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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was havens.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives claim that they are serious about cracking down on tax evasion. However, they decided to abolish 3,000 jobs and cut $250 million from the Canada Revenue Agency's total budget.

That is why I tabled a motion proposing concrete measures to fight tax evasion, with the first step being a study of how much money is being lost to tax havens.

Will the Conservatives make the fight against tax evasion a priority and support my motion?

TaxationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we are not taking any measures to reduce CRA's compliance resources.

In fact, there are nearly 400 more tax auditors today than when we formed government. Further, we have increased the size of our international audit program by over 40% and identified nearly $4.6 billion in unpaid taxes.

On the other hand, the NDP and Liberals have opposed more than 75 measures that we have taken to improve the integrity of the tax system. We have heard nothing but empty rhetoric from that side.

EmploymentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, constituents of Chatham-Kent—Essex received positive news.

Would the minister for science and technology and FedNor please update this House on the new opportunities in the Leamington area and for residents of my riding?

EmploymentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Chatham-Kent—Essex, along with the member for Essex and our hard-working minister of state for FedDev for all the hard work they have been doing to assist the people of the Leamington area on maximizing their economic opportunities following the Heinz plant closure.

Due to their hard work on the file, I am pleased to stand in the House today and confirm that Heinz has signed a letter of intent with the Highbury Canco Corporation to acquire and reopen the plant.

Our government will continue to focus on jobs, growth, and the long-term prosperity of—

EmploymentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, sadly, it has now been two months since Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy and two other colleagues were arrested in Egypt.

They are now on trial for being journalists. Egypt's crackdown on press freedom is clearly unacceptable, and it is time for Canada to take a strong stand.

What is the government doing to free and bring Mohamed Fahmy home, and will the minister urge Egypt to uphold the right to freedom of expression?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canadian officials are providing consular assistance to Mr. Fahmy and are in communication with his lawyer.

We stand with the Egyptian people in their efforts to build a stable, inclusive, prosperous, and democratic Egypt based on respect for human rights, tolerance, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.

Canada continues to call on the Egyptian government to protect and to promote the right of journalists, in keeping with Egypt's new constitution and the aspiration of all Egyptians to build a fully democratic country.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the federal government needs to stop hiding behind the National Energy Board to avoid ruling on Quebec's conditions for authorizing a reversal of Enbridge's 9B pipeline, which goes from Ontario to eastern Montreal.

This morning, the Montreal metropolitan area, the Union des producteurs agricoles and Équiterre took their cue from members of the National Assembly of Quebec and demanded that Enbridge fulfill the 18 conditions in the report produced by the Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, Energy and Natural Resources.

Will the government make a commitment that it will refuse to give the Enbridge project a green light until it is in full compliance with Quebec's 18 conditions?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, an independent regulatory board will make a decision regarding this pipeline project and we will obviously respect the outcome of this regulatory process.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise on behalf of the official opposition to ask the government what it has planned for the House for the remainder of this week and next week.

Specifically, this week we are continuing to see the government's refusal to allow the committee studying Bill C-23, the unfair elections act, to travel, consult, and meet with Canadians and hear from them about their own democratic process. The homeless, first nations, seniors, and new Canadians are all groups that will have their ability to vote limited.

We now see the spectacle, as you have witnessed, Mr. Speaker, and we look forward to your ruling, of the government backbencher who tells tales about the phantom menace of vouching, in a ludicrous effort to give his government some backup on this bad bill. He also, at one point, suggested that Canadians could use death certificate identification to vote. That was one of the suggestions he had. These are strange conclusions. I will leave it at that, because this is the Thursday question.

When will the government actually put the member for Mississauga—Streetsville away on this file? He sits on the committee studying this bill, which is worrisome to all or many Canadians.

Finally, New Democrats are willing to confirm committee travel for all parliamentarians studying legislation and doing committee investigations if the government House leader is willing to confirm today that one of those committees, it could be the procedure and House affairs committee, could study and consult with Canadians on their democratic rights in Canada.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I know that the members of the procedure and House affairs committee are very much looking forward to when the NDP members cease their filibuster and actually allow the committee to get on with the business of hearing from witnesses. It is the NDP, in fact, that for many months called on this government to ensure that legislation was in place by the end of this spring. Oddly, its efforts to prevent any evidence from being heard on this legislation is in contradiction to that. I look forward to that changing, now that the House finally voted on that question conclusively this week.

I would also like to note that something else the House voted on this week is Canada's economic action plan 2014. The House endorsed a plan that sees our government on track to balance the budget next year, all the while keeping taxes low and protecting the programs and services upon which Canadians rely.

Unfortunately, the hon. member for Papineau voted against this sound budget, which received both accolades and praise from all parts of the country and diverse sectors of the economy. Perhaps the member does not appreciate the extraordinary effort that went into such a fiscally sound budget. After all, the Liberal leader does hold the view that budgets balance themselves. We know better. We understand the hard work that fiscal leadership actually requires and the hard work that governing demands, something with which he is apparently unacquainted.

