House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-13.


Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Adam Vaughan Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, through the Chair, I apologize.

The member has identified that the legislation would attack the system of advertising these services. The legislation talks about the system of reporting to the police and the conversations that would be possible between people who have been trafficked and the law enforcement agencies. The member talked about a series of systemic approaches that need to be changed in order to change the culture around this issue.

However, when it comes to missing and murdered indigenous women, the same government responds to it as an individual situation, that there is no sociological or systemic reason there.

I would like the member, through the Chair, to explain to the House exactly why this is a systemic problem, but the other one is not; it is rather one of individual choices and individual situations.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, to be very candid, when we look at and other advertisements, we will often see advertisements like “Asian women”, “young women”, “fresh women”. Those advertisements are done by organized crime and traffickers. They are selling their product.

There is a provision for the prostitutes themselves. If they want to individually advertise, that is fine. The bill would not touch that. What it would go after is the control of these women.

I am an honorary chief. I have been on reserves. I have the red shawl from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. My own family is aboriginal. I have such a heart for the murdered and missing women. I can tell the House that there has been so much talk about inquiry and no action, and now we need to take action. We need to put the money into programming and into solving the problem.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I attended the meeting of the special committee that examined Bill C-36.

I would like to point out that we are once again hearing the Conservatives' unilateral view that justice can solve the problems inherent in prostitution.

I have an eye infection. This may not seem to have any relevance to the bill before us. However, yesterday, I went to the pharmacy to get some eye drops, and the pharmacist told me that merely putting one or two drops in my eye would not cure the infection. He said that the infection needed to be treated and that it would take several days for it to be cured.

My Conservative colleagues' remarks about Bill C-36 give the impression that this bill is like some sort of magical cure for an infection that will solve all of the problems in one day. It is as though every victim will be saved, prostitution will be eliminated and all the pimps will be sent to prison on the day Bill C-36 comes into force.

We are not living in a comic strip or a world of make-believe. We are living in a real society. Justice is not the way to eliminate the problems inherent in prostitution. We can put anyone we like in prison but it will not solve the problem. We spoke about poverty, vulnerability and drug use. To my knowledge, Bill C-36 does not address any of those issues.

As I said earlier, I truly admire my colleague for all of the work that she has done for victims of human trafficking and exploitation. The main point of her speech and that of the minister of state was that these people are in an extremely difficult situation. This may be because of family problems, drug problems or poverty. However, regardless of the underlying problems, these people did not make a free choice. How can someone be given the opportunity to make a free and informed decision? They must be given options.

The government would have us believe that these men and women will be able to make a free and informed decision and get out of the situation they now find themselves in. I would be happy if we could all live in utopia and everyone could be equal. However, a bill such as Bill C-36 is not going to resolve the issues of poverty and drug use. The very basis of the Supreme Court's ruling was that no one can freely and safely engage in an activity if everything associated with that activity is illegal. In this case, we are talking about bawdy-houses, pimping and prostitution itself or the issue of soliciting.

The Conservatives are now saying that we should forget about all those offences but that, according to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, prostitution will be illegal. According to the minister of state, only purchasing the services of a prostitute is illegal. This is not clear.

Does this really respect the basis for the Supreme Court ruling? If we listen carefully to the Conservatives' speeches, some say that prostitution is illegal while others say only purchasing the services is illegal. Does that provide a legal, secure and safe framework for the individuals? That is the question.

According to the witnesses, making illegal everything surrounding a legal activity does not make this activity any safer. That is the very basis for the Supreme Court ruling. Most of the witnesses said, unfortunately, that the bill will be challenged because you cannot criminalize victims for an activity that is not illegal. That is unconstitutional. Even the witnesses invited by the Conservatives to appear before the committee clearly said that the victims cannot be criminalized.

Toughening the laws as they do, without any consideration for the problems inherent in an activity and a situation—I spoke about poverty—does not solve anything.

This bill does not solve anything. As I mentioned, it is like a magical cure for an infection. It does not work. It does not exist. It is like continuing to put a band-aid on a wound that will not heal. We are only adding a legislative framework and that is not a solution to a problem.

My colleague said that victims are now able to report and are able to get out and that we are now offering them the option to do so. Could they not report before?

All of the police officers who testified in front of the committee said that police officers do not prosecute and arrest prostitutes. They do not do it anymore. They have not done it for at least the past seven years. Is she saying that the police officers lied in committee and that they would arrest prostitutes? Is she saying that before they were not able to report, and now they are?

