House of Commons Hansard #162 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regard.

Topics

SudburyVacancy

11 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It is my duty to inform the House that a vacancy has occurred in the representation, namely Mr. Thibeault, member for the electoral district of Sudbury, by resignation effective Monday, January 5, 2015.

Pursuant to subsection 25(1)(b) of the Parliament of Canada Act, I have addressed my warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for the election of a member to fill this vacancy.

Message from the Senate

11 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bill, to which the concurrence of the House is desired: Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-518, An Act to amend the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act (withdrawal allowance), as reported with amendment from the committee.

Speaker's RulingProtecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians ActPrivate Members' Business

11 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There are three motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-518.

Motion No. 3 will not be selected by the Chair as it could have been presented in committee.

Motions Nos. 1 and 2 will be grouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting pattern available at the table.

I will now put Motions Nos. 1 and 2 to the House.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-518, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing lines 12 to 16 on page 1 with the following:

“ceases or has ceased to be a member and who, on or after the day on which this subsection comes into force, is either convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code mentioned in subsection (4) or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years or more for an offence under any other Act of Parliament, if the offence arose out of conduct that in whole or in part occurred while the person was a member, a”

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-518, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing lines 20 to 25 on page 3 with the following:

“ceases or has ceased to be a member and who, on or after the day on which this subsection comes into force, is either convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code mentioned in subsection 19(4) or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years or more for an offence under any other Act of Parliament, if the offence arose out of conduct that in whole or in part occurred while the person was a member, a withdrawal”

Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish you and all of the members here today a happy new year. We have a lot of work to do in the House of Commons over the coming months. Even though I was sad to leave my friends and family in Burnaby—New Westminster, I am pleased that we are all here to work for the people, for Canadians.

I think that this bill will be of great interest to Canadians. The Conservatives' amendments to this bill will also be of interest to people across the country. I am therefore pleased to rise in the House to deliver the first speech of 2015 and talk about Bill C-518.

As members know, the NDP was in favour of the bill in principle. In fact, when the bill was originally presented, we raised the fact that the former NDP government in Nova Scotia was a pioneer in this regard. It presented legislation in the Nova Scotia legislature that took away the ability of representatives who have been convicted to be able to fall back on a pension, coming out of that conviction. We supported it in principle, and we supported bringing it to committee.

Then, what I can only consider to be the centralized control of the Prime Minister's Office kicked in around this particular bill. That is why we are offering the amendments that have just been proposed by the Speaker. They are amendments that seek to close the loopholes that were opened up in committee. We certainly hope that the Conservative members of Parliament will support the amendments we are bringing forward. We believe that most Canadians support those amendments as well.

When this bill was brought forward, we raised the very clear concerns about loopholes around acts of Parliament that are violated. As we know, when an act of Parliament is violated, it is a serious breach of trust by any member of Parliament. We have seen it particularly in the Senate with Conservative and Liberal senators, but also here in the House of Commons. We can think of the former member Dean Del Mastro, who resigned just before Christmas.

Crimes were committed. In the case of Mr. Del Mastro, he was convicted in court. Crimes were brought about by this particular member of Parliament, and we felt it important that the legislation, Bill C-518, actually reference those criminal violations, which result from a violation of an act of Parliament.

To our surprise, in the heat of the scandal around Mr. Del Mastro, Conservative members at the committee that was given the task of studying Bill C-518 actually put in place an amendment that would simply subtract these types of criminal violations from the overall thrust of the bill. I do not fault the member who proposed the bill for this. I think he is very well meaning in this regard. I have a sense that he believes that the bill should cover every member of Parliament convicted of serious criminal violations including acts of Parliament.

However, at committee, the order came down, as we have seen with other pieces of legislation brought forward by Conservative members. The order came down from the Prime Minister's Office, I can only assume, and it basically subtracted any criminal violation of an act of Parliament from the overall thrust of the bill.

What does that mean? It means that there is the Del Mastro loophole, which is a sizeable loophole in this legislation. If this legislation were passed as is, it would allow the Conservative and Liberal senators the violations that they have committed, as well as violations that we have seen in the case of Dean Del Mastro. Even when it is a serious criminal conviction, the bill, as amended by the Conservatives in committee, would not allow for their retiring allowance to be withdrawn.

What we have is this curious cherry-picking of what offences would and would not be included. That is why we decided to bring forward the two motions, the amendments we have brought forward today. The idea is to assure that any serious violation or criminal conviction that includes violations of acts of Parliament, which are certainly breaches of trust by any member of Parliament as part of our duties to uphold the acts, be considered in withdrawing the retiring allowance.

That is why we are moving these two motions, and we hope the government members will support them.

The motion reads in part as follows:

...is either convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code mentioned in subsection (4)...

This covers offences already included in the bill, as amended by the members of the committee, which has a Conservative majority.

The motion continues:

...or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years or more for an offence under any other Act of Parliament....

We would then be able to strip these members of their pensions.

Currently, there is a list that includes certain offences and of course refers to provisions of the Criminal Code. Certain sections are mentioned; however, offences under acts of Parliament, which we are supposed to uphold as MPs, are not included.

Of course, that is why we want to repair the damage done by the Conservative majority on the committee, because some acts were eliminated, which changed the scope of the bill. These amendments would make the bill more just, especially when it comes to serious offences, including those that carry a sentence of five years or more in prison. Such offences should be included in the scope of this bill.

It is just common sense. This is hardly a radical idea. I think the vast majority of Canadians agree with us on this. We are here to support federal laws and the Criminal Code. In both cases, if a serious offence was committed, then it must be dealt with accordingly.

In this situation, that is not the case. The bill refers to a few Criminal Code offences, but not offences under acts of Parliament, such as a violation of the Canada Elections Act.

In the case of former Conservative MP Mr. Del Mastro, it was a serious offence. The bill came before the committee that very week, and it was certainly the time for the Conservative members to send a message. The Conservatives undermined their own bill. We are repairing the damage.

Under the leadership of our very experienced leader of the official opposition, we are ready to take action. In the months to come and this fall, we will repair the damage caused by the Conservative government. That is our plan.

Today we will move motions and propose amendments that make sense, in order to repair the damage caused by the Conservative members of the committee when they removed offences under acts of Parliament and thereby changed the scope of Bill C-518.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Dan Albas ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to be here with all my colleagues.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak in support of Bill C-518, an act to amend the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act (withdrawal allowance). This is a laudable bill put forward by an hon. member who is concerned that parliamentarians could break the law and walk away with pension benefits paid by the taxpayers of our country.

All parliamentarians must be held to the highest standards of accountability. They have a duty to protect the integrity of our public institutions, and their actions should be based on integrity, trust and respect for the tax dollars of Canadians. The bill before us today is consistent with these key principles of our democracy, and that is why the government firmly supports it.

Specifically, the bill would disentitle the pension of a senator or a member of Parliament who would be convicted of any offence based on a specific threshold that I will discuss shortly. This would bring an important and welcome change to our system of government.

As it stands, if a parliamentarian retires or resigns prior to being expelled or disqualified from Parliament as a result of him or her committing a crime, the individual is still entitled to a pension. In many circumstances this is unacceptable, particularly when the crime constituted is a serious offence under the Criminal Code. There are many situations where parliamentarians who are convicted of certain offences should not continue to receive a benefit from pension benefits funded by taxpayers.

The bill, as amended, clearly states what the disentitlement threshold would be. It is based on a list of prescribed offences under the Criminal Code, which would apply only if a conviction were rendered on or after the coming into force of this legislation. This includes serious offences such as bribery of an officer, perjury or intimidating Parliament, which all carry a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. It also includes offences such as obstructing justice and theft over $5,000, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

Any parliamentarian affected by the bill would be entitled to only a withdrawal allowance, which is really a refund of his or her own pension contributions minus any retirement allowance already paid plus applicable interest. However, any contributions made by the employer would not be included. In addition, the parliamentarian would no longer be eligible for post-retirement health or dental benefits.

The government has already taken action to ensure that public sector pension plans are sustainable, fair and financially responsible. In 2012, we reformed the pensions of members of Parliament and public servants to make them more broadly consistent with the pension products offered by other jurisdictions, as well as fair relative to those offered in the private sector. As a result, contribution rates for public service employees and MPs will be moving to a fifty-fifty cost sharing model by 2017.

We have vowed to strengthen accountability and transparency in our public institutions, and we have delivered on that.

A major milestone was the implementation of the 2006 Federal Accountability Act and its companion action plan. Through the Federal Accountability Act and action plan, we implemented numerous measures to prevent undemocratic and criminal behaviour from impacting our system of government. For example, we created a new standard of accountability for the financing of political parties. We did that by reducing the maximum annual contribution by individuals to political entities and prohibited unions and corporations from making political contributions.

We banned secret donations to political candidates by prohibiting electoral district associations and parties from transferring money to their candidates from trust funds.

Our government introduced a new Conflict of Interest Act and granted powers to the new Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner to enforce it.

We toughened the Lobbyist Registration Act by introducing stricter rules for lobbying activity and giving a new Commissioner of Lobbying enhanced powers to investigate and enforce them.

We reformed the procurement of government contracts by adding transparency to the process and by appointing an independent procurement ombudsman to provide additional oversight.

We strengthened the Access to Information Act by extending its reach and its scope. As a result, more government institutions than ever before are subject now to the act, including departments and agencies, crown corporations and wholly-owned subsidiaries.

We strengthened the role of the Auditor General by expanding the office's investigative powers, which has helped parliamentarians to hold the government to account.

We strengthened auditing and accountability within departments by clarifying the managerial responsibilities of deputy heads within the framework of ministerial responsibility and by bolstering the internal audit function within departments and crown corporations.

In short, we have strengthened accountability in every corner of the government, from the Prime Minister to parliamentarians and public sector employees, and for all Canadians and businesses that receive government funding.

Canadians work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules, and they expect accountability from their government. This is why we continue to pursue opportunities and support efforts that promise to make our public institutions more transparent, accountable and ethical. This includes measures such as Bill C-518, which is consistent with the spirit of our landmark Federal Accountability Act and action plan. It applies to members of both the House of Commons and the Senate, because those who make the laws should never be above the law.

This is a bill we can all get behind. We also hope the bill will be another deterrent against criminal behaviour. As my hon. friend who sponsored the bill said so succinctly in debate, the point of the bill is to send the signal to people to not break the rules. If they do not break the rules, the pension will be there for them.

