House of Commons Hansard #2 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jobs.


Canadian EconomyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the second answer did not answer my question either. I was not talking about affordable housing or that program. I was talking about the long-term agreements that CMHC signed between the 1970s and 1990s that are now expiring. That is not at all the same thing.

Could the member please answer my question this time?

Canadian EconomyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, CMHC plays an important role in our economy by helping Canadians to buy homes and have those mortgages secured, and it will continue to play an important role.

Canadian EconomyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to speak to the House today. It is my first opportunity to give a speech after the very long prorogation of the House by the federal government.

I want to begin with a recognition of the earthquake yesterday in the Philippines. A number of members of my community, the riding of Parkdale—High Park, are of Filipino origin. I want to express my condolences to them. We know how worried they and people of Philippine origin around the world must be about the well-being of loved ones there.

On the issue at hand, to begin, I have to say how disappointing the throne speech was for Canadians. It was very long but very thin. It was a bit of a string throne speech. There was not much substance to it. Throne speeches ought to be about vision, about where the government wants to take the country. They should be about what we can do together as a nation in addition to our efforts as individuals, as families and as communities and how the government helps us to do more and to be more than the sum of our parts.

Instead, we keep getting the message from the government that we are on our own and should not count on it, that we will keep paying more taxes and user fees, but services will be consistently fewer and fewer.

Young people growing up in Canada today are receiving the message from the government that they cannot count on it to help them in any way.

What a puny vision for Canada. What a sad vision for Canada. It is part of trying to change the channel after so many scandals and allegations of fraud and economic mismanagement. I dare say it will take a lot more than copying the New Democrats' consumer protection agenda to make Canadians forget about scandals in the Senate and to get them to change the channel that quickly. I have heard from constituents across my community who are infuriated by the misspending of the government and the lack of accountability. What really got on their nerves was the Conservatives spending millions of tax dollars on advertising but falling short of taking any real action to help Canadian families. Their action plan was all about the action of spending Canadian tax dollars.

Governments have announced even more cuts that will hurt services but are putting more money into advertising for themselves. While they like to tout their record, they are only faring middlingly well among the OECD countries. In fact, our economy is underperforming. Growth in Canada is stalling, and other countries are overtaking us in spite of Canada's many advantages and in spite of the government's rather breathless talking points this morning.

The Conservatives have taken Canada from a trade surplus to a $62 billion current account trade deficit in 2012. That is quite a breathtaking record.

When it comes to a new trade deal with Europe, the Conservatives have been very effective at keeping Canadians in the dark throughout these negotiations. When it comes to trade, details matter. Of course we will closely review the text of any agreement before we decide whether to support it, and of course we support trade in general with Europe as long as it is a good deal for Canada. We want to deepen and broaden our economic ties with Europe. It is a partner with high standards, the rule of law and exactly the kind of economy with which we should be strengthening our relationship. I hope we get the opportunity to have a democratic debate and vote on it.

Unlike the Conservatives and the Liberals before them, New Democrats support an open and progressive approach to trade, one that is based on promoting our interests as a country, increasing our exports and building a stronger global economy.

What we have seen under the current government is the decline of our manufacturing sector. The sector continues to shed thousands of jobs. Job creation has not kept pace with the population growth, and we still have almost 300,000 more Canadians unemployed than we did before the last recession.

The unemployment rate among young Canadians remains at 13%, and our youth face precarious working conditions and an unprecedented underemployment rate. There are currently 1.3 million unemployed Canadians.

How can the government justify the fact that the number of unemployed workers has increased by more than 200,070 since the Conservatives took power? That is unbelievable.

The unemployment rate fell this month, but only because 20,000 young Canadians gave up searching for work, deciding to accept unpaid internships, going back to school or simply giving up hope of finding a job. In fact, a generation of young Canadians facing double-digit unemployment and precarious low-paying jobs has a very uncertain future.

