House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.


Energy Safety and Security ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the member for his remarks. I think he has raised some important questions about the storage of nuclear waste, although I do not think they are evidence-based, but I do commend him for raising them.

For a third time, I will ask an NDP member speaking to the bill to answer a very simple question. What is the position of the New Democratic Party with respect to nuclear power in Canada today? What would it do with the almost 60% of energy in Ontario that is generated through nuclear power? Does it intend to phase out those plants? If so, what would the NDP replace them with exactly?

I am trying to get an understanding of the actual position of the NDP today with respect to existing nuclear power in Canada, the use of nuclear power in Canada going forward, and the ability of Canadian nuclear expertise to conquer international markets.

Energy Safety and Security ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are not going to take the bait on this type of situation.

The reality is that we are debating a bill that has very specific measures that concern us. We are going to continue to use our time to raise the fact that Canadians would be put at risk by this bill, both financially and in terms of their well-being. We are going to continue to raise this every single time we talk, because it is a significant liability for this country. It is the most important thing, which is why we do not care what the Liberal policy is.

Energy Safety and Security ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Windsor West for his excellent speech.

The Conservatives are talking about atomic and nuclear energy in Canada, while they have slashed basic research on all university campuses across Canada. How can they brag about being leaders in atomic and nuclear energy? It is very important that we discuss atomic and nuclear waste and all the adverse effects it can have on the environment. He spoke about the Great Lakes in Ontario, which are a vital natural resource for Canada and the United States.

Energy Safety and Security ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we need to look at some of the models from other countries in rolling out the policy. Germany, in particular, and others have much more profound and robust strategies. That is what I believe we should be doing.

Energy Safety and Security ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand in the House on behalf of my constituents from Surrey North to speak to Bill C-22, an act respecting Canada's offshore oil and gas operations, enacting the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act, repealing the Nuclear Liability Act and making consequential amendments to other acts.

Before I get to the main point of the bill, I want to talk about some of the things that happened in my constituency during the break week. It is important to bring the concerns of my constituents from Surrey North to Ottawa, rather than the other way around. I know that most of the Conservatives would rather take everything from Ottawa back to their constituencies.

I had an opportunity to knock on doors during the last two weeks. Some of this relates to the issues in this bill.

In one young family, which has been in Canada for the last five years, the spouse is a truck driver and the wife works in the health care industry. I want to bring to the attention of the House the lack of credentialling and recognition of the degrees they have from the country they came from. They like staying in Canada, but one of the issues they brought up was their inability to practise in the fields they are trained in.

They have a young child. The mother was a registered nurse in her home country. She has been trying to upgrade her skills here. She was very distraught that there is not enough help from the government. There are not enough pathways for her to take some schooling to upgrade and contribute in a meaningful way in a profession she worked in for 10 years. She was a supervisory nurse in emergency care at a very prestigious hospital in her country, and she is very distraught that her skills are not being translated to this country.

Her husband is a trained IT specialist with an engineering degree. He also pointed to the lack of ability to translate his credentials to Canadian standards so that he could work in an industry in which he has considerable expertise. He could contribute in a meaningful way to the Canadian economy as a new citizen. He drives a long-haul truck. It is difficult for the family.

It is important for me to bring forward those concerns. Those are the kind of issues we need to address when we are bringing in skilled workers or skilled labour from other countries. We should provide adequate training and adequate liaison into the fields they have practised in. That is woefully lacking across this country and is something the government needs to address in the House.

Another fellow I met was very unhappy with the unfair elections act. He let me and the government have it in regard to an institution that has been built over many years and is world renowned. Our ability to conduct fair and democratic elections is a role model for all countries. In fact, other countries use our model to bring in new laws to improve their democracies. He told me that the government's introduction of the unfair elections act was doing an inadequate job of consulting with citizens in regard to what changes need to be brought in.

This brings me to Bill C-22. He talked about the inability of the government to consult Canadian citizens to bring about change.

In particular, he was talking about the inability of the current government to consult Canadians when it brought forward the unfair elections act. We heard it throughout the day yesterday and throughout the discussions on the unfair elections act, and clearly, the government had not consulted Canadians when it brought forward the unfair elections act.

This leads me to Bill C-22. It has been two and a half years since the NDP has been the second party, and I have not seen a bill brought forward by the government on which it has consulted the very people who are going to be impacted. On this bill also, I do not think it has consulted communities, citizens, stakeholders, and Canadians on what needs to be in this liability bill with regard to nuclear and offshore gas and oil. That clearly shows some of the flaws in this bill.