The bill sends a strong message that if anyone breaks the law in our country, there are consequences. It is a very strong bill. More than that, it is consistent with our government's focus on accountability, transparency and protecting taxpayer dollars. It reflects Canadians' sense of honesty, hard work and fair play. That is why we support the legislation. I encourage all members of the House to join with me in voting for the bill.

I also want to thank my hon. colleague again for his excellent work in preparing and putting forward the legislation.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians ActPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise today to speak to Bill C-518, a bill that, in principle, is worthy of support. The ultimate objectives and goals that the bill hopes to achieve are admirable.

Pensions have been a hot topic. I had the opportunity over the break to have a great deal of discussion on pensions. As much as it is nice to see the bill, there is a bigger concern related to pensions, which is real. I would have much preferred to talk about that today.

The member who spoke before me talked a lot about transparency, accountability and ethical behaviour. They are all wonderful things to admire, and I respect what the member attempted to say on that. However, as much as I will support the bill, I would have rather seen the government talk more about other issues related to pensions.

Over the last number of years there has been a huge backlash toward the government's decisions with respect to Canada pension plan, and in particular the OAS, where it saw fit to increase the age of eligibility from 65 to 67. As much as the government wants to spend time dealing with pensions for members of Parliament, I would encourage it to also spend some time, effort and provide more debate toward the issue of pensions generally and recognize that the people who the budgetary measures really hurts are those individuals who depend on those public pensions. That is why it would be a mistake for me to rise in my place and not remind the government how bad it has missed the mark in supporting our seniors at a time in need, at a time in which they look for comfort with respect to their retirement. It was wrong for it to increase the age of retirement from 65 to 67.

With respect to the specifics, the bill would add a clause to the members of Parliament retiring allowance to take into account the situation where a senator or a member of Parliament would be convicted of an offence which arose out of his or her conduct and occurred while the individual was in office. It would do this by using the same mechanism already in place for politicians who have become disqualified from holding office. Currently if MPs or senators are kicked out of parliament, they lose their pensions. If members resign beforehand, they keep their pension. The purpose of this bill, and I sat on the committee, at least in part, has been designed intentionally to remove that loophole.

The issue of parliamentarians receiving pensions and those who have been disqualified to receive pensions because of inappropriate behaviour is nothing new per se. Other provinces have attempted to deal with this issue, some more successfully than others. Alberta and New Brunswick have both attempted to deal with the issue. As has been pointed out, back in 2013 Nova Scotia passed legislation that stripped away pensions.

What I liked about it was that we were provided a specific example where an independent MLA ended up losing his pension after he pleaded guilty to fraud and breach of trust charges arising from an expense scandal. That member had collected tax dollars after filing 10 false claims in 2008 and 2009. For the most part, due to that legislation and as a result of the conviction, the individual in question was not eligible to receive the MLA pension.

Currently the law is fairly clear that if members of Parliament or senators are caught in the same sort of situation and are asked to leave the floor of the House of Commons through a vote, they will in fact lose their pensions. If they choose to take it upon themselves to resign prior to a conviction or to being kicked out of the House, they will in fact continue to be eligible.

Anyone looking at that situation would no doubt come to the conclusion, as I and many others have, that it is just not right. They are trying to escape justice by announcing their retirements to avoid being held accountable for their behaviour and so they can collect publicly financed pensions.

That is at the core. That is the way Bill C-518 was talked about at second reading. There was a need to close that loophole. It is for that reason that I feel comfortable supporting the legislation.

There were issues that came up in committee that raised some concerns with regard to other individuals who might have a bit of an entitlement, potentially, to a pension. An example raised was that of a spouse of a member, who, through divorce, would have had some form of entitlement and consideration.

The answers I found to be somewhat wanting. However, at the end of the day, there have been enough assurances and information brought to the table that I think it is advisable to support the legislation as suggested by the government. At the very least, we should be aware that there are other things we need to take into consideration.

The overriding theme is that as elected officials, we have a responsibility. There is a moral high ground if one is an elected official in a legislative assembly or the House of Commons or if one is appointed to the Senate. These are bodies that review and bring in legislation that ultimately becomes law, and there is a expectation that we will follow the law.

In situations where politicians fall on the other side of the law, there needs to be a consequence. I believe it is appropriate to look at the pensions MLAs or members of Parliament would collect, recognizing that this legislation only applies to members of Parliament and senators.

This is a piece of legislation that would ultimately apply to a very few. If we look at some of the past comments, particularly at the committee stage, we can count on one hand the number of potential offenders over the decades who would have actually been impacted by this legislation.

There has been a great deal of public interest in regard to public trust because of what is happening in the Senate, with Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy, and with other individuals, such as Dean Del Mastro.

It is necessary to pass this legislation. That is why, when it comes time for a vote, I will be voting in favour.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to this bill.

Like many members of the House, I come from a remote area. Most people in my riding do difficult jobs. They work hard to keep their job so that they can put food on the table. Most of them would not be entitled to severance pay if they lost their jobs. The amounts they would be given are ridiculous compared to what MPs can get if they leave their position.

That being said, the member wanted to introduce a bill to prevent people who have been convicted of an offence from enjoying these privileges. I think that, in an effort to represent Canadians properly, it is very commendable to want to prevent people who have been convicted of an offence from enjoying such privileges.

The bill was examined and amended in committee, and there is now a list of offences to which the bill will apply. Unfortunately, I believe that by proceeding in this way, the member overlooked a number of offences that should result in a loss of severance pay. The law cannot be amended every time a new case arises. That does not make sense. We should have found a way to ensure that most offences are included already. Under the existing bill, we will have to add cases that we did not think of. They will be added later, but they will not be retroactive. This will be a never-ending process.

For example, in Nova Scotia, the law applies to offences with a maximum sentence of five years in prison. That encompasses a large majority of offences. The list that we have contains several provisions, but I do not see anything about members who commit sexual assault or sexual harassment when participating in events in the course of their duties, for example. I believe that most Canadians would oppose the fact that someone who has to resign, either because that person was found guilty of such an offence or because people did not support him or her in the election, is entitled to a withdrawal allowance. That does not make any sense. When an exhaustive list of provisions is set out, there is always the risk that an important one will be forgotten.

Furthermore, in committee, we asked to add offences under certain laws, for example the Canada Elections Act, the Income Tax Act and the Parliament of Canada Act. Unfortunately, that was rejected.

In the case of the Canada Elections Act, MPs—we cannot speak for senators—can say that they are here because of the provisions of the act. It determines that we can sit as members of Parliament and that we have the right to rise in the House of Commons to speak. It directly governs our role as parliamentarians and it was excluded from the bill. Everyone at home realizes that doing that makes absolutely no sense. Everyone is wondering why we did that. It makes no sense.

More specifically, we see that a Conservative MP, Dean Del Mastro, resigned because he was found guilty of violating the Elections Act and winning his seat illegally. He should not even have sat as an MP because he obtained his seat fraudulently. However, he will be entitled to his severance and pension. That makes absolutely no sense, and I believe that all Canadians are offended. They will be even more offended when they realize that the Conservatives amended the bill, which was well-intentioned, so that it cannot apply to this member.

In addition, this measure is not retroactive. I understand that we cannot go back 50 years, but there are some very recent cases. When the member in question resigned, I was sitting close to him. I still remember this incident, which is still fresh in Canadians' minds. In this case, we heard that it was not serious.

Mr. Penashue, a minister who also violated the Elections Act and who chose to resign, was not re-elected. However, he still retains all of his privileges. Those are two examples of Conservative members who, conveniently, would not be subject to sanctions under the bill. For a member who spoke about the importance of standing up for taxpayers, I think he has missed the mark.

There are a number of other laws. With the Income Tax Act, for example, the government keeps going on and on about combatting tax evasion. However, the government is apparently not prepared to crack down on a member who spoke in favour of this measure in the House and who was evading taxes himself. That makes absolutely no sense. How can Canadians have faith in their parliamentarians when they see these parliamentarians giving preferential treatment to others who are caught cheating? This attitude is what causes people to lose faith in politics and to lose their trust in us. It is very unfortunate.

It is high time we put an end to the hypocrisy and recognized the importance of being as inclusive as possible in our approach to a bill like this one, an idea like this one. We also have to be flexible because things are not always black or white. However, by creating this exclusive list, we could end up missing the mark. I am sure that, sooner or later, even the Conservatives will end up regretting the fact that their own exclusive list will prevent them from punishing an MP who has broken the law. They will realize that they messed up when they had a chance to get behind a real bill that would have applied to everyone.

When it comes to fraud, the Conservatives are not the only ones with problems. The Senate has issues with that too. Liberal senator Mac Harb, who fraudulently claimed $50,000 for living expenses and travel, resigned but is still getting his allowances. The worst part is that senators do not face any consequences. A senator cannot even lose the next election. Those found guilty of fraud simply apologize publicly and keep all of their allowances.

Contrast that with the people who regularly show up at my office because they are having problems with employment insurance and their tax returns. The Canada Revenue Agency tells them to reimburse a certain amount, so they do, even though they did not knowingly make those mistakes and their situations involve sums that might mean a lot to ordinary people but are insignificant compared to the kind of money we are talking about today. For parliamentarians who break the law, it all depends: if they are on the government side, the government can massage a bill so it does not apply to them. That is hypocrisy.

People will of course understand why I am voting against the bill. It was a good idea, but because of what the Conservatives did in committee, they are missing an opportunity to prove that they are willing to fight crime, even when it is committed by former colleagues.

If the Conservatives are prepared to do some real work, the NDP is willing to accept a bill that actually deals with all offences. Right now, however, this is really just a sham bill that will apply only to certain cases. The amendments made in committee were a serious mistake.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians ActPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, since this is my first speech of the year, I would like to begin by wishing you and all my colleagues of the House and everyone at home all the best for 2015. We in the NDP have been anxiously awaiting 2015 for some time now; as everyone knows, this is an election year.

This year is particularly important to us, because it is time to do some housecleaning. We need to repair the damage caused by previous governments, both Conservative and Liberal. Furthermore, it is unfortunate that we have to start off the new year talking about scandals and about MPs and senators who have broken the law.

Bill C-518 amends the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act. In principle, we support the objective of taking retirement pensions and payments away from senators or members of the House of Commons who are found guilty of certain Criminal Code offences.

