House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.


Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

Right now, I am having a hard time putting myself in the shoes of the Conservative members or ministers. Honestly, if I were in their shoes, I would be very uncomfortable and I would not know what to say. What do you do when, day after day, what your leader, your Prime Minister says turns out to be only more or less the truth?

Do you stand by some versions of the story, knowing that the story might change the next day? Do you keep quiet, hoping that this will go away? Those are all desperate actions, but I hope they will ultimately come up with a clear, straightforward and credible version of the story.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would have liked to ask a Conservative member my question but, unfortunately, they are not rising to speak.

However, I heard one of them this morning. It was the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister himself. In response to the questions from the NDP to his leader, he said he was “obliged to answer”. He even said that he felt our questions were very relevant. However, despite all that, he is not providing any answers and neither is his leader. The questions are relevant and simple, but they are not answering them.

What message does the hon. member think this is sending to Canadians?

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question.

In fact, I myself have asked a number of questions in this House about that issue. When the answer I receive has nothing to do with my question, I am told that the question has been answered before.

Why not take 30 seconds to answer the question again? When the Conservatives are trying to avoid giving an answer, change the subject and duck the question completely or discredit the person asking the question, Canadians listening to the answers are certainly not reassured. Simply telling the truth would take the debate much further and would let Canadians trust the stories we are hearing in this House. However, that is not the case at all, and that is unfortunate.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise and ask my colleague a question.

We are now debating what is going on in the Prime Minister's Office. It is in the Conservatives' interest to say that the Senate is still the problem.

I want to ask my colleague if she agrees with me that questions remain with respect to the possible criminal involvement of the Prime Minister's Office.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for that clarification.

In fact, we are not just facing one problem here; we are facing two.

Basically, some senators made claims for inappropriate expenses, which is one of the issues before us. However, there is another issue that is related but not the same, and that issue is the involvement of the Prime Minister's Office in a Senate reimbursement and expenses scandal.

Therefore, this is not just a debate about senators who made claims for inappropriate expenses. It is also a debate about this Prime Minister's involvement and his inability to provide transparent and coherent answers to questions about the situation.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, when the public hear words like “extortion”, “bribery”, “cover-up”, “deception” and “lying”, we have an obligation and a duty to find out the truth about this emerging political and possibly criminal crisis involving the highest officials in the Government of Canada. We are now in a situation where it is alleged that a wholesale cover-up was deployed to deceive Canadians about a payoff to a sitting senator, a payoff meant to conceal information from the Canadian people and to obstruct a forensic audit.

The rule of law still applies to the highest office-holders in the land. No one is above the law. We need to know the truth about the $90,000 payoff to Senator Duffy. We need to know about what involvement others had, including the role, if any, of the Prime Minister in this cover-up. We need to know the truth, and so far we have had little.

That is why I support the motion before the House, which reads:

That the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics be instructed to examine the conduct of the Prime Minister’s Office regarding the repayment of Senator Mike Duffy's expenses; that the Prime Minister be ordered to appear under oath as a witness before the Committee for a period of 3 hours, before December 10, 2013; and that the proceedings be televised.

How did we get to this point? What events transpired that led to allegations of bribery and cover-up? What events led to this crisis that is now consuming the Conservative government and the Prime Minister?

Well, this all started in 2009. The “old Duff”, as he likes to call himself, had waged a decades long effort to get into the Senate. He waged this effort, all the while acting as a journalist, and I emphasize “acting as a journalist”. It was clear and it was well known that Mike Duffy really wanted to be a senator and he was prepared to do almost anything to achieve that end. He found favour with the current Prime Minister when his Mike Duffy Live show morphed into a Conservative propaganda outlet. Mike Duffy really did “earn” the Senate seat with biased reporting that more often than not favoured the Conservative Party. Therefore, when the Prime Minister had a vacancy in Prince Edward Island, he appointed Mike Duffy, and the outrage back home on the island was felt immediately. Islanders were appalled that an individual living in Ontario for some 40 years was to be selected to represent Prince Edward Island in the Senate. The rest, as they say, was history.

Mike Duffy, once appointed, became an ATM to the Prime Minister. He travelled around the country raising very large amounts of money for the Conservatives, and he was good at it. People flocked to see the “old Duff” because he was a well-known celebrity and a media person. He viciously and gleefully insulted our premier. The Prime Minister was no doubt very pleased with the bags of money he was raising. It was only when questions were raised about inappropriate expenses charged by Senator Duffy and when questions re-emerged about his true residence that things began to unravel. Soon, one of the most successful fundraisers for the Conservative Party, Mike Duffy, became a serious liability because of his expenses.