Liberals talked about certain issues in the House today, and the Conservatives have asked certain questions of the NDP. Where have they been for 25 years? There has not been a change to this bill for the last 25 years. The Conservatives have had five tries at it and it is still not law. The Conservatives are very good at throwing mud at the NDP, with help from the Liberals today. It is beyond me, because the Conservatives have had the opportunity to bring in legislation that would improve the liability issues and the safety of nuclear power plants and offshore oil drilling.

Canadians will be astounded to hear that this is the fifth time this bill is being introduced. We on this side of the House are hoping that the fifth time will be the charm. It is time we acted to strengthen liability limits for nuclear operators and offshore gas operators. This change is long overdue. It has been 25 years and it is long overdue that we address this issue to bring it into the 21st century.

In fact, Canada's liability limit for nuclear operators has not changed for 38 years, and we are falling behind the actions other countries are taking to protect their citizens. Similarly, offshore oil and gas liability limits have not changed for over 25 years. The sentiment behind this bill is a good one and I am sure we can all agree to it in principle, but on the fifth go-round, it is time to get the bill right. This is the fifth try by Parliament in the last 25 years. We owe it to Canadians to get it right after the fifth time.

These are some of the things I am going to talk about in my speech. We need to expand liability and ensure that Canada falls in line with best global practices. Again, I go back to consultation. Not only should we be consulting Canadians, the very stakeholders who will be impacted by this particular bill, but we should be looking at what is happening in the United States and in Europe. We should be learning from best practices about what works to protect our pristine waters, whether they are in British Columbia or off the east coast, how to protect Canadians, and how to protect areas around major cities where there are nuclear plants. What are the best practices? What are the other countries doing to ensure that their citizens are protected? What is the level of safety that would reassure Canadians that they can live in those situations and that the environment off our coasts will be protected?

The pristine waters off British Columbia are an important resource to our economy. They generate hundreds and thousands of jobs, whether they are fishing, coastal logging, or tourism. Those are the kinds of jobs we need to protect.

We need to ensure that offshore oil and gas drilling and nuclear safety are intact, so we can grow the expanding tourism and agricultural industries off our coast. When it comes to protecting our beautiful country and our citizens in the event of a major environmental disaster, we need to take strong action.

This bill is based on the polluter pays principle. In its simplest terms, this means that polluters are held accountable for their actions. I am sure this is a principle that all Canadians can get behind. It makes sense to all Canadians that a polluter should pay for the costs from polluting. Every Canadian would agree. The Conservatives often talk about it, but they do not really practise it when it comes to the oil, gas, and nuclear industries. It is a fundamental principle that we should ensure that those costs are not passed on to the next generation.

I will give members an example of how the polluter pays principle works. I know that the Conservatives would love to hear it. I will talk about my own family. I have two young children, a son and a daughter. My son often makes a mess, and his toys are often all over the place. His mom usually tells him to pick up his toys. He runs around, picks a few of them up, and takes them aside, but he leaves the rest floating around. He then dares to ask his sister to clean up the mess. Guess what my daughter says? She says no. She says it is his mess and he should clean it.

That is the basic principle. My seven-year-old understands this. I am astounded that the Conservatives do not understand the polluter pays principle. If people make a mess, they clean it up. In my example, the mess is not my daughter's fault. She gets up and tells her brother that he made the mess and he has to clean it up. It is a basic principle.

The member across is pointing to himself. I know he has his family business, too. We have heard the pizza analogies, and now I am bringing my own family into this.

A seven-year-old understands it. He is okay with cleaning up his mess once his sister tells him that, no, it is his mess and he needs to clean it up. My daughter is clearly for the polluter pays principle. Children understand this polluter pays business, where whoever makes the mess cleans it up. The Conservative government, however, does not seem to want to address that particular issue. It is such a simple concept that whoever makes the mess cleans it up.

Let us extrapolate this example further. The liability limits proposed in this legislation are a step in the right direction, but they do not go far enough. It is just as it is with my son. He cannot get away with just cleaning a little bit of the mess. He needs to clean the entire mess. It is his responsibility. It is his mess.

Based on what is proposed right now, if a nuclear accident were to happen, the operator would be liable for $1 billion. That seems like a lot, but it is actually not a lot. Compared to the disasters we have seen, it is very little, and I will give some examples in my speech. If we look at the disaster that happened in the Gulf of Mexico with BP, there was about $42 billion of assessed damage. The limit of $1 billion would be less than a couple of percentage points. It is not very much at all.

