House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was service.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Canadian ForcesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, my friend brings up a very good point. The numbers fluctuate in Veterans Affairs. There will be 6,000 new veterans coming out in the next couple of years. Younger veterans may not need the services right now. They might need them in five, ten, or fifteen years. They have not even gone to Veterans Affairs for any help, but perhaps they will go to Veterans Affairs for help. The numbers fluctuate.

When the Conservatives say that there are fewer war-time veterans, that is true. They are decreasing every year, and that is a sad and unfortunate fact. The fact of the matter is that there are lots of veterans coming up, in both the RCMP and the armed forces, who will be taking their places as they age.

Opposition Motion—Canadian ForcesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask a question, because I am the granddaughter of three World War II veterans. I stand because I am quite offended by some of the comments being made about the ability of our government to serve these veterans.

I know of many veterans, including my grandmother, who passed away a few years ago, who struggled under a Liberal government to make ends meet. Under the Conservative government, $4.7 billion has been provided so that we can care for our veterans and give them the dignified lives they deserve. On every single occasion, that member voted against that funding. He voted against disability award funding. He voted against funeral and burial service funding. Today he insults Service Canada members who are going to provide service to our veterans.

I ask that the member explain why he voted against $4.7 billion to our veterans.

Opposition Motion—Canadian ForcesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak for the Liberal government before, as the minister started to chat about.

I think the minister missed the whole point of what I was trying to say. I am not sure if she caught the whole thing. What I was trying to explain to this House is that we are talking about front-line services. We are talking about services that are disappearing for future vets, particularly for wartime veterans.

One of the things that should not be changed for someone who is trying to live independently, someone who is 93 years old and is a World War II vet, is the rules. The services that have always been provided should continue to be provided.

The minister intimated that I was dissing Service Canada staff. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, the government has cut Service Canada staff. It is cutting Service Canada staff, then it is going to train one of them in veterans affairs. We have already heard from a Liberal member that the training is not there or is not adequate. Service Canada staff will continue to work as hard as they can with the limited resources the government is giving them.

Opposition Motion—Canadian ForcesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The time for government orders has expired.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, farmers have demonstrated what they are capable of by producing a huge record crop this year. That should be good news, but right now, it frankly does not look like good news.

Less than a year ago, some wheat sold for over $9.00 a bushel. Good stuff. However, now farmers are being offered under $4.00 a bushel for the same quality of wheat. Market forces certainly can explain part of that, but not all of it.

The problem is that we do not have a competitive market when it comes to shipping grain. Farmers are captive shippers who are at the mercy of CN and CP, whichever line runs through their area. They have no choice. I have been told that grain companies are taking of advantage of that by buying grain at fire-sale prices and still selling it at much higher prices into the world market.

The agriculture minister has been doing a lot of work on that and has done a good job. However, it is time for railways to up their game, and it is time for grain companies to complete their sales to allow farmers to get closer to the world price for their hard-earned crops.

Underground RailroadStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Niagara region played an important role in the Underground Railroad. Niagara's Freedom Trail was a network of people, like Harriet Tubman, who hid and guided slaves as they fled the United States and went to Canada.

For hundreds of slaves in the 1820s, St. Catharines was the final station on this long journey to freedom. In Welland, a hotel known as The Traveler's House employed approximately 10 escaped slaves as woodcutters. One of these men, Jim Wilson, had escaped from Missouri following the Civil War and had worked his way north by boat, foot, and train for more than a year before he finally crossed the suspension bridge in Niagara Falls and settled in Welland.

On February 11, a partnership between the Welland Museum and the Welland Public Library will see a collection of artifacts and books on the Underground Railroad put on display at the library's main branch. The event will also include a short presentation by the museum and will give participants the opportunity to share their own stories and to discuss the events of this important part of our region's history.

As Black History Month approaches in February, I applaud the work of the Welland Museum and the Welland Public Library in their efforts to bring this history to life.

Flora ThibodeauStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to honour the life of Flora Thibodeau, who recently passed away at the age of 112. Flora held the distinction of being Canada's oldest natural born citizen and the 17th oldest person in the world.

Born in March 1901, Flora was the mother of seven children and was a widow at a young age. She was also a dedicated teacher for six years before she became the first female bank manager of the local Caisse populaire.

