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House of Commons Hansard #214 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was municipalities.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Federal Infrastructure PlanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this member would know full well that our government has made record investments into Newfoundland and Labrador in terms of infrastructure. We have recently assisted with their new hydroelectric power aspirations in Newfoundland and Labrador, and I know that is very important to that province. We bought new ferries to provide for people who need to navigate between Newfoundland and the mainland, and we are proud of that.

The member seemed quite outraged at points in his speech. I know I was outraged and disappointed when I heard his comments about how he thought his pension should be enriched for being a member of Parliament in this place. That is out of touch with most Canadians, but I think he is also out of touch when it comes to infrastructure investment. No party has pledged more in infrastructure dollars than this government under this Prime Minister, and that member's party has voted against it each and every time.

Opposition Motion—Federal Infrastructure PlanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member across the floor brought up a number of different points. The first point was about Muskrat Falls, the hydro development in Labrador, which we voted for because that is a good clean energy deal that is good for Newfoundland and Labrador, is good for the Maritimes and is good for this country.

The hon. member across the way talks about infrastructure spending by the government; it is failing miserably at infrastructure investment.

I mentioned in my speech about boil water advisories. At any one time, we have between 100 and 150 communities in Newfoundland and Labrador that have boil water advisories because they cannot afford to fix the problems they have.

When the member talked about infrastructure he mentioned new ferries. He did not mention the fact that a round trip for me and my car, including an overnight berth, on one of those ferries costs $560 and will be increasing by 4% on April 1. He did not mention any of that because it would point to the fact that the Conservatives are failing miserably on infrastructure.

Opposition Motion—Federal Infrastructure PlanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am from Newfoundland and Labrador as well. One of the most common complaints about the system we have regards the lack of flexibility for the smallest of communities to invest. Not only do they have to contend with the fact that they only get 8¢ on the dollar in revenues, but also their municipal grants have been going down. However, when it comes to the gas tax itself, a lot of it is very stringent in the way it is to be spent. Therefore, they do not have that flexibility in cases of need.

Would the hon. member comment on the need for flexibility within smaller communities?

Opposition Motion—Federal Infrastructure PlanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member makes a very good point.

I had a conversation last night with the president of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador. I asked him for advice again on points that he wanted me to bring up in this speech. One of his points was the fact that towns want to get away from application-based funding and want to have more flexibility with respect to the funding they do receive.

That is a very good point. The municipalities, and especially the small towns, need more flexibility without so many terms and conditions tied to the money they receive.

Opposition Motion—Federal Infrastructure PlanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague from St. John's South—Mount Pearl this. Does he see any kind of opportunity for a green, sustainable economy that piggybacks on the emphasis on healthy communities and economic infrastructure?

Could it be that while focusing on infrastructure we also have an opportunity in front of us, where crumbling inadequate systems have to be replaced; in a country where we are in the dark ages when it comes to railway; where energy grids need to be upgraded but we have to do it in a green way; an opportunity for green procurement where we kickstart technology, construction and technology sectors all at the same time? Is there a huge opportunity here as well as a need?

Opposition Motion—Federal Infrastructure PlanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, I like to believe that Newfoundland and Labrador is leading the way in this country in terms of green energy and green technology.

In one of my answers a moment ago, I mentioned Muskrat Falls, half of the Lower Churchill development. Basically, the green energy that will be brought on stream is one way in which we are leading the country.

Opposition Motion—Federal Infrastructure PlanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There will be five minutes remaining for questions and comments after question period.

We will now move on to statements by members. The hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie.

Ted BrooksStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bryan Hayes Conservative Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, a well known community leader, Ted Brooks, passed away on December 4, leaving a huge void in my riding of Sault Ste. Marie.

Ted was the proud owner and founder of Eazy Express, a company that grew to be the largest contractor for Canada Post in Canada.

Ted was fondly recognized in the community through his numerous philanthropic involvements, including sponsorship of team Eazy Express, who will be representing northern Ontario for the fourth consecutive year at this year's Brier.

Last week I had the pleasure to host community volunteers from Habitat for Humanity and St. Vincent Place at a local Soo Greyhound game in the Eazy Express suite, courtesy of Ted's wife, JoAnne.

Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the local Chamber of Commerce president's award for going above and beyond the call of duty in business and community development, Ted was never someone to seek recognition. He was content to work quietly behind the scenes.