It might sound like a lot of money, but on the grand scale of nuclear accidents, we have seen enough examples to know that it would only cover a fraction of the cost. Who would be on the hook for the rest? It would be the Canadian taxpayers. They would be on the hook for the rest of the money.

On one hand, we understand the polluter pays principle. If people make a mess, they clean it up. Why would Canadian taxpayers be held accountable for pollution they did not contribute to in the first place? This is the Conservative logic of cleaning up the mess.

The Conservatives talk about profits. Whenever there is a profit, they privatize. Whenever there is cost or expenses, they socialize those. Guess who gets to pay those costs? It is the taxpayers.

Using the example of my house where my son gets to clean up his mess, it is time we hold people accountable who make those messes or cause a disaster. It is the polluter pay principle. We need to ensure there are adequate resources available to clean up a mess, God forbid. It has been fairly good in this country. Again, we want to ensure the principle of fairness is upheld. We want to make sure the taxpayers are not being left holding the bag at the end of the day.

It would be as if my son cleaned up a few of his toys and then expected his sister to come and finish the rest of the job. It is not the greatest way to enforce “his mess, his responsibility”. If the government truly believes in the polluter pay principle, the taxpayers should not hold the risk of these energy projects.

The nuclear industry in this country has strong roots. We are not talking about a new industry or providing subsidies to a new industry entering in the economy. This is a mature industry, and mature industries should be able to factor in those costs and ensure that Canadians are not responsible for any liabilities.

The current liability limit for the nuclear operators is about $75 million, which is so low that international courts would not even recognize it. This bill proposes to increase the absolute liability limit for nuclear operators from $75 million to $1 billion.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a step in the right direction but this does not go far enough to protect Canadian taxpayers. Using the example of my son, parents set rules such as, if my son makes a mess, he cleans it up, and if my daughter makes a mess, she cleans it up. As parliamentarians, I think we have a responsibility to taxpayers to set some rules to ensure that those who are liable for pollution, whether it is nuclear, oil, or gas, are held accountable.

We have a joint responsibility to protect all Canadians, all taxpayers, not just the big corporations, letting them have a free hand at liability.

Here is another example. If I had $100 and went to a casino, and I knew that my risk was only that $100, I would be betting as much as possible and taking as much risk as possible to gain more profit. If my liability were only $100, I would be taking major risks.

If the liability is higher, risk-takers or any business would ensure safety in the facilities whether they are nuclear, oil, or gas. Having that additional responsibility to ensure the provision of safeguards for those industries is important, and Canadians clearly expect that.

I also want to illustrate just how arbitrary this number is in light of nuclear costs. Let us look at the costs of Japan's 2011 nuclear disaster. The estimated costs of that disaster are at about $250 billion, and yet we have set the liability limit at $1 billion, which would only cover a fraction of that.

Many other countries have already deemed that their citizens deserve much higher protection in the event of a nuclear accident. Germany has unlimited, absolutely clear liability, fault or no fault. We can learn from these other countries that have actually set very good examples.

I urge my colleagues to defeat the bill. We will gain some insight during committee and we look forward to providing some additional amendments to the bill.

Energy Safety and Security ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan


Kelly Block ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to clarify a couple of things with my colleague across the way.

I want to know if he and his caucus colleagues agree with the words of the member for Winnipeg Centre, when he attacked our hardworking men and women in the nuclear industry by saying, “Somewhere out there Homer Simpson is running a nuclear plant”, or when he attacked jobs in Ontario when he said, “We do not want to see the Darlington nuclear power plant doubled in size. We want to see it shut down”, or does he and his colleagues stand by the words of his leader: “I want to be very clear. The NDP is opposed to any new nuclear infrastructure in Canada”.

My question: What is the NDP's position on clean, nuclear energy?

Energy Safety and Security ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is pretty clear our policy is for clean energy. We have been talking about this for the last few years. I do not know where this member has been or whether she has been in this House or not.

We have been advocating for clean energy to improve the energy we have available to us. We have been asking the government to invest in clean energy projects, to invest in energy that will help enhance Canadian businesses.

As far as speaking for my leader, he will be here this afternoon and this member will have plenty of opportunity to ask him that question directly.

Energy Safety and Security ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, for the fourth consecutive time, I would like to put a question to the NDP member.