The scope of the bill was changed in committee. I will elaborate on that later. In fact, I want to say from the outset that the principle is good. Every Canadian who is watching us or follows politics has had enough of the scandals and are sick of hearing about Mike Duffy, for example, who committed fraud, or Dean Del Mastro, who was convicted of violating the Canada Elections Act. Then there are the Conservative and Liberal senators; my colleague mentioned Mac Harb. Let us not forget the sponsorship scandal that is still dogging the Liberals.

People have had it with all this corruption, this approach, the same old politics. That is why we support this desire to tackle the problem. It really is not right for a convicted person to be entitled to a pension or benefits. The bill includes a balanced provision whereby a convicted person could nonetheless collect the equivalent of his or her contributions to the pension plan with interest. Even if a person is convicted, they are still owed a certain amount. The problem is this government's approach.

As for last session's scandals, and most recently those involving the Conservatives, we see that the Conservatives used their majority on the committee to protect one of their own. After throwing Dean Del Mastro under the bus, they nevertheless protected his pension. The Conservative members had an exhaustive and specific list of offences and they made sure that Dean Del Mastro would get his pension. I find it deplorable that they massaged a bill, which was basically a good bill, to protect one of their own. That is completely unacceptable, especially when we know that the person in question was found guilty of violating the Canada Elections Act.

Indeed, the NDP's objective, which it continues to work towards by moving amendments and motions, is to expand the scope of the bill and to eliminate this gaping loophole that is protecting a Conservative member. This law must be enforced in an impartial and honest manner.

I will give other examples. What was initially proposed, and what we are calling for, was that federal legislation such as the Income Tax Act, the Parliament of Canada Act and all laws concerning the federal government be included in the scope of the bill.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives rejected the amendments we moved in committee, which only fuels cynicism. We have a bill with good intentions, that is, to punish those who commit fraud and violate the law. However, out of pure partisanship, the Conservatives—who, as we know, also have a majority in committee—decided to amend the bill to protect one of their own. That is completely unacceptable.

Furthermore, why were Income Tax Act offences not included? When I was the official opposition's national revenue critic, we moved a motion, which was studied by the Standing Committee on Finance, to combat tax havens and tax evasion. After negotiations, I managed to convince my Conservative and Liberal colleagues to tackle this issue, which is why we studied it in committee.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives' refusal to include Income Tax Act offences clearly shows their bad intentions. They agree to a study, but they refuse to punish tax evaders. I hope that this will change and that they will understand that this does not help them, even though they want to protect their friends. In this case, we are talking about Dean Del Mastro, but there are others. The Liberals did not take action when they were in power, and now the Conservatives are not doing anything either, even though they claim to be acting.

That is why I look forward to having an experienced leader in 2015 who will move things forward and fix the mess caused by Conservative and Liberal governments.

To come back to the bill, why does the government not want to go after those who break our laws? I am asking this question to my colleagues opposite. Why did they limit the scope of this bill, whose underlying principle was good, simply to protect one of their own? This will create loopholes for other fraudsters, who will be able to take advantage of the fact that offences under the Income Tax Act have been excluded from the bill.

That is rather surprising. Let us not forget that the Conservative government is the first government in the history of Canada to have been found guilty of contempt of Parliament. Clearly, this government wants to protect its friends and its MPs who break its own laws.

This brings us back to the matter of accountability. Senators are included in this bill. Everyone knows about the Mike Duffy, Mac Harb and Pamela Wallin scandals. These senators were appointed by this government, with the exception of Mac Harb, who was appointed by the Liberals. The NDP's position is clear: these senators do not belong in our democracy. The NDP believes that the outdated institution that is the Senate should be abolished, and we are going to make that happen.

In this case, why do the Conservatives want to protect one of their own, who has been found criminally responsible, by amending an bill that was commendable in principle and had the support of the opposition? We now have a watered-down bill, and this confirms what we have been saying all along: the government is once again letting senators and MPs get away with fraud.

If the government wants to be accountable and do something about this cynicism, which often arises as a result of the politicians themselves, why would it do such a thing? It is unacceptable. I hope that my colleagues opposite will consider and support our amendments.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians ActPrivate Members' Business

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have a few moments to rise on the first day the House is back for the 2015 winter session. Some have suggested that it may be our last session. As a few people in my riding have said to me, it is about time that we have a chance to get rid of these rascals and replace them with an NDP government and make some real changes for Canadians. In the meantime, we still have to deal with some of the legislation that is before us to try to correct some of the egregious errors the current government has made and to try to make sure that the concerns of my constituents in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour are properly represented.

I certainly recognize the intent of Bill C-518. Canadians have completely lost patience with public officials breaking the law and the public trust and expect government to do something about it. Unfortunately, Bill C-518 in this regard simply does not meet the standard that I think the sponsor of the bill might have expected it to.

Nova Scotia, as a result of a spending scandal back in 2010, has introduced a similar bill that would go further. It deals with a couple of the issues that we have raised before in both committee and here in debate. One issue in particular is the whole question of retroactivity, to make sure that MPs and senators are not able to duck out when they feel they are going to be okay doing so, even though it is pretty clear, whether a conviction has gone through or not, that they have in fact broken the law and public trust.

Other parts of the bill in Nova Scotia would ensure that a former spouse or spouse of the public official in question would be entitled to the amount of the pension that he or she would normally have been entitled to. Likewise, the government would still have the right to garnishee the pension if there were amounts owing to it. I think members would agree that these are two extremely important provisions as they relate to the question of balance and fairness.

Constituents of mine in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour have seen the Province of Nova Scotia move forward in this regard to put an end to public officials breaking the law and public trust and still being able to benefit from pensions and other entitlements they may have enjoyed as the result of holding that particular office. The Government of Nova Scotia was successful in doing that. The people of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour applaud the intention of the bill before us and want to see it go through. They want to see us move forward in this area, and we have had some discussions with them about our concerns with the bill.

We want to see a bill like this pass, but we are concerned about the weaknesses we have already identified. Therefore, we have presented a couple of amendments to the bill.

We say to the government that if it is truly serious about making sure that this legislation would do what the government says it would, there are two particular problems. The first is that it basically wrote out the fact that former MP Dean Del Mastro would have been covered by this legislation. The government rewrote the bill so that he would, in fact, be absolved, that the bill would not touch him. That is wrong, and I think Canadians recognize that it should not be the case.

The second thing is that, with this bill, rather than setting the terms of what should be required, the government has listed a number of different laws that would need to be broken. It is cherry-picking what laws specifically need to be broken for this bill to apply. It has also exempted such legislation as the Canada Elections Act, specifically. What we have said in our motion, to make it very clear, is that it is wrong for the government to be picking and choosing the laws. Experts have told us this. We need to make sure that the provision in this is sufficiently clear that it deals with the issue of breaking the law and breaking public trust.

The amendment is really important. It says:

ceases or has ceased to be a member and who, on or after the day on which this subsection comes into force, is either convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code mentioned in subsection (4) or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years or more for an offence under any other Act of Parliament, if the offence arose out of conduct that in whole or in part occurred while the person was a member...

It says “any” act of Parliament. This idea that members can break the elections act, as former MP Dean Del Mastro did, and get away with it just does not make sense. I have heard that from my constituents. If we are serious about bringing in laws that will end this practice and hold officials accountable for doing this, we need to deal with that.

The second thing is the whole issue of retroactivity. We are suggesting that we add in the following:

ceases or has ceased to be a member and who, on or after the day on which this subsection comes into force, is either convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code mentioned in subsection 19(4) or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years or more for an offence under any other Act of Parliament, if the offence arose out of conduct that in whole or in part occurred while the person was a member...

My message to the government is that the people of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour support the intention of Bill C-518, but they are saying let us not pretend and agree to accept legislation that pretends do something but then really does not. It would excuse some members of the government benches, for example, or the Senate, at the same time that the government is trying to say that it will deal with the whole question of ethics and integrity in government and hold people to account.

I have indicated to my constituents that if that is the intention, and if the government recognizes this principle and our amendments to this bill, maybe we will get to a point where we are able to pass a bill that does what it sets out to do. That is the message that my constituents have asked me to bring here to the House. I hope the government is listening.

I hope we can do something to actually make this bill work to hold public office holders accountable who have broken the law and the public trust.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians ActPrivate Members' Business

Noon

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired, and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

Questions on the Order PaperPrivilegePrivate Members' Business

Noon

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise this afternoon on a question of privilege related to written Question No. 393, which I submitted to the order paper on March 27, 2014; the government's response to the question on May 14, 2014; and a document containing correspondence among officials at Citizenship and Immigration Canada on the preparation of the response to my question, a document that I obtained through the Access to Information Act.

I believe that the government's interference in the preparation of the answer to my written question has impeded me in the performance of my parliamentary functions and is, therefore, a breach of my parliamentary privilege.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to review three pieces of evidence as you consider my request: first, the question that I submitted to the government; second, the government's answer to my question; and third, the documents that I obtained through the Access to Information Act. These documents contain correspondence among officials at Citizenship and Immigration Canada concerning my written Question No. 393.

I will not read my written question, but I will say that it was about average wait times and the budget and human resources that the department allocated from 2005 to 2014 to processing visa, immigration and private sponsorship of refugee applications. It was broken down into several sub-questions, as is typically the case with written questions.

In response to my sub-questions about average wait times for visa, immigration and private sponsorship of refugee applications, I received the following non-answer for all three:

Adequately responding to this question would require extensive, detailed research of CIC records, and this work is not feasible within the prescribed timeline. Although some of the above data are available, many other data points would take longer to extract because of the structure of the department's information systems. After the data extraction process, the report would then have to be reviewed in its entirety to ensure the quality of the data. Given that the question also deals with data covering a period of nine years, a complete and accurate response to this question is not feasible within the prescribed timeline for the reasons outlined above.

After submitting an access to information request, I learned that this was not the response that officials from the department planned to submit to my question. Indeed, the exchange of emails I obtained shows that departmental officials were working on answering my written question.

In an email dated May 1, 2014, an official from the department explained that, given the quantity of information requested, it would take about two weeks to prepare the response. She said that it would take a little longer, but it was entirely doable.

An email dated the next day, May 2, 2014, ordered the officials who were working on the question to stop their work because:

“[the office of the minister] has come back to advise the [office of the assistant deputy minister for operations] that we will use the same response we provided to Q-359.”