That is the start of this whole sordid affair. It was that day in 2009 when the Prime Minister appointed Mike Duffy, who was living in Ontario for 40 years, as a senator for P.E.I.

However, why should we be surprised at that appointment, a slap in the face to the people of Prince Edward Island? The degree of disdain the government has for Prince Edward Island is clear, and this is but one example. Immediately upon the Conservatives' election in 2006, the first thing the Prime Minister did was to cancel a deal that would have provided for a third power cable between P.E.I. and New Brunswick, something that would be very important for our energy security and economic development, and the attack on Prince Edward Island continues to this day.

It was the Prime Minister who made cuts to the federal civil service at the rate of 4.8% across the country and double that rate in Prince Edward Island. It was the Prime Minister who cut district offices for veterans, leaving Prince Edward Island as the only province with no district office for veterans. It was the Prime Minister who cut the immigration office in Prince Edward Island, leaving it as the only province in Canada without an office for citizenship and immigration. It was the Prime Minister who cut the counter service for Revenue Canada in Prince Edward Island, leaving my province as the only one in Canada where a taxpayer could not speak to a live person through counter service at Revenue Canada. It was the Prime Minister who gutted the EI system, hurting Atlantic Canadian families and harming seasonal businesses on Prince Edward Island. Also, it was the Prime Minister who appointed Mike Duffy, from Kanata, to the Senate.

I am amazed to witness the performance by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister. Day in and day out, he stands in the House of Commons defending the indefensible and acting as if his boss is somehow a victim in this whole affair. Does he not know it was his boss, the Prime Minister, who was the source of all this mess? Does he think Canadians will forget that it was the Prime Minister who appointed Senators Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau and who also appointed Nigel Wright, among others? No, Canadians will not forget.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly claimed in the House that he knew nothing about the payoff to Mike Duffy. He says that he was not involved. Senator Duffy is now suggesting otherwise. Senator Duffy has presented some explosive allegations about a cover-up involving officials in the Prime Minister's Office and perhaps even the Prime Minister himself. Nigel Wright, the Prime Minister's former chief of staff, who by all accounts was considered by most Conservatives and others as an honourable man, is now suddenly not the chief of staff for the Prime Minister but rather the chief deceiver, at least according to the Prime Minister.

I concede that under normal circumstances when a Prime Minister speaks on a particular matter, we should assume he or she is telling the truth, and why would we not? The Prime Minister is, after all, the holder of the most senior position in the Canadian government. Under normal circumstances we would take the Prime Minister at his word. These, however, are not normal times. There are far too many questions about this ethics scandal and, to date, the Prime Minister has not answered questions to the satisfaction of the House, nor to the satisfaction of Canadians. The fact that we find ourselves questioning whether the Prime Minister is telling the truth is, frankly, quite troubling.

I do not know if the Prime Minister was in on the organized cover-up with respect to the $90,000 payoff to Mike Duffy. Yet, day in and day out, when facing direct and clear questions from the Liberals and the New Democrats about the cover-up, we hear an evolving and changing story from the Prime Minister. Instead of direct answers, the Prime Minister is evasive and deploys rehearsed and changing talking points, all which seek to sidestep accountability and give rise to suspicion.

I concede that it is possible the Prime Minister could be telling the truth. The Prime Minister's comportment in this regard, however, his unwillingness to be direct and forthright when asked direct questions about his involvement in a possible cover-up, gives rise to doubt.

Are we to believe the Prime Minister knew nothing of the cover-up and the potential bribe of a sitting parliamentarian, a cover-up meant to protect the Prime Minister? Are we to believe that a prime minister who rules with an iron fist, who micromanages his cabinet members, who holds court over the vast majority of the operation of the Government of Canada, who, according to a recent book by Paul Wells, ordered the production of a stamp at Canada Post, is suddenly a prime minister unbothered with the minute details of daily government life?

Is it believable that his chief of staff, Nigel Wright, was operating alone as the Prime Minister first suggested? Is it possible that all of this happened without the knowledge of the Prime Minister?

It is also possible that there was no moon landing. However, the evidence is overwhelming that there was.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

You can take it from me there was.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie is offering some assurances in this regard. I believe we should take him at his word.

This is the reality we confront today. We are being asked to believe that the most controlling, partisan, divisive Prime Minister in Canadian history did not know what was happening in his own office.