I would like to remind the hon. member that exploitation, rape, and human trafficking are already criminalized under the Criminal Code, and the sentence is jail to life imprisonment.

I would like my colleague to read sections 279.01 and 279.04 again. They are clear: human trafficking and exploitation are illegal. I already asked her the question, but she could not answer me. What new tools would Bill C-36 give to police to get young people out of prostitution? I did not ask about money, for that is another matter entirely.

All 75 witnesses said that $20 million over five years is completely ridiculous. I think the answer was clear. I repeat, 75 out of 75 witnesses, 100%, said that it was completely ridiculous.

When I asked the question, none of the police officers could name a single new tool that Bill C-36 would give them to help the victims of prostitution and human trafficking get out of it. This bill does not provide any new tools. I asked all the police officers who appeared before the committee.

According to the Conservatives, the Criminal Code is ineffective. Does that mean that section 279.04 on exploitation is ineffective? Should we get rid of that section and draft a new one? According to the Conservatives, section 279.01 of the Criminal Code on human trafficking is also ineffective. Does that mean we should take it out of the Criminal Code and draft a new one?

According to the Conservatives, no victims of human trafficking could get out of it before Bill C-36 was introduced. What, then, is the purpose of the Criminal Code? Are police officers incapable of enforcing the existing sections of the Criminal Code? In that case, we are talking about another problem, that is, whether police on the ground have the resources they need to do so. We heard from many police officers, and their message was clear: there is only one person in the police squad for an entire region.

If human trafficking in Canada is so extensive that the Conservatives want to do something, why not allocate more resources to police so they can take action on the ground? As it stands, Bill C-36 simply makes something illegal that may or may not already be illegal, according to the Conservatives. They cannot even give us a straight answer on that.

The minister of state spoke about the defence strategies used by pimps and johns, as she calls them. I must remind her that none of the defence strategies she listed in her speech can be used under the Criminal Code. She talked about drug use. Under the Criminal Code, drug use is clearly not an acceptable defence in a court of law. She also talked about consent. The section of the Criminal Code dealing with rape and sexual assault is clear: even if the victim previously consented to sexual relations, that does not mean that the person consented to rape. All of the examples of defence strategies used by pimps and johns, as she said, are unacceptable and would not work.

Will Bill C-36 truly solve the problems associated with prostitution? Not at all. The bill does not respect the very basis of the court's ruling, which is that people have the right to be safe when carrying out an activity.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very anxious to ask some questions, because there is a bit of a vacuum in some of the comments that were made.

Why is Bill C-36 here? It is what we have been talking about all morning. The Supreme Court collapsed the laws. The laws the member was talking about that are in the Criminal Code were actually deemed unconstitutional. The government was asked to take this up and produce a bill that would respond to that. That is the answer to that.

Again, the tools, which I talked to very explicitly, are that now the victims could talk to the police. Just because there is a little provision in section 213 that if they solicit in front of schools, day cares, or kiddie pools, and that kind of thing, they can be moved along does mean they are being arrested. What happens is that often police get them to the police station and explain to them why this is not acceptable.

This is one of the best bills this country has ever put forward to address this terrible problem.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was on the same committee as my esteemed colleague. I can guarantee you that no police officer was able to say that Bill C-36 would bring anything new to the legislation to help victims break free from human exploitation. I guarantee it.

If the member can show me testimony from committee, I will apologize to the House, but I can guarantee you that I have reread my notes, and not a single police officer was able to name a new tool.

The basis of the Supreme Court's ruling was that a person must and may carry out an activity freely and safely, but how can a person do this if everything surrounding the activity is illegal? That is why the court removed those sections from the Criminal Code. The Conservatives are essentially saying that prostitution itself is not illegal, but the purchase of prostitution is. We are going in circles here.

Is this truly in keeping with the basis of the Supreme Court's ruling? No, it is not. The member said that, before, victims could not report to police, which is absolutely not true. The police officers who testified in committee were clear. They had not been arresting prostitutes for years, and they had been working with them precisely to try to combat pimping.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her speech.

She spoke about tools, and that truly is an important issue because not every problem has a legislative solution. Sometimes, a problem requires fiscal measures. In committee, we heard from a witness named Kyle Kirkup.

One of the things Kyle Kirkup said was this: “Got a complex social problem? There's a prison for that.”

In invite my colleague to expand upon the non-legislative, non-Criminal Code matters that undoubtedly the government has not thought of in addressing this complex social problem.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for that question.

