House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Grande Prairie CentennialStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the City of Grande Prairie is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Over the past century, Grande Prairie has grown to become the hub of northern Alberta and an economic engine for both the province and our country.

Families have flocked to the Peace Country over the past century in the hopes of building a more prosperous future for their families and the generations that followed. The foundations of our community were laid by innovative, entrepreneurial, and committed community builders who faced and overcame incredible challenges in building our community. The challenges were great, and only those that were the most committed and adventurous visionaries ever made the trek north.

Survival and success in the newly settled Peace Country was only possible with the co-operation of neighbours. Neighbours cared for one another out of necessity, and a great tradition of community spirit was born, a reality that I am proud to say is alive and well to this day.

I am a proud representative of the dynamic Peace Country and the Grande Prairie region, a community that is home to innovative, entrepreneurial, committed and community-minded residents who are building on a well-laid foundation.

Purple DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to tell the House about Purple Day, which was created in 2008 by Cassidy Megan, from Nova Scotia, to combat the stigma faced by many people with epilepsy. Right now, 300,000 Canadians are living with epilepsy. While there is no cure, 70% of epilepsy cases are treatable. Unfortunately, drug shortages often mean that treatment is not available. Shortages of Clobazam, Zarontin and other drugs have had disastrous consequences for patients recently.

That is why I am supporting Bill C-523, introduced by my colleague from Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, which would require manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceutical products to report any interruption in the drug supply chain. They would be subject to fines if they do not. This bill would also require the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to find solutions to the challenges posed by drug shortages. In recognition of Purple Day, I sincerely hope that my colleagues will come together and find solutions that will help those with epilepsy and their loved ones.

EssexStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past year Essex has witnessed the passing of an important generation of farm, family and community leaders: men like Eugene Whelan, Tony Unholzer, Charlie Diemer, and Louis Byrne all left us for the presence of the God of the seasons.

Each shared so many common characteristics: humble farmers, decisive actors in their communities, and initiating fathers whose strength and character are evident in their children and their grandchildren. In biblical times, these men would have been called “patriarchs”.

Their loss to us is palpable, but their legacy is felt in the barn and the soil, and is bred into the DNA of successive generations still farming today. In that way, they too are still with us.

I am reminded of the photos adorning the Essex County Agriculture Hall of Fame in Harrow, and in a fresh way, I recall so many other local legends.

For their contributions, we offer our thanks, and may each rest in peace.

Purple DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled once again to stand in the House to recognize Purple Day for epilepsy awareness.

Purple Day was founded by Cassidy Megan to raise international awareness about epilepsy, a condition affecting 300,000 Canadians and 50 million people worldwide. Thousands of people across Canada will wear purple today as they celebrate our nation's leadership in epilepsy awareness. I thank my colleagues, many of whom are only too familiar with epilepsy, for their generous support and for wearing with pride their purple ribbons and shirts and blouses, and even socks today.

I ask my colleagues to join me in extending sincere thanks to Cassidy for her courage and her commitment to improving the quality of life of people with epilepsy.

Camphill Community Action AwardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to recognize the exceptional contribution of Dr. Rick Irvin, a family physician in my riding of Barrie, Ontario. Rick was one of Canada's first recipients of the Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards in 2011 and just last week was also awarded the annual Camphill Community Action Award for his contribution to palliative care.

This award celebrates the accomplishments of individual citizens whose visionary and practical contribution to community development significantly enhances Barrie's cultural environment and enriches its social fabric. I got to know Dr. Irvin when he was working to build a Habitat for Humanity home in Barrie, and when we worked together on the physician recruitment initiatives for RVH.

Rick's innovative thinking and effective engagement with the medical community were instrumental in creating palliative care education in the North Simcoe Muskoka region, where he helped secure funding to provide essential end-of-life care, and created and established Hospice Simcoe next to RVH in Barrie.

I thank Rick for his tireless efforts in helping to make Barrie a better place to live.

Climate ChangeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 11, 2013, I took part in a seminar on climate change education organized by the Fondation Monique-Fitz-Back. The 120 participants came to the conclusion that getting our elected officials involved is absolutely crucial. At the conclusion of the event, I therefore committed to making a statement in the House in order to make my federal colleagues aware of the urgent need to take action against climate change.

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, is crystal clear: “humans are the main cause of the current global warming”.

In 150 years, we have used up 40% of our oil and gas reserves, which took millions of years to form. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions caused by this overconsumption of fossil fuels have increased at an alarming rate.

Extreme weather events will increase in frequency and intensity. The temperature has already risen by 0.8oC since the pre-industrial era, and it is expected to rise by another 0.3oC to 4.8oC by 2100.

As elected representatives, it is our duty to take a stand and to take meaningful action, both personally and professionally, against climate change.

Volunteer Service AwardStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to share that one of my constituents recently received a prestigious honour, the Volunteer Service Award, bestowed upon him by the Province of Ontario.