I was honoured to enjoy a close friendship with Ted, who was also my campaign manager. I am indebted to Ted. He will be deeply missed.

Champlain BridgeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the new Champlain Bridge will be the most important initiative in my riding and my region. It should include LRT. The mayors of Brossard, Longueuil, Boucherville, Saint-Bruno, Saint-Lambert and Montreal all agree. More importantly, the people are on board.

The choice of the public transit system is of provincial jurisdiction, but the federal government has a key role to play. Quebec and municipalities must have the necessary funds.

The minister keeps saying, “No toll, no bridge”. But the people in my riding still have many questions. Who gets the profits? Will the toll pay for public transit? Will there be tolls on all the south shore bridges?

The new Champlain Bridge is a wonderful opportunity to build two new bridges at the same time. The first would be a link between the south shore and the island of Montreal and the second, between the federal government and the people.

Scouting MovementStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell you about the video made by people involved in the St-Étienne-de-Lauzon Scouts, an organization in my riding. The video is posted on the official Scouts Canada site.

Every year, more than 125 young people in my riding, and Scouts across Canada, have the opportunity to participate in a movement that emphasizes sharing, respect, adventure, teamwork and family. The Grande tournée du bonheur is an event that reflects the wonderful values of this movement. The scouting movement helps develop leadership skills and a sense of community; it ignites and reignites passions.

The scouting movement was established in Canada 45 years ago. Every year, during Scouting Week, we celebrate the wonderful success of the movement founded by Robert Baden-Powell and his wife, Olave.

I am very proud to highlight the outstanding contributions of everyone involved with the young Beavers and Brownies in Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.

We can never say it enough: our young people are our greatest treasure.

Young People Affected by Huntington's DiseaseStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Catherine Price from Fortune in my riding of Random—Burin—St. George's.

When Catherine was 10 years old, her grandmother passed away after a long battle with Huntington's disease, a neurodegenerative genetic disorder. Ten years later, a student at Memorial University, she actively fundraises and promotes awareness of the disease as a member of the organization, Young People Affected by Huntington's Disease.

After volunteering with the national organization for a year, Catherine created a provincial wing.

In June 2011, she put her leadership skills to work as one of five members of YPAHD representing Canada at the Huntington's Disease Society of America's national convention in Minnesota. While there, Catherine attended the first international youth meeting with 21 other young people from 10 countries.

Catherine has received the Dean Grain Memorial Award for her unique and lasting contributions to the development of the Huntington Society of Canada.

I ask all members to join me in recognizing the tremendous advocacy work by Catherine Price.

Office of Religious FreedomStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate our Prime Minister for keeping our Conservative government's promise to create the Office of Religious Freedom. This office will stand up to the terrible cruelty of religious persecution.

Around the world, violations of religious freedom are widespread, and they are increasing. In Iran, Baha'is and Christians face harassment, imprisonment and, in some cases, death.

In Pakistan, Christian, Sikhs and Hindus are vulnerable to persecution and violence.

In China, Christians who worship outside government-approved boundaries are driven underground and their leaders are arrested and detained, their churches burned down.

Shia Muslims in Iraq, Coptic Christians in Egypt, Christians at worship in Nigeria, the list appallingly goes on and on.

Elsewhere we watch in horror as sanctuaries are destroyed and believers are attacked and, in some cases, slaughtered. In the face of these injustices, Canada has not been silent. We wish Canada's first ambassador of religious freedom, Dr. Andrew Bennett, success monitoring and promoting religious freedom around the world.

Workplace SafetyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, no one should leave their home in the morning wondering whether today is the day that they die at work, but in our country three people are killed on the job every working day. Tragically, left behind are families and friends who are devastated by the loss of their loved one.

Thankfully, since 2003, they have been able to turn to Threads of Life, a national charity that is dedicated to helping Canadians who have been affected by a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease. Threads of Life provides a network of hope and healing to more than 1,200 families and champions of workplace health and safety.

On May 5, in more than 30 communities across Canada, people will walk in Steps for Life to support Threads of Life families. I am thrilled to be the honorary chair of the 2013 Steps for Life walk in Hamilton. My hope is that soon such walks will not be necessary. We all know there is no such thing as a workplace accident. Every single occupational fatality and disease is preventable.