The Conference Board of Canada and others rank Canada near the bottom, compared with 15 of its peers, in innovation and research and development. As I am sure all my colleagues know and as Canadians know, innovation is essential to a high-performing economy. Given that my colleagues across the way have been fond of quoting supporters of theirs, I quote the Conference Board, which has stated:

Countries that are more innovative are passing Canada on measures such as income per capita, productivity, and the quality of social programs. It is also critical to environmental protection, a high-performing education system, a well-functioning system of health promotion and health care, and an inclusive society. Without innovation, all of these systems stagnate and Canada's performance deteriorates relative to that of its peers.

That is what has been happening. Canada's performance has been deteriorating relative to that of its peers. This has clearly been another Conservative failure, and its solution has been just silence on innovation.

Household debt for Canadians is at a new record high, a sure sign that Canadian families are being squeezed. Household debt stands at a near-record high of 166% of disposable income. Why would that be? Incomes are stagnating. In fact, the average Canadian is even going backwards when it comes to income, whereas the benefits of economic growth are disproportionately going to those at the very top of the economic scale. That is simply unacceptable. We have based our success as a country in the post-war period on what I would call economic and social solidarity—in other words, the notion that we are all on the same bus heading in the same direction, that we all have to work together as Canadians. The notion is that when we do that and Canadians go to work everyday, work hard and do a good job, supporting themselves and their families, we will all share in the economic benefits of that prosperity and there will in fact be a shared prosperity for Canadians.

That commitment is being broken, and not only under the current government but by previous governments as well. I say that is a tragedy for Canadians and they start to lose faith in their ability to act together when that kind of social solidarity is broken.

I hear the Conservative government talk about families, but I also think about first nations families and how they are facing Third World conditions, and the despair that many young people feel in first nations communities.

The federal government knows that funding for first nations education is 30% less than the funding provided by provincial governments, and yet in the throne speech there was silence, nothing about closing the gap. I speak to business owners across the country, some of whom are crying for more skilled workers. They want to get more first nations youth into skills training programs, but young people need to first pass the hoop of a secondary school education. That is not happening because of the failure of the government to work with first nations as equals and negotiate better funding for first nations education.

Canadians fundamentally believe that we need to work together to build a better tomorrow, and when we do, we count on government to protect us in certain areas. Yes, these are consumer issues, things like rail safety. The fact that the government has failed to implement recommendations to improve rail safety leaves Canadians vulnerable. The fact that food industries are self-regulating when it comes to safety is simply unacceptable and has led to E.coli outbreaks. The fact is that airline passengers are left to their own devices because the government has voted, not once but twice, against an NDP proposal for an airline passenger bill of rights.

The government has a philosophy of leaving people to their own devices. Do not get me wrong; people do not want governments to dictate to them, but they believe that governments have a role in helping to create the economic conditions that can improve their lives. Over the summer and fall, as I have gone door to door in my constituency of Parkdale—High Park, I have heard people say again and again that they are concerned about the same basic things. They are concerned about growing inequality, a lack of environmental protection and the terrible environmental record of the government.

One of the boundaries of my riding is the mighty heritage river, the Humber River. This river has lost its environmental protection because of changes made by the government, and people are very concerned about it. They are concerned that there is no federal funding to make sure that a new infrastructure project, the air-rail link in Parkdale—High Park, is going to be clean electric transportation rather than dirty diesel. We hear silence from the government. They are concerned about the undermining of our scientists and science—the abandonment of the long form census, for example—and they are definitely concerned about good-quality jobs and what the lack of good jobs means for the next generation.

I am increasingly convinced that Canadians believe our economy should deliver some basic things. It should make sure everybody has a place to live. People need homes to go to, roofs over their heads. People need dignity at work. They need decent jobs with a decent standard of living, where they are treated with respect. People should expect from their economy a secure retirement. No senior in this country should live in poverty. What people expect most of all is that the next generation will have at least as much opportunity as the generation that went before.