Dan Kelly has been a lead volunteer for Junior Achievement, an international organization that has been working with students in the London-St. Thomas area since 1967. This fantastic program helps high school students run their own businesses and actually sell products to consumers. This includes product development, assembly packaging, and marketing. Consultants oversee the program as volunteers each year from November to April, and over the past several years the St. Thomas operation has been led by my friend Dan Kelly of Dowler-Karn Fuels.

Volunteers like Dan Kelly and the teaching of young people the skills of business is what makes communities like Elgin—Middlesex—London a richer place. Congratulations to Dan. We are proud of him.

The Sky’s No Limit—Girls Fly TooStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, there was an incredible event that took place in beautiful British Columbia on International Women's Day. It was called The Sky's No Limit—Girls Fly Too.

For two days, over 1,200 girls had the amazing opportunity to learn about jobs in the aviation industry. They also took their very first flight. With over 5,000 people in attendance, The Sky's No Limit—Girls Fly Too was the biggest female aviation event in North America.

This event was for girls to dream, and dream big, about the unlimited opportunities the girls have available to them in Canada. Some of those girls will become pilots, aviation mechanics, flight controllers, engineers and, like Jessica, a flight instructor. Maybe, like Chris Hadfield, one of those girls will be the captain at the International Space Station.

Please join me in thanking event coordinator, Kirsten Brazier, Langley airport managers George and Guy Miller, the incredible pilots, and the generous volunteers who worked so hard for days to make this dream come true for those Canadian girls.

Greek Independence DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

François Pilon NDP Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, on March 25, we celebrated the independence of the Hellenic Republic, Greece.

As the member for Laval—Les Îles, I have the good fortune and honour of representing one of the largest Greek communities in Quebec and Canada.

This week, I am proud to fly the Greek flag next to the Canadian flag at my Laval offices.

It is with great honour that I represent them and I want to thank each and every one of them for the outstanding contributions they are making to our community, not only in Laval but all across Quebec and the whole country.

I take this opportunity to wish all Greeks a great Greek Independence Day.

[Member spoke in Greek and provided the following translation:]

Long live Greece. Long live Greeks in Canada.

Natural ResourcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to speak yesterday during the debate on Bill C-22, the energy safety and security act. This important piece of legislation will modernize and increase accountability in Canada's offshore and nuclear industries. Our government understands that there are enormous economic benefits stemming from the offshore and nuclear industries. Bill C-22 will allow these industries to continue to grow while ensuring they are done in a responsible manner.

Bill C-22 will raise absolute liability in the offshore and nuclear regimes to $1 billion. Our current liability limits have not been updated for over two decades. This is clearly unacceptable. While the NDP's plan would put Canadian taxpayers on the hook for the costs of incidents and increase the costs to Canadian ratepayers, Bill C-22 strikes a balance between ensuring protecting Canadians and ratepayers.

Our government is committed to our nuclear and offshore industries, and I urge all of my hon. colleagues to support Bill C-22.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I want to commend the representatives of unions, NGOs and women's rights groups who represent Canada at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The commission's declaration reaffirms the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls and recognizes that gender equality is a target that must be incorporated into all other objectives.

When it comes to making a difference for girls and women abroad, the government can build on the positive contributions made at the 2014 UN Commission on the Status of Women. For example, it could reverse its decision to direct funding away from reproductive services for girls and young women who are forced into marriage.

We hope that Canada will uphold this international declaration and make effective commitments to women's equality around the world. That is the Canadian way.

Purple DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today wearing the colour of the Caesars, not simply in tribute to history but to raise awareness of epilepsy.

Indeed, like the famed Julius Caesar himself, there are approximately 160,000 Canadians living with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that causes brief recurring seizures which can be quite severe.

While many epileptics enjoy productive lives, the stigma associated with these seizures can have negative effects on both patients and their families.

That is why I am proud to join my honourable colleagues in celebrating Purple Day, an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about this disorder.

I am also very proud to see that our government has invested more than $46 million in this research since 2006, and it continues to support further research efforts.

I ask all my colleagues to join me in congratulating Epilepsy Canada for their ongoing dedication to raising awareness and commend them for their efforts in eliminating this stigma.

Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the report of the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women was a complete betrayal of our responsibility to missing or murdered indigenous women and girls, their loved ones, and those who continue to be victimized by violence.

Despite the recommendations of witness after witness and the unanimous urging of all provincial and territorial premiers, the Conservative majority on the committee stubbornly rejected calls for a national public inquiry or a national action plan regarding the urgent issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

Further, the chair's complete lack of flexibility and inadequate communication with the Native Women's Association of Canada undermined the special partnership that was to exist, and prompted NWAC to withdraw from the process.

Today, NWAC issued its formal response to the committee's report, expressing their frustration with the committee's lack of engagement and profound disappointment with the inadequacy of the recommendations.

During routine proceedings, I will be asking for the unanimous consent of the House to table NWAC's bilingual response.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today, KPMG, one of the largest and most respected accounting firms in the world, has ranked Canada as the best place to do business in mature markets.

Thanks to our government's low-tax plan for jobs and growth, Canada has weathered the global economic turbulence better than most other countries.

Our plan is putting more money in the hands of entrepreneurs and businesses, so they can hire more Canadians and expand their operations. It is working, with over one million net new jobs being created since July 2009, with 80% in the private sector.

