House of Commons Hansard #51 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

1:30 p.m.


Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the hon. member's question. It is true that we had deficit spending during the depths of our recession, but if we had listened to them at that time, we would have spent even more money. The fact is, we managed the recession better than any other country in the G7. We did it carefully, and we did it in partnership with the provinces and municipalities.

In terms of controlling public finances and expenditures, we did not do what the government he belonged to did, which was dump it on the provinces. From 1965 to 1995, health care costs in our country were financed on a 50% basis by the Government of Canada. In one fell swoop, when the member was in government in 1995, they closed it down to 14¢ on the dollar. We are not going to do that.

As far as military spending is concerned, we know that while they were there, it was called the decade of darkness.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise in the House today to discuss the benefits of economic action plan 2014 for the residents of Bruce and Grey counties, and indeed for all Canadians.

Before I begin, I would like to express my congratulations once again to our Minister of Finance, who has presented a very commendable budget that delivers on promises this government has made and that seeks to advance the lives of all Canadians. It is great work by the minister.

I would like to start by clarifying what exactly we are talking about here. With all the rhetoric presented in this place, it is often difficult to understand what exactly we are discussing. A budget is defined as “an itemized allotment of funds...for a given time period” and a plan of operations based on this allotment. By this definition, we have hit the nail on the head with economic action plan 2014. This budget clearly sets out where various amounts of funding will be going and presents a clear plan forward as to how these funds will be used. This budget makes it very clear that the government has a plan and is executing and carrying out this plan in the most efficient way possible.

It is a basic economic principle that a government must spend in times of trouble to stimulate the economy and must save in times of growth. This government certainly knows this and has done very well in executing these principles. We have been spending when spending is necessary and saving when saving is possible. This budget continues with this proven successful economic agenda.

I would now like to outline various measures within the budget that I feel will be very welcome news in my riding of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.

Perhaps the most welcome piece of information contained within this budget is the fact that we are on a pace to return to balanced budgets by 2015. Remember, the Minister of Finance is balancing this budget; it is not doing it itself. The budget will bring the projected deficit down to $2.9 billion by 2014-15 and forecasts a surplus of $6.4 billion in 2015-16.

As I stated earlier, we have spent when spending was necessary, and now that it is possible, we are saving. These savings are coming from controlling departmental spending. However, supports, such as seniors benefits and provincial transfers, will continue to grow at record levels.

Another principle of economics is that when consumers have money to spend, and when they are protected in the marketplace, they will spend money to stimulate the economy. This government has been committed to consumers, and this budget continues this commitment. Since 2006, we have cut taxes over 160 times, which leaves more money in the pockets of consumers.

Economic action plan 2014 would better protect Canadian consumers through various important measures. One of these measures would increase competition in the telecommunications market. This would be done by amending the Telecommunications Act to cap wholesale domestic wireless roaming rates. Furthermore, the budget would put an end to cross-border price discrimination by cracking down on companies that use market power to charge higher prices.

There are members on both sides of the House who have spent time working in municipal politics. Having been a mayor myself and having sat on councils, I believe I can speak for all in saying that having long-term and steady infrastructure funding is one of the greatest challenges faced by lower-tier levels of government. That is why I was very pleased to see the recent announcement of the details of the $53 billion building Canada plan. With $53 billion allocated to infrastructure, the new building Canada plan will be the largest long-term federal infrastructure plan in Canadian history and will provide stable funding for a 10-year period. Furthermore, over $32 billion will be available specifically for municipalities through a permanent and indexed gas tax fund and the incremental goods and services tax rebate for municipalities. This is very welcome news in my riding, and I look forward to seeing some of that funding used to develop local infrastructure.

Continuing our commitment to improve Canadian infrastructure, this budget contains measures that specifically address the needs of rural areas. I was very pleased to see that $305 million would be invested to extend and enhance broadband service for up to an additional 280,000 Canadians. In today's high-tech world, with reliance on services provided through the Internet, broadband service is very much needed in rural areas. This is certainly a welcome announcement in my riding.

Furthermore, as a representative of a riding that is surrounded by water on three sides, I am very aware of the importance of stable funding to support small craft harbours. This budget would invest $40 million to accelerate repair and maintenance work at small craft harbours across the country. These harbours are vital pieces of infrastructure that communities rely on for tourism; recreation, including recreational fishing; and economic growth. Strong and well-maintained harbours provide a stable source of economic input for these communities.