New Democrats can bob and weave, they can dance and sing, they can flip-flop on the dock like a fish out of water, but there has to be an answer. What is the position of the New Democratic Party with respect to nuclear power? That is, nuclear power which is in existence today, nuclear power which might be in existence tomorrow; and what is the position of the party with respect to Canadian nuclear expertise bidding for and conquering international nuclear markets, whether for energy or for water desalination?

Energy Safety and Security ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have heard that question a number of times and I think it has already been answered.

It is very clear that New Democrats do not need to learn from the mess the Conservatives have created, and also the mess that the Liberals have created.

Let us talk about the bill. It has been 25 years. For half of those years the Liberals were in government, and for half of those years the Conservatives have been in government. They have failed to protect Canadians. That is the bottom line.

We have been asking for increases in liability in regard to nuclear power, in regard to offshore gas and oil. Clearly the government, and before that, those guys in the corner there, has failed to deliver for Canadians. It is time we take positive steps. It is time to revamp our Nuclear Liability Act to ensure that Canadians are protected in case of a disaster.

On the principle of polluter pays, I have been very vocal about having my children clean up their own mess, and it is time the government ensured the industry cleans up its own mess.

Energy Safety and Security ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The time for government orders has expired. The hon. member for Surrey North will have six minutes for questions and comments remaining after question period when the matter returns before the House.

Former Minister of FinanceStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Dean Del Mastro Independent Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the member for Whitby—Oshawa, Canada's former minister of finance, for his selfless and determined efforts to guide our nation through the global economic crisis.

While the member for Whitby—Oshawa received international recognition for his economic leadership, perhaps what was most remarkable during his time as minister of finance was his determination to consult with national stakeholders and members of Parliament. He would later demonstrate his attentiveness by reflecting those consultations with his actions in his annual budgets.

Perhaps what stands out most was the member's personal commitment to assist low-income seniors, to reduce taxes for families and, of course, the many supports he put in place to assist persons and families of persons living with physical and mental challenges that allow them to demonstrate, and our society to celebrate, their many abilities.

The member for Whitby—Oshawa has demonstrated absolute commitment to public service.

On behalf of my constituents, I thank him for the many sacrifices he has made. I would also be remiss if I did not recognize the many sacrifices that his wife, Christine, and his sons, Galen, Quinn, and John, have made over the past two decades of the member's service to Ontarians and Canadians.

PolandStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 12 this year, Poland celebrated the 15th anniversary of its accession to NATO.

By becoming a NATO member, Poland was able to strengthen its security, contribute to securing the entire Euro-Atlantic region, and assist greatly in NATO's aspiration to maintaining a region that is free and at peace.

Canada is proud to have been the first NATO ally to ratify Polish accession to the North Atlantic Alliance. Since then, Canada has become a leader among NATO countries in language and peacekeeping training, with hundreds of Polish officers and senior general staff having received training in Canada and Poland.

Our armed forces have served in joint missions together, most recently, in Afghanistan.

A transatlantic relationship is especially important now, as it provides a collective defence to any nation threatening peace, democracy, and security in the region.

Canada's help and leadership in the process leading to Poland's entry to NATO is remembered and appreciated by Poles in Poland and across the globe.

Canada PostStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, Canada Post announced that the town of Farnham would lose most of its door-to-door delivery services. I met with Brome—Missisquoi's mail carriers and mayors to discuss the situation. I was also contacted by over 500 very concerned citizens.

Canada must not become the only G7 country that no longer offers home mail delivery. Why not look at modernizing Canada Post's services? Why not bring banking and financial services to Canada Post? This approach has proven to be successful in Europe.

I urge the government to think about this since my colleagues and I intend to continue fighting this battle as long as Canada Post refuses to reconsider its decision.

University Hockey ChampionshipsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday, over 6,000 hockey fans in Saskatoon enjoyed the clash between two long-time rivals at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national hockey championship.

The University of Saskatchewan Huskies faced the University of Alberta Golden Bears in the final, after defeating the Acadia University Axemen and the Lancers from Windsor.

Even though the Huskies eliminated the Ontario and Atlantic university champs, the host team could not beat the Golden Bears, despite a responding goal by tournament MVP Derek Hulak and a shot that ricocheted off the goalpost.

Congratulations to the Golden Bears for winning their first championship since 2008.

University athletics was well presented last weekend with hard work, strong forechecking, and great saves. It was heartwarming to see that the love of the game is shared by all of these university students, their coaches, and the thousands of fans who came out for the games.