The government's response to Question No. 359 was a non-answer.

Questions of privilege concerning written questions have been raised repeatedly in the House. Every time, the Speaker has ruled that it is not the role of the Chair to determine whether the contents of documents tabled in the House are accurate.

I understand the principle. However, it is not the nature of the response here that is problematic, but rather the fact that the minister's office obstructed the work of officials in his own department. The minister's office interfered in the work of government officials in order to prevent them from producing a satisfactory response to my written question.

I believe that such an obstruction constitutes a prima facie breach of privilege.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, states on page 517, the purpose of written questions as follows:

...written questions are placed after notice on the Order Paper with the intent of seeking from the Ministry detailed, lengthy or technical information relating to “public affairs”.

In chapter 7 of her November 2004 report, entitled “Process for Responding to Parliamentary Order Paper Questions”, the Auditor General wrote:

The right to seek information from the Ministry of the day and the right to hold that Ministry accountable are recognized as two of the fundamental principles of parliamentary government.

Written questions are one of the tools that elected representatives can use on behalf of Canadians to fulfill their fundamental duty of holding the government to account. The government cannot interfere in the preparation of the responses. It must allow its public officials to do their job.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, at page 109, states that:

In order to find a prima facie breach of privilege, the Speaker must be satisfied that there is evidence to support the Member's claim that he or she has been impeded in the performance of his or her parliamentary functions and that the matter is directly related to a proceeding in Parliament.

The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs also stated the following in its 2005 report:

The bar to establish a breach of privilege is necessarily a high one, and, in the case of an individual member, it must be closely related to his or her parliamentary activities.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I would like to show how the minister's interference in the preparation of the answer to my written question impeded my ability to carry out my parliamentary duties.

Last February and May, the House studied Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, at second reading stage. In June, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, of which I am a member, also carried out a study of the same subject. We can see that there is a direct link between the minister's obstruction and parliamentary proceedings.

In fact, during the study of Bill C-24, the government said several times that it wanted to eliminate the backlog of applications and shorten processing times for immigration applications to less than one year by 2015-16. To that end, the government intended to eliminate certain intermediaries in the citizenship process.

Nevertheless, we know that backlogs of these types of applications have doubled in seven years, while processing times have doubled in four years, going from 15 months in 2009 to 31 months at the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year. It was very important for me, as a member of Parliament, to gain a better understanding of the delays these applicants are facing, and this includes getting a clear picture of the number of applications as well as the budget allocated to processing these applications, in order to thoroughly study Bill C-24 and to better understand it.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the processing delays impose financial and psychological burdens on the families that are waiting for an answer. Bill C-24 imposed additional waiting periods on thousands of permanent residents who wanted to join the Canadian family and who were preparing to submit their application. If I had gotten a proper response to my written question, I would have had a much more accurate picture of the scope of the problem, and I would have been in a better position to make alternative suggestions to cut processing delays and backlogs.

The 21st edition of Erskine May describes contempt as:

...any act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any member or officer of such House in the discharge of his duty, or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results may be treated as a contempt even though there is no precedent of the offence.

In light of the points I just made, I think it is clear that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration's obstruction in the preparation of the response to my written question, Question No. 393, constitutes contempt and a breach of my privileges as a member of Parliament, which impeded by ability to discharge my parliamentary duties.

To make it easier for you, Mr. Speaker, I am submitting copies of written Question No. 393, the government's response and the document I obtained through the Access to Information Act. Mr. Speaker, if you find that there was a prima facie breach of my privileges as a member of Parliament, I will be prepared to move an appropriate motion at that time.

Questions on the Order PaperPrivilegePrivate Members' Business

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the member's question of privilege, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will get back to the House in due course.

Questions on the Order PaperPrivilegePrivate Members' Business

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

We will await the minister's reply, and then the Speaker will deliver his ruling.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

moved that Bill C-46, An Act to amend the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege and an honour for me to serve the constituents of the great Kenora riding and to proceed with the debate on pipeline safety.

One of our country's greatest success stories is Canada's extraordinary ability to develop our natural resources through the use of new technology and innovation. Whether we are unlocking the incredible energy potential of the oil sands, mining uranium to generate nuclear power, or developing our vast hydroelectric power resources, Canada's energy industries continue to rise to the occasion.

As Canada's production of energy resources grows, we have an opportunity to export more of our energy products to international markets with growing demand. The choice is simple: build the energy infrastructure to reach these markets, or leave these products in the ground.

Expanding our energy trade in not merely a priority for our government, it is an imperative. We recognize that for this opportunity to be realized, we must ensure that the public is confident in the safety of our infrastructure.

Through our responsible resource development plan, our government strengthened environmental protection, enhanced aboriginal consultation, and provided predictable timelines for regulatory review. This included bringing forward regulations that ensure that companies, not taxpayers, are responsible in the event of an incident.

There are over 73,000 km of federally regulated pipelines that criss-cross our country. They deliver oil, natural gas, and petroleum products from coast to coast to coast and beyond our borders. These energy products heat our homes and our workplaces. They power factories and farms. They fuel cars, buses, trains, and planes. They transport us across town, across the country, and around the world.

More specifically, in 2013, Canada produced over 3.5 million barrels of oil and 13.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The vast majority of it, over $100 billion worth, was shipped by pipeline.

While the economics themselves tell a compelling story, we have been clear that if projects are to proceed, they must be proven safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. In fact, more than 99.999% of petroleum products, going through more than 72,000 km of federally regulated pipeline between 2008 and 2013, was transported safely. Much of the credit for this solid track record rests with our stringent regulatory requirements and the excellent work of the National Energy Board.

Companies operating pipelines must anticipate, prevent and manage potentially dangerous situations associated with their pipelines. They must develop programs to address safety issues, deal with emergency situations, manage the integrity of the pipelines, educate the public and protect the environment.

The National Energy Board reviews and audits all of these measures. Although the pipeline safety record is impressive, our ultimate goal is zero incidents. That is the purpose of this bill. The pipeline safety act seeks to further improve Canada's record by modernizing the National Energy Board Act.

This legislation would send a clear signal. Our government would be fulfilling our commitment in the Speech from the Throne to have a world-class safety system that enshrined the polluter pays principle in law.

We are determined to reduce risks to public and environmental health and safety as we capitalize on Canada's energy wealth to create jobs and prosperity for Canadians. This ongoing commitment to safety and environmental protection is part of our plan for responsible resource development. The plan is a continuous process of finding new and better ways to improve our world-class regulatory system.

This legislation represents the next step in our continued process of strengthening Canada's pipeline safety system. It would build on previous pipeline safety measures that gave the National Energy Board new authority to levy administrative monetary penalties and to increase the number of NEB inspections and audits. The pipeline safety act would go even further. In other words, we would build on that 99.999% safety record for more than 72,000 kilometres of federally regulated pipelines.

Our objective here is to ensure that we have a world-class, in fact, elements of it world-leading, pipeline safety system. It would be built on three pillars: one, prevention; two, preparedness and response; and three, liability and compensation.

The pipeline safety act would deliver on our pledge to enhance efforts to ensure that aboriginal peoples are engaged in all aspects of pipeline safety operations.

Let me explain each of these improvements in greater detail.

First, we will look at the preventive measures. In order to develop our resources responsibly, we need to do everything we can to prevent incidents from occurring. We will be asking the National Energy Board to provide direction on using the best technologies available for building and operating pipelines. Technologies continue to improve, and the government is committed to ensuring that every project is environmentally sustainable.

As an additional preventive measure, the act sets out the National Energy Board's powers related to audits and inspections. It stipulates that companies have a legal obligation to respond to any requests the board may have in relation to such audits. To protect pipelines from accidental damage, the National Energy Board will strive to align federal and provincial pipeline safety zones.

Companies must inform the authorities and obtain approval before digging or building in the safety zones. This safety measure will prevent damage to pipelines.

We will also take action in terms of preparedness and response measures. We are strengthening requirements, particularly financial requirements, to ensure that companies are able to deal with an incident, if necessary.

The pipeline safety act enshrines the polluter pays principle. The bill requires companies operating pipelines to hold a minimum level of financial resources for responding to oil spills, set at $1 billion for companies operating major oil pipelines. The companies must demonstrate their financial capacity and a portion of those financial resources must be readily accessible to ensure rapid response to any incident.

The bill includes other measures. It gives the National Energy Board the authority to take control of incident response and cleanup in exceptional circumstances. This means that the government will provide financial security to ensure that the NEB has the necessary resources to pay for the cleanup costs. If a company is unable to pay damages to those affected, the government may establish a pipeline claims tribunal to streamline the complaints process.

In both cases, the legislation expands the NEB'S authority to recover costs from the companies if it is called to respond. Canadians can rest assured that every incident will be dealt with properly and that taxpayers will be protected.

I want to emphasize the government's commitment to working with aboriginal communities. Together with communities and the industry, we will develop a strategy to increase aboriginal participation in pipeline safety measures.

I also want to emphasize the government's pledge to work with aboriginal people in a way that protects the local environment and respects ancestral treaty rights.

The third key area or pillar covered by the legislation is liability and compensation. In this regard, we are world class, if not world leading. Building on companies' unlimited liability when they are at fault or negligent, this legislation would implement no-fault or absolute liability for all companies operating pipelines. For major oil pipelines, the figure would be $1 billion. What this would mean is that pipeline companies would be responsible for damages, regardless of what happened, who caused it, or how an incident arose. This is a standard that would leave no doubt.

The pipeline safety act would provide government with the ability to pursue pipeline operators for the costs of environmental damages. The legislation would also give the NEB authority to order reimbursement of spill cleanup costs incurred by governments or individuals. Companies would bear the full cost of cleanup and compensation.

Also of significance, the legislation would ensure that companies would remain responsible for their abandoned pipelines in perpetuity. In the event of an incident, operators would cover all costs and damages related to their pipelines, even if they were no longer in use. This would reassure landowners that they would never be in a position where a pipeline would become their responsibility.

As well, the act would expand the board's authority to recover its own costs for stepping in and taking charge if industry failed to adequately respond to an incident. Again, operators would be held financially accountable for costs and damages.

Tally up these amendments and the message is clear. The Government of Canada will ensure that Canada's pipeline safety system is world class, that first nations are involved in pipeline safety operations, and that taxpayers are protected.

