House of Commons Hansard #215 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was discrimination.

Topics

Marine Atlantic Inc.Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, this is actually the first question since the 2011 election on Marine Atlantic, so that gives us an idea of how much the NDP actually cares about Marine Atlantic.

In fact, the Conservative Party, under my predecessor, the member for Yellowhead, and the current foreign affairs minister, conducted an investment of capital that allowed Marine Atlantic to acquire new ships and greater capacity. They are on time, and there is faster entrance onto the boats and off the boats. Marine Atlantic—

Marine Atlantic Inc.Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Scarborough Centre.

HousingOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP is at it again, treating hard-earned taxpayer dollars like they simply grow on trees. Last week it released a long list of demands for increased spending that would break the backs and empty the pockets of Canadian families. My constituents are worried. My Conservative colleagues are worried, and everyone else at home should be worried too.

Would the President of the Treasury Board please update the House on how our government is standing up for hard-working Canadian taxpayers?

HousingOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member very much for that pertinent question.

I can tell the House what we do know. We know that the NDP is planning a brand new social program, even though this is on top of the $12 billion the federal government transfers to the provinces each year out of the Canada social transfer. We know that it is on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars the federal government spends on affordable housing and homelessness each and every year. We know that the estimates of the cost of this program would be $5.5 billion.

That is equivalent to a one-point hike in the GST. We cannot allow that to pass.

HousingOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fiction being spouted by the President of the Treasury Board about the cost of my bill does not change the fact that they have been stalling for four years, while millions of Canadian families do not have access to safe, affordable housing. The experts all agree: we need a national housing strategy. The solution is right in front of them; they just need to vote for Bill C-400.

Will the Conservatives support families who need safe, adequate, accessible and affordable housing? Yes or no?

HousingOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, this is on top of the social transfer. This is on top of the hundreds of millions we spend every year on these affordable housing and homelessness programs. Could it be the NDP is desperately trying to find ways to spend the money from its $21 billion carbon tax?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-François Fortin Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, people from eastern Quebec are in Ottawa today to make a clear, reasoned plea and convey the devastating effects of employment insurance reform. Their striking examples of workers and employers who are being penalized illustrate the real-life impact of these new rules. The minister needs to be open-minded and show them some respect. Quebec's labour minister will also meet with the minister today, so the door is wide open.

Will the minister listen, understand and respond to the legitimate requests they are making today and put the reform on hold?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to meeting with the minister and her colleagues this afternoon so that we can get a better understanding of the real impact of the employment insurance changes. The changes were made to help people find another job, a better job that can improve their family's quality of life. That is a good thing. We will continue to work to that end.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the ladies' gallery of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering winner Stephen Cook.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Also with us are the winners of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Steacie Fellowships, the Synergy Awards for Innovation and the Howard Alper, Brockhouse, Polanyi, André Hamer and Gilles Brassard prizes.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Tabling of DocumentsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to table, in both languages, a copy of page 17 of the government's 2009-10 annual report on Government of Canada advertising activities, which shows how much the government spent on advertising between 2002 and 2009. I would ask, subsequent to this, that the President of the Treasury Board apologize for—

Tabling of DocumentsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House?

Tabling of DocumentsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Tabling of DocumentsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is accepted practice in the House that when government members refer to a document for the sake of accountability and transparency, they table that document, under Standing Order 32(2). A number of times the Conservatives referred to a costing study on a New Democrat private member's bill supporting, at last, affordable housing for Canadians. I ask the government to table this document, if it even in fact exists.

Tabling of DocumentsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I have already indicated that this calculation came from HRSDC and I would be happy to provide whatever information is available.

Minister of Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentPrivilegeOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to make a couple of submissions to you on the question of privilege that was raised by the House Leader of the Official Opposition and responded to by the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. My argument has the benefit of being fairly simple. It is not a complicated question.

It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that the question you have to answer is whether a minister who has been economical with the truth, if I may borrow an expression that has been used before, is in fact misleading the House. That is really what it comes down to. There is absolutely no question with respect to the facts that the minister has not been fully transparent with respect to the issue that has been in front of the House for the last several days, which is the question of performance payments made to members of the human resources Service Canada ministry with respect to the repayment of funds in the employment insurance plan.

The minister's categorical statement has been on the one side that there are no quotas, but on the other side that performance targets are an integral part of dealing with the extent of potential employment insurance fraud. It seems to me that the minister has to come clean and that the opposition House leader has in fact raised a point that is not simply a point of debate but rather a point of fact. The government has not revealed and has chosen to obscure the nature of the payment system in the department concerned. The Conservatives have chosen not to give to the House the factual basis upon which they are providing compensation to employees. Instead they are persisting in denying something that is clearly the case.