I had the pleasure of knowing Flora personally and witnessed first-hand her passion for life and her fiercely independent nature. She was a pillar of the tight-knit Acadian community of Rogersville, where her door was always open to visitors. She will be greatly missed.

I want to express my deepest sympathies to her family and friends and to all of those who will mourn our great loss.

Sealing IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today wearing seal to support this year's Seal Day on the Hill and the Canadian sealing industry.

The sealing industry is vital to the families who live and work in many northern regions of our country. We are proud global leaders in implementing best practices and ensuring sustainability for the sealing resource. My family has depended on the seal for many generations for food, clothes, and medicine, as have most northern aboriginal families.

Liberals will continue to fight against those who spin misinformation and try to buy people's livelihoods with campaigns that are misguided and false. That is a shameful example to be followed by anyone.

Irene AndersonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to pay tribute to a true Canadian pioneer, Irene Anderson.

Irene was born on the family farm at Green Ridge, Manitoba, in 1910. She enjoyed growing up on the farm and loved horses. Irene worked in the general store and in 1937 moved to Pine Falls, Manitoba, to work for Northern Store. There she was courted by a Scottish immigrant, George Anderson, and married him in 1938.

Never to back down from a challenge or adventure, Irene and George transferred with the Hudson's Bay Company to Churchill and then went to Tavani, Northwest Territories until 1942. The Hudson's Bay Company moved them to Baffin Island. They ran the trading post an Pangnirtung until 1947 and then the store at Lake Harbour.

In 1952, with three young kids, Irene and George left the Hudson's Bay Company and bought a store in Inglis, Manitoba. An opportunity arose in Manitoba's beautiful Whiteshell, and they moved to Pointe du Bois in 1960. Irene operated that store for 31 years. She retired at the age of 81 and moved to Winnipeg. Irene treasured her memories and artifacts from her time in the Arctic and loved sharing them with family and friends, including my daughter's class.

We lost a beautiful piece of Canadiana on December 27, when Irene passed away at the age of 103. I thank Grandma for being such an inspiration.

Gilbert BoulangerStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, I want to pay tribute to Gilbert Boulanger, a Second World War veteran who just passed away at the age of 91. He was nicknamed “l'Alouette”, after his squadron.

During the Second World War, he was a gunner because he did not know how to fly the plane. He participated in 37 bombing missions, including two on the day of the Normandy invasion. After the war, he achieved his dream of becoming a pilot and devoted his life to his passion for aviation.

However, Gilbert Boulanger's pet cause was to promote the remembrance of veterans among Quebeckers and Canadians. He always considered himself to be the spokesman for his comrades in arms, who were far too often forgotten. He received a number of distinctions and decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the 1939-45 Star and the Air Crew Europe Star. He was a pacifist at heart and once said, “I went to war, but I am not a warrior. We won the war, but we still have not won peace”.

The “Alouette affolée”, or crazy bird, took his last flight on December 31, 2013. Let us celebrate this extraordinary man and his contribution to the duty of remembrance that should inhabit us all.

Winter Olympic GamesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the two local skaters who will be competing in the pairs program next month in the Sochi Winter Olympics. Rudi Swiegers and Paige Lawrence have been skating together since 2005, and I am proud to say that they train in Virden, Manitoba, under their experienced coach, Mrs. Patti Hole. In fact, the town of Virden gathered on Tuesday evening to wish them all the best in their Olympic experience.

Just recently, Patti Hole said that it was a huge feat for small-town athletes, proving that they don't need to move to bigger cities to get to the world's largest stage. She also said that we have given hope to small-town kids that live out in the middle of nowhere that anything is possible.

Patti is right. From hockey players to curlers, figure skaters, and even skeleton racers, our Olympic athletes from rural Canada continue to shine on the world stage, as exemplified here by the accomplishments of Rudi and Paige.

I know all members of this House will be cheering them on in Sochi. Go, Canada, go.

Health AwardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, every day, countless Canadians accomplish exceptional feats for their communities and for their country. Dr. Aroha Page, a national health care leader in my riding, is no exception.

Earlier this month, I was proud to recognize her with the national Nursing Faculty e-Health Award, sponsored by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing and Canada Health Infoway.