Many Canadians are concerned about the well-being of our environment. There are many environmental groups and organizations with an agenda to support and protect our environment. However, I often find that sportsmen's associations and conservation groups are omitted from this list. Sportsmen are true stewards of the environment and are very committed to seeing healthy ecosystems across the country. This budget would allow sportsmen's associations and other groups to continue the important work they do for our environment.

The budget would invest an additional $15 million in the recreational fisheries conservation partnerships program to further support the conservation of recreational fisheries habitat. That is something the hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette and a number of my other colleagues worked very hard to get in the last budget. To see this expansion in it is something we are all very happy about.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to welcome the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to my riding to announce funding for a couple of projects under this program. The plans for the projects being funded were very well developed and well researched. This funding would certainly go a long way in supporting our local recreational fisheries.

A stable recreational fishery also creates strong local economies. There are many communities in my riding that promote tourism through their promotion of the excellent fishing we have in Bruce and Grey counties. The Sydenham Sportsmen's Association has been hosting the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular for 26 years now, which always draws a large crowd of between 4,500 and 5,500 anglers. It is a great event.

Continuing on the theme of recreation and tourism, this budget would invest $10 million to improve snowmobile and recreational trails across the country. I can say that with all the snow we have in my part of the world this year, many snowmobilers were out on the trails that run through the countryside. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs and the local snowmobile clubs and communities across the country do tremendous work in ensuring that the trails are well maintained and used properly. With trails that wind through the bush and across fields, snowmobiling is a great way to get out and enjoy the northern environment. This investment would be another welcome measure in my riding of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, as it would give further support to recreational trails.

Finally, I would like to touch on the importance of connecting students and the workplace. As we discuss the economy, it is important to note that emphasis needs to be put on training future workers. Without properly qualified and educated workers, economies will collapse.

The budget addresses the need to properly train employers through several measures. It would create the Canada apprenticeship loan. This loan would provide apprentices and Red Seal trades with access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year. It is often the reality in my riding that many students move directly from high school to an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships are a vital link connecting students with the workplace, as oftentimes apprenticeships lead to full-time employment. As an example, one of my sons did an apprenticeship through a local employer and received his training this way.

Furthermore, the budget would create more paid internships for young Canadians. This would be done by investing $55 million to create paid internships for recent graduates in both small and medium-size businesses in high demand fields. When students graduate, they are often hard-pressed to find jobs in their fields of study. This investment would allow students to get their feet in the doors of businesses and, like the apprenticeship program, could lead to future employment.

In conclusion, action plan 2014 presents a very comprehensive plan for sustained economic growth. The global accolades that Canada has been receiving are staggering.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is funny that the member spoke about rhetoric in this place, because it is his colleague, the member for Mississauga—Streetsville, who is trying to lead people in the wrong direction by trying to get them to believe stuff that is not true.

In any event, he has talked about tourism, local recreation, and sportsmen and how important these are to strong local economies. I guess he will be able to sympathize with the people along the Algoma Central Railway line who saw the current government remove $2.2 million from a subsidy, leaving the tourism sector up in the air.

Let me just read a letter from Michael. It states:

...I have spent my entire life working hard to make a successful business. What is unimaginable to me is that with one last-minute decision by government to save a few dollars, dozens of businesses and private home owners are having their lives and livelihood ruined overnight.

This decision is very short sighted and ignores the larger picture. We personally have hundreds of guests that come visit every year pushing hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy. By not helping reverse this decision our business of 38 years will shut its doors overnight, lose everything our family has worked so hard for....

On that note, do the member and his government really recognize the importance of tourism, and will he advocate with us for—

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please.

The hon. member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am quite familiar with the member's riding. It is not as beautiful as Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, but it certainly has its attributes. My family has a recreational property there, which we use and enjoy very much.

It is good to see the member, I think, point out that some of the money in this budget would go toward recreational snowmobiling, a part of the tourism industry. I have snowmobiled in her part of the world. When snowmobilers travel across the countryside, they spend money on gas, meals, motels, et cetera. This would certainly benefit her riding, and I look forward to her voting in favour of the budget.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, in reflecting upon the budget, it is really important that we recognize the this Conservative-Reform government has really missed a wonderful opportunity to talk about something that is really important to all Canadians, our health care system.