The oil and gas sector is vitally important to the lives and livelihoods of Canadians, contributing 7.5% of our country's gross domestic product. Canada sold $117 billion in energy products to the world in 2013. That is more than one-quarter, 27%, to be precise, of our country's merchandise exports.

While we have an enormous endowment of petroleum resources, we have only one significant export customer. One hundred per cent of our natural gas exports and 97% of our oil exports currently go to the United States. This relationship has served both countries well and will continue to do so in the future.

However, it is clear that Canada will need to find new markets as Canadian and United States' oil and gas production grows. There are incredible market opportunities, particularly in Asia and Europe. In Asia's case, the International Energy Agency forecasts that by 2035, the world will need one-third more energy than is being consumed today. The rise of China and India, among other emerging nations in that part of the world, is propelling the bulk of that demand.

Although we are making progress toward developing alternative and renewable energy sources, according to the International Energy Agency, by 2035, fossil fuels will still be meeting three-quarters of global demand.

Canada's energy sector can contribute more to our economy and global energy security, but only if we build the pipelines to transport energy to markets, including the domestic market.

Our country needs to develop a new energy infrastructure to diversify its markets and seize this unprecedented opportunity. This is critical if we want Canada's energy sector to prosper and stimulate our economy in the future.

The economic benefits for Canadians would be enormous. According to the International Monetary Fund, building new energy infrastructure would boost Canada's GDP by an additional 2%. That is equivalent to $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

First nations communities are especially well positioned to benefit from responsible energy development. Many of the existing or proposed energy resources and infrastructure projects are located proximal to their communities, and over the next decade, hundreds of major resource projects worth more than $675 billion are planned or currently under way.

As technology evolves, Canada's oil sand reserves could double to over 300 billion barrels to become the largest reserve in the world, leading to an even greater opportunity in the future for Canada.

Likewise, Canada's marketable natural gas resources are estimated to be up to 1,300 trillion cubic feet. These are incredible reserves. That is not only enough to meet our domestic demands for over 200 years at current production rates, but to meet the burgeoning demand from markets like Europe and Asia over the medium term. That is before we have even considered offshore gas reserves and new discoveries potentially revealed or realized through fracking.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, between 2012 and 2035, the natural gas industry could invest over $386 billion in Canada, almost half of it in British Columbia.

As global energy markets change, Canada also needs to change in order to unlock this potential. Other countries are moving quickly to capture growing energy markets in places like China and India. We cannot lag behind if we want to continue to make the most of our energy resources.

We have a world-class and, in some cases, unique regulatory system to monitor this sector. This legislation further strengthens the regulatory system. It sends a message to Canadians and international clients that pipeline safety is paramount to Canada.

If we continue to innovate in the technology sector and remain committed to working constructively with aboriginal groups and protecting the environment, we will then have all the elements needed to ensure Canada's place as a world leader in responsible energy development.

Furthermore, the government is committed to ensuring that Canada's pipeline safety system is a world-class system that Canadians can trust. We will not be satisfied with a system that is almost perfect; we want absolute excellence.

The legislation we are debating today builds on our world-class safety regime, but the job is never done. We will continuously examine the pipeline safety system to better protect Canadians and the environment. We are striving for zero incidents. We will get there by maximizing advances in technology and innovation.

We can take inspiration from Sir Henry Royce, the English engineer and car designer who co-founded Rolls Royce Company. He built a dynasty in his quest for perfection. His motto was “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better.” That remains our goal and our focus as we continue to develop and transport Canada's natural resources responsibly.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the minister's speech, and those of us on this side of the House would say that indeed it is long overdue that we bring in an updated liability regime for pipelines. As the minister well knows, Canadians are profoundly worried about pipeline safety.

As a general comment, I would say that it is good that we are finally dealing with this bill. One might wonder why we are dealing with this matter now when we had the opportunity to update other liability regimes earlier in this Parliament, such as the nuclear liability regime and offshore oil and gas, but nonetheless here we are. I would suggest, though, that it might be a bit early to celebrate, because as we know, with this government the devil is always in the details.

In fact, when we look at this bill more closely, one of the things that becomes very apparent is that much in the legislation is left to the discretion of both the National Energy Board and the Governor in Council, which means that we cannot really be certain that the government is acting with any kind of real commitment to improving pipeline safety.

I will explain why I am worried about that. There is a briefing note posted online from McCarthy Tétrault to its clients about what this bill may mean, and those clients are pipeline companies.

It talks about the new responsibilities that companies may now have to comply with. Here is the final sentence in that brief:

Accordingly, pipeline companies should consider their safety and financial obligations...to ensure they meet legislated requirements once the Bill’s amendments are brought into force.

It makes one wonder what companies are doing now. Do they not care about safety now, if this is the advice they are receiving from their lawyers? I would want Canadians to know that there is absolute certainty about what this bill is going to do, about how we are going to improve pipeline safety and how we are going to improve the liability regime, because Canadians need to be able to trust that pipeline companies are not going to put their lives and their environment in danger.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to say to the member for Hamilton Mountain that it has been a privilege to work with her in her capacity as critic. I understand this may be the last debate that she has on natural resources-related files, and I appreciated the opportunity to work with her.

That was more of a comment than a question per se, but I will take this opportunity to speak to part of it with respect to liability.

What we have done with this measure, this piece of legislation today, is obviously to align it to the extent possible with other liability compensation regimes that we have in other key areas of the national resource portfolio, and in addition to that, to have liability and compensation specifically in marine, rail, and pipeline transport look and feel much the same.

This is not just for the benefit of industry and investor confidence; it is to assure the public that as a matter of confidence we are doing the right thing in a streamlined, efficient, and effective manner to give Canadians that ultimate confidence that in any regard, the energy transport system and the infrastructure required to support it are world class, and in particular are world-leading in areas of liability and compensation.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see this bill come forward. As my hon. colleague from Hamilton Mountain said, it is a step in a positive direction and it is needed.

Considering that the bill was just introduced on December 8, it is good but surprising to see it up for debate, considering that the previous bill on absolute liability concerning offshore oil and gas, Bill C-22, was introduced numerous times over several years but left to languish on the order paper. I am interested in what the hurry is in this case, but I am still pleased. The difference is stark, but it is good to have it come forward.

The minister talked about public confidence. That seems to me to be the test, because that is a huge concern right now for the public and for the industry. The petroleum sector is concerned that when they try to put forward projects, they have difficulty in obtaining public confidence when the public does not have confidence in the government or in the NEB as environment regulators.

In leaving so much discretion to cabinet and to the NEB, how does the minister expect to overcome this challenge and to create any greater confidence in the public so that some of these projects might go forward?

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am relieved to hear the member from the Liberal Party talk about pipeline safety and offshore opportunity, particularly with respect to safety, liability, and compensation, as an exercise in public confidence. That would be an important term that is markedly different from what the leader of his party is using.

That said, we have already positioned the NEB with considerably more powers with respect to audits and inspections. As well, the penalties for non-compliance have increased significantly. That has put us in a great position when it comes to this piece of legislation.

The National Energy Board, through a number of measures, will ensure timely, effective, and transparent operations. To modernize the damage prevention regime, these changes will ensure clear roles and responsibilities within the NEB and implement mandatory timelines for committee hearings and decisions as well as any Governor in Council decisions that would be made.

I am pleased that the tone of this debate is pointed toward this being a positive step forward with respect to public safety and public confidence. Moving pipeline safety to the forefront is the centrepiece for establishing everyone's frame of reference with respect to how committed this government is to ensuring we have world-class, if not world-leading, pipeline safety for this country.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, in earlier questions in this debate, the comment came up as to what companies are doing with respect to safety right now. I would like to put to the House that the current safety record for Canadian pipeline operators is a 99.999% effectiveness rate, which puts us as best-practice leaders internationally for the safe transport of energy products. Companies do this through planning, construction, and operation, as well as through emergency response.

With respect to what companies are doing right now, I would ask the minister to comment on something like C-FER Technologies in Alberta, which has a jointly funded operation to look at new technologies in all four phases of safety planning and with which we are a partner.

I would like the minister to comment on the $1 billion liability limit, as I believe that number will be questioned in further debate. I was hoping that he could speak to the acceptability of that number based on international best practice, and to the difference in liability coverage between when companies are found to be at fault and when they are found not to be at fault, and why this particular number was selected.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for that question, particularly with respect to her work in western economic diversification and the support this government is giving for certain companies to advance pipeline security, monitoring, and safety.

There is a reference to best available technology in this legislation. Through our support, these companies from Quebec City and across the country through to Alberta are working on exciting new technologies that will give a key frame of reference for all companies in the business of creating pipelines and energy infrastructure to focus on and take the safety element even further.

With respect to liability, there are two key points here. Pipeline companies remain fully liable when they are found to be at fault or negligent. This is referred to in insurance nomenclature as unlimited liability. What builds on that and what is terrific about the pipeline safety act, which on all accounts has been well received by stakeholders, is the absolute $1 billion liability, which means that no matter what the problem source or whose fault it is, the pipeline company would be responsible to pay up to $1 billion.

An analysis of historical data demonstrates that this level of absolute liability is world-class, world-leading coverage. Comparisons to countries around the world tell us that we are at the forefront and assure Canadians and our prospective customers in new markets that energy infrastructure is important to us and that our liability and compensations lead the world.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, since this is the first sitting day of the 2015 calendar year, I begin by wishing you, Mr. Speaker, and all of my colleagues in the House a belated happy new year.

I do not know how I got lucky enough to be the first New Democrat to give a speech on a government bill in this chamber this year, but I am certain that there is a short straw with my name on it somewhere in the opposition lobby. Anyway, let us launch right into it.

The bill before us today is Bill C-46, An Act to amend the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act. Perhaps it will help people to stop from nodding off if I explain at the outset that despite its unimaginative title, the bill really purports to improve pipeline safety in our country.

That is where we find the yardstick for whether my NDP colleagues and I will ultimately be able to support the bill. Does Bill C-46 actually improve pipeline safety, or is it a rhetorical exercise to provide the government cover in what is, after all, an election year? I will spend the next 20 minutes or so in this House trying to answer that single and most germane question.

I will begin by providing a bit of context first. There is no doubt that Canada's natural resources are a tremendous blessing and that our energy sector is the motor of the Canadian economy. It is imperative that we capitalize on those unique advantages. For New Democrats, that means that we have to leverage them by creating high quality middle-class jobs, by harnessing the full potential of Canada's natural gifts, and by maximizing the benefit of development for all Canadians. That development is vital to our economy and our country.

