly they could do so.”

I said, “So the Government of Canada does not have the legal authority to compel a company to end its bankruptcy filing?”

Mr. Legault replied, “It's in the hands of Aveos.”

I asked, “Can you list the sections in the Air Canada Public Participation Act that require Aveos to continue operating?”

He replied, “Aveos is not mentioned in the act.”

I asked, “And what sections in the act compel Air Canada to receive its maintenance and overhaul services from Aveos?”

He replied, “All the act provides is that Air Canada has to include in its articles an obligation to continue maintenance in the three cities.”

I asked, “Through Aveos?”

He replied, “No”.

The reality is that there is nothing in the law that can force Aveos not to go bankrupt. There is nothing in the law that can ban it from going bankrupt. There is nothing in the law that can bring back these 2,600 jobs.

Perhaps the NDP is proposing that we introduce a special bill that would ban just this company from going bankrupt. It would be the only company in Canada that the law would forbid to declare bankruptcy. However, I am not sure how an act like that would be enforced. Would we send in the police and force the company to spend money it does not have on wages or any other expenditure? I do not know. I look forward to the member explaining how exactly such an action would be taken.

Given that the opposition has proposed no remedy whatsoever to compel Aveos and its 2,600 jobs back into existence, we can only assume that it is proposing a bailout. However, the company has burned through $1 billion in investor money in the last five years. To keep it operating for another five years, it would need another $1 billion of taxpayers' money.

It should be noted that Air Canada offered a partial bailout of $15 million to Aveos, which it rejected. Aveos also rejected coming to explain itself before a parliamentary committee in this chamber. Yet the opposition continues to propose that we take $1 billion out of the economy through taxes and spend that money bailing out a company that has clearly failed. We reject that proposal.

Air CanadaAdjournment Proceedings

10:05 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, no one here tonight or before has asked for a bailout of Aveos.

It is a simple fact that governments have a role to play in protecting workers. I am proposing that, when a company goes bankrupt, the government enact legislation so that the workers do not get abused by the company in one form or another.

We saw Nortel pensioners left out in the cold. There are pensioners who worked and gave throughout their life to build that technology company. They are aging, out of the workforce, and there is nothing for them. There was no protection given to them. We can see that the same thing might happen to the workers at Aveos.

The fact is that Air Canada Technical Services, in the last couple of years of its existence, made a lot of transfers of its workers to Aveos. Given that the company is not in great shape right now, it would not be a pragmatic suggestion for Air Canada to take those workers back. However, the federal government could have shown leadership on this file and tried to find another company, such as Lufthansa Technik, that could have taken the place of Aveos. The government did not show any leadership on this file whatsoever.

The government can make laws to protect workers from abuse through bankrupt proceedings.

Air CanadaAdjournment Proceedings

10:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the opposition's position has now changed. At the outset of the debate, the member said that we should simply enforce the Air Canada Public Participation Act and the jobs will come back.

I meticulously demonstrated through the testimony of the most senior legal expert in the government on the question that that was impossible, that there was nothing in the act that could ban Aveos from going bankrupt, nothing in the act that could compel it back into existence and nothing in the act that could recreate those 2,600 lost jobs.

Therefore, having lost that argument, the opposition stood up and said that now it does not want Aveos to come back into existence, that it now wants just changes to the Bankruptcy Act so that the workers who have lost their jobs will be protected.

That is an entirely different debate than what he has been having already. The reality is that we cannot pass a law to forbid a company from going bankrupt and we will not spend a $1 billion tax dollars to sell such a failed company when it does.

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

June 4th, 2012 / 10:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to pursue a question that I put in the House for the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs on March 5.

The issue deals with the question of the integrity of Canada's ability to enforce sanctions against Iran when we are increasingly dealing with what we consider new markets or new trading partners, however we want to put it, but essentially allowing state-owned Communist Party enterprises owned by the Government of China to become increasingly large investors in Canada.

Some of the very same companies, not just the general concept of state-owned Chinese enterprises, are major investors in Iran. In fact, the single largest customer for Iranian oil is Sinopec. Sinopec, as people may know, has been investing heavily in the oil sands. In fact, it purchased a 9% share that used to be ConocoPhillips' share of the oil sands, and at the same time, the ConocoPhillips' share was a share of Syncrude, so it is a major investor now in Syncrude, but it is not the only company that deals with Iran as well as investing in Canada.

I would mention, for instance, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, sometimes called CNOOC, has completely purchased, or one of its subsidiaries has purchased, the Long Lake oil sands mine in Alberta. At the same time, it is doing a $16 billion investment with Tehran in the North Pars gas fields. That is not the only company. If we look at PetroChina, it has a 25 year deal with the National Iranian Gas Export Company, and at the same time it was only six years into its 25 year deal with the Iranian National Gas Company when that same company, PetroChina, purchased all of the mine at MacKay River oil sands project.

What does this mean for us in terms of our sanctions? On March 5 I said that in light of the increased tensions around Iran and around nuclear issues, the importance of sanctions could not be overestimated. I asked the minister, in this light, whether we were concerned that our new trading partner, Sinopec in China, which is the largest buyer of Iranian oil, was undermining the sanctions.

The minister's response, while interesting, did not relate to my question. I hope this evening, as we pursue this matter, we can perhaps get an answer to the question.

I would like to put into the discussion we are having this evening that I am not the only member of Parliament who is concerned about Chinese investments in Canada at the same time that these same Chinese companies are the major oil customers for Iran, undermining sanctions. This is a quote from the hon. member for Mount Royal that reproduced in the Ottawa Citizen:

To the extent that we’ve now got sanctions-violating companies here in Canada that are doing business in Iran, the implications are serious.... They are very, very serious.

Again, that was the hon. member for Mount Royal, who has a very strong record in the area of working as hard as we all can to ensure that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad understands that Canada is not his friend. We are friends of the people of Iran but we are not his friends.

How then did they perceive what is going on in global diplomacy when we are opening our arms? We are actually undermining environmental laws, and Bill C-38 was its destruction of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It appears to be in the interest of speeding things that Sinopec wants. How do we justify that?