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House of Commons Hansard #202 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Frank ZakemStatements by Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, last week, Frank Zakem passed away at the age of 82. He was revered by Prince Edward Islanders.

Frank was fond of saying that there were three types of people: those who made things happen; those who watched things happen; and those who did not know what happened.

Frank was clearly in category number one. He was a city councillor and then mayor of Charlottetown. He was the charter president of the Hillsborough Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. He helped create the Rotary Youth Parliament.

He spent much of his career in leadership roles at Holland College and in the administration of then premier Joe Ghiz. He was truly a mentor to many in public office, including my wife Kathleen and myself.

Frank authored three books, held an honorary degree from UPEI and was a member of the Order of Prince Edward Island. His wife of 50 years, Janet, and his boys, Steven, Kenneth, Bruce and Albert, can be rightly proud that Frank Zakem left everything he touched better than he found it.

I count myself among the many who are grateful to have been in his company.

Lucy MieskeStatements by Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to pay tribute to the life of Lucy Mieske, who passed away Monday at the age of 98.

A life as long as Lucy's, when it is lived as well and as fully as she lived, is something to be celebrated. Lucy was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother of 10, and here is something we do not hear very often, and a great-great-grandmother.

As members can imagine, family was important to Lucy and she was important to her family.

Today I want to commemorate Lucy's contribution to her community. She lived her whole long life within a few miles of her birthplace in beautiful Vennacher and like a tree that spreads its roots and canopy every more widely with the passage of the years, she provided a rootedness and a foundation for the entire community and a sense of continuity between the past and present.

Across Canada communities are defined by people like Lucy Mieske, and carry on, richer with each passing generation, because of people like her. We honour Lucy today and pray that she will always be remembered.

St. Lawrence Shoreline ErosionStatements by Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Sana Hassainia NDP Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, many of my constituents come to see me about erosion problems affecting their property along the St. Lawrence River. Even though each case is unique, they all have one thing in common: government inaction and indifference.

In the 1960s, the federal government built stone and concrete walls to protect land from wave action. Such walls were built in Verchères, in my riding. For many years, the government maintained these walls to ensure that they remained in good condition. A few years ago, the government stopped doing that maintenance, leaving people to grapple with the problem on their own.

The government ignored the pleas of riverside residents, deciding instead that fighting erosion was no longer a priority.

The longer the government waits, the more this costs people and the greater the impact of erosion. The Conservative government washed its hands of this problem and is now trying to download it onto Quebec. The government has lost all credibility.

Erosion is the federal government's responsibility. The federal government built the walls, and it is responsible for taking care of them.

Outstanding Ontario PhysicianStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, here is another great news story from the great Kenora riding. Dr. Yvon Gagnon, a well-respected general practitioner from Vermilion Bay has been honoured with the Council Award by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for demonstrating excellence in the medical field.

Dr. Gagnon is the founder of the Points North Family Health Team in the Vermilion Bay area, providing leadership and quality health care for residents and their families who reside outside of the urban centres and away from the larger health facilities.

As a former nurse in many northern communities, I appreciate the great work that Dr. Gagnon does for our constituents. His passion to provide excellent health care sets a high standard for physicians across the region.

Health care in the rural areas of my riding is critical to constituents, and that is why our government has invested in programs like the student loan forgiveness program to get quality physicians and nurses in the north.

Dr. Gagnon and his achievements are just another example of what is so great about the great Kenora riding.

Conservative GovernmentStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my purpose in politics is, in my own small way, to help expand freedom so that each can earn success, take responsibility for their life and own their destiny.

With the debt crises in Europe and the United States brought on by excessive government spending, Canada will need to have a strong, free economy where citizens are unencumbered by the heavy weight of government and can earn and enjoy the success of their efforts.

For this to be possible, government should only do what only government can do, and free people should do the rest. We have moved in this direction with lower taxes, spending restraint and the elimination of red tape. The result is 900,000 net new jobs, 75% of them in the private sector and 90% of them full-time. The OECD and IMF say that Canada will lead the G7 in economic growth.

Freedom works.

Heart MonthStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, February is heart month in Canada. Cardiovascular disease causes many preventable deaths. Heart disease and stroke take one life every seven minutes and are the leading cause of death among women.

Many factors contribute to heart disease, including lack of exercise and poor nutrition. Sodium is also a major factor. Canadians consume double the amount recommended by Health Canada. By reducing sodium intake, we can prevent at least 10,000 deaths and 23,000 cardiovascular disease events per year. That is why we need a national sodium reduction strategy, such as the one laid out in Bill C-460, which was introduced by my colleague from Vancouver East, to help people make informed choices about heart health.