However, the reality is that resource development can only move forward if development is done sustainably. If we are going to seize the opportunities ahead, if we are going to leverage our resources to create wealth and prosperity for generations to come, then we will have to rise to meet new challenges and adapt to the new reality of the new century, and that requires a new vision, a vision that my NDP colleagues and I have been promoting tirelessly, not just for months, but for years now.

Our vision is one that promotes economic growth without sacrificing social or environmental sustainability, one that looks to the future instead of clinging to the past, and one that creates lasting prosperity instead of feeding endless cycles of boom and bust. To that end, our vision is based on three key principles: sustainability, to make sure that polluters pay for the pollution they create instead of leaving those costs to the next generation; partnership, to make sure that communities, provinces, and first nations all benefit from resource development and that we create value-added, middle-class jobs here in Canada; and most important, long-term prosperity that leverages our natural national resource wealth to invest in modern, clean energy technology that will keep Canada on the cutting edge of energy development and ensure there are affordable energy rates into the future.

For far too long, Canadians have been told they have to choose between our economy and our environment, but that is a false choice. It is an approach that is stuck in the past. A little less than two years ago, government documents revealed the very real economic costs of the environmental cleanup of the Giant Mine at Great Slave Lake. They have doubled from initial estimates, ballooning to nearly a billion dollars.

This is a vast industrial waste site bordering on the second deepest freshwater lake in the world, a Canadian treasure, and yet for more than half of the last century, it was contaminated with no regard for the costs it would impose on our children and grandchildren.

Communities from coast to coast to coast have made their voices clear. We will not let that happen again. However, despite this mess, the Conservative government is continuing down the same short-sighted path. It is dismantling every major piece of environmental protection and hurting Canada's economic development at the very same time.

Past generations can perhaps be excused for the way they treated places like Great Slave Lake, but our generation has no excuse. The fact is, in the 21st century, a social licence is every bit as important as a regulatory licence, if not more. In this day and age, any development model that relies on degrading our environment, on putting public safety at risk, or on exploiting our resources without benefiting our communities is no model at all.

Canadians understand only too well the long-term consequences of the Conservative government's attacks on our environmental laws, and they are reacting because those attacks are sabotaging resource development and ultimately our economy as a whole.

In big cities and in small towns, development projects are meeting increasing resistance. The northern gateway, Kinder Morgan, and energy east pipelines are but three of the most recent examples.

Why should Canadians not be worried? They see the Conservative government gutting environmental assessments, they see dangerous pipeline spills on the rise, and they worry whether their communities will be next.

A recent Harris/Decima poll conducted for the government made it clear that only 27% of Canadians are confident that the Government of Canada is able to respond effectively to a significant oil spill on water. The number is only slightly higher, at 32%, for oil spills on land. Similarly, a significant proportion of Canadians do not feel confident that pipelines, tankers, and trains are transporting dangerous goods safely. When it comes to rail transport, only 29% of Canadians feel confident that it is safe. Only 37% of Canadians believe oil tanker transport is safe, while 47% of Canadians are confident that pipelines can safely transport oil.

Clearly, that is not a vote of confidence in the Conservatives' handling of this critical file.

It is equally clear that Canadians share the belief of New Democrats that we must take steps to ensure that we are developing and transporting our resources in a safe and secure way; that we have to implement effective oil spill prevention measures; that we have to increase inspections in oversight; and that we have to push for expanded liability so that we are giving teeth to the polluter pays principle.

When it comes to oil transport, with the huge expansion in production and transportation of crude oil, we need enhanced safety protection. This is common sense, no matter what the method of transport.

Public safety and environmental protection must be the highest priorities if we are to develop our natural resources sustainably.

That brings us back to the heart of the bill that is before us today. Would Bill C-46 implement a true polluter pays regime in Canada, and would the bill go far enough to obviate Canadians' legitimate concerns when it comes to pipeline safety?

Let us look at what the bill purports to do.

Unfortunately, in the time allotted to me here today, it is only possible to do that in the broadest of terms. However, I am hopeful that we will be able to undertake the detailed clause-by-clause scrutiny the bill merits at the committee stage of the legislative process.

At its most general, the purpose of Bill C-46, would be to improve Canada's pipeline liability regime.

It would be part of the government's larger review of the distinct liability regimes that govern different aspects of Canada's oil and gas development. Here, members will recall that last year Bill C-22 dealt with liabilities related to offshore drilling and potential spills in both Arctic and Atlantic waters. As well, over the course of last year, the government began consultations on the liability regime governing rail transport, as it sought to do damage control in the wake of Lac-Mégantic. Now, we have yet a third piece before us dealing with the liability regime governing Canadian pipelines.

Here is what Bill C-46, would do.

It would reinforce the polluter pays principle.

It would confirm that the liability of pipeline companies is unlimited if an unintended or uncontrolled release of oil, gas, or any other commodity is a result of fault or negligence.

It would establish the limit of liability, without proof of fault or negligence, at no less than $1 billion for companies that operate pipelines with capacity to transport at least 250,000 barrels per day and an amount prescribed by regulation for companies that operate any other pipelines.

It would require that pipeline companies maintain the financial resources necessary to pay the amount of the limit of liability that would apply to them.

The bill would authorize the National Energy Board to order any company that operates a pipeline from which an unintended or uncontrolled release occurs to reimburse government institutions for the costs incurred in taking any action in relation to the release.

It would require that pipeline companies remain responsible for their abandoned pipelines.

It would authorize the NEB to order pipeline companies to maintain funds to pay for the abandonment of their pipelines.

It would authorize the Governor in Council to authorize the NEB to take, in certain circumstances, any action the NEB considers necessary in relation to an unintended or uncontrolled release.

It would also allow the Governor in Council to establish a pipeline claims tribunal to examine and adjudicate claims for compensation for damage caused by an unintended or uncontrolled release from a pipeline.

Many of these changes are long overdue, and I would be less than honest if I did not acknowledge that they appear to be a step in the right direction.

However, it is also true that, once again, the Conservatives are late to the game. New Democrats have been waiting for the government to fix oil spill liability for quite some time. As always, with the current government, the devil is in the details.

Let us take a closer look at the some of the pluses and minuses of what has been presented to us in this bill.

On the upside, the fact that polluters will be absolutely liable for harm caused by a pipeline spill is obviously a good thing. What it means is that any company operating a pipeline will be liable in the event of a spill even if it has not been negligent and has not broken any laws. Moreover, companies must have enough financial resources to cover in full the absolute liability limit. For companies whose pipelines have the capacity to move at least 250,000 barrels per day, that limit will be $1 billion once this bill passes. That monetary amount may be increased by the government in the future, but the bill would prohibit cabinet from lowering it. That too is a good thing.

The bill would also give the NEB new tools to recoup cleanup costs from polluters, and in certain circumstances it even gives the board the power to recover costs from the industry as a whole, not just from the individual polluter.

Finally on the plus side, the bill would make polluters liable for environmental damages. Members will recall that we spent a lot of time when scrutinizing of Bill C-22 on the need to make polluters responsible for environmental damages or losses of non-use value of public resources. It is as important now as it was then to ensure that liability is not just restricted to the environment's commercial value. Bill C-46 sets out to do that and is an important first step in catching up with U.S. oil spill regulation, which is much more developed with respect to the recognition of environmental damages.

However, as a thoughtful analysis by Ian Miron at Ecojustice makes clear, there is an overall lack of certainty in Bill C-46 that may well undermine what would otherwise be this positive first step. Specifically, Mr. Miron points out three things. First, and perhaps most crucially, Bill C-46 does not impose unlimited absolute liability on polluters. No liability regime can truly be called a polluter pays regime unless and until polluters are made absolutely liable for the full costs of environmental harm.

While the $1 billion limit for some companies may be a big improvement over the status quo, it still would not completely cover the cleanup costs of an accident such as Enbridge's Kalamazoo River spill in Michigan. According to recent estimates, that spill, the largest in U.S. history, cost more than $1.2 billion to clean up, not including compensation for damages.

Moreover, Bill C-46 actually takes a step backward by eliminating the government's ability to recover cleanup costs for a pipeline spill under the Fisheries Act, which applies in certain circumstances to make a polluter absolutely liable without limit. In the absence of such unlimited absolute liability, the government and, therefore, Canadians may still be on the hook for spills, and that, frankly, is wrong. If the government is so convinced that pipelines are a mature industry, then the industry is one that can and must pay for itself. Instead, the fact that this bill does not completely enshrine the polluter pays principle means that the Conservatives are giving just one more handout to its friends in the oil patch by making taxpayers liable for oil spill risks.

In that regard, it is also worth pointing out that the bill is completely silent on identifying absolute liability limits for smaller oil pipeline companies, or for gas and other non-oil pipeline companies. While such limits may be set by cabinet down the road, it begs the question of why the government would not do so now. Is volumetrics the only criterion the government has used to assess the potential magnitude of damages from a spill? I hope that in the course of our deliberations the Conservatives will give us an answer to that rather pressing question.

This leads to my final broad criticism of the bill. Just as the absolute liability limits are discretionary for all but the big pipeline companies, many other aspects of the new liability regime are as well. While the bill would create several new tools that could enhance the NEB's ability to recoup cleanup costs from a polluter, the NEB or the cabinet get to decide whether or not they will be implemented. As Ecojustice thus rightly points out, BillC-46 leaves considerable leeway for politically motivated decisions and backroom arrangements between operators and the NEB, a regulator that lacks credibility on the pipeline front.

In fact, this may be a good time to say yet again that the NEB needs a fundamental overhaul. While the Liberals and Conservatives have generally been happy simply to rubberstamp pipeline projects, my NDP colleagues and I firmly believe that major resource projects must be judged on their merits. That means that the NEB has to subject proposals to a rigorous and robust environmental assessment process. Assessment criteria must include the impact of each individual project on our emissions and climate change commitments, on Canadian jobs, and on national and regional energy security. Public consultations must be credible and democratic, not shallow, limited, or by paper only, and projects must honour our legal obligations to first nations.

Clearly, such rigour was absent in the NEB review of both Enbridge's northern gateway and Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion, and the same flawed process is now being applied to TransCanada's energy east plans as well. No wonder Canadians are worried about these pipelines snaking their way through backyards.