The opposition has a very different plan, a plan to tax and spend that would hurt our private sector and destroy good jobs for Canadians. They want to impose a $22-billion carbon tax, raise the GST, and raise business taxes, which would sap Canada of our economic strength.

Our government will not allow this to happen. We will continue to lower taxes; we will continue to reduce red tape; and we will promote the Canadian economy around the world.

The Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night, disturbing new reports surfaced about troubling activities involving senior Conservative operatives and a new federal riding.

The member for Mississauga—Brampton South went to the riding association meeting for Oakville North Burlington on March 19, uninvited.

Members of the executive asked her to leave. When she refused, they called the police. Out in the hallway, though, to back her up, was none other than Conservative Party boss Dimitri Soudas. Quickly followed were allegations that the member threatened to use information in the Conservative Party database against members of the riding association.

When a Conservative organizer complained about this incident, Mr. Soudas had him fired.

All members from all parties should treat party volunteers and staff with respect, and allow democratic, contested nominations to play out fairly.

Grain Shipments by RailStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, many farmers across the Prairies, and in my riding particularly, have been directly impacted by recent difficulties in getting their grain to market.

Six months ago, farmers brought in a bumper harvest, almost 50% larger than the past years. This should have been good news for the Canadian economy, as this meant that money was being reinvested throughout the supply chain. However, reality stepped in during the winter when grain piled up and was not making it to port.

Our government responded and brought in an emergency order for the railways to provide extra capacity for moving grain. Kent Erickson, chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission said that this “announcement demonstrates that the government is committed to ensuring Canada remains a primary and reliable supplier of agriculture products”.

Now, we take our next step. We will be introducing legislation in the House that will bring all players in the supply chain together. This is good news for farmers and good news for Canadians and our economy.

I call on all members of Parliament to roll up their sleeves and get to work ensuring this legislation passes quickly so the grain can get rolling.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the former chief electoral officer testified about serious problems with the government's unfair elections act. He said that the removal of vouching destroys a fundamental fail-safe in our voting system, and he said that limiting the ability of a chief electoral officer to communicate publicly is an unprecedented gag order.

After hearing this startling testimony, is the minister now open to more amendments to fix this deeply flawed bill?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, the government takes the very reasonable position that when someone shows up to vote they should merely have some ID, among which they can choose from 39 different options, to identify who they are and where they live. We know there were enormous irregularities in the last election with the use of vouching. There were 50,000 cases where the safeguards designed to protect against voter fraud were violated. When that was revealed publicly in the Neufeld report, the leader of the NDP said that if it continues “all is being lost”.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

It is interesting that the word has moved from “fraud” to “irregularities”, so we are getting a little closer to the truth.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kingsley also testified that the one-year requirement for preserving robocall records is far too short. As a former owner of an automated calling firm himself, the minister knows that these records could and should be preserved for much longer. Why is he making it more difficult to catch the fraudsters?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

March 26th, 2014 / 2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, in fact right now the requirement is zero. There is no requirement to retain any of the information.

The fair elections act creates a mandatory public registry, which, by the way, Mr. Kingsley lauded yesterday, and it requires that the records be kept for one year. The reality is that the requirement applies also to the campaign volunteer who procures the call. A lot of these volunteers move on to different things. They are not permanently committed to a campaign. It is not reasonable to expect that for ten years they are going to keep a record of a telephone script, so the one year requirement is reasonable.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kingsley, like Mr. Mayrand, left that bill in shreds by the time that their testimony was done.

Moving on to another Conservative scandal, that being the use of government jets, every Christmas it seems that the Prime Minister flies his good friend Mark Kihn from Calgary to Ottawa. This happens to be the same person who has helped the Conservatives raise millions of dollars.

The Prime Minister promised to finally end the Liberal culture of entitlement, so how can he justify a government jet for his own BFF?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP is in charge of security for the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, since 2006, has put in place a new policy wherein when the Prime Minister flies for Conservative Party events or on personal business, the Prime Minister himself or the Conservative Party of Canada reimburses taxpayers for the cost of those flights.

The member opposite is quite correct. Before 2006, before this Prime Minister came to office, there was no such policy. That is something we campaigned on when we were in opposition, and it is another promise that we kept after we were elected.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are once again doing favours for party friends at taxpayers' expense. Mark Kihn raised millions of dollars for the Conservative Party. In return, Mr. Kihn had the privilege of using the Prime Minister's airplane to travel from Calgary to Ottawa between Christmas and New Year's Day. That explains why the Conservatives do not feel the need for an air passengers' bill of rights.

Why do Canadians have to pay for the whims of the Prime Minister's friends?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I will give the same answer that I gave yesterday. The RCMP is in charge of the Prime Minister's security and recommends that he not take commercial flights.

Since 2006, the Prime Minister has introduced a new policy to repay taxpayers when he travels for personal reasons or to attend Conservative Party events.

At the same time, we have an opposition party that is using parliamentary resources across this country to support members of Parliament in provinces where they have no members of Parliament. They have a lot to answer for over there.