House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was million.


Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Nonsense. That is not true.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is the truth. They might not like it, but it is the truth.

That is the Conservatives' financial management.

What about the economy? Well, one of the biggest driving forces we have for jobs today is small business. We need to invest in small businesses. We need to encourage growth within those industries.

One of the ways we can tell whether Canada is doing well economically is to look at our trade with other countries. To do that, let us again go back to Paul Martin when he was prime minister. He handed the Conservative government a multi-billion dollar trade surplus. The Liberal Party has a long history of being progressive in achieving good trade agreements. One of the most successful ones was back in the 1960s with the automobile industry. We have a long record of recognizing the value and importance of international trade.

What did the Conservatives do, even though they talk about the trade agreements they are signing? The Conservatives took that healthy multi-billion dollar trade surplus and turned it into a trade deficit of billions of dollars. What does that mean? We are talking about tens of thousands of jobs that have been denied.

When one wants to balance the books one needs to take a different approach.

The approach the Conservative government is taking today is not the approach the Liberal Party of Canada would take. We believe in Canadians. We believe in small business. We recognize that the best way to balance the books is through the promotion of growth in the economy. If the economy grows, so does government revenue, and there is a reduction in dependency on government programs that cost money.

The key thing here is to encourage and develop good, solid, sound policies that encourage growth to take place. If we are successful, the economy will grow. That is the way the Liberal Party would manage the budget.

We believe in Canadians. We believe in the middle class. It is the middle class that can make things happen. Instead of putting more of a burden on the middle class, we believe we should lighten its load and support it.

I will give a specific example.

The region of the country I represent is in the Prairies. I am a very proud prairie boy. It has been very sad what we have witnessed among the wheat farmers over the last number of months. Imagine tonnes of wheat piled in steel bins. Sadly, many of those piles are now in fields, because the bins are full.

We produce the best wheat in the world, but the farmers are not able to get that wheat out to the Pacific coast, where we have dozens of ships sitting empty. It is a huge cost. It is tens of millions of dollars. It has even been suggested that it has gone into the hundreds of millions of dollars. I would suggest that it is possibly larger than that, if we look at the depreciated value of the wheat as a direct result of some of the incompetence of the Conservative government.

This should not be any surprise. We knew that the wheat had to be transported months ago. What has the government done? Nothing. I think a couple of months ago, there was a commitment of $1 million, which is absolutely nothing. The Government of Canada has failed the prairie farmers. I say shame on the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Someone said that we had the best minister of agriculture in the world. What a joke. I think they should have a plebiscite on that issue in the Prairies. He might get 1% who might agree with that, but I can say that the vast majority of farmers in western Canada would never say something of that nature. If we want to narrow it down to the wheat and canola farmers, we would find it difficult to find anyone who would agree with that statement.

Our prairie farmers need support from the government, and they need that support today. What does the budget do? It gives absolutely nothing. What does the Minister of Finance have to say about it? Absolutely nothing. It is not even addressed in the budget.

I have a litany of things I want to talk about. One of the issues from coast to coast to coast in Canada is health care. The Conservative government has done nothing in regard to renewing the health care accord. This is something Paul Martin put in place. It was good for 10 years, and it expires this year. It is worth billions of dollars.

The government takes credit for the increases in health care, but it was not the Conservatives that did that. It was the Liberal Party of Canada that was responsible for the billions of dollars of increases in health care. The Conservative government is doing nothing to ensure that the health care accord is renewed. Every Canadian from coast to coast to coast believes in our health care, and they want the government to deliver on this issue.

My challenge to the government is to rethink its budget and present something that is more saleable to all Canadians.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.


Dan Albas ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I have certainly come to expect that kind of overheated rhetoric from the third party. That is one of the reasons it is relegated to that end of the chamber.

I would like to ask the member a factual question. Does he not recognize that there has been a 6% escalator since this government took office in 2006? We have seen the Canada health transfer go from $19 billion. By 2016, we should see it at almost $40 billion. That is something we have honoured, unlike his party during the 1990s. When it attempted to balance the deficit, it cut into transfers. It downloaded onto the provinces.