This year we will see the health care accord, signed between the provinces and Prime Minister Paul Martin, expire. That accord allowed us to see a record-high dollar value going from Ottawa to the provinces to sustain what Canadians feel so much passion about, the health care system we have in Canada.

The government has done nothing, zero, in making a commitment to something that is so critically important. There is no mention of it in the budget, no mention at all in the speeches,.

Why do the Conservatives not recognize what is so very important in Canada when they present their budget, the Canadian budget, and give no consideration whatsoever to the importance of health care to all Canadians?

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague likes to name-call and that kind of thing at the start. I certainly would never recognize him as a member of the socialist Liberal Party.

In any event, he mentioned health care and I am glad that he pointed that out. Our increases with respect to health care have been around 6% a year, and we are committed to that.

I hear the member for Malpeque chirping down there, but in fact his government, in the day, cut health care on the backs of Canadians in order to balance the books. We are not going to do that, and we are not cutting back transfers to the provinces either.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam.

I am happy to speak about nothing, anything—about the budget, in fact. It seems to me, really, that it is nothing and anything. There is not much in this budget to help Canadians who need help, or to help businesses. As I speak, there are 300,000 more people unemployed than before the recession, and there is no significant investment to create high-quality jobs. That is a problem.

With regard to the Canada job grant, the Conservatives would probably talk about that, telling us that there is something, but there is not even an agreement with the provinces. The government wants to proceed unilaterally without consulting the provinces and without cooperating with them. In broad terms, they throw everything into the lap of the provinces and municipalities, and then they wonder why our infrastructure is falling apart, why there are people unemployed and why there is more and more poverty in Canada. This is not saying much.

Household debt is an important issue. Canadian families now owe an average of $1.60 for every dollar they earn. It is a real problem, because that figure is fairly significant. There is nothing in the Conservatives’ budget to help these people. There is nothing to regulate bank charges. The other day, we moved a motion on the subject. There is nothing to limit interest rates on credit cards, which would help the middle class and people who are in debt. There is nothing about gas prices.

Last week, I consulted community organizations in my riding about household debt and the problematic situation in our country. People are at their wits’ end, they have problems, they need a hand from the government, and they are not getting it.

This budget does contain a few minor measures that are somewhat positive, it has to be said. We do not always work in a negative way. The NDP motto, after all, is “Working together”. High-speed Internet access will be reaching our smaller centres; that is a good thing for my constituency. People will be happy, particularly in the Acton Vale area. There is also the elimination of the “pay to pay” fees. Receiving a bill in the mail and having to pay an additional two dollars is completely unacceptable. The government has promised to do something about this. Is it really going to? I cannot wait to see that. I should also note that the budget mentions an additional 200 inspectors for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. That is a very good measure. It has to be said that it is about time.

Something that affects my constituency a great deal is infrastructure. For example, money has been included for the Champlain Bridge. Kudos. It has been in ruins for a long time, and we have been waiting for years for the government to do something about the bridge. Perhaps it was waiting for a major problem to occur, and it was even talking about possibly closing the bridge. There would be utter chaos on the south shore and the Island of Montreal if the Champlain Bridge closed. This affects people in my riding, because it is not very far from Montreal and many people from our area work there. The Champlain Bridge raises another issue: tolls. People on low incomes use it daily. Is it really a solution to make people pay for using a bridge? I have my doubts.

The criteria for the building Canada fund have finally been revealed, but these outlays are completely inadequate to meet the current needs of our municipalities. They have been letting things go for years, and now it is time to act.

I could provide some other examples, but I would like to talk about employment insurance. By 2016, $6.4 billion will have accumulated, and again, the money is to be used as they see fit. However, the money belongs to the workers who have contributed to employment insurance, and they may not be entitled to it.

As far as the environment is concerned, the Canadian government’s budget does not address climate change at all. This is 2014. There is a problem. We have to ask ourselves serious questions about where we are headed, what we want to do as a society, and what we want for the future of our children.

I would now like to draw people’s attention to housing and homelessness, a cause I frequently take up. I also introduced a bill on the subject, which was debated about a year ago. With respect to housing, the budget contains no measures to address the expiration of the federal agreements. It means that people may find themselves out on the street, or unable to pay for their housing. This is completely unacceptable.

With respect to homelessness, money from the homelessness partnering strategy goes to fund the housing first program. In other words, we are robbing Peter to pay Paul. In plain language, that is what is going on. Yes, there is investment in a housing program for the chronically homeless, but there is no additional housing, so I do not know how that is going to work.

