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House of Commons Hansard #154 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was child.

Topics

Helping Families in Need ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. We see a very politicized and dumbed down approach to crime. I have never seen people who want to hug thugs as much as that group does. The Conservatives hold them up and cannot get enough of them and yet their solutions seem to be so poorly thought out.

What is nice about this is for a change we see the meek and mild-mannered Conservatives are not even standing to speak to one of their few good pieces of legislation in the last six years. It is as though they are confused. They have come forward with a really good bill and something very reasonable, but they cannot froth at the mouth about it so they are all sitting there. They do not know what to do because they want to jump and down.

I would invite them to work with us, get a more progressive and positive attitude, get some better bills and get away from the crazy claptrap of the Conservative backbenches.

Helping Families in Need ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I stand to speak to this bill and perhaps bring a different perspective to it.

First and foremost, we recognize a good thing when we see it. What we see here is the government bringing in legislation which, for compassionate reasons, would allow individuals to receive employment insurance benefits in certain situations, such as if they have a very sick child, or a crime has been committed and the child has disappeared. There is a valid argument to be made, and I think no one inside the House of Commons needs to be convinced that we need to provide that sort of compassion when reforming our employment insurance system. To that degree, the government deserves some credit.

However, the bill does fall short. Ultimately, the bill will go to committee, will get third reading and will pass. We do not know whether or not there will be amendments brought forward. However, it is important to note that it does fall short in a number of ways.

What is somewhat ironic is that for the last while, members of our caucus from the Atlantic have been talking about their frustration in the minister responsible for employment insurance not recognizing the negative impact her decisions would have on individuals who are receiving employment insurance. Virtually every day we have been trying to explain that to the minister with the hope she will understand the profound impact it would have on those individuals.

The government of the day is offering a very attractive carrot and yes, we will take it. We will pass the bill. However, we want the government to do more. We want the government to revisit some of the decisions that are negatively affecting tens of thousands of Canadians from coast to coast.

I applaud the efforts in particular of my Atlantic colleagues who have been holding the minister's feet to the coals on this particular issue. They are asking her to try, in her very best way, to get a better understanding of that issue.

I have had the opportunity to ask questions during this debate. I have been asking why we are not looking at this in a more comprehensive way. There are many different ways in which we can ultimately argue on compassionate grounds that employment insurance benefits could be given to others.

Throughout time ideas are generated and talked about, but at some point in time we need to act on them.

If we look at the history of employment insurance, we would find that it evolved to what it is today after a lot of healthy debate and discussion both inside and outside this chamber. People might not realize that at one point it was actually under provincial jurisdiction, until Mackenzie King said that we needed a national program. He was prepared to open up a constitutional dialogue so that we could get that authority from the provinces. It went through the 1930s, but it did not work in terms of ultimately acquiring that power. It required that constitutional change and through the efforts of Mackenzie King, we were able to have an employment insurance program.

During the Trudeau years the employment insurance program was expanded. Not only was it meant to provide x number of dollars for an individual who is unemployed, but back in the 1970s, we in the Liberal Party recognized that we needed to play a role in training and retraining to ensure that individuals who lost their jobs were also being provided some assistance in acquiring skills to enable them to get a better job, or at least some form of employment so that they could provide for themselves and their family.

These are the types of things that have been evolving over the years and, yes, there have been some changes that maybe have not worked in everyone's favour. However, for the most part it has evolved into the relatively healthy program that it is today. It is one of those fundamental social programs that Canadians expect the government to maintain and move forward on.

Even the Auditor General of Canada has recognized what the Chrétien and the Paul Martin governments did in the 1990s in ensuring that it is all-in-one in terms of the general revenues. Many of the surpluses that the NDP members refer to actually went toward the funding of health care transfers, equalization payments and other programs that assisted real people, but the Auditor General of Canada recognized that this is something that should be all together.

We have seen governments, at least in the past, show that while we want the employers and the employees to be able to contribute, at times there is a need for the government to also go into the general revenues and provide the funds needed for future programs and potential further employment insurance benefits.

That is why we have had leaders of the Liberal Party, particularly Mr. Ignatieff, talk about extending on compassionate grounds the opportunity for a sibling or a spouse to provide firsthand care and to be with loved ones in their dying days. It was costed out at somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1 billion but it would be money well spent because Canadians expect their government to be there. It is one of the things that distinguish us from most, if not all, other countries around the world. We have demonstrated through our social programming that we can make a difference and we can make a difference through employment insurance programs.