We did not hear the government address these issues. We did not hear it lay out a vision for the Canada of the future. We hear about mandatory balanced budgets but not the requirement for governments to deliver for seniors or the next generation. Where are their mandatory commitments to Canadians? In fact, the Conservatives have done everything possible to undermine the ability of this or future governments to deliver on many of these fronts. They have cut the GST and took billions out of our budgets every year, when most economists and tax experts agree this was the wrong approach. The Conservatives and the Liberals before them have cut corporate taxes in half, again reducing government's ability to act, but that money is not being reinvested by businesses in the economy and not creating jobs.

New Democrats, like most Canadians, believe we do not get something for nothing. We do not get handed tens of billions of dollars in tax cuts with no strings attached.

New Democrats believe that employers, large and small, should earn a tax benefit. If they invest in innovation, invest in cutting-edge equipment, create new jobs, and train people, then yes, let us offer an incentive. However, they do not just get a big tax cut, put it in their pockets, and then walk away and have a nice day.

What we did hear about were consumer issues. Believe me, it is flattering to have the Conservatives poach some NDP proposals, even if, sadly, they voted against them again and again in the House. Sadly, there is still nothing on airline passenger rights or the crushing credit card fees small businesses pay.

We also cannot ignore the bigger picture. Today Canadian families are squeezed like never before. Under successive federal Conservative and Liberal governments, when the economy has been growing most Canadians have seen relatively little benefit. They are struggling to keep up as the cost of living is rising and middle class jobs are disappearing. Over the past 35 years, our economy has grown by nearly 150%, but the average family has seen its income fall by 7%. Too many students are graduating with a debt the size of a small mortgage, and just as families are forced to carry greater and greater debts, they are saving less and less for retirement. The CIBC estimates that nearly six million are facing a drop-off of 20% or more in their standard of living by retirement.

The Conservatives love tackling crime until it comes to Conservative MPs and senators. They appreciate our natural resources but do not provide good stewardship for our environment. They embrace a few pocketbook issues but do not deliver on creating jobs that put money in people's pockets. They are enthusiastic about patriotism but not very good at nation-building and bringing Canadians together.

New Democrats believe that Canadians deserve better. Canadians need a government that works with them, not against them. At a minimum, we need an employment insurance system that helps working people adjust to the calamity of unemployment. We need Canada and Quebec pension plans that offer better retirement security for more Canadians. We have also proposed a range of measures, from youth job creation and small business hiring tax credits to developing a pan-Canadian energy strategy.

Rather than cutting government services and throwing more Canadians out of work, we need a government that invests in cutting-edge and badly needed infrastructure to prepare our economy for the future and also to create good quality jobs. Rather than silencing our scientists and environmentalists, we support science-based decisions that keep in mind both our short-term and especially our long-term interests. We owe the next generation at least that much.

I see that my time is almost up, but let me say in closing that the vision we were presented with yesterday in the throne speech was very puny. It really was not much of a vision for Canada. Here, on the New Democratic side of the House, we believe that together we can meet the challenges of Canadians head on and reverse and lift the staggering burden of household debt weighing on Canadian families.

We can build an economy that is fairer, greener, cleaner, and more prosperous for all. Give us the chance and we will deliver for all Canadians.

Canadian EconomyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta


Michelle Rempel ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, there is no denying that Canada's energy sector plays an important role in the growth of Canada's economy. My colleague spoke about the balance of trade, which of course is the difference between the monetary value of exports and imports of a country measured in the currency of that country. If we want to talk about that, we have to recognize that right now, Canada's heavy oil is being sold at a discount to other world crude, and that has an impact on our balance of trade.

I wonder if my colleague opposite, being seized with this issue, would support the development of energy infrastructure, such as pipelines to the U.S. and the western coast, if done in alignment with our government's responsible resource development package. It includes increased inspections for pipelines; an increased tanker safety regime; a comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction policy, including our coal-fired electricity sector—we are the first country in the world to do that; and the development of greenhouse gas regulations that will see tangible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring that our economy continues to grow in the energy sector.