Does he not understand that the numbers speak for themselves and that the way this finance minister seeks to balance our books is by taking a completely different direction than that member? Does he recognize the hypocrisy in his statements?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is no hypocrisy whatsoever. It was Jean Chrétien who changed the tax points transfer system for health care. Under Brian Mulroney, there eventually would have been zero dollars transferred to health care, because it would have all been tax points. It was Jean Chrétien who established guaranteed funding for health care, and then it was Paul Martin who ensured that we had the health care accord, which has given us the amount of money that is going to health care today.

The Conservatives had nothing, zip, to do with the amount of money going toward health care today. It is the health care accord that achieved the goals he just referenced. It is that health care accord that needs to be renewed so provinces can continue to receive the necessary funds for the health care Canadians want and deserve.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know that Canadians watching would much rather talk about the reality of this budget than about who was at fault in the past for what happened. On this side of the House, we are going to talk about this budget for the afternoon, if we can.

I want to ask a question that the hon. member for Malpeque raised, which is the notion of balancing the budget on the backs of whom. I would ask the member if he would agree with The Globe and Mail, in its coverage of this budget, that the Conservatives significantly hiking the premiums for retired civil servants, more than doubling them for individual coverage, would mean that retirees would now have to pay 50% of the cost of their health benefits. It is a point also made by the member for Malpeque. The Globe and Mail reports that this would mean that, for instance, a former government employee would see his or her annual premiums paid into the plan rise to $550 from $261. That is almost a $300-a-month addition for people who are living on fixed incomes. I wonder if that is the way we are balancing this budget—on the backs of retired public servants.

I would ask my hon. friend for his comments on that issue.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a good question. I would add to it by saying that it is somewhat ironic. There has been a great discussion and debate on the issue of the cuts being imposed on veterans.The health benefits for civil servants also apply to veterans. It is an issue of priorities. Are we trying to balance a budget on some of those cuts? It is the wrong way to go.

I have tabled petitions on how the government, and I must say that the NDP is supportive of this, is increasing the number of parliamentarians. There will be more politicians added to the House of Commons. If we were to canvass, we would find two things. The first is that people appreciate the benefits and services they get and do not want those cut back, whether it is increasing the age of retirement from 65 to 67 or decreasing health benefits, something individuals would have paid for while they were in the federal civil service. They do not want that sort of thing to take place. They also do not believe that the government is correct in increasing the number of members of Parliament in the House of Commons.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, before I start, I would like to mention that I will be splitting my time with the member for Burlington. I know that I am looking forward to hearing his comments. He always does such a great job when he addresses the House. We will have to wait just a few minutes to hear from him. I am also pleased to be joined by my colleague from Richmond Hill.

I have said before that the compass of our government points north, with both purpose and intent, to guide our nation, and indeed the world, to a land that is diverse with history, heritage, resources, and culture. The contribution of Canada's true north plays a key role in our great country. Revenue resource sharing agreements put in place under our government have assured prosperity both for the territories across the north and the nation.

I will talk about page 140 of budget 2014, where it reinforces this idea. It says:

Canada's North is a fundamental part of our heritage, our future and our identity as a country. Building on the Government's vision for a new North, Economic Action Plan 2014 is taking action to ensure that the North realizes its full potential by exercising our Northern sovereignty, promoting economic prosperity and supporting the health of Northerners.

Let me just highlight a few things that would be specifically beneficial to my riding in the Yukon territory. There would be record transfers of support for social and health services for the Yukon under this budget. The Yukon would receive significant support through major transfer payments this year.

All major federal transfers to provinces and territories would grow from current record levels, totalling $65 billion in 2014-15. That is an increase of 56% since 2004-06, under the former Liberal government. For the Yukon, the total major transfer would total $898 million, including $851 million through the territorial formula financing program. That is an increase of $350 million since 2005-06, under the previous Liberal government.