Liberals have consistently articulated it, whether Mackenzie King as a Liberal prime minister during the 1940s or the Trudeau era of the 1970s that expanded the program to incorporate retraining or the idea of pooling resources to ensure the longevity of the program during the Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien years. We have done so because we believe that employment insurance is an obligation that we have to citizens, to all workers and to those who have the misfortune of being laid off or are unable to be employed for whatever reasons. People need to know that the government is going to ensure that their money, as my colleague points out, is being well distributed in a compassionate, caring way—

Helping Families in Need ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please.

I must interrupt the hon. member for Winnipeg North at this point. He will have 12 minutes when the House returns to this matter, possibly later today.

Statements by members, the hon. member for Don Valley East.

Boys and Girls Clubs of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada has been a leading provider of after school and critical hours programs since its inception in 1900. This organization is recognized for significantly contributing to the healthy development of young people, an effort I fully support.

In 2008, the Boys and Girls Club introduced a new program promoting physical activity and healthy eating, an initiative supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada. This initiative known as “get busy” has grown from 10 participating club communities to a current 22 communities across Canada.

Today the Public Health Agency is partnering with the private sector to provide even more funding opportunities for the get busy program. Sun Life Financial is one such company and will be matching the Public Health Agency of Canada's funding.

As the member of Parliament for Don Valley East, home to the Boys and Girls Clubs headquarters, I congratulate the Boys and Girls Clubs for the great work they have been doing and the funding opportunity being presented to them today.

Boscoville 2000Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to salute Boscoville 2000, an organization dedicated to supporting youth development and social participation in innovative and challenging ways.

Yesterday the organization launched its Web radio project. This initiative arose from consultations with various members of the community, including students at Jean Grou high school, business people and community leaders in the borough of Rivière-des-Prairies. This project will create a stimulating environment within which young people can grow, express themselves and work together.

I wish them every success in their mission to support our youth and promote participation and freedom of expression. Young people are essential to our society. We need them, and we need their dreams. Thank you, and may Boscoville 2000 continue to flourish.

PensionsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has been calling for a bill to reform MP pensions. This seems odd, considering it was the Liberals who brought in the existing MP pension plan.

In economic action plan 2012, our government proposed changes to MP and civil servant pensions to better reflect fairness for taxpayers. The proposal will bring MP and civil servant pension contributions to a 50% level, equal to the contributions by taxpayers. Other aspects of the pensions are being reviewed in light of sustainability and fairness to the taxpayer.

Our government listens to those we serve and we will take action on pension reform.

In 2006, there was a transition in this place from a government of “we are entitled to our entitlements” to one of “fairness to Canadians we serve”. I am proud to be a member of the latter.

Kitsilano Coast Guard StationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I make a plea to the NDP and Conservative members of the House to put aside political partisanship and join me and other Vancouverites at a non-partisan rally this Saturday, September 29 at Kits Point.

For the sake of our constituents' safety, we must ask the government to rescind its decision to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard base.

I echo the B.C. provincial government, Vancouver City Council, police and firefighter first responders, experts in marine safety, port traffic controllers and the people of Vancouver who all say the decision was made without consultation and that the closure will cost lives. Vancouver City Council says that it will create a “significant gap” that they have neither the authority nor the resources to fill.

Thousands of Vancouverites signed petitions to the government to rescind the closure. I ask the House to put aside politics and go to bat for their safety.

London Paralympic GamesStatements By Members

September 27th, 2012 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour an incredible person, entrepreneur and athlete, Mr. Robert Hudson.

Robert was involved in a tragic snowmobile accident that left him a paraplegic. He decided to utilize his passion for archery and began training competitively three hours a day to compete in the Paralympics. He is now a medal winning champion and ranked fifteenth in the world.

Robert has competed in multiple world championships, including: Italy in 2005 and 2011, Korea in 2007, the Czech Republic in 2009, the Pan American Games in 2011 and most recently the Paralympics in London in 2012.

Outside of competing, he owns a mechanical shop, is involved in the local archery club, and enjoys hunting and especially spending time with his son.

Robert demonstrates dedication and perseverance in his pursuits. I am personally humbled by the dedication that Robert displays and the passion he has in representing his country.

On behalf of Canada and Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, I wish him the greatest success in his future endeavours.

Children's RightsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to yesterday's Canadian Press story, the Canadian government was “hauled on the carpet” by the United Nations for its poor record on child rights.

It is a shame that things have come to this as Canada once was considered a leader on child rights, but not anymore, not with the Conservatives.

According to the OECD, Canada ranks very low in terms of access, quality and funding of early childhood development and care. On average developed countries spend twice what Canada does in these same areas. In Canada, 50% of children with disabilities lack access to the aids they need simply because they cannot afford them. Finally, out of 30 countries, Canada has been ranked 20th in terms of child poverty.

How can the government stand up in the House, as it often does, declaring to the Canadian people that it adequately cares for our most vulnerable children when the actual record so clearly demonstrates otherwise?