If my colleague is so concerned about the balance of trade, will her party firmly get behind the development of sound and safe energy infrastructure from coast to coast to coast?

Canadian EconomyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for her speech/question. I want to congratulate her on her new position. I know she will do well.

Canada's current account deficit of more than $60 billion is very troubling, because we went from a rather sizable surplus before the Conservatives were elected to, now, this massive current account deficit. I am glad my colleague opposite is also sharing our concern about how badly we are doing on international trade.

I share the concern about energy security. In talking to Canadians about their energy bills and their desire for energy security, I think there is a way to find common ground.

I will tell the member opposite that I have spoken to many businesses across this country that have said that part of the difficulty with the current government is that it has no credibility in assuring either Canadians or international partners that it has any commitment to a clean environment, and therefore, they do not trust the government to defend environmental interests and protect Canadians.

Canadian EconomyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat disappointing in the sense that we have seen a lack of leadership on the health care file.

In 2004, a health care accord was achieved by working in cooperation with provinces. That health care accord is going to expire in 2014. There is a need for leadership from Ottawa to develop another health care accord. This is something Canadians all across our land are concerned about. Liberals are very concerned that the government has dropped the ball on what is one of the most important issues Canadians want answers on.

Does the member not agree that the government could be doing so much more, specifically in regard to the issue of the need for a health care accord?

Canadian EconomyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is so much that could be done in the field of health care. The area of mental health especially is one the present and previous governments have fallen down on.

In order to get any kind of health care accord, certainly one would need to be consulting with the provinces. That does not seem to be happening under the watch of the government.

I notice that it was in the 1990s, under the Liberal government, that there were some of the most massive cuts to social spending in the history of our country. We saw the downloading of debt from the federal government to the provinces, which cut federal participation in spending on health care. It is sad that we have been trying to play catch-up ever since.

However, I completely agree that we need to work hand in hand with the provinces to have the kind of health care, including physical health, mental health, dental health, and seniors' health, the country wants.

Canadian EconomyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The time for government orders is concluded at this time. The hon. member for Parkdale—High Park will have five minutes remaining in questions and comments after question period.

Quebec's Cheese MakersStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Claude Patry Bloc Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's cheese makers had quite a shock today. They found out that they will be the big losers in the free trade agreement with the European Union.

Rather than defending supply management, as they had promised, the Conservatives have thrown Quebec's cheese makers under the bus. They ignored the Bloc motion that was adopted unanimously in 2005, calling for the full protection of supply management as the minimum starting point for any negotiations.

In short, the government abandoned the big industry players and small producers who have made tremendous efforts over the past two decades to make such outstanding fine cheeses.

It is time to bring the negotiations out from behind closed doors. It is time to submit the text of the agreement to the House of Commons for debate. It is time for the government to be transparent and stop playing with the fate of an entire industry behind the scenes.

Global Health Initiative AwardStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I am recognizing my constituent, Michelle Ediger, of Jasper, Alberta, winner of the Canadian Dental Hygienist Association Global Health Initiative Award.

Michelle has been practising in the dental field since 2001. Her first trip to Africa was in 2005, and it changed her world. She knew then that she would be returning on a regular basis to share her skills and to help others smile. This year will mark her sixth trip to Africa. The joy Michelle feels from the people she is able to help makes her realize that the privileged world can learn so much from those who live in poverty.

Michelle is a model volunteer to us all, and I would like to commend her for her selfless gift of her time and her talent in helping those who need it most.

Nobel Prize in LiteratureStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, literature is the reflection of a country's soul. When writers gain international renown, both their work and their country are honoured.

The Nobel Prize in Literature awarded last week was the first for a Canadian female writer and also the first for truly exceptional, truly Canadian work.