These are the problems I wanted to raise in relation to the budget. The problem is that the government’s budget in fact contains no meaningful measures to help middle-class Canadians get out from under their debts. It does nothing to offer adequate help to people grappling with housing issues, it does nothing for the environment—in short, it does nothing at all.

Last week, I held a public consultation on household indebtedness and the “affordability” of life in general. I will use this term because people will understand. Community agencies and organizations working on the problem of debt confirmed that middle-class Canadians and the disadvantaged are being crushed and have had enough. It appears that they need a break, but that is not what the government is now offering them.

YukonStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, last week was very busy in the Yukon.

I want to extend my congratulations to all the mushers of the Yukon Quest; to Liz Foubister for being crowned the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Queen; and to the coordinators and volunteers for the successful celebration of 50 years.

I send a big shout-out to Yukon's Olympic skier, Emily Nishikawa, for her performance in Sochi, and I wish the best of luck to her brother Graham in his role as a skiing guide in the upcoming Paralympics.

Finally, I congratulate Karen Barnes of Yukon College for being voted best chili chef at my second annual chili cook-off to benefit the Whitehorse food bank.

Last week I was also privileged to announce the grand opening of 14 independent living housing units for people with FASD, thanks to Sharon Hickey and Options for Independence for their dedicated work.

I was also pleased to announce the opening of the Carcross water treatment facility, part of our government's commitment to essential community infrastructure.

I was there to witness the Government of Canada's historic agreement with the Yukon government to provide $1.25 million per year for new labour market agreements for persons with disabilities, the first of its kind in the Yukon.

In a territory larger than life, it is closer than we think.

National Energy BoardStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, Kinder Morgan has applied to the National Energy Board to build a new 590,000 barrel per day, bitumen-based, export-only, crude oil pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby.

The Conservative government radically overhauled the NEB pipeline approval process and made a real mess of things with Bill C-38.

Under the old regulations, a company applied to the NEB and then the NEB issued a public hearing order if the application was deemed complete. Under the new regulations, the NEB now calls for participation before the application is judged complete.

It turns out that Kinder Morgan's application is incomplete, as it does not include a final pipeline route, but because the NEB has now closed the window for the public to apply to participate, Kinder Morgan may wind up expropriating property with affected landowners having no opportunity to raise objections.

This is unacceptable to my constituents of Burnaby—Douglas, and I ask the government to support my request for the NEB to restart this pipeline hearing process.

2014 Winter Olympic GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, in our lifetime as Canadians, we will have the opportunity to come across a few individuals who we will truly look up to because of their personality, their success, and their ability to inspire us.

Then there are a very few who can capture the attention and respect of people internationally. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are such individuals. Their Olympic performance at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games was stellar. They won silver, but their performance was golden. As one commentator said, on the scoring card there should be a box for magic.

Scott and Tessa's humility and commitment make them wonderful role models for young Canadians and examples to all of what it means to be Canadian.

I thank Tessa and Scott, for their incredible performance in Sochi, and all our Olympians who make us so proud to be Canadian.

Canada PostStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week Canada Post announced that some of my constituents would be the first to lose home mail delivery under the five-point action plan.

I have already heard from seniors and people with disabilities who say they will no longer be able to access their mail.

Mr. Holloway, who lives in Bedford and has a disability, says it will be very difficult to get to a community mail box. He relies on Canada Post to pay his bills and access government services.

Mrs. Blackwell, a senior who lives on a street with no sidewalks, says it will be dangerous for her to walk to get her mail, especially in winter.

Mr. Brown lives on a busy highway and is worried about where Canada Post would put a community mail box that would be safe to access.

Canada Post should suspend its misguided plans, conduct real consultation with Canadians, and ensure everyone continues to have reliable postal service.

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, having served 20 years in the Canadian Armed Forces and being a veteran myself, I rise in the House today to highlight what our government is doing to support our veterans.

We have increased funding from $2.8 billion to $3.6 billion in under 10 years. We have cut red tape and have ensured that 90% of Veterans Affairs funding goes directly to programs and services for veterans and their families.

We have made services easier to access through Service Canada offices.

In my riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, in Hawkesbury specifically, veterans will no longer have to travel an hour and a half to Ottawa because they will now have access to a nearby Service Canada office.

Yes, it is clear that our government supports veterans. Canadians have not forgotten what these brave men and women have done to serve our great country, and neither have we.