With the budget adopted, the House will work on other legislation. Today, we will start the second reading debate on Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. Tomorrow, we will start the second reading debate on Bill C-25, the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Act. That debate will continue next Wednesday, if need be. Monday, we will start the second reading debate on Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act. Tuesday shall be the sixth allotted day. Finally, we will resume the second reading debate on Bill C-20, the Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act.

A message from His Excellency the Governor General transmitting estimates of the sums required for the service of Canada for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015, was presented by the President of the Treasury Board and read by the Speaker to the House.

Main Estimates 2014-15Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I have a message from His Excellency the Governor General, bearing his signature.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages entitled “The State of French Second-Language Education Programs in Canada”.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present the NDP's supplementary opinion. We are concerned about the fact that most of the committee's recommendations do not reflect all of the testimony given and the fact that the committee did not include a number of key recommendations in its report.

We would like therefore like to supplement the committee's report with the following information. We urge the Department of Canadian Heritage to increase the funding allocated to future memoranda of understanding for minority language education and second-language education.

The NDP is therefore calling on the Government of Canada, in partnership with the provinces and territories and through CMEC, during the negotiation of future memoranda of understanding, to develop a strategy to create a continuum of French second-language learning, from elementary school to post-secondary institutions through to the labour market; to take the necessary steps to promote access to French as second language programs at the post-secondary level; and to improve, based on the resources available, its support for French as a second language programs in Quebec so that anglophone minority schools in that province can offer high-quality French as a second language programs, thereby contributing to the vitality of the anglophone minority in Quebec.

The NDP hopes that the Minister of Canadian Heritage will implement these recommendations in order to ensure that immersion programs in Canada grow and flourish.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

February 27th, 2014 / 3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two points. Yesterday I might have used a word that was out of turn, and for that I want to apologize. I am referring to the word I used, which was “blackmail”. I hope that is accepted.

However, there is a more important issue we need to discuss today, and that is what is happening in Venezuela.

Wording has gone back and forth, and I believe that everyone is okay with it. If members are not, they can stand up and say differently.

The motion I put forward is as follows:

That the House express its deep concern at the escalation of violence in Venezuela; convey its condolences to the families of those killed or injured during the ongoing public protests; ask the Government of Canada to urge Venezuelan authorities to proactively de-escalate the conflict and protect the human rights and democratic freedoms of Venezuelan citizens; that the Maduro government release all those detained during the protests, that all government interference with the peaceful protesters should cease immediately and that those people who have perpetrated the violence should be brought to justice and bear the full weight of the law; encourage the Government of Canada to play a leading role in supporting a political dialogue in Venezuela that respects legitimate grievances and differences of opinion; and to call for an end to divisive rhetoric and actions that only delay and jeopardize the inclusive political solution that the Venezuelan people deserve.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley is rising on a point of order.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, to my friend from the Liberal Party, speaking of processes and respect for Parliament again, as he said at the beginning of his attempt to have unanimous consent, language is right now going back and forth between the parties. We are close to an agreement. I am not sure what part of “we are working on it” and “yes” he does not understand.

We agree with the principle of needing to declare our intentions on the issue that is facing the Venezuelan people. The member continues to do this day after day. I hope that it is not in some effort to be denied so that he can issue a press release. I would not suggest it unless it had not happened in the past.

We are working on the text. We will come back to the House once all the parties in the House agree, which has been the principle in this place since it was first built. If my friend would respect those institutions and that democratic principle, we would move forward on an important issue rather than trivializing it by continuing to perform, and I hesitate to use the word, stunts, but it happens again and again.

He knows full well that we are attempting to negotiate the very text he seeks to have adopted. We agree with the principle but not with the manner with which he continues to do this action. He grandstands on an issue that is important to people. We should do it better and show it the respect it deserves. I hope that all hon. members would agree with that sentiment.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would simply say, for the government side, that we had wording that was presented today that we were willing to accommodate. It was the same with the wording yesterday, which we were willing to accommodate. However, notwithstanding our willingness to accommodate those particular wordings, we believe that there is a practice here, and I adopt the comments of the opposition House leader with regard to that process and how much better it would be if we could indeed have true consensus here in this House.

We have been very accommodating and will continue to work with the evidence to try to come to something that everyone can agree on.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I look forward to that consensus being reached. The Speaker will then test the House to see if the consensus is there, and we will move on accordingly.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to table a petition on behalf of Canadians who are concerned about cuts to Canada Post mail delivery that will negatively impact on the elderly and persons with disabilities.

My riding of Mount Royal is home to many seniors, and I share their concerns about the serious risk to their well-being if forced to walk in hazardous weather conditions to get their mail, which arguably might well violate the equality provision of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Accordingly, I join with the petitioners and call upon the government to suspend this ill-conceived plan.

Impaired DrivingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of constituents who have signed a petition regarding impaired driving and Canada's laws being too lenient. The petitioners are concerned that the laws should be tougher and that new mandatory minimum sentences for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death be implemented.

The petitioners ask that the Criminal Code of Canada be changed to redefine the offence of impaired driving causing death to vehicular manslaughter.

Syrian RefugeesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.

One of them was given to me by Amnesty International, which is calling on the government to take action to help the millions of Syrians who have fled Syria and also those who are still in that country, where the situation is very difficult and dangerous.