Alice Munro's stories are stories of daily life. They are stories of Ontario, stories of a small town and a long street, stories of Huron County and elsewhere that are told to us by the best short story writer in the world.

My colleague for London—Fanshawe said that Alice Munro shows us essential truths about ourselves, that there are no ordinary lives, no mundane experiences. Every life is an extraordinary and astonishing one. Some lives are lived by those who make exceptional contributions to their country, our society, and the written word.

I rise in the House today to congratulate Alice Munro for her career, her work, her words and a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Hispanic Canadian AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to highlight the accomplishments of one of Canada's fastest growing populations, the Latino community.

Canada's strength is its immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants. We are richer as a people and a country because of the men, women, and children who have chosen Canada as their new home.

Just last week I attended the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce business awards ceremony in Toronto. The Vision Awards are awarded to outstanding members of the Hispanic Canadian community who have achieved success in business, government, and the arts. Their story is Canada's story. As the son of immigrant parents myself, I know the struggles and challenges new immigrants face moving to a new country. Learning a new language, adjusting to a new way of life, making new friends, and just fitting in can be a very daunting challenge.

I am so proud to represent one of the most ethnically diverse ridings in the country, York Centre, home to the world. York Centre residents hail from virtually every country, region, and continent of the global. While proud of their heritage and culture, what unites us all is that we are fierce in our pride for Canada. This is the Canadian advantage.

These successes are just the beginning for Canada's Latino community. Viva Canada.

Co-operativesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National Co-op Week. Last year, the House recognized the importance of co-operatives by unanimously adopting my motion to create a special committee, which worked hard and achieved positive results, including shifting responsibility for co-operatives to Industry Canada.

Now we have to keep this going. That is why we announced earlier this week that my colleague, the member for York West, would at the earliest opportunity move a motion to create a subcommittee of the industry committee and that this subcommittee's work would be dedicated to assisting co-operatives across the country. We hope our colleagues from all parties will support this motion.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention that today is International Credit Union Day and that credit unions also deserve that we pay more attention to them.

I wish to reaffirm my commitment, and that of my party, to do our best to create an environment that helps co-operatives flourish and contributes to their members' well-being.

MarijuanaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is tragic that the Liberal leader who aspires to lead this country disregarded his oath, flouted the law and used an illegal drug that can cause heart problems, diabetes and possibly cancer, and is a key cause of vehicular and industrial accidents.

He confesses his use of marijuana, not as a youthful experiment, but five or six times, including as a father of two children and a member of Parliament. Marijuana does not do anything for him, he says, but he keeps working on it.

The Liberals and the NDP have certainly claimed that regulation will protect our youth from accessing marijuana, expecting Canadians to believe that no teens consume cigarettes or alcohol because they are legal and regulated. Since the two primary effects of marijuana are apathy and memory loss, it is difficult to get the Liberal leader to care about protecting our youth or even remember why it is important.

The Liberal and NDP leaders are willing to cut loose the drug dealers on our children for votes. It would be a sad day to see Canada led by one of those two Doobie Brothers.

Rail SafetyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that many municipalities in my riding are worried about rail safety.

The time has come for the federal government, rail companies and experts to work together to make our communities safer. The people of Vaudreuil-Dorion in particular are very concerned. They have collected over 1,000 signatures to reduce train speed in urban environments. As I was knocking on doors in communities near rail lines this summer, it became clear to me just how worried my constituents are.

Rail transportation of petroleum products has increased by 135% over the past four years. The NDP has been calling for stricter regulations for a long time. We can take a giant step forward toward improving rail transportation safety. We just need the government to show some political will. My constituents are still waiting. The NDP is ready to act, but the government is dragging its feet. Canadians deserve better.

Speech from the ThroneStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's Speech from the Throne marked the beginning of a new session of Parliament. This new beginning also provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on the values and the character qualities that define what it is to be a Canadian.