Canadian HeritageStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, my constituents and Canadians across the country share a great pride in our nation's history. Over the next few years, we will commemorate many significant events and remember the people who fought and sacrificed to make Canada the strong nation it is today.

We have already begun commemorating the conception of our country during the War of 1812 and we will soon begin to look back on the centennial of the First World War and its key events, such as Vimy. We, of course, cannot forget the 200th anniversary of our founding father, Sir John A. Macdonald.

Unfortunately, the Leader of the Opposition does not think Canadians should commemorate these important events. In fact, he said that our attempt to bring attention to this great history was an act of “jingoism”.

We wholly reject these comments by the leader of the NDP and on this side of the House we will continue to proudly celebrate our nation's history here in the capital and across the country.

Black History MonthStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the beginning of Black History Month. It is an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about their neighbours of African descent, their full, rich, unknown and undiscovered stories. It is a history that stretches back as far as Mathieu Da Costa and his so-called black Loyalists, the men and women who stood by their British brothers and sisters as free persons and built a nation known as Canada.

There are names such as Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott, the first black Canadian-born licensed surgeon, who also served with thousands of other African Canadians in the American Civil War, and who was part of select few who stood vigil over Abraham Lincoln, keeping notes on his condition until his death.

African Canadian history did not start with the immigration wave of the 1950s and 1960s, nor did it start with the underground railroad. African Canadian history is older than Canada itself.

This Black History Month, I urge all Canadians, from the House and beyond, to take a moment to learn something new about their neighbours. They might just be surprised.

Black History MonthStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, the many achievements and contributions of people of African and Caribbean descent have helped make Canada the culturally diverse, prosperous and free country it is today. That is why the month of February is celebrated across Canada as Black History Month.

This year, we are paying special tribute to the achievements of black Canadians in the area of law enforcement, both past policing pioneers and present leaders, who have distinguished themselves by their commitment to serve and protect Canadians. That brings to mind two from my riding, Ted Upshaw and the late Robbie Jones, a lifelong friend of mine, who both served this country and their community as valued police officers.

Canadians from throughout Canada will be participating in events and festivities taking place in their communities this year to celebrate Black History Month. We encourage everyone to take the time to recognize the vital role that black Canadians have played in building Canada and in shaping our national identity.

I also want to congratulate a new group in my riding, called Community Strong, a group dedicated to its community and dedicated to cultural development.

Daurene LewisStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, on this the first day of Black History Month, I stand in the House to honour Canada's first black female mayor.

Daurene Lewis was many things: a role model, mentor, community leader, businesswoman and educator. She was also an inspiration for many Nova Scotians and a resident a Halifax West whom I deeply respect and admired.

Sadly, Ms. Lewis died Saturday, at the age of 69.

As the Halifax Chronicle Herald correctly stated:

...she was the champion of a fine world where all of us are respected as persons and judged on our merits. And where leadership is about being creative, stretching your abilities and doing a good job as the representative of everyone, of the whole community.

I would ask all my colleagues to join me in extending condolences to her family and in saying a fond farewell to Daurene Lewis, a truly inspiring woman.

Leader of the New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's news on economic growth is another indication that Canada is on the right track and that our government's economic action plan is working. With over 900,000 net new jobs created since July 2009, Canada has seen a better recovery than other G7 nations. We will continue with our plan to create jobs and foster growth and long-term prosperity.

Unfortunately, the leader of the NDP and his party do not share these same priorities. Their priority is a $21-billion carbon tax that would hurt the economy and hurt Canadian families. Canadians do not want to pay more for their gas, groceries, and electricity. They reject the NDP's hidden tax scheme.

When will the NDP leader come clean and admit that his $21 billion carbon tax would hurt Canada's strong economic growth and raise the cost of all goods and services consumed by Canadians?

AbortionStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, since I came to the House, I have seen and heard plenty of Conservative rubbish about abortion.

However, nothing prepared me for the appalling letters that were sent this week. Three Conservative members, male of course, wrote to the RCMP asking them investigate certain instances of abortion that they feel constitute murder. These three pathetic musketeers are out to dismantle women's rights and obviously have not understood that this issue was settled a long time ago.

Threatening women who have opted for this procedure with imprisonment because they can do as they choose with their bodies and labelling them as murderers when they are already in emotional turmoil is irresponsible, dangerous, unworthy of a member of Parliament and downright disgusting.