As I said, the Conservatives' unilateral view is that justice can solve all the problems inherent to a situation. Whether we are talking about prostitution or something else, the activity must be criminalized for it to be controlled.

In their speeches, the government's parliamentary secretaries and the ministers of state clearly said that prostitutes and victims have no choice because, unfortunately, they are extremely poor, are addicted to drugs and may even have mental health issues. However, from what I can see, Bill C-36 does nothing to address those problems. There is no additional money for social housing or mental health treatment. The government is simply criminalizing an activity that, in and of itself, is not illegal.

I would really like it if the Conservatives could tell us how criminalizing something can help people who are dealing with much deeper issues, such as poverty, mental illness or drug addiction. Putting them in prison or criminalizing them will not solve the problem. All of the experts agree. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is true that when a crime is committed, the person needs to pay for their actions, but what happens to the victims in that case? Do they get help? No, the government prefers to make it illegal to advertise or buy services. What happens to the victims? Do they get help? No, not at all.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-36, which amends the Criminal Code in order to create an offence that would prohibit purchasing sexual services or communicating in any place for that purpose.

I am very familiar with this bill because I am a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. In July, our committee studied this bill for five consecutive days and heard from 75 witnesses.

We find that this bill does not comply with the Supreme Court ruling, and therefore we will oppose it. The government should have sent Bill C-36 to the Supreme Court to ensure that it is constitutional. The Minister of Justice said that he expected that Bill C-36 would face a legal challenge. As usual, the Conservatives' bills are designed to garner votes, not improve our society.

We consulted many legal experts, stakeholders and sex workers, as well as the authorities concerned by this legislation. Everyone agrees that Bill C-36 does not stand a good chance of getting by the Supreme Court.

There are many sex workers who choose this profession of their own free will. They must be protected from abuse. However, they are not the ones I am concerned about. What I do worry about is the government's lack of action on fighting poverty, which is the main factor that leads to sexual exploitation.

The measures announced by the Conservatives to help prostitutes exit the sex trade are inadequate. Sweden has adopted the model that criminalizes the buyer of services. Some wrongly claim that Bill C-36 is the Canadian version of the Swedish model. In Sweden, these legislative measures go hand in hand with extremely important social measures. The Swedish model cannot work if the authorities do not have the necessary resources to help people in need because, quite frankly, the main cause of prostitution is poverty.

Many women who have no way out turn to prostitution to survive. Those situations give rise to abuse and violence. What have the Conservative and Liberal government done to fight poverty? Nothing at all.

On the contrary, over the past five years, only 20% of Canadians have seen an increase in their incomes. The other 80% have seen their real income shrink. Households in Canada have the highest level of debt in the entire OECD. It is a disaster. Young people are paying more than ever for tuition and are incurring more debt than ever before. To make matters worse, for the past few years, the federal government has been refusing to invest in social housing. By 2030, $1.7 billion in federal funding for social housing will have been lost. This amounts to 85% of the federal housing budget.

In Canada, more than 620,000 social housing units were provided through long-term agreements, with a lifespan ranging from 25 to 50 years. These agreements allow social housing providers to financially support their tenants to ensure that only about 30% of their income is spent on rent.

In 2014, the federal government is still refusing to renew these agreements as they expire.

If we do not change course by 2030, over three-quarters of the federal education budget will have been cut. However, social housing is one way of getting people out of poverty and out of prostitution. For instance, by spending less than 30% of its income on housing, a needy family can invest more money in education. That is why we will continue to call on this government to renew federal funding for social housing, in order to preserve rent subsidies and provide funds for necessary renovations. Furthermore, to help women get out of prostitution, more needs to be done to treat substance abuse problems. Once again, we are up against this government's failure to act.

The Minister of Justice promised $20 million for treatment and prevention as part of Bill C-36's implementation. However, that amount is not even enough to meet the needs of existing organizations throughout Canada. At the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, witnesses criticized the cuts made to women's centres. This is on top of the funding cuts to mental health services and other medical services, as well as the absence of sufficient legal aid.

If the government is serious about fighting sexual exploitation, it has to allocate substantial resources. It has to provide these women with income support, as well as education, training and treatment for drug addiction. That is the only way to combat prostitution because criminalizing johns, which Bill C-36 would do, will not put an end to sex work. All that will do is further marginalize it. Marginalization is what leads to exploitation and violence. If johns are criminalized, they will be afraid. They will ask sex workers to meet them in out-of-the-way places. They will force them into different circumstances.