These qualities were exhibited magnificently this summer in my home town, Calgary, such as staying strong when the going gets tough, pitching in without waiting for someone else to take the lead, lending a hand to total strangers when they need it, listening to and encouraging those in distress, standing shoulder to shoulder through disaster and heartbreak,and building and rebuilding with courage and determination.

These are qualities we as leaders can all represent in the House of Commons.

Where I come from, we call it “The Spirit of the West”. It is also the spirit that built Canada and that continues to make our country great today. May these foundational values guide our deliberations and our work in the days ahead.

Women's History MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Eve Adams Conservative Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the occasion of Women's History Month, I rise today to pay tribute to an amazing young woman who has warmed our hearts and inspired the world to stand up against violence, oppression and gender inequality.

Malala became internationally recognized as an advocate for the education of young girls in Pakistan.

As is now well known, her passion and determination led her to become the target of a Taliban attack in 2012. Her attackers boarded her bus, singled her out and proceeded to shoot her in plain view. She was shot for the simple fact that she believed girls should have the same basic educational opportunities as boys. This passionate spirit was encouraged by her great dad.

I am so proud that our government has recognized Malala for her love of education and her patient resolve to promote gender equality and that we will bestow her with honorary Canadian citizenship.

Malala's values and tireless determination represent the essence of Canadian citizenship.

Lincoln AlexanderStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, this Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the passing of one of the greatest Canadians and a proud Hamiltonian, Lincoln Alexander. Linc, as he was affectionately known by all whose lives he touched, was a trailblazer. As Sandra Martin wrote in the Globe, he was a man who had the capacity to turn rejections and despicable slurs into a personal challenge to excel, and excel he did.

In 1968, he was the first black Canadian to become an MP and later became the first black cabinet minister. He resigned in 1981 to chair the Ontario Worker's Compensation Board, then went on to serve as Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of the University of Guelph. He was awarded the Order of Ontario and became a companion of the Order of Canada. Perhaps the biggest tribute is that he was loved by everyone who knew him, right across party lines.

I hope that love will again prevail when, at the request of his widow, I will in the days ahead ask all members of the House to agree to make Linc's birthday, January 21, a national day in his honour. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute for a man whose whole life reflected the highest ideals of service to our country.

Lac-Mégantic TragedyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my sympathies to the people and families affected by the Lac-Mégantic tragedy.

We admire the courage and resilience of the people of Lac-Mégantic, who, despite their suffering, set to work right away to clean up and rebuild their community.

The municipality hopes that such a tragedy and its ramifications never happen again, and so does our government.

That is why we are working with the Province of Quebec in order to ensure that the people of Lac-Mégantic continue to receive the support they need.

We moved quickly to take action to make railways safer, but we will also introduce certain targeted measures regarding the transportation of dangerous goods.

In addition, companies will have to be able to pay the price for their actions.

Our government will require shippers to carry additional insurance so they are held accountable, and we will not hesitate to take tough action against offenders if the investigation confirms that the regulations were breached.

International Day for the Eradication of PovertyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This afternoon, alongside several of my NDP colleagues, I had the privilege of joining that hard-working members of Dignity for All in their “Chew on This” campaign. Together, along with participants in 12 other Canadian cities, we took to the streets to distribute apples as well as postcards to the Prime Minister urging the government to create a desperately needed federal food strategy.

Food security is a basic human right, not a privilege. Almost 900,000 Canadians access food banks each month and a further 3.8 million struggle to afford enough food to feed their families. The UN has called on Canada to adopt a federal poverty strategy. The National Council of Welfare gave an estimate of $12 billion to address poverty and a cost of $24 billion to do nothing.

Therefore, today I ask you, Mr. Speaker, and all members of the House to join Dignity for All, and chew on that.

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, on October 11, I had the privilege to be on the tarmac in Edmonton to greet 16 troops returning from their deployment in Afghanistan.