If the Prime Minister is telling the truth and does not want to reopen this debate, he needs to break his complicit silence and clearly tell these backward-thinking members that this type of action is unacceptable. Otherwise, the weight of their offensive actions will also rest on his shoulders.

Leader of the New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, just the other day, the NDP leader spoke up in the House about job prospects for Canadian students. Without any sense of irony he called on the government to do more to help make jobs available to them. Of course, our government's priority is job creation and economic prosperity. In fact, the Canadian economy has created more than 900,000 net new jobs since the end of the recession. That is the best record of all G7 countries.

What the NDP leader failed to realize is that while he was calling on us to do more to help make jobs available, his cornerstone policy would kill thousands of jobs and put hardworking Canadians out of work. The NDP leader's $21 billion job-killing carbon tax would raise the price of everything from gas to groceries to electricity. His job-killing carbon tax would stop economic growth and put so many Canadians out of work.

Canadian students deserve better than the NDP leader's $21 billion carbon tax that would kill jobs and economic growth. That is why our government will always stand up against this disastrous NDP policy and continue to stand up for Canadian students.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, while Conservative talking points claim otherwise, the reality is that our economy continues to struggle. Growth is stagnating. Debt is mounting. Youth unemployment is still at record highs, and six of the biggest banks had their credit ratings cut. Yesterday, we saw new mass layoffs of hundreds of workers from Best Buy, Future Shop and Sears.

With signs of economic trouble all around, why are the Conservatives not changing direction to deal with these new challenges?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that there are many Canadians looking for work, but there are a lot less than there were just a few short months ago. We have seen 900,000 net new jobs created. That is a very good start, but it is why our party and our government are committed to doing even more to create jobs, hope and opportunity.

We saw in the November economic growth rates a substantial increase in economic growth. We remain committed and focused on even more, so that every Canadian will have the dignity of a job and the pride of being independent.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister does not tell us that employment is still not back up to pre-recession levels. As our slowing economy means more and more Canadians are being laid off and thrown out of work, Conservatives are rigging the system with quotas and bonuses so fewer and fewer people qualify for EI. They have directed staff to treat every EI applicant as if he or she were breaking the rules.

Why are the Conservatives treating unemployed Canadians like fraudsters?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to members that I totally reject the premise of that question.

We have made a number of reforms to employment insurance to ensure we provide people with the skills and supports they need to move into the labour force. That is something that is tremendously important. HRSDC was able to stop $530 million in ineligible payments last year. However, the employment insurance program still lost millions of dollars due to fraud. We have an important responsibility to the workers who paid the premiums to ensure that their taxpayer dollars are used with great respect and responsibility.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. These so-called reforms are actually hurting people. The Conservatives are turning employment insurance denial into a growth industry. What is next? A set of steak knives for the agent who cuts the most people off EI, or maybe bonuses for the longest application delays?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Why have the Conservatives forgotten that EI belongs to the workers who paid into it? When will they stop treating the victims of this economic slowdown as though they were criminals?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have a great deal of respect for the member for Vancouver East. I do not have a lot of respect for that question and the way she put it.

We are making reforms to employment insurance to help more Canadians move from employment insurance back into the labour force so they can provide for themselves and their families the dignity of a job. We provided substantial supports in that regard. There are no quotas; the member opposite is completely wrong. The only people who lose if the opposition stops us from rooting out EI fraud are the hard-working Canadians who are paying the price.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned this morning that Service Canada has employment insurance reduction quotas. We are talking about $40,000 a month per investigator.

The Conservatives believe that all unemployed workers are fraudsters. That is why they are asking staff to cut benefits as much as possible for workers who have paid into employment insurance all their lives and who have just lost their jobs.

Why is the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development treating all unemployed workers like criminals?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. Departmental employees do not have individual quotas.

It should be noted that the department stopped $530 million in ineligible payments last year. However, the employment insurance program still lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of fraud.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the minister does not understand is that Service Canada staff are there to help claimants, not hunt them down like criminals.

Employers and employees pay into employment insurance. It is not another slush fund that the Conservative government can use as it sees fit.

The Prime Minister is meeting with the premier of Quebec today. Can the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs confirm that the issue of quotas will be discussed?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

February 1st, 2013 / 11:20 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the employment insurance program, it is very important to note that, once again, the NDP is supporting the bad guys. If the opposition prevents us from rooting out EI fraud, the only ones to lose out will be the Canadians who are playing by the rules.