Peel Regional PoliceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Conservative Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled to announce that this past Tuesday, the Peel Police Services Board announced the appointment of Chief Designate Jennifer Evans as the new chief of the Peel police.

The Peel police force is the second largest in Ontario and the third largest in Canada, consisting of 1,900 officers and 800 civilians.

On October 12, she will be sworn in as the first female police chief in the history of the Peel police. Chief Designate Evans has served our community for the past 29 years, and her appointment to this post is the crowning achievement in an already decorated career dedicated to the service and protection of the region.

I would also like to applaud the Peel Police Services Board for this historic appointment. I offer my sincerest congratulations to Chief Designate Evans on this astounding appointment, and I look forward to working with her for many years to come.

Franco-Ontarian CelebrationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, French language and culture play a significant and irreplaceable role in Canada's identity. They are part of our heritage.

In Ontario we have, for the last 40 years, recognized and celebrated our vibrant Francophone communities and the value French continues to add to our society.

This week the citizens of my home town of North Bay celebrated by banding together for a parade through the streets before raising the Franco-Ontarian flag at city hall. The two flowers depicted on the flag are significant. The white lily represents the French-speaking community worldwide, while the green trillium represents the floral emblem of Ontario.

It was our first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, who said:

Let us be English or let us be French...and above all let us be Canadians.

I know that sometimes differences can create conflict but in Canada we strive to have our differences provide us with the diversity to build a stronger and more prosperous nation.

I am Canadian. Je suis Canadien.

Ontario Northland RailwayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the men and women of the Ontario Northland Railway.

The train opened up the north and for over 100 years it has been the backbone of economic development, spreading into bus service, train service, telecommunications and ferries.

Tomorrow, the McGuinty Liberals will kill public transit in the north, and in doing so break faith with the people of northern Ontario. The move comes just before Thanksgiving, the busiest weekend of the year when families and students are coming home.

The response from one Liberal cabinet minister said it all. She said they should tell their kids to buy cars.

That is a world view that says there are two Ontarios, one that counts and one that does not. They see this other Ontario as a colony to take out the wealth, the hydro, the ring of fire.

The New Democrats disagree. We believe in the people of the north. We believe in sustainable communities. We believe that public transit and the train is worth fighting for.

Prostate Cancer Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this moment to recognize national Prostate Cancer Awareness Week. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in Canada.

Our government's goal is to reduce the burden of cancer across this country. That is why we support cancer and prevention efforts through our joint work with provincial and territorial governments, as well as stakeholders from across this great country.

Funding has been renewed over the next five years for the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer so it can continue its work. We have also invested over $1 billion for cancer research since we formed government in 2006.

Early detection and leading a healthy, active lifestyle can decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer. We urge men over the age of 50 to talk to their doctors about their risk of prostate cancer, as well as the signs and symptoms of prostate disease.

Through the combined efforts of both the government and Canadians, we can make a difference and save lives. Please join me in recognizing national Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.

Sustainable DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is time for the Conservative government to show some leadership on the issue of reducing greenhouse gases and to explore the technologies of the future.

I am extremely proud of some of the truly innovative companies in my riding of Brossard—La Prairie that are finding ways to strike a balance between economic and environmental interests.

Phostech Lithium, which specializes in batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles, invested $78 million in the construction of a new plant in Candiac.

Distech Controls, a global leader in energy efficiency in buildings, invested over $6 million in the construction of a new head office in Brossard.

Our future and the Canadian economy are, for the most part, in our own hands. The government can and should play a role in this sustainable development. There is no shortage of skills or willingness among Canadian companies. The bigger problem is the Conservative government's lack of vision.

Children's RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians can be proud of the efforts our government makes to promote the rights of children and the concrete steps we have taken to protect our youngest citizens, our most precious resource. Our children are safer, thanks to increased penalties for child predators and the end to house arrest for serious crimes like sex assault and kidnapping. Those who prey on their vulnerability are held responsible.

In economic action plan 2012, our government made additional investments to help first nations students improve education outcomes and participate more fully in Canada's economy, measures the opposition voted against. Our government defends the best interests of children at home and abroad. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Canada launched the initiative for maternal, newborn, and child health, which is saving lives around the world.

Our government is standing up for Canada's children and youth. The opposition should join us in our efforts.

World Tourism DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is World Tourism Day and an excellent opportunity to celebrate tourism and its importance to our economy, jobs, and communities. The international tourism industry is now worth over $1 trillion spent by a billion tourists each year.

Last year, tourism contributed $78 billion to the Canadian economy. It created 600,000 jobs and supported 1.6 million more.