I would like to congratulate the Huskies for a great season, the University of Saskatchewan for its hospitality, and all the volunteers for giving their time to make this hockey championship possible.

Science and Technology FairStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Debbie Cribb and her team at John Abbott College on hosting the 2014 Hydro-Québec Montreal Regional Science & Technology Fair.

Science fairs allow students to deepen their knowledge of our physical world. In the process, some find a new passion or interesting career option. Others gain insight into the place of science and technology in business and entrepreneurship. Still others come to see the vital role of science in developing sound health and environmental policies.

By sharing their knowledge through engaging presentations, participants educate us about the science behind everyday phenomena. They empower us by demystifying chemistry, physics, and biology, and opening our minds to endless possibilities. They allow us to discover the hidden magic of the world we live in.

I can think of no more fitting location for this prestigious event than John Abbott College, whose rigorous science and technology programs teach and inspire those who will be the driving force behind our future progress and prosperity.

HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Vein of Galen is a rare condition found in infants when high-pressure blood enters a brain that does not have the normal vein construction found in a newborn.

Last week, our 3-month-old grandson, James Robert, underwent his second procedure, whereby the surgeon entered the artery in the infant's leg and closed up the malformed veins in the baby's brain. This delicate procedure has been pioneered by doctors at SickKids Hospital and Toronto Western where, under the watchful eye of Dr. Timo Krings and some of the best surgeons in the world, this remarkable surgery is performed.

I want to thank all the nursing staff, as well as Dr. Peter Dirks and Dr. Karel terBrugge who quarterbacked and so skilfully made this operation another amazing success story to young James' recovery.

Faye and I, his parents Dave and Katie, as well as all other parents blessed by this team, are eternally grateful to the remarkable and dedicated staff at Toronto's SickKids Hospital.

Youth Employment StrategyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to impress upon the House the necessity of reviving Service Canada's skills link program, which is part of the youth employment strategy.

In my riding, an organization called Action-Emploi Sept-Îles submitted a project designed to support young school drop-outs through a social and occupational integration program and by helping them get back to school. In addition to training workshops that are designed to address the pressing needs of local organizations—such as workshops on cooking for seniors' residences and community organizations—the measures proposed by Action-Emploi Sept-Îles cover other topics such as informed budget management, computer skills and job search strategies.

The promised funding is slow in coming. Repeated requests for an explanation from the department have led nowhere. Public servants indicate that there is a Canada-wide freeze, with delays of several months. All of the projects have been on hold since November 2013, and the funding is not accessible. We are calling for the Minister of Employment and Social Development to get directly involved so that the money is awarded in accordance with the agreements signed with the organizations and program participants and without further delay.

Firearms ReclassificationStatements By Members

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


Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, gun owners across Canada are outraged by the RCMP's arbitrary reclassification of Swiss Arms and CZ 858 rifles last month. This was a decision made by non-elected bureaucrats that does nothing to increase public safety.

Our government's recent announcement of an amnesty to protect from prosecution the owners of these now-prohibited firearms is a good first step. It gives our Minister of Public Safety the time he needs to come up with a permanent, reasoned solution to a longstanding problem.

Now is the time to establish an independent firearms expert technical committee composed of real firearms experts, including those from the civilian gun industry. Then, and only then, will the issue of firearms classifications be addressed in a fair and balanced manner.

All those gun owners who have been affected by reclassification issues past and present can rest assured that I am working with the Minister of Public Safety to make this committee of firearms experts a reality, so stay tuned.

Scouts CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Chungsen Leung Conservative Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to stand today to welcome Scouts Canada and l'Association des scouts du Canada who are in Ottawa today for their day on Parliament Hill.

Scouts is one of Canada's leading youth organizations for youth aged 5 to 26, offering programs for boys and girls in towns and cities across Canada. Scouts Canada has experienced successive years of significant growth. Today, Scouts Canada is a highly diverse, co-educational organization with over 100,000 members nationwide, representing many faiths and cultures. In addition to our two official languages, Scouts also offers programming in over 19 languages, reflecting Canada's multicultural landscape.

Scouts Canada is making itself known as the premier youth-serving organization in Canada. Scouting is both a program and a lifestyle. It has a positive impact on the lives of children and youth, focusing on the integrated physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual development of the individual. With leadership training starting at age 14, Scouts Canada is developing Canada's leaders of tomorrow.

I was a Scout for eight years, involved in Scouting programs in Taiwan, Japan, Canada, and the United States. Scouting certainly has enriched my life.