Affordable HousingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, nothing is more important to people's health and well-being than having a place to call home, where they can feel safe. Unfortunately, far too many people in our country know what it is like to live without such a basic need. This is a common situation in my large riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou.

In Nunavik alone, more than 900 families are in need of adequate housing, despite the fact that the Government of Canada has a constitutional obligation under the treaties to provide housing. The Eeyou Istchee region is short roughly 2,000 housing units. In Val-D'Or, there is a serious shortage of affordable housing, which is driving up the cost of rent. It is getting harder and harder for families to put a roof over their heads. The same is true throughout northern Quebec.

The federal government has a role to play in providing affordable housing. It is high time that the Conservatives honoured their commitments and worked in partnership with the governments in my region to resolve this problem.

York Regional PoliceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the exemplary efforts of the York Regional Police in combatting human trafficking.

Last week, we heard the details of some remarkable policing work. Through a 2-month-long investigation, the York Regional Police drugs and vice unit was able to identify 31 young women being trafficked and sexually exploited. The unit made 10 arrests, and more than 120 charges were laid.

Some of the rescued women were young teenagers who had been reported missing by their families. Others had children at home. All were able to return to their homes or places of safety.

Human sex trafficking is the fastest growing business of organized crime, and our government is taking strong action to fight it. I commend the York Regional Police, under the leadership of Chief Eric Jolliffe, for its aggressive efforts in combatting this very heinous crime.

They deserve our congratulations on a job very well done.

Retirement CongratulationsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I pay tribute to a special person in my life, my husband Bill. Bill has retired after 40 years of service with the Wyoming Volunteer Fire Department, as a firefighter, deputy chief, and chief.

As has always been the case until recently, Bill was appointed because of his experience, training, knowledge, and leadership. The safety and well-being of all firefighters was his first priority. Under his leadership, the department evolved into one of the best trained, best equipped, and safest departments. Bill worked continuously and tirelessly to improve conditions for firefighters. He was also a strong proponent of critical stress training. Bill was extremely proud of each of the firefighters as they progressed through the various levels of training.

For a wife and mother of a firefighter, there is no greater comfort than knowing that one's loved one, often in a serious, life threatening situation, is in the presence of colleagues who are well trained and well equipped to keep the brigade as safe as possible.

From Will, Tina, Josh, and me, I thank Bill for all he has done. Congratulations on retiring. We are all very proud.

HomelessnessStatements By Members

February 25th, 2014 / 2:05 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the opportunity to be the honorary chair of Projet Lit'inérance, overseen by Contact Richelieu-Yamaska and the Table de concertation Solidarité itinérance maskoutaine. The goal is to provide shelter to those who are homeless and not leave anyone sleeping outside, because no human being deserves that—not to mention that homelessness could happen to any of us.

I would like to thank all the organizers, volunteers and sponsors who made the event such a success. However, we must ask the question: if we had a responsible government that invested appropriately in housing and combating homelessness, would these kinds of events even be necessary? I doubt it.

When will the government make decent, adequate investments in support of the most vulnerable in our society?

Recreational FisheryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that our government announced the renewal of the recreational fisheries conservation partnerships program for $15 million over the next two years in economic action plan 2014. That is a 50% increase in funding.

In only the first round of this highly successful program, we were able to form nearly 100 partnerships with hard-working local conservation and angling groups in order to restore, conserve, and rehabilitate fisheries habitats right across Canada.

I am not the only one who is happy about this. Angelo Lombardo, the executive director of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, highlights that:

Recreational fishing in Canada generates over $8 billion in annual economic activity, and the expansion of this program will allow for dozens of new projects across the country to become a reality.

These conservation groups have established expertise in fisheries and are well positioned to deliver habitat restoration projects through collaborative approaches right across Canada. These projects will benefit recreational fisheries, our natural environment, and many local communities.

Rosemont Community Development CorporationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to mark the 25th anniversary of the Corporation de développement communautaire de Rosemont, or the CDC. For 25 years, this organization has rallied the people of Rosemont around promising community building projects that improve community life. The CDC brings together various stakeholders in the Rosemont community in order to fight poverty and improve social conditions.