Alongside Brigadier-General Juneau, we welcomed our brave soldiers back home. I thanked them for their valiant service abroad defending and promoting the freedoms and values we as Canadians hold so dearly. I was humbled in their presence. It was a good reminder of the dangers they willingly face every day. It is also a reminder of the esteem in which our service men and women are held here at home and around the world for the superior job they do when called upon.

In this season between thanksgiving and remembrance let us all remind ourselves that freedom has never been free. For the blessings of freedom, peace and security, which we inherited from yesterday, we give thanks to our veterans and fallen. For the freedom, peace and prosperity we will enjoy tomorrow, we give thanks to our soldiers.

We welcome home brave sons and daughters of Canada. We are so proud of them.

International Day for the Eradication of PovertyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, as has been stated, today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Though we consider ourselves a rich country, Canada's poverty rate ranks 24th out of 34 in the OECD countries. More than 3.5 million Canadians and more than 1 in 7 children live in poverty everyday, a fact that no Canadian can be proud of.

Poverty has real effects on Canadian lives. Canadians living in poverty suffer from much worse health and are less able to find stable employment. Children unlucky enough to be born into poverty are much more likely to end up in the criminal justice system, more so than their wealthier friends.

It used to be that a job would lift people out of poverty or provide a guarantee against it. Unfortunately, more working Canadians are now joining the ranks of the working poor. Poverty is a cycle that can and must be broken.

Today, I call on the government to develop a national anti-poverty strategy as recommended by all-party committees of both the House of Commons and the Senate so we can put an end to poverty in Canada.

Law Enforcement AnimalsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently we were reminded that police officers and their service animals put their lives on the line every day to keep our streets and communities safe. Sadly, Quanto, an Edmonton Police service dog was killed in the line of duty. In 2006, Brigadier, the Toronto police services horse was also killed in the line of duty.

Last spring, I tabled Bill C-515, the protection of law enforcement animals act. This legislation contained measures to amend the Criminal Code to both recognize and protect service animals like Quanto and Brigadier. I would like to thank the Minister of Justice who offered his personal support for this legislation.

I would also like to thank the Prime Minister for indicating in the throne speech that the government will soon introduce Quanto's law in honour of all law enforcement animals. I wish the opposition parties would come to their senses, cease coddling criminals and finally focus on victims, whether they have four legs or two.

Throne SpeechStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we were treated to an attempt by the Conservatives to draw attention away from the multitude of scandals in which they are mired. They promised a new direction, but instead we heard an interminable speech full of empty words that could have been a speech given by the Liberal leader.

The Conservatives promised to help consumers, but they did not include any measures to deal with the price of gas, to help merchants with the credit card companies' racket or to put a stop to the abuses of airline companies, which leave passengers stranded on the tarmac for hours.

This speech will not make us forget how some senators, Conservative cronies, lined their own pockets at taxpayers' expense.

Even worse, after proroguing Parliament for one month in order to avoid answering questions, the Prime Minister still does not have the courage to show his face in the House today. Let him eat cheese in Europe as he pleases; the NDP will be ready and waiting for him next Monday. The Conservatives will have to answer for their partisan appointments that have gone awry and for the ensuing cover-up.

Speech from the ThroneStatements By Members

October 17th, 2013 / 2:15 p.m.


Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have a rare opportunity to build on our immense natural wealth, our stable democracy, our sound finances, our expanding network of trade relationships around the world and the ingenuity of Canadians.

Yesterday, our government laid out its priorities: creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians; supporting and protecting families; and putting Canadians first.

What are the opposition parties' priorities? The NDP is anti-trade, anti-business and pro-tax. It would raise billions of dollars in new taxes on top of its $20 billion carbon tax. The Liberal leader admits he has no economic policies. In fact, the only topic that seems to interest him is legalizing marijuana, which would make it easier for children to access.

We can only assume that the Liberal leader agrees with Chrystia Freeland, the person he hand-picked to co-chair his economic advisory council. She is the one who told MSNBC “amen to raising taxes”.