The Prime Minister could be telling the truth, but the degree to which he is obfuscating and sidestepping basic questions in the House is troubling. It is for that reason I think the Prime Minister should finally clear the air and do so under oath.

This so-called tough on crime obsessed Conservative Party must know that it is illegal to bribe public officials. Moreover, it is illegal to bribe a parliamentarian.

Canadians have a right to expect that leaders tell the truth. Canadians have a right to know who was involved in the $90,000 cover-up. Canadians have a right to know if hush money was provided to Mike Duffy as part of an organized effort to deceive Canadians.

Like most Canadians, I am deeply troubled by what is happening in Ottawa and the conduct of certain elements within the Conservative Party. I know the vast majority of the Conservative backbench are decent, hard-working individuals. They work day in and day out to do their best for Canadians. I often disagree with them on matters, but respect a great many of them. It is difficult not to have empathy for some of them, as they are perhaps being unfairly lumped into a scandal reaching the highest level of their government.

Some Conservative backbenchers are rightly ashamed of what is happening. I know many of them are also troubled with the abuse of power and the control exercised by non-elected officials in the Prime Minister's Office.

I know some Conservative MPs are troubled by the hyper-partisanship that exists and the poor example of the Prime Minister in this regard. I know the Conservatives are troubled by suggestions of fraud during elections and the notion that winning at all costs is considered par for the course. I know some Conservatives are troubled by the use of party funds to pay the legal fees of people who are now considered persona non grata by the Prime Minister. I know the Conservatives are troubled by the rejection of evidence and science in the making of public policy. I know some Conservatives are appalled by the cancelling of the census. I know some Conservatives are fed up with the personal attacks on people simply because they disagree on an issue. I know that many are fed up with the divide and conquer approach to politics.

We must end the notion that the Prime Minister should only care about people who vote for him and his party. For a democracy like ours to truly function and be healthy, it requires opposition and openness. It requires back and forth debate where we actually listen to one another. It requires us asking tough questions at times. Above all, it requires a degree of honesty.

When I started my career in law about 20-some years ago, a senior partner came into my office and told me that the two most important things I should bear in mind throughout my legal career that would serve me well were accessibility and integrity.

It is time for the Prime Minister to tell Canadians the truth. I hope some members of the Conservative backbench will meet the challenge and support this motion.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The time for government orders has expired. The hon. member for Charlottetown will have five minutes remaining in his speech when this matter returns following question period.

Our Benign DictatorshipStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Bruce Hyer Independent Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1996 a young politician wrote an essay entitled “Our Benign Dictatorship”.

It included these statements:

Many of Canada's problems stem from a winner-take-all style of politics...

Our parliamentary government creates a concentrated power structure out of step with other aspects of society.

...we persist in structuring the governing team like a military regiment under a single commander with almost total power to appoint, discipline and expel subordinates.

Countries governed for a long period by a centre party drift into cronyism, corruption, cynicism and a period of chaos....

A governing party enjoying an indefinite lease on power encourages its supporting interests to become closely interwoven with the state. This may entail...corruption on a grand scale.

Those 1996 quotes were written by the man who is our Prime Minister today.

National Pancreatic Cancer Canada FoundationStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the National Pancreatic Cancer Canada Foundation began operating in 2005 as The Dick Aldridge Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, honouring the memory of the former Toronto Argonaut who died of pancreatic cancer in 2004.

To date, the foundation has donated over $2 million for research on pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of all cancer deaths in Canada. There is no known cause, no early detection, and no known cure. That is why it is so important that we raise awareness of this deadly disease.

I ask all members of Parliament to join me in recognizing the work of the National Pancreatic Cancer Canada Foundation as it strives to improve pancreatic cancer survival and create hope through awareness, education, patient support, and research.

Health CareStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was very fortunate to be in P.E.I. earlier this year with Mike Redmond, leader of the P.E.I. NDP. We heard about the many challenges people face in accessing rural health care because of government decisions and because provincial resources are stretched to the max.

In particular, I want to support the rural community of Souris that I visited. Residents there displayed extraordinary unity to maintain their long-standing local access to services.

The Conservative government's cuts to the health care transfers are compromising health care in rural communities and putting thousands of Islanders' health at risk.

Also, this week we celebrate Family Doctor Week in Canada. Each and every day in this country, family doctors diagnose and treat illness and injury, promote disease prevention and good health, coordinate care, and advocate on behalf of their patients.

I want to thank family physicians for the invaluable contribution they provide to Canadians' health and wish the College of Family Physicians a productive Family Medicine Forum in Vancouver this week.