We heard the member for Malpeque talking about his glory days. He clearly forgets what the Liberal government was doing with those transfer payments, which was slashing them. He talked about the balanced budgets it had back then. The Liberals balanced their budgets by slashing transfers to provinces and the territories, specifically hitting our territory square between the eyes.

Our Conservative government promised not to do that. We did not do it. In fact, we have hit historic record levels. We have done that, coincidentally, without raising taxes on Canadian families.

Approximately $33 million would come to our territory through the Canada health transfer. That is an increase of almost $11 million, or a 50% increase since the Liberals were at the helm. In addition, $13 million would come through the Canada social transfer. That is a 36% increase from what the Liberal government gave. As I said, the Liberals balanced their budgets by slashing transfers to the territories and provinces, but they stand in the House bragging about what they did to our provinces and territories way back. It probably was so long ago that not many people can remember it, but it is always worth a refresher as to why the Liberals are sitting in the far corner of the House today.

To keep pace with the needs of Canadians in rural and northern communities, the economic action plan also proposes $305 million over the next five years to extend and enhance broadband services to a target speed of five megabits per second to support an additional 280,000 Canadian households. That would represent almost universal access.

I can tell members that I consulted across our territory and met with the city chambers, the territorial chambers, industry, small and medium businesses, and families to talk about broadband access and services in my territory. From 2011 to this date, they were asking the government to make a move on it. We have delivered on a strong commitment to give them the broadband access they need. That is going to help our Canadian families, and it will certainly help our businesses grow in our territory. I am proud of our Conservative government for doing that.

Canada's north is blessed with an abundance of natural resources with the potential to fuel northern economic and social development and secure Canada's future prosperity. I have to tell the House that riches in the ground on their own do not guarantee economic success above ground. To realize its potential, the north requires efficient regulatory regimes, a skilled local workforce, low taxes, well-developed infrastructure, and extensive scientific and geological knowledge.

Further, it is important to ensure that northerners have control over development decisions. Successful northern development means jobs and prosperity for northerners themselves. Our government is investing in that infrastructure.

With regard to control over their developmental decisions, we in this House all know that we are moving closer and closer to the devolution agreement with the Northwest Territories, so it can dictate its own future and manage its land and resources with local skills, knowledge, and ability.

I am proud to be part of the committee that has been working on that devolution agreement. I look forward to moving that across the finish line for the great people of the Northwest Territories.

A federal contribution has been made in the past, up to $71 million, in the Yukon. The Yukon has benefited from the Mayo B hydroelectric facility, which brought electric power to our territory, clean green energy, and is meeting the needs of a major infrastructure concern for our territory.

The new building Canada plan that was announced in economic action plan 2013 includes $234 million in the first five years to municipalities and territories, through the renewed and indexed gas tax fund.

We have all heard great news about the permanency and indexing of the gas tax fund from all our municipalities, from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to the small communities in my home territory. They are exceptionally pleased with that. It is allowing communities to dictate their fate and future and identify their plans and priorities, not just for tomorrow but for a much longer term. This is a more flexible gas tax plan, which allows them to utilize those funds in a far different manner.

We have been responsive to their requests. We have been responsive to their needs. We have done that through consultation. Each one of us in this House, as members of Parliament, has an obligation to meet and consult with our constituents. That is part of the government consultation process. Every one of us sitting here needs to go into our communities, to talk with groups and organizations and individuals to find out what their priorities are.

Those priorities are reflected in this budget and in previous budgets. They do not just speak about long-term or one-year plans, but project us well into the future: 2016, 2017, and years beyond. I am glad we are part of a government that not only listens but incorporates things in the budget that are long term, thinking beyond the life of a mandate, thinking long term for Canadians' prosperity.

I am going to run out of time before I get through the stack of notes I have about this budget, but I am sure we are going to have some questions in the House, which I will be more than happy to answer. I certainly hope that some of them come from the Liberal members, so we can reflect on some of the things they have done that have led to where they are, and where we are, today.