Bill C-36 will make life even more unsafe for many prostitutes. If they cannot advertise their services to persuade the johns to come to them, many more are likely to take to the streets in search of business. This bill will make it much more difficult for sex workers to safely assess and vet their clients and ensure they can meet them in relatively safe places on their own terms.

We believe that this bill is not consistent with the Supreme Court ruling or the charter. The measures announced by the Conservatives to help prostitutes exit the sex trade are inadequate. The government must refer the bill to the Supreme Court. We do not believe it is consistent with the Bedford decision.

Finally, concrete efforts must be made immediately to improve the safety of sex workers and help them exit the sex trade if they are not there by choice. The government must provide significant resources for income support, education and training, poverty alleviation and treatment for addictions for this group of people.

Toronto Scottish RegimentStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.


Bernard Trottier Conservative Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the Toronto Scottish Regiment, a reserve infantry unit that trains from armouries in Etobicoke—Lakeshore and Mississauga. The regiment will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.

From 1916 until the end of World War I, the regiment was committed to every major Canadian engagement on the Western Front. Captain Bellenden Hutcheson, the medical officer, won the Victoria Cross. World War I battle honours include: Somme, Vimy, Passchendaele and Amiens.

With the outbreak of World War II, the Tor Scots mobilized quickly, becoming the first complete Canadian regiment to reach the United Kingdom. World War II battle honours include: Dieppe, Falaise, St-André-sur-Orne and The Scheldt. Since then, members of the regiment have served on NATO and UN missions, including Korea, Cambodia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, the Golan Heights, Rwanda and Afghanistan.

This weekend I attended the granting of the “Freedom to the City” of Mississauga to the regiment, an honour already received from the city of Toronto. To Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Moore and the Tor Scots, I thank them for their service and I say, as goes their regimental motto, “Carry on”.

Canada PostStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, over the summer, Canada Post started installing the new community mailboxes in Rosemère, Bois-des-Filion and Lorraine.

These new mailboxes are part of Canada Post's installation plan and have been endorsed by this government in order to put an end to home delivery. In many cases, these new community mailboxes are being installed on a resident's land. Owners and the general public are outraged. Seniors who have a hard time getting around are outraged.

This government is cutting essential postal services to the public, and in the meantime, it has increased the cost of a stamp by 59%. This government is cutting essential postal services to the public, and in the meantime, 23 Canada Post executives are sharing $10 million.

The Liberal and Conservative governments have taken the middle class to the cleaners, and now their services are being washed away. Canadians deserve better. They deserve an NDP government, and that is what we will give them.

The Lighthouse Supported LivingStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge a special community organization in Saskatoon, The Lighthouse Supported Living. The Lighthouse offers emergency shelter, supportive living and affordable housing for men, women, and families. Incorporated in 1992, The Lighthouse provides housing, food and employment in a supportive community for anyone in need.

The staff and volunteers at The Lighthouse live out their Christian beliefs by caring for the poor and the hard to house. They offer a multitude of services including: emergency shelter, affordable housing, food services, three transition homes and a 64-room supported living tower for residents.

The Lighthouse continues to find new ways to serve with a new drop-in centre, employment centre, computer lab and nurses station.

To learn more, donate or volunteer, one can go to Congratulations to The Lighthouse staff and volunteers for going above and beyond in serving Saskatoon.

Walter PacholkaStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay respects to a true gentleman, Walter Pacholka, who passed away earlier this summer.

I am grateful and honoured to have known Wally, as he was affectionately known. Wally was an example of what really matters in this life and of the values that should guide us every day: devotion to loved ones, hard work, integrity, respect for others and service to country.

Wally was born and grew up on a small farm in Saskatchewan. He joined the RCAF in 1942 and went overseas, where he met and fell in love with Pamela Moran of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. After returning to Canada in 1945, Wally continued his air force career and later joined Air Canada as a flight instructor.

I would be unforgivably remiss if failed to mention that Wally was a proud Liberal who served the party in numerous roles over many years. He sold me my first Liberal membership card in what was then called the riding of Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis.

I ask all members of the House to join me in expressing our heartfelt condolences to Wally's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. May we all leave such an indelibly positive mark on this world.

RussiaStatements by Members

September 22nd, 2014 / 2 p.m.


Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, 75 years ago, on September 17, 1939, 16 days after Germany's invasion and the start of World War II, the Soviet Red Army invaded Poland in accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and entered the war on the side of Nazi Germany.

The aggression ended with the division and takeover of the whole of the Second Polish Republic by Germany and the Soviet Union. Despite the treaties that guaranteed Poland assistance if attacked by a foreign power, Great Britain and France did not act and Poland was left alone to defend its territory.