Christa Lukenda MichaudStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Bryan Hayes Conservative Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honour of the life of Christa Lukenda Michaud, from my riding of Sault Ste. Marie, who was tragically killed in August, and to read the words penned by her loving husband, Ryan, as follows:

While innocently riding her bicycle, Christa was fatally struck down by a drunk driver, ending her life of 28 years.

Christa will be remembered as a special teacher who would always be there if you needed her, my loving and precious wife, and the youngest in a family of 10 who kept everyone young and playful at heart.

It is senseless that we Canadians must continue to accept these losses of life because this shameful act is tolerated. In honour of all deceased from impaired driving, we must make it our individual duty to raise awareness in our own communities in order to prevent these tragedies that rip families apart.

Christa, you will be missed forever and remembered always by those who love you. Ryan.

Canadian Electricity Association Lifesaving AwardStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Horace Crocker and Neville Gosse from Channel-Port aux Basques in my riding of Random—Burin—St. George's, and both are in the gallery.

Recently Horace and Neville, both employees with Newfoundland Power Incorporated, stopped at the scene of a serious road collision they came upon while at work.

The driver of a dirt bike had collided with a truck, leaving the driver of the bike in critical condition.

Horace and Neville recognized the seriousness of the situation when they saw the injured man bleeding profusely. They turned him over and ensured his airway was not blocked while making sure his broken leg remained stationary.

They did this while securing the area and protecting the injured man from oncoming traffic until the RCMP and ambulance arrived.

This evening, I will have the honour to participate in presenting the Canadian Electricity Association's Lifesaving Award to Horace and Neville.

I ask all members to join me in congratulating both men on their valiant actions, which resulted in a life being saved.

Canadian Electricity Association Lifesaving AwardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The Chair would remind all hon. members that it is inappropriate to identify who is or is not in the chamber, whether it is down below or up in the gallery.

The hon. member for Durham.

Vimy Foundation Fundraising CampaignStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week the Vimy Foundation launched its Give a Vimy for Vimy campaign, inviting Canadians to donate $20 toward the construction of a new education centre at the Vimy monument in France.

Canada's new $20 bill features the Vimy Ridge monument, so Canadians can donate a Vimy toward the lasting legacy of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Our government has pledged $5 million toward this important initiative, which is to be built in time for the Vimy centennial in 2017. We also encourage Canadians to learn more about the important role Vimy played in our development as a nation and the contributions of their communities.

In my riding, Uxbridge native Colonel Sam Sharpe led the 116th Battalion at Vimy Ridge, and he holds the unique distinction of serving on the front lines in Europe while also serving as the Conservative member of Parliament for Ontario North.

I urge Canadians to give a Vimy to Vimy to ensure that the legacy of Vimy Ridge and its role in our history is preserved for generations to come.

Laurentian Cultural CouncilStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the Conseil de la culture des Laurentides will host the 24th annual Grands prix de la culture des Laurentides.

It gives me great pleasure to say that, with its cultural awards, its cultural heritage fund and its training programs, the Conseil de la culture des Laurentides has become the main cultural hub in my riding and the entire region.

In this new Quebec of many colours and accents, in this blended and interconnected society, our culture is reinventing and redefining itself every day. Movements, changes, experiences, sudden surges and commitments; our personal and collective identity is fluid, not static. It becomes richer because of new influences and trends.

With their art, artists tell us: wait, you think you know everything? You haven't seen anything yet.

Congratulations to the Conseil de la culture des Laurentides, its employees, its board of directors and its volunteers. Congratulations to all of you who support with dignity those who are passionately devoted to art and freedom.

World Junior A Hockey ChallengeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Greg Kerr Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the World Junior A Hockey Challenge is under way in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, which is in the great riding of West Nova. The event takes place from November 4 to November 10.

Yarmouth has the unique distinction of being the first town to host this tournament more than once. It is a great honour for everyone involved.

The tournament attracts thousands of visitors and will showcase some of the world's top young players from the United States, Russia, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and, of course, Canada.

Though the finals will be in Yarmouth, games will take place in communities throughout southwestern Nova Scotia. It is a great opportunity for the area.

I congratulate the volunteers, surrounding communities, and the town of Yarmouth, which has won the right to host this event once again.

I wish the best of luck to our athletes, and again, congratulations to everyone involved.

Canadian Electricity Association Lifesaver AwardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to talk about one of my constituents, who saved the life of a young boy.