However, let me talk a little about our territorial mine training program. The economic action plan announced capital support for additional trades and technical facilities in the Yukon, at the Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining. That has been a widely successful program. It is growing.

This year, in this budget, we added a trades loan program for students going into red seal trade programs. That is going to give them an excellent opportunity to access student loans where they have not had that opportunity in the past. Why did we come up with that? It is because that is what we heard from industry, businesses, educational institutions, and chambers. We heard that when consulting with Canadians about what they would need to fill high-demand jobs, to put students and aboriginal and first nations people in our country in the best position to access the highly skilled job opportunities available today.

We responded by making sure that education is accessible, affordable, targeted and focused on those opportunities that exist today. I know my riding in the Yukon Territory is going to be very excited about this.

I could go on about a number of other things that were clearly directed at the Yukon, and I will touch on a couple of them that are important. One was our government's reinvestment in the strategic investments in northern economic development program, through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. The Yukon tourism association asked us to renew that program because it is a great way to diversify markets. The minister of tourism for the territorial government specifically said there is an excellent return on investment through the program and that they would like to see it continue. He talked to me specifically about it. He talked directly with our federal counterpart ministers about that. Our government listened and has renewed that program.

I could go on and on, but I know my time is up. I am going to sit down and look forward to some questions from my colleagues in the House.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to turn to the investment in transit infrastructure. Transit is critical in my riding. My riding is growing quickly. Obviously, greater Vancouver is a desirable place to live. Many people are moving to Coquitlam, Port Moody, and New Westminster. One of the biggest issues in my riding is transportation funding. Whether it is about transporting people or goods, it is a concern. Could the minister tell me why there is no dedicated funding for transit infrastructure in the Lower Mainland, one of the fastest growing regions in Canada?

The Conservative government refuses to develop a national transit strategy. However, it has recognized the importance of transit, as it promised to invest $600 million in Toronto's subway system. What about the rest of Canada? What about investing in transit infrastructure in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite would know that the entire gas tax fund for the Port Metro area goes exclusively to transportation infrastructure.

The building Canada fund is the largest and longest infrastructure project in Canadian history, and that is going to grow right into 2016.

I did mention in my speech that our government is looking beyond the life of this current mandate. We are projecting and planning to allow for growth in the building Canada fund outside of the term of this mandate because we understand the needs of our infrastructure sector.

The age of Canada's infrastructure now is substantially younger than in previous years. We have newer infrastructure right across this country.

There is one thing I will say quickly to tie this up. The member asked a question about transportation across this country. Our government's investments in the Yukon have been substantial and they are substantial right across this country, and it is largely because of the building Canada fund and the gas tax infrastructures.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the qualities of a great government is its ability, for example, to anticipate a recession, which the Conservative government clearly did not anticipate. The Conservatives did not know quite what to do, until opposition parties told them to stimulate the economy.

I would like to talk about one other area of anticipation that is important. Surely, everybody recognized last September that an enormous wheat crop had been produced by our western farmers. A competent government would have anticipated that, and it would have ramped up the necessary infrastructure so that a fortune of crop from our western farmers would get to market.

Why did the government get caught sleeping? Why did it not anticipate that much wheat and start to work on getting the infrastructure in place?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if my hon. colleague is suggesting that the Government of Canada could have built a railroad in the last eight months.

My colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette said that we are dealing with this issue. Our government understands that we have to get that grain to market. It was this Conservative government that freed western farmers from a monopoly that allowed farmers in western Canada to market their grain on a free and open market. We are happy that there has been a realization of success. A crop and a half came off the fields this year in western Canada, and we have to find a way to get that crop to market. It is a grave problem and we are going to deal with that problem.

It is irresponsible for the member opposite to suggest that we could have built a railroad in eight months to get that wheat to market.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Yukon for sharing his time with me today. He has done an excellent job, not only today but year-round. I want to thank him for his commitment last summer. He ran around his whole territory on behalf of diabetes disease, which I have. I want to thank him for bringing attention to that disease and for the work he does in that area.