Is this dark history repeating itself now? Seventy-five years later, Russia, under the leadership of an oppressive regime led by Vladimir Putin, is again a major threat to its neighbours. The Russian invasions and illegal annexation of parts of Georgia, Moldova and now Ukraine are unacceptable.

I hope Canada's allies will wake up and join us in strong action to eliminate the Russian threat to world peace.

Brock UniversityStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Welland that includes Brock University, I am pleased to offer my sincere congratulations and best wishes on the occasion of Brock's 50th anniversary.

From its humble beginnings in 1964 in the basement of St. Paul Street United Church, Brock has stood as a testament to the hard work and unrelenting spirit of the people of Niagara.

It was because of their efforts and the weekly payroll deductions of workers that enabled Brock to establish itself in those early years. As a Brock alumnus, I take great pride in having attended a university with such a rich community tradition. I want to thank not only those faculty members who have taught there for 50 years, but more important, all of those whose dream it was to have a university in their local community where their kids could get a post-secondary education.

As my father once said to his five children, “If I'm gonna pay, one of you is gonna go”.

For the faculty and students, both past and present, I hope they take the opportunity to reflect on the many achievements of our university and look forward to the great many who come in the future.

Retirement CongratulationsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to sincerely congratulate Emil Kolb on his retirement. He has been chair of Peel Regional Council and chief executive officer of the Region of Peel for seven terms. He has also been chair of the Peel Police Services Board since 1996.

Chair Kolb's dedication to public service extends to more than five decades when he was an Albion Township councillor in the early 1970s and became a regional councillor with the Peel Regional government in 1973. From 1985-91, he served as mayor of Caledon for two terms.

Chair Kolb has supported a variety of Peel children's charities by raising more than $1.5 million through events such as the Emil Kolb Hootenanny.

These are just a few of Chair Kolb's many accomplishments. Today, we celebrate the remarkable life of an outstanding public servant and wish him all the very best as he begins his new chapter.

Trinity Western UniversityStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, should a religious community be able to have a voluntary statement of faith? Absolutely. That is the question the Law Society of B.C. will debate this Friday when it meets to discuss the future of Trinity Western University's private, faith-based law school.

Should highly qualified lawyers be denied the opportunity to practise law because of their faith? Should the religious freedoms of all Canadians now be under threat?

Canada is known around the world to be inclusive and diverse. Different opinions are meant to be shared and valued. While we may not always agree with another's personal religious beliefs, we can and we must respect them.

By denying accreditation to Trinity Western University's Law School, the Law Society of B.C. would not only be intolerant toward educational diversity, but systematically undermine one of the core fundamental freedoms we enjoy in Canada, and that is freedom of religion.

I call on the Law Society of B.C. to do the right thing and respect our religious freedom.

PensionsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, one of the sad legacies of the government threatens to be the decision to raise the qualifying age for retirement benefits from 65 to 67 years.

The old age pension is extremely important to the well-being of seniors across the country. This pension and the associated guaranteed income supplement for those who need it forms the bedrock of retirement security for Canadians. Indeed, there are large numbers of Canadians for whom this is their only source of income.

To take this benefit from people who have worked all their lives, often struggling for many years against hardship and poverty, is cruel and frankly immoral.

However, it seems part of a larger agenda of the government is making the lives of the next generation worse instead of better than the present one: lower incomes with two-tier wages, more student debt, less job security, less income security, less workplace protection, less pension protection and less retirement security.

Fortunately, an NDP government would reverse this decision and this agenda.

National Forest WeekStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to recognize National Forest Week.

Our government is committed to sustainably managing our forests. More of our forest land is internationally certified as sustainably managed than anywhere else in the world, demonstrating the integrity of our forest management practices.

Our government understands how important forestry is for job creation and economic growth.

Since 2007, our Conservative government has invested $1.8 billion to help expand and diversify markets and to develop and commercialize new technologies and products for our forest sector. This is exactly the type of investment that is driving renewal in Canada's forest industries and contributing to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

PensionsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, Stelco pensioners worked hard. They followed the rules. Now they are left to wonder if their deferred wages will be put at risk by U.S. Steel Canada's application for creditor protection.

In 2009, I tabled a private member's bill designed to move pensions to the front of the line of creditors paid during bankruptcy proceedings. I met with the then minister of state for finance, Ted Menzies, asking that he make it a government bill. Later, Mr. Menzies told me that he tried but was overruled.