Dr. Page is a world leader in health care projects. She has been working with 91 Canadian universities and colleges to implement a new digital health curriculum. This will be the first time digital health is introduced to Canada's health curriculum, to ensure that Canadians have the best care and treatment. It is the passion, leadership, and hard work of people like Dr. Page that strengthen our communities and help make Canada the great place it is.

Colleagues in the House, please join me in recognizing Dr. Page and, indeed, all of the unsung leaders across Canada who dedicate themselves and their work to their neighbours, community, and country.

City of JolietteStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Francine Raynault NDP Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, I attended a commemorative mass at the cathedral in Joliette in celebration of the 150th anniversary of this wonderful community. We were once again treated to the polished sounds of Joliette's Choeur du Musée d'art, a 40-member choir directed by Philippe Bourque.

Joliette is located in the heart of the Lanaudière region and is a veritable gateway to culture in the region: it is home to an art museum, a renowned classical music festival and a trailblazing CEGEP, and it is the cradle of traditional music. The list goes on, but what I love most about Joliette is its people. They are hard-working and open. They are concerned about the environment and they support one another.

Today, and every day, I am proud to be from Joliette. I am sure that the House will join me in simply saying, happy anniversary, Joliette.

Lunar New YearStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Chungsen Leung Conservative Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the last day of the Year of the Snake in the lunar calendar. Tomorrow, we welcome the Year of the Horse.

The lunar new year has become one of the most widely celebrated holidays in Canada, as millions of Canadians, including those of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean heritage, gather with family and friends to ring in the new year this evening. Many communities will put on events featuring lion and dragon dances, giving out red envelopes of lucky money, and enjoying multi-course meals. I encourage all Canadians to participate in these festivities and share in the diversity of our multicultural communities.

According to the Chinese zodiac, each one of the 12 years is dedicated to a specific animal and this year, it is the Year of the Horse. People born in the Year of the Horse are said to be energetic, active, hardworking, and elegant.

On behalf of the government, I wish all Canadians a happy, healthy, and prosperous Year of the Horse.

[Member spoke in Mandarin as follows:]

Xin nian kuai le.

And in Cantonese:

[Member spoke in Cantonese as follows:]

Sun nien fai lok.

InfrastructureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, looking back at the past year, it is clear to my community of Surrey that the government has ignored our needs.

In 2013, there were 25 murders in Surrey, the highest number in many years. Our officers were promised federal resources to protect our neighbourhoods, yet the cost of the new B.C. RCMP headquarters was thrust upon the communities. Unfortunately, the buck does not stop there.

The Conservatives have also dodged their responsibilities regarding infrastructure development in our communities. Surrey's transportation network is inadequate. The Skytrain only serves part of the city, and many of our roads and bridges are in desperate need of attention, including the 75-year-old Pattullo Bridge.

Municipalities only receive 8% of the tax revenue, yet they are responsible for 60% of infrastructure development. Cities cannot handle these financial burdens.

It is obvious that the government has not kept its resolution and is not committed to the priorities of Canadians. Let us hope 2014 shows better results.

Alzheimer Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Conservative Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and Canadians that January is Alzheimer Awareness Month.

My father suffered from Alzheimer's toward the end of his life. That is why I am proud that our government is taking meaningful action to support Canadians living with this disease. For example, since 2006, it has invested more than $860 million in neuroscience research.

This includes $100 million in research funded through the Brain Cancer Foundation and $182 million funded through the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, to support Alzheimer's-related projects across our country.

Last month, our great Minister of Health participated in the G8 dementia summit in the U.K. Our government is taking a leadership role on this issue. We are committed to funding world-class research and raising awareness to assist all Canadians living with this terrible disease.

Lunar New YearStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, tonight marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year. It is a time when families gather to celebrate, to give thanks for good fortune, and to hope for a prosperous new year.

In my riding of Vancouver Quadra, celebrations kicked off last Saturday at the University of British Columbia, with the University Neighbourhoods Association's Lunar New Year celebration. This was a wonderful event featuring singers, dancers, and athletes from the community. People had a great time, and I was delighted to be part of it.

Tonight is Lunar New Year's Eve. Together with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, we will count down the new year later tonight with a celebration in Richmond, B.C., with fireworks and the banging of pots and pans to scare away the beast called Nian that comes at the new year. To celebrate, there will be drums, gongs, and lion dances. Children will dress in their finest new clothes to honour their elders, and they will receive hong bao, lucky money, in return.