Northern gateway has the capacity to move 525,000 barrels per day, 890,000 barrels per day for Kinder Morgan and a staggering 1.1 billion barrels per day for energy east. The potential for disaster is huge, which brings me to the last point I want to raise in wrapping up my participation in today's debate.

While the new liability regime deals with protecting Canadians from the cost of cleaning up an oil spill, my NDP colleagues and I believe the best way to protect Canadians is to ensure such spills do not happen in the first place. Measuring risk correctly and assigning liability may be one tool in the kit to encourage industry to improve its safety practices and therefore reduce the likelihood of catastrophic accidents. However, it is only one tool of many and nothing else is being done. Where is the concrete action to fix the broken environmental assessment process that the Conservatives have dismantled? Where is the much-needed legislation that would bring in better regulation and oversight?

As far back as 2011, the environment commissioned highlighted that the National Energy Board was failing to ensure that known problems were being fixed and that pipelines were being properly maintained. We have a world-class labour force that is ready and eager to do that work. However, without companies making commitments to pipeline safety, Canadians can be forgiven for wondering not whether an oil spill will happen but when.

Canada's natural resources are a tremendous blessing and managed properly and sustainably they can be important drivers for our economy. This is particularly true of the energy sector. However, instead of guiding our energy policy in the best interest of Canadian jobs, the environment and the economy, the Conservative government is gutting assessments and reviews, and failing to address the valid concerns of Canadians. That is such a narrow-minded and counterproductive approach. Social licence, the consent of Canadians for the development of Canada's resources, is crucial to the success of any project. However, instead of working to achieve such consent, the government's intransigence is actually undermining the support for companies in the pipeline sector by exacerbating opposition to energy development right across the country.

There is a better way, and the New Democrats have been championing it for years. It is based on sustainable development. Governments must look at environmental, social and economic impacts before going forward with any development project. That way we can prevent devastating environmental damage, while ensuring that Canadians benefit from Canada's natural bounty of resources. It is the right thing to do, and it finally would allow us to move beyond the all too convenient Conservative canard that Canadians must choose between the economy and the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

With the right kind of leadership, Canadians will finally be able to have their cake and eat it too, and that is the kind of leadership the NDP will provide when it forms government, under the experienced leadership of the member for Outremont, later on this year. That will make this a happy new year indeed.

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1 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to wish you and all members of the House a very happy new year.

I listened carefully to the comments delivered by the hon. member. As of today, she has been a thoughtful and considerate representative for her district for 3,291 days, and I congratulate her.

The gist of the message I heard today is that the member is basically against pipelines, but she is for manufacturing, and in her district they manufacture pipelines. I would like the member to make an equalization between those two arguments.

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1 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have not quite counted my presence in the House in days. I guess I have not had enough time to do that, but I do appreciate the numerical count. I thank the member, and I appreciate the good wishes.

With respect to the question being put about whether I support pipelines or manufacturing, it is a little like asking if I support the environment or the economy. It is a false choice. Of course I support manufacturing, and at no point in my speech did I say that I did not support pipelines. It would have been naive to say that we heat our homes with gas, but that we do not need gas pipelines. Nowhere in my speech did I make any such statement.

What I did say was that Canadians needed to have confidence that pipelines were safe, and that the Conservative government and its latest bill would not, on the face of it, provide Canadians with enough certainty that there would not be any pipeline spills. As the member will recall from my speech, I also said that we had a world-class workforce. That labour force, when it is constructing pipelines, is doing the very best that it can with the money and the mandate given to it by pipeline companies.

All I said in my speech was that Canadians deserved certainty. We have to implement the polluter pays principle. We have to develop our resources in a sustainable way. That includes the transport of those resources, of which pipelines are a significant part in Canada.

I would be willing to debate the manufacturing sector next. I would welcome that debate in the House, and perhaps we could do that. Perhaps the member would like to introduce a private members' bill so we could once again debate U.S. Steel, for example, a topic on which the Conservative government has been absolutely silent.

The future of U.S. Steel is obviously a huge issue in my hometown of Hamilton. Thousands of pensioners are concerned about their future. They have been waiting for the government to stand in the House and comment on the manufacturing sector, to bring forward a manufacturing sector strategy, and to take real action on the retirement security of Canadians.

I look forward to that debate.

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1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I think it is correct that the member for Hamilton Mountain has announced that she will not be running in the next election. I would like to congratulate her. It is a pleasure to work with her on the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. I know there is a new critic for natural resources, but I hope she will stay on the committee until the end of this session.

I would also like to congratulate her on the professionalism with which she conducts herself as a member of Parliament, from what I have seen, at all times. I do not want to go too far as she might change her mind and run again, and I would not want to read about my comments in an election brochure at some point.

Let me ask her a question about the absolute liability of $1 billion that the government has proposed. It is curious that is a round number. The government really has not told us what the considerations and criteria were in its calculations which found that this number was the correct one.

In the view of the NDP, what should be the limit on absolute liability and what considerations should be included in that calculation?

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1:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I posted on social media some time ago that Canadians had been as nice to the nearly departed as they were to the dearly departed. The same is holding true in the House. I thank my colleagues for their comments. It is unfortunate that I was unable to use those comments in my last election brochure, but it is better late than never.

I welcome the question about absolute liability, because my colleague is absolutely right. It seems with the government that, often, these numbers are just pulled out of thin air. The member will recall that we debated nuclear liability in the House, not just twice, but three times, I think. Each time, the amount of money that the government had included under the liability regime changed. There was never any reason given for that change in numbers nor, frankly, for the first number that it chose.

Now we are dealing with a bill that targets that number at $1 billion, as was the case with nuclear liability and offshore liability. I suppose we should at least celebrate the fact that there is some consistency here. However, we do need to have a close look at that number in committee.

If we believe in the polluter pays principle and that companies ought to be responsible for the environmental damage that they cause, the number ought to be whatever the cost of environmental damages. If it is $1.2 billion, companies should be paying $1.2 billion. The figure of $1 billion is entirely arbitrary.

Perhaps the question about how the government got that number would have been better put to the minister. It will not surprise my colleague that I cannot speak for the Conservatives. Getting into their minds has always been scary place for me, and I would not venture to do that here today. However, it is a point that we will definitely have to pursue once the bill gets clause-by-clause scrutiny in committee.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her response for the Conservative member. It is nice to see the Conservatives seem to finally be remembering that there is a manufacturing sector in Canada. For many years it was one of the leaders of our economy and certainly could be again with the right kinds of decisions made. However, unfortunately the government chose to pick one resource, one part of the country and one part of our economy to the exclusion of everything else, putting all of our economic eggs in one basket, in a boom-or-bust basket to boot.

I also want to thank the member for bringing up U.S. Steel Canada Inc. in her riding. Changes to the Investment Canada Act would certainly improve what happened there.

The member talked about confidence and certainty. Businesses, like Canadians, need to have confidence and certainty in order to make investments and the right decisions that will bring well-paying jobs to Canada.

It is interesting that we are dealing with liabilities now, when the actual regulation of pipelines and the safety and security of them is a complete and total mess. The government eviscerated the navigable waters act, which prevented many improvements from happening when future pipelines would cross rivers, streams and bodies of water, in some cases not even requiring stop valves on either side of the river.

Would this bill perhaps not be putting the cart before the horse, where we need to fix the regulations so we can have certainty before we can figure out what kind of problems we will have?

Maybe the member can comment on any of the great number of things I just brought up.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I really do have a plethora of things on which I could comment. I will start with a point that I did not get to highlight in my speech as much as I had wanted to.

One of the things that is obviously true in Canada is that much of our pipeline infrastructure is aging. It is one of the reasons why Canadians are so concerned about the possibility of spills. The Americans are way ahead of us on that, or at least in recognizing there may be a problem.

Members in the House may be aware that there has been a second spill in Montana. This spill was near the city of Glendive, Montana. Over 40,000 gallons spilled and contaminated downstream water supplies. Relatively speaking, I guess that was the minor spill of the two spills that happened in Montana. However, when the local senator, who is a Montana Democrat, was asked about that, he told the media that more frequent inspections by regulators were needed and older pipelines should face stricter safety standards.

In Canada, we are going the exact opposite way. As I said, in 2011 it was pointed out to the government that we needed greater oversight and stricter regulations. The Conservatives, as my colleague from Scarborough Southwest said, are gutting regulations. They have gutted the navigable waters act. It is no wonder that Canadians are concerned about pipeline safety in our country.

I do not often say this, but in this instance we ought to be taking a page out of the book that is south of the border, where the Americans are actually taking environmental damages and the potential for environmental damages more seriously than we are in Canada. Canadians deserve that kind of certainty when it comes to potential impacts on the environment.

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1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak today in the House to Bill C-46, the so-called pipeline safety act.

I listened closely to the speeches by the last two speakers in the House, and I hope that we can work together here in the House, but also at the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, on improving this bill and making it stronger and more effective. This is a major issue for the environment, for the industry and for Canada.

I hope this legislation will not suffer the same fate as the legislation that we finally passed through the House last year, which addressed the liability regime in Canada's offshore oil and gas sector. That legislation, Bill C-22, as I mentioned earlier in a question for the minister, was introduced numerous times by the Conservatives only to be left to languish on the order paper for several years. The government seemed to be in no hurry at all to move that forward, for the longest time, so the fact that it seems to be a bit more anxious now is encouraging. When that bill finally moved through the House, the government refused to accept a number of solid amendments that would have improved the bill, made it stronger, and given greater protection for the offshore environment.

I hope it will be a different story for Bill C-46. Perhaps one might say, when I express optimism, that I am feeling hope despite all past evidence to the contrary. However, I remain an eternal optimist.

The Liberal Party recognizes that pipelines are a critical part of our energy sector's infrastructure. We have all seen the consequences of the government's failure to provide the means to get our resources to market. We have all seen what it has meant domestically in Canada for communities and in the international community in terms of how the Conservative government is viewed as a regulator of the environment. It is certainly not seen as a defender of the environment, and it has no credibility when it comes to environmental regulations, which makes it harder to get acceptance, for example, for the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. or to sell our resources in the international market and around the world.