Kirby Shafer, operations superintendent with the electrical department of the City of Medicine Hat, ran over to a young boy who had been playing with friends at an ice rink. The boy was clearly unable to breathe due to the fact that he had swallowed a large candy. When Kirby asked if the boy was choking, he gestured yes. Kirby did not even think twice. He immediately began to administer the steps of the Heimlich manoeuvre to the boy.

Thanks to his first aid training from the City of Medicine Hat, Kirby's actions meant that the boy made a full recovery in hospital.

I salute his bravery and his tenacity with this outstanding act. Kirby will be awarded with the Lifesaver Award from the Canadian Electricity Association, which is awarded to utility employees whose actions directly result in saving lives.

Congratulates to Kirby. He has done us all very proud.

Navigation RestrictionsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Marc-André Morin NDP Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives say they are champions of cutting red tape.

On Friday, I will be moving Motion No. 441 in order to simplify the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations. The purpose of my motion is to simplify the process to obtain navigation restrictions, the some 20 pages of procedures, the years of efforts and the hundreds of thousands of dollars it is costing municipalities. This is a prime opportunity for the government, which claims to hate red tape.

I hope all my colleagues will support this motion.

Homeless VeteransStatements By Members

November 5th, 2013 / 2:10 p.m.


Parm Gill Conservative Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Veterans Affairs met with individuals who are dedicated to helping homeless veterans get off the streets. We, like many veterans groups such as the Royal Canadian Legion, believe that veterans' homelessness should never happen in the first place. We must stand together to address these unfortunate circumstances.

I call on every member in the House and all Canadians to please contact the Minister of Veterans Affairs immediately if they know of or come across a homeless veteran in their community.

Pancreatic CancerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of the House that November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. I want all of us to applaud the important, ongoing work done by the national Pancreatic Cancer Canada foundation in raising public awareness and supporting vital research efforts to end the scourge of Canada's most lethal of cancers.

Pancreatic cancer claims 4,300 Canadian lives every year. Sadly, its mortality rate is three out of four, with a five-year survival rate of only 6%. In spite of these tragic statistics, pancreatic cancer research receives less than 1% of all cancer research dollars. One of the truly devastating aspects of this disease is that less than 15% of patients are diagnosed early enough to save lives.

I lost my older brother to this dreadful disease. Even today, my family is haunted by the thought that early detection might have saved his life.

I urge all members to support the good work of the foundation by raising awareness in their ridings. We can support fundraising activities by marshalling our friends and family members. We can become advocates for more significant and sustained governmental investment in research.

The final message that I want to leave with the House today is this. Early detection can save lives.

OECD Study on Well-BeingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, a report released today by the OECD shows that Canada is world leader when it comes to the well-being of its citizens. The report says:

Canada performs exceptionally well in measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index.

Canada scored near the top for education, health, housing, skills, social connections and life satisfaction, in addition to low long-term unemployment rates and our low crime rate.

Our Conservative government's low-tax plan for jobs and growth is helping to reduce poverty and increase the long-term prosperity of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. The facts speak for themselves. There are now fewer Canadians living below the low income cut-off than ever before in the history of our country.

Our Conservative government will continue to focus on what matters to Canadians: jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

Co-operativesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, representatives of Canada's credit unions are visiting parliamentarians to enhance our level of awareness of the important role they play throughout Canada in over 1,700 different locations. Indeed, in over 1,000 of our smaller communities, there would not be a financial institution were it not for their credit union. These are community-minded, well-run, resilient businesses, focused on servicing their members, who number over five million people.

Last year, during the International Year of Cooperatives, the House unanimously supported my motion to create a special committee mandated to take a look at the challenges facing Canada's co-ops, including credit unions. As I have said before, this committee did good work and the government responded positively to its report.

Tomorrow, the industry committee will be asked to create a subcommittee to focus on co-ops, their needs and challenges. Co-ops throughout Canada, including credit unions, again look forward to the constructive work of parliamentarians.

Contraband TobaccoStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Wai Young Conservative Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is committed to keeping contraband tobacco off our streets. Today, we reintroduced legislation aimed at reducing contraband tobacco.

Cheap, illegal tobacco can make it easier for children and teens to get cigarettes into their hands and start smoking, which obviously has a negative impact on their health. My own father started smoking at the age of 11 and died of lung cancer later.

There is no place for contraband tobacco in our communities. The legislation is an important step in the fight against illegal tobacco and the impact it has on all Canadians, and young Canadians in particular.

I would hope that these common sense measures have the support of the members opposite.