I wish our Asian friends, and all Canadians, a happy, prosperous, and healthy Lunar New Year.

Lunar New YearStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I would remind the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra that she should refer to our colleagues by their ridings or titles not by their proper names.

The hon. member for Yukon.

Seal Day on the HillStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, today is Seal Day on the Hill, and I invite all parliamentarians to join us in the Speaker's dining room at 3:30 p.m. today to sample some meat and enjoy a seal-product fashion show.

I am proud to reaffirm that our government will continue to defend the seal hunt as an important source of food and income for coastal and Inuit communities.

Sealing plays a vital role in the lives of tens of thousands of Canadians, and Canada remains steadfast in its position that the seal harvest is humane, sustainable, and a well-regulated activity. We will continue to advance that position while fighting the European Union and the seal ban with the World Trade Organization. We will continue to stand behind the sealing industry, to ensure that our traditional industries remain a strong and sustainable part of our rural and northern communities.

I encourage all parliamentarians to show their support for the seal industry at today's events.

VeteransStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, we knew that the Conservatives could be heartless, but we never would have thought that they would stoop so low in their treatment of veterans.

Veterans have a simple request: do not close service centres. These brave men and women, who put their lives in danger for our country, are not asking for the moon. They are simply asking to be treated with respect and to have access to decent services.

What was the Minister of Veterans Affairs' response to this? He put on a real show of poor taste and bad manners. He showed up an hour late to the meeting and insulted those who dared make demands. Then he showed up here with his crocodile tears over his lateness, hoping everyone would forget. Veterans have not forgotten. They are still angry with the minister, and his anti-union diatribe will not change anything.

I remind members that this is the same minister who said that the problem with Haiti was that there was too much garbage in the streets, and this is the same prime minister who decided that it would be a good idea to have this genius in charge of our veterans.

Our veterans deserve better, better than this minister's insults and lack of respect.

Canal ClassicStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker,

MPs took to the ice and were surprised at the friends they were keeping.
There were MPs from all parties joining together in full force,
To take on members of the media party, of course.
Thanks to Canadian Tire for the chance to take part,
It was to help less advantaged kids, Canadian Tire Jump Start.
It was MPs from all parties who took to the ice,
One person did say, “That MP from Ottawa Centre is actually nice”.
The NDP's best was a former soldier, who on the ice did sail,
It was to no one's surprise that NDP player was female.
Our captain from Barrie did lead us. “He is really good”, cheered one young lass.
The Minister of Justice did say, “Yeah, sure, but we just wish he would pass”.
It was the media's enforcer, CBC's Solomon, who did cross check from behind,
From the ice I could hear Evan say, “I want to confirm, the CBC is really not kind”.
It was Senator Munson who looked unsure as if in a dream,
It was then he said, “I am not sure who to play for, because yesterday my leader kicked me off the team”.
At game's end our hero rose, his hands in the air, as he fired the puck into the netty.
That shoot-out goal will be remembered forever as a Pacetti.

VeteransOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, will the Prime Minister support the New Democratic Party motion to keep veterans' service centres open?

Failing the personal vote of the Prime Minister, will he at least allow his members of Parliament a free vote as to whether or not we should keep open the service centres for our brave veterans?

VeteransOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Veterans Affairs Canada is constantly looking for ways to improve service delivery to our members, to the vets who need those services. All veterans requiring personal support will continue to be visited by their case managers at their home, and as well we have some 650 service points for veterans in Service Canada offices throughout the land.

VeteransOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister realize that from Corner Brook, one of the offices being closed, to St. John's is an eight-hour drive in good weather, that it is not true that there will be home visits for all these veterans, and that it is grossly unacceptable to be shutting down services to our veterans when we have lost eight of them to suicide in the last two months?

VeteransOral Questions

January 30th, 2014 / 2:20 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we all are very deeply saddened by the suicides, but I think it is patently unfair to connect those unfortunate circumstances to the office closures.

We do intend to keep on working on these issues to ensure that, whether veterans need immediate service and to be visited by a caseworker, that continues, along with their opportunity to access a local service centre office very, very close by, where veterans' issues will be dealt with at that point.