Over three years I held 63 town hall meetings across Canada to listen to seniors talk about their pension concerns. I repeatedly raised those concerns with the current government, yet nothing was done to protect the pensions of these seniors. Now Hamilton steel worker retirees face the potential of serious cuts to their pensions. Canadians know this is unfair, which must lead them to wonder who is next.

The Conservative government has failed to give Canadian retirees pension protection. Now Conservative MPs are left to offer only hollow and empty words about how they somehow feel their pain.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government believes that seniors and all Canadians deserve to keep the money they earn. Meanwhile, the Liberal leader has demonstrated that he is unable to define middle class and has suggested that income splitting for seniors is an ideological tax cut that he would reverse.

The median net worth of Canadian families has increased by 45% since 2005. Unlike the Liberals and the NDP, Conservatives know that Canadians deserve to keep more, not less, of their paycheques. That is why on top of cutting the GST, not once but twice, introducing pension income splitting for seniors, removing almost 400,000 seniors from the tax rolls completely, and creating the tax-free savings account, which benefits over 10 million Canadians, we recently announced the small business job credit, which will lower EI payroll taxes by 15%, saving small-business owners over $550 million.

Thanks to our low-tax plan, Canadian families have seen increases of 10% or more in their real take-home pay since 2006. We are on the right track for Canadian families, and the Liberal leader, well, he is just in over his head.

Rail SafetyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, Toronto St. Paul's constituents are rightly worried about the impact of a possible rail accident in our community.

Ensuring the safety of Canadians through effective railway regulation is a responsibility that falls squarely on the shoulders of the federal government. Unfortunately, over the past several years federal regulators have consistently failed to address systemic weaknesses in railway oversight.

As we saw in Lac-Mégantic, a rail accident can have horrific impacts on the lives of Canadians and the environment. The investigation into the Lac-Mégantic tragedy revealed that the rail company had an ineffective safety management system and a weak safety culture overall.

It is the Government of Canada's job to audit those safety management systems and to make sure they are effective. The government's systemic failure to adequately conduct those audits was highlighted not only in this investigation but also last fall by the Auditor General and back in 2007 by the rail safety review panel.

It is time for the federal government to do its job and ensure that the safety of Canadians is protected.

Public SafetyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, the depraved Islamic extremist group ISIL ramped up its violent and hateful rhetoric, encouraging their jihadists to murder Canadians who oppose their twisted view of the world. Canadians are rightly sickened by this barbaric form of Islamic law used to justify heinous acts of violence against innocent children, women, men, and religious minorities.

Clearly, there is no time to sit around and rationalize these acts, and to do so would be simply foolhardy and dangerous. The reality is, ISIL represents a threat not just to the stability of the Middle East but to entire global security.

Leaders around the world have been universal in their condemnation. While the Liberal leader may sit idle, concerned about social exclusion or root causes, our Prime Minister and this government have been swift and unambiguously clear. We oppose these cowards, we condemn their violent acts, and we stand with our allies in pushing back against their threat.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous WomenStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.


Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, rose in the House last Friday. He touched Canadians with a very personal, very real, and very touching story about his brother, his mother, and the experience of so many indigenous people across Canada. This type of tragedy and injustice is far too common.

We were sent to this House to speak up for all people living in this country. New Democrats take this responsibility seriously, and although the Conservative government may try to shut us down and limit debate, we will continue to find innovative ways to break through and make those voices heard, like we did last Friday.

We will continue to bring indigenous voices to the House of Commons and repeat their call for a full public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women. One year from now, in 2015, within 100 days of taking office, Canada's first New Democratic Party government will take action and put into place that much-needed public inquiry.

Television BroadcastingStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.


Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the saying goes, if a company is successful, Liberals want to tax it; if it is still successful, they want to regulate it; and when it stops being successful, they will subsidize it.

How else do we explain the relentless calls for a Netflix tax from the Liberals? Whether they are demanding that the CRTC regulate Internet video or force Netflix to air content nobody actually wants to watch, the Liberals are, as always, failing to stand up for consumers, who are increasingly watching Netflix and YouTube.

While we await, with interest, the outcome of CRTC's Let's Talk TV hearings, we note that the CRTC has declined in the past to regulate Internet video, and we support that position. If the CRTC changes its position and starts taxing YouTube and Netflix, the government will overturn it.

Our position is clear: no Netflix tax. Leave Netflix and YouTube viewers alone.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec


Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, why is the Prime Minister going to boycott the United Nations summit on climate change?