I ask all parliamentarians to rise today to recognize Scouts Canada and l'Association des Scouts du Canada's service to our nation. I wish to remind members to join us at the reception today at 5:30 p.m. in room 160-S.

Canada PostStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor heat can stop our postal carriers. Sadly though, the Conservative government is worse than our worst weather. It is stopping Canada Post from doing its job.

Hundreds of Nickel Belt residents are telling me they want Canada Post to improve, not have their services cut. People are feeling the cuts both in Nickel Belt and in northern rural areas. There are fewer hours and days open for post offices, fewer postal jobs, and an end to home delivery. Change would be fine if it embraced innovation, diversification, and postal banking.

The issue is not just a trip or a walk to get the mail. It is dealing with winter, ice, and the location of these boxes. Let us have a strong, renewed Canada Post, not the government's death by a thousand cuts. How can we trust a government that cannot even deliver the mail?

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about an issue that affects every Canadian, and that is tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance.

Tax evasion places an unfair burden on hard-working, law-abiding Canadians. With this in mind, our government cannot stand by when hard-working Canadians are being taken advantage of by those who break the law. Since forming government, we have introduced over 75 measures to improve the integrity of the tax system and increase the powers available to the CRA.

The opposition has opposed us every step of the way. What is more, the opposition proposes nothing but half-hearted, ill-conceived ideas that have long ago been dismissed as pointless by experts around the world.

Our government recognizes that it is irresponsible to play politics with such a serious issue. Why will the opposition not do the right thing for taxpayers and join us in ensuring tax fairness for all Canadians?

Northern Gateway PipelineStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, over 500 people crammed into an auditorium in Victoria to say no to the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline project. They stood united with the vast majority of British Columbians.

They oppose this project because, unlike the Conservative government, they understand that the effects of a pipeline or tanker spill would be disastrous. The environmental and economic risks are simply too high. Over 45,000 tourism and fisheries jobs could be lost, habitat would be decimated, and communities would be devastated.

The experts, as well as Enbridge's own abysmal track record, confirm that oil spills are inevitable.

Nearly 10,000 Canadians told a joint review panel that they oppose it. Over 130 first nations oppose it. Towns and cities across B.C. oppose it. British Columbians have said no. It is time for the Conservatives to listen.

We stand united with British Columbians to stop the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline proposal. Together, we will take back our coast.

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Parm Gill Conservative Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the leader of the Liberal Party for his untimely response. It has only taken him 134 days to stand up for veterans and fire his disgraced veterans spokesman.

The Liberal Party spokesman went on to disrespect veterans on national television on Remembrance Day, and said that letting veterans manage their own finances is like “...hanging a case of beer in front of a drunk... they go and spend it, either on...buying a fast car or spending it on booze or addiction”.

I welcome the member for Guelph to his new post and hope that he will treat Canada's veterans with the respect and dignity that veterans have earned.

Greek Independence DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year Hellenes around the world celebrate the 193rd anniversary of the independence of Greece. Canadians of Greek descent mark this milestone by sharing their history and values with their fellow Canadians.

On this day in 1821, Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra, in the Peloponnese, signalling the start of the revolution against the Turks.

Greeks of the Morea, and throughout the Ottoman Empire, fought under the motto “freedom or death” during the Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution. After a long and bloody struggle, independence from the Ottoman Empire was finally granted by the Treaty of Constantinople, in July 1832.

The anniversary of Greek Independence Day is a national holiday in Greece and falls on the same day of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, a day of religious significance in the Greek Orthodox calendar.

As we pay homage to those who have paid the ultimate price in this struggle, let us also remember and honour the valiant contributions of men and women everywhere who fight for freedom, justice, equality, and peace.

Zito Ellas. Long live Greece.

Community Development FundingStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency of Ontario announced an $8 million non-repayable contribution to the Western Ontario Community Futures Development Corporation Association. This will allow it to continue to deliver the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation in southwestern Ontario.

The minister also announced a $12 million non-repayable contribution to the Eastern Ontario Community Futures Development Corporations, to allow it to continue to deliver the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation in southeastern Ontario.

The top-ups to each of these funds will help address the high demand for loans in both regions, with a focus on the information, communications, technology, and food processing sectors.

Unlike the opposition, our government is focused on jobs, growth, and economic prosperity. We will continue to set the right macroeconomic conditions for businesses to succeed and will continue to strategically invest in all parts of Ontario.