Economic action plan 2014 is a Conservative budget. Is anybody here surprised that it is a Conservative budget? It is conservative as we move toward a balanced approach to our finances in this country. We do not use magic. We do not think books balance themselves. We have a plan. Economic action plan 2014 builds upon the plan that we have had for the years we have been in office.

Before I get into the points in this budget that I think relate very well to Burlington, my home riding, we have heard, through the questions being asked today, about not foreseeing the downturn in the economy. We had the member for Malpeque, as the previous speaker mentioned, on this and that. The Liberal Party took $60 billion out of the EI fund and reallocated it for its own use. We have the Liberals saying we are running big deficits, and then in the same breath they are talking about adding more.

Where do they think the money comes from? We would have to raise taxes, which we know is what the NDP wants to do, and now it definitely sounds like the Liberals want to do it too. They cannot complain that we have deficits. We are getting those deficits down. We are working very hard to make that happen, and we are almost there. We have another year, and hopefully we will have accomplished that goal.

We did stimulus spending in an appropriate way so that we created jobs in this country. A million jobs have been created since the end of the recession. We have been working hard in those areas.

I am fully aware that the opposition has a role to criticize. It should be criticizing what is in the budget, if it finds things it can do better. However, to criticize us for our actions to get this country back to work, to keep us as the number one economy of all of our partners, is just not accurate. I think it does not do this House or the parties any good.

I will get back to what is in this budget that we have in front of us, in economic action plan 2014.

There are a few things that I would like to highlight. The reason I would like to highlight them is that often there is the impression that a backbencher member of Parliament might not have a tremendous amount of influence. Our finance minister has an open mind and an open door to suggestions about what should be in the budget. There are things in this budget that I have advocated for, either this year or in previous years. Sometimes things do not happen overnight. I know that is hard for people to believe. Sometimes we have to keep advocating for what we believe in.

I want to point out a couple of things in this budget that I have been working on as a member of Parliament on behalf of my constituents that have made it into this budget.

The first one is very personal. I have a daughter who has just graduated from university. I know a number of her colleagues and friends. They are all looking for work. Fortunately for my daughter, she was a co-op student. The co-op has made a big difference in her ability to find employment because she has some experience.

In this budget, the finance minister, in his wisdom and under our Prime Minister, said that this kind of learning, this kind of experience, is what we need for our young people to get ahead, to get a start, and we have put aside $40 million for 3,000 full-time internships in high-demand jobs. It is exactly what we need to get young people into the workforce and moving forward in their careers.

People may say this sounds silly. I have an open door policy in my office. Year after year, there are two groups of university students, two organizations, that come to see me every year with demands. I do not agree with every one of their demands. Trust me. And I am clear with those young folks that I do not agree with them.

However, one of the items I have agreed with, and I have actually put in a submission to the Minister of Finance, is to not include vehicles in the calculations of student loans. If a student's car were worth $3,000 or $5,000, it would go against the value he or she could borrow because it was an asset that we would account for. In this budget, we would eliminate that. There are 19,000 students in this country who drive to school. In my riding of Burlington, we do not have a university main campus. We have a satellite campus for McMaster University in my riding, for MBA students, but we do not have a main campus; so people often drive to McMaster or to Guelph or to college in Oakville or to Toronto. They live at home to save money, and they drive to school every day. This is a request that has come year after year from these organizations. They thought, and I agreed with them, that this is something we should look at. I submitted it to the Minister of Finance last year and this year, and it made the budget. I am very proud that we saw the light that we need to be helping our young people in my area to pay for their education.

There is another area we get criticized on, research and innovation, which is not accurate, but the opposition members like to criticize. In this budget, there would be $1.5 billion in funding for post-secondary education research. In addition to that, we would give $46 million to granting councils that grant to individual organizations that do research. Just so people know, they are the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. All three councils would get funding from this $46 million to carry out research. We have been criticized as being very narrow on what we want to see done in terms of research. We would give a chunk of this $46 million to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. I am very proud of the work we are doing in that area.