What we need is labour legislation with teeth. I urge the Conservatives to act on that now. I hope all MPs will visit stepsforlife.ca to see how they can help. It is a matter of life and death.

Scouts CanadaStatements By Members

February 26th, 2013 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Chungsen Leung Conservative Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to stand and mark Scouts Day on the Hill.

Scouts Canada is the country's leading youth organization, offering exciting programs for boys, girls and young adults from age 5 to 26. The Scouts' mission is to contribute to the education of young people through a value system based on the Scout promise and law to build a better world where people are self-fulfilled and play a constructive, meaningful role in society.

Scouts Canada is also developing Canada's leaders of tomorrow. It empowers youth by providing opportunities to take on leadership roles, starting as young as eight years old.

Scouts also volunteer to build their communities. Whether it is a food drive, painting a community centre or helping out at a shelter, a Scout is there to help.

Today Scouts Canada is a highly diverse, co-ed organization with more than 100,000 members nationwide, representing every religion and culture.

L'Association des scouts du Canada provides scouting activities to more than 17,000 francophone youth from coast to coast to coast.

On behalf of Scouts Canada, I remind all members of the reception being hosted today by the hon. Speaker—

Scouts CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has taken strong steps to ensure that dangerous individuals are kept behind bars where they belong.

Canadians agree with our common sense reforms, like ending the misguided practice of giving two-for-one credit for time served before trial. However, not content to simply oppose these measures, the NDP made wild allegations that one bill alone would cost $19 billion because of the new prisons that would need to be built.

Clearly, nothing could be further from the truth. We announced the closing of two prisons in order to save taxpayers' money.

Yesterday, in main estimates, there were significant reductions in the cost of prisons due to the influx of new prisoners not materializing.

The thrust of our tough on crime agenda is to ensure that dangerous and repeat offenders are kept behind bars where they belong. We are not creating new criminals; we are simply stopping the revolving door of the justice system.

Kizuna ProjectStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, this Friday, 20 students from Malvern Collegiate are headed to Japan, courtesy of the Japanese government.

The Kizuna project is intended to promote a better understanding of Japan's post-quake recovery efforts and seal the bonds of friendship between our two countries.

To the kids, I offer my respect for embracing this opportunity to see and understand not just the devastation but, importantly, the triumph of the Japanese people over that disaster.

I offer my thanks, too, because what they learn from the Japanese people about their spiritual and political resilience in the face of adversity will be invaluable to all of us when it is the students' turn to lead here at home.

I offer my thanks to Principal Pinard, Vice-Principal Santos and Mr. Jonathan Jones for their obvious love of teaching, education, kids and adventure.

I reserve my deepest thanks for the Government of Japan and the people of the Miyagi prefecture for providing this invaluable opportunity to these young Canadians.

International TradeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, as our economy continues to rebound from the global economic downturn, it is important to note that nearly 65% of Canada's economy depends on trade, and one in five Canadian jobs are generated through exports.

That is why our government is advancing the most ambitious pro-trade plan in Canadian history, to help create jobs in Canada and grow the Canadian economy. This includes looking at alternative markets for our energy products and making sure that our energy products are developed in an environmentally responsible way, but also understanding that Canada's economy benefits from trade, benefits from increased markets for our products.

I think it is so important, and I implore my colleagues opposite, while they talk about how trade agreements might not be in the best interest of our country, to seriously consider supporting our trade agreements.

This is so important and vital for Canada's economy. Rather than opposing agreements, such as the Canada-Jordan free trade agreement, I encourage my colleagues opposite to support free trade in this country.

Awards for HeroismStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, some people show remarkable courage and heroism in the face of life-threatening danger. This is true of four people in my riding who were recognized for their bravery by the Quebec justice minister at yesterday's prix Hommage au civisme ceremony.

In May 2011, Marie-Ève Paquin, Robert J. Brown and Lucien Flamand did not hesitate to risk their lives to help a 12-year-old girl who was being attacked by three pit bulls in the streets of La Sarre. The two men were seriously bitten many times, but they still managed to save the young girl's life.

In August 2011, Marjorie Caron jumped into the water to save a teenager from drowning, without any thought for her own safety.

Under difficult circumstances, these brave individuals risked their lives to perform these extraordinary acts of courage. On behalf of Abitibi—Témiscamingue and the members of this House, I would like to thank them and commend them for their bravery.

InfrastructureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, no government in history has provided more investments to improve infrastructure, reduce gridlock and create jobs than our government. It was us who delivered timely, targeted stimulus when Canadians most needed work. It was us who rolled out the historic $33-billion building Canada plan. It was us who doubled the gas tax fund from $1 billion to $2 billion and made it a permanent annual transfer to our provinces and cities. It was us who invested over $5 billion in transit infrastructure in cities and communities from coast to coast to coast.

Our unprecedented action is absolutely with no thanks to the NDP. In fact, New Democrats have voted against every infrastructure investment in Canada over the last seven years. Quite frankly, their motion today is a little too late, and we refuse to be lectured by a party that stood in the way of the largest infrastructure investment in Canadian history.

Claudette BoyerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was with great sadness that I attended a funeral service today honouring Claudette Boyer, a friend and ally for 35 years in both the Francophonie and Liberalism. She passed away on February 17 at the age of 75.

She began honing her skills in education as a teacher and a committed activist. She was the first francophone woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. A tireless worker and committed volunteer, she helped many community organizations and headed up the Association des communautés francophones d'Ottawa, or ACFO, from 2007 until her death.

Sadly, she passed away just four days before ACFO Ottawa's Bernard Grandmaître awards gala. This annual event recognizes remarkable francophones and francophiles. At this year's event, however, the most glowing tribute of all was paid to Claudette.

On behalf of the residents of Ottawa–Vanier, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the children of Claudette and her late husband Jean-Robert Boyer—Pierre, Michel and Julie—as well as their grandchildren and her entire family.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the NDP is scheming to ruin our economy by implementing a $20-billion job-killing carbon tax for Canadian families, our government is focusing on what matters to Canadians: jobs and economic growth.

Thanks to our Conservative government, Canada has the lowest debt burden by far, and we have the strongest job creation record in the G7, with over 900,000 net new jobs since July 2009. No wonder the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Association recently said, “The government’s policies with respect to taxes, technology, trade, training, and transformation are extremely important in setting the stage for the growth of advanced manufacturing industries in Canada”.

While we are working on making our economy stronger, the NDP's job-killing carbon tax would raise the price of gas, food, electricity and everything else. Our government will continue to protect Canadians from the NDP's reckless economic policies.

The SenateStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are cutting public services like crazy. Aboriginal Affairs will be cut by $480 million and CIDA by $471 million. VIA Rail Canada will lose 60% of its budget.

In the meantime, the budget of that relic we call the Senate continues to increase. Just ask any Canadian, regardless of their age or province, whether it is better to spend money on services and job creation or on an outdated institution like the Senate.

No one would choose to squander public funds on people who are unable to fill out a form and who just approve Conservative policies without even reading them. In fact, only the Liberals and Conservatives continue to feel entitled to have their parties' fundraisers subsidized by taxpayers.

While the Conservative expense scandal is heating up, with Senator Wallin—who did nothing wrong in the Prime Minister's eyes—having to pay back thousands of dollars, the Conservatives are nonetheless going to increase the Senate's overall budget while reducing that of the office of the Senate ethics officer.

The NDP has had enough of senators who cheat. In 2015, we are going to put a stop to this.

The New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, as the days grow longer and temperatures slowly get warmer, we can feel the optimism of Canadians around us that spring is finally on its way. However, despite the warming of their spirits and the air around them, Canadians are still as cold as ever to the idea of a $20-billion NDP carbon tax. Who could blame them?

A new tax would literally raise the price on everything, cutting into the budgets of Canadian families from coast to coast to coast, families that are already feeling financial pressure. A new tax would diminish disposable income, limiting the choices of Canadians and what they could afford. A new tax would place a significant burden on our seniors and veterans who are living on fixed incomes.

That being said, there is one idea that my constituents and Canadians across the country are warm to. It is the government's low-tax plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when a Conservative minister in the Mulroney government phoned a judge about a case he was considering, he was dropped from cabinet. When a Liberal minister wrote to the CRTC about a case before it, he was dropped from cabinet. Recently, when the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs wrote to the Tax Court about a case before it, he was dropped from cabinet.

The Ethics Commissioner has made a determination that the Minister of Finance used his title as finance minister to write to the CRTC about a case before it. What excuse has the Prime Minister come up with to not apply that strong tradition of this Parliament to the finance minister?