With such projects as “Décider Rosemont ensemble”, the entire community has democratically established neighbourhood priorities such as access to social housing, food security or the environment. The CDC oversees more than 50 active organizations, hundreds of motivated volunteers and innovative projects. The CDC fosters social justice, solidarity and democracy. Indeed, for the past 25 years, CDC has had success in all areas, even those where the Conservatives have failed miserably since 2006.

Once again, kudos and thank you to all those who work together, day after day, to make Rosemont a better place to live.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, once again the leader of the Liberal Party reminds us that he does not have the judgment to be prime minister. It is no wonder that his masters did not want him scrumming at the end of his own convention.

To be clear, our government supports the Ukrainian people, the constitutional process, and their legitimate leaders as they work to re-establish freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Canadians want to know if his comments about Ukraine were a joke or if they were serious. It turns out it was a joke; then it was serious; now it is a joke. Maybe he should add foreign affairs to his short list of priorities, alongside legalizing marijuana and having an unelected Senate appointed by an unaccountable appointed body of friends.

I am sure all members will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see what implications the Liberal leader believes the outcome of the World Cup will have on the geopolitical landscape. He is obviously in way over his head.

Democratic ReformStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, Canadians trust Elections Canada to administer fair and impartial elections, yet the Conservatives would have us believe otherwise.

On February 6, the member for Mississauga—Streetsville gave an impassioned account of voter fraud he had personally witnessed, describing the process in careful detail beginning at the community mailbox and ending at the ballot box. He has now admitted that was not true, that he did not personally see voters misusing voter cards.

This is not the first time Conservative resources have been used to mislead Canadians around elections. Members will remember that Judge Mosley found the CIMS database to be the root of the 2011 robocalls that sent voters to the wrong locations.

The fact that the current government would not take advice from the Chief Electoral Officer but would accept the deliberate misleading of the backbencher from Mississauga—Streetsville and leave him on the committee proves the reality that this act is really the unfair elections act.

Let's Talk Energy WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, this week marks the first Let's Talk Energy Week. It is an event for all Canadians to learn and talk about energy systems.

Energy is central to our everyday lives. The Let's Talk Energy initiative, spearheaded by the Canadian Science and Technology Museums Corporation, is hard at work to raise clean energy literacy and awareness among Canadians.

Since 2006, our government has invested more than $10 billion to support green infrastructure, energy efficiency, and the production of cleaner energy and fuels. In fact, over 75% of Canada's energy comes from non-emitting sources.

In support of Let's Talk Energy Week and in celebration of Canada's energy success, I encourage my hon. colleagues to attend scheduled events with their constituents to raise awareness of the benefits energy brings to us all.

This government will continue to support clean energy developments to contribute to a sustainable energy future for all Canadians.

EthicsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were shocked to learn today that staff members of the Prime Minister's Office have literally been eating their lunches. Treasury Board guidelines only allow for paid lunches outside of working hours, but in just three years, PMO operatives spent almost $68,000 on weekly staff lunches, claiming free lunches in violation of Treasury Board guidelines.

Average folks enjoy going to Boston Pizza, but they do not charge up $7,724 and then ask taxpayers to pick up the tab.

We even have a letter from the office of Nigel Wright, the very model of PMO fiscal integrity, stating “Your dependability, professionalism, and especially the delicious food have been greatly appreciated over the past two and a half years”.

Another restaurant encouraged patrons to “order the Prime Minister's favourite dish”.

Canadians are also big fans of local restaurants, but regular people do not try to get hard-working Canadian taxpayers to pay for their lunch.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, after weeks of empty Liberal lip service about the middle class, today Statistics Canada's Canadian survey of financial security shows that Canadian families are better off under the Conservative government than they were under the previous Liberal government.

Statistics Canada shows that the wealth of Canadian families in the middle quintile was up 45% over what it was in 2005. In fact, it is 80% higher than it was in 1999's median after adjustment for inflation. This is because our government continues to reduce the tax burden on Canadian families. We have done it 160 separate times. This leaves $3,400 in the pockets of the average Canadian family of four after they pay their taxes.

The Liberal leader has said that he would massively increase the spending of the federal government on the Canadian people's backs. This would increase the tax Canadians pay or increase their debt.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec


Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Mississauga—Streetsville was forced to apologize to the House for telling tall tales about voters using Elections Canada voter cards to commit electoral fraud. That is a serious accusation. Now the Conservatives want to ban the use of those same voter cards as a piece of ID altogether.

Does the Prime Minister have any actual evidence of voter fraud, or just bogus stories from Conservative backbenchers?