Here is another item that is close to my heart. Ford Canada has its manufacturing plant office in my neighbouring riding of Oakville, and lots of individuals work for Ford, but a lot more individuals work in companies that are suppliers to Ford in my riding. In support of innovation and an understanding that we need to move forward in this industry if we are going to stay ahead of the curve in terms of innovation, we would put forward $500 million in the innovative automotive sector over two years. That is additional money that automotive companies in this country could use to innovate and do research on the new products they are going to bring to the marketplace.

That is not the only area. We are also looking at what has been working. This is not in my riding, but transformation has been needed in the forestry industry, and we would re-fund to a tune of $90 million the forest institute transformation fund, which allows forestry companies to look at where they are now and what the future will be in terms of the products and services that need to be provided, and it would give them some funding to help them get there.

Another area is seniors. Seniors make up almost half of my riding. I think a little over 50% of the residents are age 55 and over now. Someone age 55 is not a senior, but that is the statistic I have, and I am getting there. We have a program that helps seniors, and we have been able to deliver a large number of small projects in my riding through this program. One example is that we gave $5,000 to a small organization that helps Polish seniors in my riding to buy computer equipment, so they can have access to the Internet and gain an understanding of it. They were so excited that this money was delivered to them. Our seniors centre has a new kitchen, to be able to provide a breakfast program to shut-in seniors who are not able to get out. Without our providing that money through this seniors program, they would not be out every other Sunday morning. We would re-fund that as a $5 million per year program, which is excellent for my riding.

I will finish with this. I had a private member's bill eight years ago dealing with a DNA database for missing persons, a missing persons index. It did not make it because it needed royal assent and needed money spent on it, which is not allowed in a private member's bill. Today, in this budget, the DNA-base missing persons databank will come to fruition. I thank the minister and the Prime Minister for their foresight on that.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

2 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The time for government orders has expired. The questions and comments period for the hon. member for Burlington will take place when this matter returns, perhaps after question period.

Statements by members, the hon. member for York Centre.

2014 Olympic Winter GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, our Minister of Finance is not the only one who brought home gold this week. We are also celebrating the tremendous achievements of our Olympic athletes in Sochi, Russia.

To celebrate our success at the games, last night Senator JoAnne Buth and I, as co-chairs of the Canada-Russia Parliamentary Group, hosted an Olympic celebration right here on Parliament Hill.

All eyes of those in attendance last evening were fixated on former Canadian Olympic skier and gold medal winner, Senator Nancy Greene Raine and former Stanley Cup winning coach, Senator Jacques Demers, who gave us an insider's perspective on what our Olympic athletes are now feeling and experiencing at Sochi.

I am so proud to say that my riding of York Centre boasts the largest number of Russian-speaking people of any riding in the country, but in the true Canadian spirit, who is everyone cheering for? They are cheering for Canada.

Yes, support for our athletes runs wide and deep through all immigrant communities. Just as when my family first came to Canada, immigrants come from all over the world to join the great Canadian family. Whether young or old, all rally behind their adopted home, the greatest country on earth, Canada. God bless our great country and our Olympians.

HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, sadly, Canadians are seeing that the government gets the gold medal for illusions in the budget.

They recognize the dementia health care crisis facing Canada: by 2031, there will be 1.4 million Canadians with dementia, at a cost of $300 billion, but the government said no to a modest $3 million to kick-start a national plan. All we see is research money that was previously announced.

Research is necessary, but a real plan means early diagnosis, integration of care, training of the dementia workforce, help for caregivers, and partnerships with the provinces and cities.

Canada is lagging behind other countries, with no leadership. Hundreds of cities inspired by my Bill C-356 are passing resolutions. Dozens of petitions are being tabled.

Let us put politics aside and agree to a national strategy for dementia.

UkraineStatements By Members

February 13th, 2014 / 2 p.m.


Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, while much of our attention is focused on Sochi and the achievements of our Olympic athletes, it is important that we not forget the situation in nearby Ukraine.

The struggle for freedom and democracy is being waged by hundreds of thousands of ordinary Ukrainians on the streets of Kiev.

I was in Ukraine recently, and I know the resolve of the people is firm. They want a better future for their nation.

While the Ukrainian government has partially withdrawn its draconian anti-protest legislation, opposition leaders are still being kidnapped and tortured, and protestors are still being brutalized.

The treatment of Dmytro Bulatov, a leader of AutoMaidan who was held captive for more than a week and beaten and tortured for the purpose of gaining a false confession, is only one recent example.

I therefore call on the government of Ukraine to sit down with the opposition and resolve this crisis peacefully.

Heart MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, February is Heart Month in Canada. Today, heart disease and stroke takes one life every seven minutes, and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor.

There is much we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The Heart and Stroke Foundation continues to make a real difference in reducing death and disability caused by heart disease and stroke, and taking a lead in health promotion and prevention.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation's 2014 report on the health of Canadians reveals that, despite great gains, there is still room for improvement.

There are indicators that our new generations are not as healthy as their parents. We owe it to our children to give them a chance to grow up healthy and to embrace a lifestyle that includes exercise and wholesome food.

We also need to continue to do our part in the ridings we represent, by informing our constituents about the importance of active living.

This is also our opportunity to create healthy environments and communities that make the healthy choice an easy choice. By supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation this February, we can make a real difference for all Canadians.

Prince Albert Citizen of the YearStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate Mr. Lyle Karasiuk of Prince Albert on receiving the City of Prince Albert's citizen of the year award.

Among Lyle's list of achievements are his many years of service to the Red Cross, the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and other volunteer-based organizations within the city.

Lyle's raising of $1 million in 30 days to furnish a new 60-room long-term care facility is remarkable. The facility is now set to open in Prince Albert.

Lyle's contribution to our community has also been recognized through his reception of the Governor General's Exemplary Service Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal.

We thank Lyle for his commitment to our community. On behalf of the members of the House of Commons, I offer him my sincerest congratulations.

Lucie FortinStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to talk about a wonderful event that took place last week. Someone from Quebec City, Lucie Fortin, who is originally from Saguenay, was awarded the Fernand-Dufour prize, honouring her for over 40 years of volunteer service within our community.

Her 40 years of commitment are impressive, not only for their sheer length, but also for the variety of things she has done. Ms. Fortin has worked in virtually every sector in Duberger, building relationships between many key people and contributing to the common heritage.

She has made many important contributions, but today I wish to focus on one particular success: Ms. Fortin founded the Maison des jeunes l'Antidote, the very first to be administered by an independent co-operative. Her extensive experience as a teacher allowed her to create this gathering place, which enriches the lives of the young people of our region.

I would like to join my provincial counterpart, MNA Sylvain Lévesque, in extending my sincere congratulations and commending Ms. Fortin for all her hard work. Congratulations, my dear Ms. Fortin, on your many successes and all the precious memories you have created.

1948 Winter Olympic AthleteStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, while Canadians are looking on with pride as our athletes are dominating at the Sochi Winter Games, I would like to pay tribute to one very special Londoner, Andy Gilpin. He was a member of the Canadian hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1948 Olympic Games in St. Moritz.

Mr. Gilpin is now 93 years young. He was a member of the “RCAF Flyers” who won that great victory over Team Czechoslovakia to take home the gold medal. The Flyers were selected from RCAF stations across Canada.

Sixty-six years later, we celebrated “Andy Gilpin Day” last week with a luncheon hosted by the 427 London Wing of the RCAF Association. Along with his family and friends, Hockey Canada and the Ontario Hockey Federation made presentations in his honour. Andy is one of less than a half dozen hockey players of the 1948 Olympic team to whom we still have the chance to pay personal tribute.

We honour his exceptional service to our country, and we honour his incredible contribution to Canadian sport. He makes London and Canada proud.