It is the bread and butter for small businesses, resorts, restaurants, coffee shops, retailers, and tourism operators from coast to coast to coast, but Canada's share of the global market is shrinking. We used to be the seventh most popular destination in the world and now we are the 18th. The number of visitors is dropping. We have a climbing tourism deficit of billions of dollars.

Today, I call on the government to ensure that Canada gets a bigger piece of this important $1 trillion pie, to strengthen our international tourism marketing, and to support this vital sector of Canada's economy and all of the people in the communities across the country who depend on it.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, back in 2008 the NDP member for Edmonton—Strathcona said that the most important thing is to put the right price on carbon. Then in February 2012, the NDP's House leader stated, “I'm more of a cap-and-trade kind of guy...the point of the exercise is putting a price on carbon”. In March, the NDP leader even stated that he would have a cap-and-trade program that would produce billions.

The promise of a job-killing carbon tax can also be found on page 4 of the NDP's platform. It wants to raise $21 billion in revenue from this new tax scheme. This would hurt Canadian families and raise the price of everything. Why does the NDP want to impose a job-killing carbon tax on Canadian families during this fragile economic time?

The Conservative PartyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Conservatives had what we could call a bad day: 86 of their members, including 10 ministers, voted to strip women of some of their rights.

We would have expected the Minister for Status of Women to support women's rights. Instead, she voted for the motion, as did four Liberal members. It is disgraceful and absurd.

But that is not all: yesterday, the Conservatives invited representatives of Canadian Immigration Report, an organization associated with far-right racists and hate groups, to appear before a parliamentary committee.

On its website, this organization questions hatred for national socialism and writes that there is nothing inherently wrong with it.

The NDP stands against these sorts of racist groups. We do not invite them to parliamentary committees. We stand unanimously in favour of a woman's right to choose, not like the other parties in the House. That is why we are ready to replace that tired government.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the House was reminded of comments from the NDP's natural resources critic, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, who supports the NDP leader's job-killing carbon tax.

The NDP member and the party opposite may know that this week is National Forest Week. What is clear is that the only thing the NDP believes about the forest is that money grows on trees, and when it does not that party harvests a carbon tax.

The truth is the NDP cannot see the forest for the trees. With the NDP leader's job-killing carbon tax, there would be no forestry sector left in Canada, there would be no natural resource sector left in Canada. The only good news? Eventually Canadians would ensure that there was no New Democratic Party left in Canada.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Canadian oil company executives expressed concerns about the takeover of Nexen by a state-run Chinese company.

Members of the U.S. Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, are also expressing their concerns about the takeover of their resources by China. American elected officials understand what is at stake. Canadians understand what is at stake. The people who do not seem to understand are the Conservatives.

Why have they not yet made public the evaluation criteria that will be used to approve or reject the takeover of Nexen?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, unlike the NDP and its principles, our government understands what is important: encouraging the entire world to do business responsibly. We have not yet made a decision on this issue, but we will always make decisions in the best interests of Canada. We are committed to that. We have the Investment Canada Act, which we use to ensure that the best interests of Canadians are always the primary concern of the Government of Canada.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Natural Resources promised Canadians that new rules for evaluating foreign takeovers were on the way, but he also said the new rules would not be made public until after the decision was made on the Nexen takeover.

Why are the guidelines for evaluating one of the most important foreign takeovers in Canadian history being kept secret from the Canadian public?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, what is untrue about the NDP's rhetoric on this subject is the suggestion that our government indeed has not moved on the Investment Canada Act. As a matter of fact, we have.

In 2007, we ensured that state-owned enterprises adhere to Canadian standards of corporate governance and ensured that they operate according to commercial principles. We have made other reforms as well. All the reforms that we put in place are always with the principle that the laws have to serve the best interests of all Canadians, and that is our approach with this.

With regard to this specific file, a decision has not been made, but like other decisions, we will always make decisions that are in the best interests of Canadians.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, even Conservative MPs have expressed concerns about this deal. The Conservatives are considering allowing a foreign state-owned company to buy a huge slice of Canada's natural resources. Yet the guidelines for evaluating this takeover are being kept secret from the Canadian public. The minister says there are new guidelines, but will not tell us what they are until after the deal is done.

Why does this Conservative government persist? Why does it have to hide these new rules from the Canadian public?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, no such thing is happening. What is equally true is that it does not, frankly, matter, because the NDP is against any trade deal, any approach to foreign investment that Canada has ever considered. It would not make any difference. It does not matter.

The Leader of the Opposition likes to pretend that he has some sort of nuanced socialist position when it comes to foreign investments. The reality is that the NDP is against every trade deal and every foreign investment or any consideration of any of those things.

Our approach is a Canadian approach that takes into consideration the best interests of Canada's domestic industries and our security, and we will continue to do so.