It is not simply a matter of argument or debate between the opposition parties and the government, but rather it is a question that you, Mr. Speaker, have to answer. That is whether a minister who has told us less than the truth and less than what she knows is in fact misleading the House. That is the important question at hand.

Minister of Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentPrivilegeOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I thank the hon. member for Toronto Centre for the further points on this current question.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

February 27th, 2013 / 3:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 14 petitions.

Government Operations and EstimatesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates in relation to its study of the supplementary estimates (C) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.

Parliamentary Budget Officer ActRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-476, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Parliamentary Budget Officer).

Mr. Speaker, this enactment provides for the appointment of the Parliamentary Budget Officer as an officer of Parliament.

This enactment provides for the appointment of the Parliamentary Budget Officer as an officer of Parliament.

Several years ago when the Conservative Party was in opposition, it told the Canadian public it believed in accountability. This was supposed to be one of the answers to a long-standing problem that had been posed by a series of Liberal governments that refused to give people real numbers on the budget. We got an extraordinary Parliamentary Budget Officer. Unfortunately, he has been muzzled ever since by the Conservatives, has been shut down and has had his budget reduced.

We want to ensure that people understand this is a priority for the NDP, but we do not want to wait for the formation of the first NDP government in 2015 to bring it in. We want to ensure it is in place right away, based on the model of the Congressional Budget Office in the United States.

We believe it is a model that should be put in place. When we form the government in 2015, we hope that the official opposition, whichever party may form it, will have a Parliamentary Budget Officer who is free to do his or her work, worthy of his or her role and able to provide real information to parliamentarians on behalf of the Canadians who have contributed the funds that have to be examined here for budgetary purposes.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Organ Donor Registry ActRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-477, An Act to establish the Pan-Canadian Organ Donor Registry and to coordinate and promote organ donation throughout Canada.

Mr. Speaker, there is an absolute need for a national donor registry right across the country. There are a number of provinces that do not have donor registries at all. This would combine all that information so folks would not have to wait for donors.

Now there are literally 4,000 transplant recipients across the country waiting for an organ donor. In some cases, for certain types of donors, 80% of that donor tissue is coming from the United States. This would rectify the issue. Whether folks lived on the Atlantic coast, the Pacific coast or the Arctic coast, they would be on a registry and would get matched. Then we would not see the issue of donors who wished to give that material not have it get to the appropriate recipient simply because the information was not there. The bill is about that.

I would point out that the Canadian Blood Services supports it. The Canadian Transplant Association has also said there is need for this as a bigger picture of how to do donor transplants across the country. I would appreciate the support of the House.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons ActRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-478, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (increasing parole ineligibility).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today and table the Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act, which would amend section 745 of the Criminal Code.

I want to empower courts with the ability to increase parole ineligibility when sentencing individuals who have abducted, sexually assaulted and killed our innocent and most vulnerable from the current 25 years to a maximum of 40 years.

This bill is not about creating stiffer penalties for sadistic murderers. These depraved convicts do not qualify for parole. My bill is about saving families of the victims from having to go through the agony of attending unnecessary and traumatic parole hearings.

In all the research that our office has done, we have discovered that these murderers, these sadistic individuals, have never been granted parole. Thus, these hearings are unnecessary. What we want to do through the bill is give the judge the discretionary powers to make a recommendation to the jury, and also in the sentencing process, to award a period of parole ineligibility that is increased from 25 years to 40 years.

When Justice Hughes was sentencing David Threinen in 1976, he said that Threinen should never again be on the streets and roadways of our country.

We know from the families who have to go through these parole hearings that convicts use these hearings to terrorize families. Gary Rosenfeldt, the stepfather of one of Clifford Olson's victims, said in 2006, “What's really horrendous about this is this is only the beginning. We're going to have to do this every two years as long as Olson lives. And this is a very, very painful experience for myself, my family”.

When we pass my bill, it will help those families to not have to deal with those experiences over and over again when it is completely unnecessary.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

An Act to Bring Fairness for the Victims of Violent OffendersRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-479, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (fairness for victims).

Mr. Speaker, it is with mixed feelings that I table An Act to Bring Fairness for the Victims of Violent Offenders. I am happy because the bill will bring comfort to thousands of victims for many years to come. What is weighing on my heart are powerful observations and emotions from my experiences attending National Parole Board hearings at the request of a constituent whose sister, niece and nephew were brutally murdered by a violent offender.

From this first-hand experience and others come a number of solutions in this private member's bill to enshrine the voice of victims in law and modernize the Corrections and Conditional Release Act so that victims do not have to relive their pain each year.

I ask for the support of all hon. members to bring these changes about.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)