Through Andy Gilpin, we say, “Go, Team Canada”.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's economic action plan 2014 includes many important measures that will benefit the people of Mississauga.

Since 2006, our government has been keeping Canada on the right path for economic growth. This includes lowering taxes in order to save the average Canadian family nearly $3,400 per year. We have also cut taxes for job-creating businesses, allowing them to hire more workers, and have opened up new markets for Canadian goods and services, most recently through the historic Canada–European Union trade agreement.

We are also introducing the Canada apprentice loan to provide interest-free student loans to apprentices, which will help young people in Mississauga benefit from the GTA construction boom.

Our government is investing an additional $500 million in the automotive innovation fund to ensure that Ontario and the GTA remain leaders in auto parts manufacturing and assembly.

Our government is providing an additional $46 million in support for advanced research and scientific discoveries at Canada's leading universities and colleges such as the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College.

This budget delivers for my constituents in Mississauga.

Gaétan BrassardStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jean-François Larose NDP Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week I spoke with Gaétan Brassard, a 61-year-old man from my riding.

Mr. Brassard is in a very difficult position. He earns barely $10,000 a year and has serious health problems. He has to use a walker. His life has been so depressing in the past two years that he admitted that he had considered taking his own life with a gun.

The problem is that he is not the only Canadian in this situation. Millions of people are in the same situation. When I think of the government's cuts and then Canada Post's cuts to services, I think of Mr. Brassard, who will have to go pick up his mail with his walker.

We have a serious problem. Honestly, our citizens deserve better. Mr. Brassard deserves better, and in 2015, the NDP will provide something better.

Winter Olympic GamesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, Team Canada continues to own the podium during the winter Olympics, and we have seen many touching moments.

Who can forget Alex Bilodeau’s celebrating his repeat gold performance with his brother Frédéric, or watching the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, Justine and Chloé, winning gold and silver while their sister and teammate Maxime cheered them on to victory.

Yesterday, we saw something that really epitomizes both sportsmanship and friendship. I am referring to Calgary's own, speed skater Gilmore Junio, who volunteered his spot in the Men's 1,000 to his teammate, Denny Morrison, who was knocked out of competition due to an unlucky fall during qualifications.

Many of us have heard what Junio said to Morrison just before the race; it was, “just kill it”. Denny went on to do just that; winning the silver medal and, along with Gilmore, winning the hearts of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Perhaps Denny Morrison said it best after the race: “That's the spirit of the Olympics. That's the spirit of Canada”.

Michel GouinStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House to commend the invaluable work of one of my constituents, Michel Gouin. He is the director of the organization Parrainage civique and has put his heart and soul into improving the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities. His social involvement speaks volumes about how important it is to him that each and every person is fully integrated and involved in our society.

In addition, Michel Gouin is a source of inspiration for our young people. Through his foundation, Fondation Michel Gouin, he promotes healthy living. Last November, he ran more than 320 kilometres, from one capital to another, Ottawa to Drummondville. Yes, Drummondville is considered a capital, although the hon. members likely already knew that.

There is no doubt about it, your projects will help our community grow, Mr. Gouin. Thank you for raising the profile of the greater Drummond area.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis said our region scored a trifecta in the recent budget: millions for retraining; $500 million more for the auto sector; and $631 million to kick-start the DRIC bridge between Windsor and Detroit, a project to deliver thousands of construction jobs and long-term investment to secure prosperity for Windsor families for generations.

Sadly, Windsor's two NDP MPs are turning their backs on Windsor, voting as their leader wishes and voting against these transformative investments. Sadly, too, this is not their first time. They voted “no” to our border crossings fund in 2006, and in 2007, they voted “no” to $400 million toward the Herb Gray Parkway. In 2012, both NDP MPs took a pass on stand-alone votes on our Bridge To Strengthen Trade Act.

There is time for the two Windsor MPs to reconsider: will they stand in their seats and vote with Windsor and its families, or will they betray them?