Bill C-46 has already drawn a number of comments from members of Parliament and from interested stakeholders and other groups. Some have raised concerns over the potential impact of leaving many of the proposed changes in Bill C-46 to the discretion of cabinet and the National Energy Board, as I was saying earlier. Again I am an eternal optimist, but hopefully the government side will address this issue during debate on the legislation or perhaps in committee.

I am also looking forward to hearing at some point from the leader of the Green Party on this legislation, who according to media reports, sees nothing in the bill that she would oppose. However, she also indicated that she looks forward to a discussion about why her party will always oppose any pipeline shipping diluted bitumen. I certainly look forward to hearing that discussion.

One thing on which there is consensus is the importance of the energy sector to our economy. It is undebatable. The energy sector makes a large direct contribution to jobs and economic growth in this country. That is perhaps one of the reasons we are so aware across Canada of the impact on the oil and gas sector of the recent drop in the price of oil.

Let us look at what generally has been the case in that sector. For instance, we have seen average annual government revenues of $26.6 billion from the oil and gas sector. That pays for a lot of doctors, a lot of schools, and a lot of teachers. It is a significant number, to say the least. Per year, it is $155 billion in the country's GDP and approximately 300,000 jobs. There are indirect impacts in engineering and construction jobs, about $2.5 billion in engineering and research and development in 2010, and $32 billion in annual energy efficiency savings across the economy in 2010. Important research development is happening in the energy sector. This is, without question, an important sector. In my view, this has to be part of the equation when we consider what ought to be the absolute liability limit for pipelines.

Overall, there seems to be a consensus that, while the bill is long overdue, it is a move in the right direction or at least a good first step. I do not think anyone would argue with the fact that we need to strengthen the safety and security of pipelines to ensure that companies operating them take every measure to prevent any spill from happening and of course be held accountable if a spill does occur.

I know the Minister of Natural Resources is fond of pointing out that between 2008 and 2013, 99.9995% of oil transported in federally regulated pipelines moved safely. It is not perfect, but it is certainly a very good record, and our pipeline companies do deserve recognition for this important achievement.

The fact of the matter is that we use petroleum products in our country every day. We could go outside to the nearest street and watch the number of cars that go by. They are not all electric, by any means. Most of them obviously are not. We use it to heat our homes. We use petroleum products in so many ways. We rely on pipelines. They are an important part of our economy and are likely to be for quite a while to come. They play an important role in our society, and it is vitally important that they be run safely. When they are, it is appreciated, and we have to find ways to ensure it is done as well as possible at all times.

However, we also need to look to the future and take every step possible to continue to prevent spills, because they are the last thing we want. We heard about one in Montana a few minutes ago. That is very alarming. We do not want to see the kind of damage that oil can do when it is released to the environment.

We need to put in place proper measures to efficiently and effectively clean up spills and assign appropriate liability to make sure that companies have a really strong incentive to look after those pipelines, to renew them, and to maintain them appropriately. Canada must have the safest pipelines in the world, and we need to ensure that this pipeline safety act is well designed to achieve that goal.

In the bill, the National Energy Board would be given increased regulatory control over the 73,000 km of pipeline that transport more than $100 billion worth of petroleum products across Canada annually. Bill C-46 would build on previous moves to give the NEB the authority to increase the number of pipeline inspections and double the number of yearly safety audits. It does not guarantee the NEB would actually do either of those things, but at least the bill gives it the authority. In that sense, it is a step in the right direction. The worry is the amount of discretion that would be given to cabinet and to the NEB, as I mentioned earlier.

The NEB would also be asked to provide guidance on the best available technologies for pipeline construction and operations. We have seen the measures that set out how the government would work with aboriginal communities and industry to develop a strategy to better integrate aboriginal peoples and pipeline safety operations. That is something those communities are very concerned about, for obvious reasons. This would include planning, monitoring, incident response, and related employment and business opportunities. I hope this is an indication that we will see some progress in this area.

However, let us look at some of the key provisions in Bill C-46. Previous speakers have noted that there would be at least the $1 billion absolute or no-fault liability limit. In other words, in a case where there is negligence or fault shown, the liability would be in fact unlimited. However, no-fault or absolute liability applies when that negligence or fault is not shown. It means that no matter what they have done, if the product is a deleterious product that could be toxic, we would hold them accountable when there is a release of it, whether or not it can be proven they were negligent. That is an important measure because it is a valuable product and it produces important revenues for the industry, so we have to hold them to account appropriately. We are talking here about an unintended or uncontrolled release of oil, gas, or other petroleum product from a pipeline.

Absolute liability applies to companies operating major oil pipelines; that is to say, those with capacity to transport at least 250,000 barrels per day of oil. Lesser amounts—so smaller pipelines—will be prescribed by regulation for companies that operate smaller pipelines.

It should be noted that Bill C-46 confirms that the liability of the companies operating pipelines would remain unlimited if the spill is the result of negligence. Companies would be required to maintain the financial resources to pay the amount of liability that applies to them and must make sure that the resources are readily accessible to ensure rapid response to any spill situation. They would be required, as stated in the bill, to have the materials and equipment necessary nearby in order to deal with a spill. I hope the NEB would enforce that.

Under the bill, the NEB would have the authority to take control of an incident response if a company were unable or unwilling to do so and to order reimbursement of any level of government, whether it be an aboriginal governing body or a federal-provincial-municipal government or an individual, for cleanup costs. That is a positive measure. Again, would be left to the discretion of the NEB, and that discretion is a concern.

If the NEB takes control of an incident response, the government may also establish a claims tribunal. Again, it is “may establish”. We do not know that the government will do this; we hope it would. It may also establish a claims tribunal to streamline claims for compensation for those affected by the spill. This could be a good measure, depending on how the government used its discretion in implementing this.

While the government would provide the resources to take control of an incident and set up a claims tribunal, it would have the authority to recover the costs from the individual or the company. That is a good thing.

The bill would also ensure that companies are liable for their pipelines until they are removed from the ground, and the National Energy Board would be authorized to make sure companies are responsible for the maintenance of their abandoned pipelines. Clearly these and other measures in Bill C-46 signify a much-needed overhaul of the liability regime for federally regulated pipelines.

The no-fault liability, the additional authorities given to the NEB, and measures around abandoned pipelines are welcome, and the Liberal Party will support sending the legislation for further study at committee. I expect that the process will lead to amendments at committee that strengthen this legislation. I hope we will be surprised to find that the government will actually adopt such amendments, because our past experience has been that this is not the case.

For instance, groups like Ecojustice have already noted that the effectiveness of the changes proposed in Bill C-46 would be left largely to the discretion of the National Energy Board and the government. I think this is an issue we will hear more about when the bill goes to committee for further study.

To wrap up, as I said earlier, I was a bit surprised to be debating Bill C-46 on the first day of the House coming back after the holiday recess and given the fact that this legislation was only introduced on December 8, 2014. Perhaps the haste with which the government is proceeding has more to do with trying to restore public confidence in pipelines after it has completely bungled the file so often.

As my colleague from Papineau has said, when it comes to pipelines, the Prime Minister and the government are all hat and no cattle. This is a government that has failed to effectively protect the interests of the oil and gas sector or the environment. Of course, the oil and gas sector needs pipelines to get its product to offshore markets and other markets domestically in North America in the safest manner possible. I suspect members would all agree that, in terms of transportation of petroleum products, a pipeline is safer than a truck or a train.

Look at the government's record. It has botched the handling of the Keystone XL project. It bungled the northern gateway. It has orphaned energy east. Let us not forget that this is a government that has swallowed itself whole with regard to its attitude toward the energy sector. It was not very long ago that the government and the Prime Minister were constantly boasting about how Canada was a petro-state. The Prime Minister boasted that we are an emerging energy superpower to anyone who would listen. As a result of his fixation with the oil and gas industry, his party became dismissive of the importance of other sectors.

Of course, that was when the price of oil was in the $100 a barrel range, and perhaps it will be there again in six months or a year. Who knows when? However, now that the price of oil has fallen dramatically, the Prime Minister and his minions have adopted a new mantra to try to cover their incompetence and their failed economic strategy to put all their eggs in one basket.

Today they are telling Canadians that the energy sector is just a small percentage of Canada's GDP and that the economy as a whole is strong. They should tell that to the workers who are experiencing downsizing these days.

Some voters might believe the empty rhetoric, if there were not obvious signs of panic and chaos within cabinet ranks. We have a finance minister who one day says that his economic forecast remains on target and the very next day says that he is forced to delay the budget for several more months because of severe economic uncertainty. How do those two things equate? How do they go together? Clearly, the finance minister is hiding his budget, for obvious reasons.

I hope the natural resources minister is not hiding the real reason he is moving so quickly on Bill C-46. I hope the government is serious about pipeline safety, when it comes to Bill C-46, and is not just trying to cover up its ineptness and incompetence. I guess we will find out when we see its response to our efforts to enhance and strengthen this legislation to make sure that Canada has the safest pipeline infrastructure in the world. I hope that means the government will allow us to hear what experts have to say about what the limit ought to be and how this bill ought to be amended to be improved. After all, Canadians deserve nothing less.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with much interest to our colleague across the way. I have a lot of respect for my hon. colleague and for most of his remarks. If I overlook the partisan nature of the last five minutes, he made some very good points.

The member mentioned that we are bringing in new measures on pipelines and an absolute liability of $1 billion. He mentioned that there is Liberal support for measures around abandoned pipelines and so on. There are a lot of good measures coming in to build on an already tremendously successful pipeline record in Canada.

I think the member noted in his speech that there are some 73,000 kilometres of pipeline in Canada. Converted to miles, it is about 45,360 miles, with a few decimal points after that. That is almost two times around the world.

I will just make this point, and then I will pose my question. We had a pipeline going through Burnaby for more than 60 years, and most people in Burnaby did not even know it was there until someone, a few years ago, inadvertently put a backhoe through the pipeline and caused a minor spill. There has been no environmental disaster.

We have had a lot of furor, particularly in the community in Burnaby and other places, about pipeline security.

We have one of the largest and most secure pipeline systems in the entire world, and I appreciate the member acknowledging that. I wonder if the member would acknowledge that there has been a lot of media hype related to pipeline security, which has raised the angst of the public, and that it is a good idea to emphasize the safety record we have in this country, one that is enviable in the world. We are looking to work with our colleagues to make sure it is even better with the legislation before us today.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I must say, first of all, that I was impressed watching my colleague do the conversion in his head from kilometres to miles. He said he could not come up with the decimals, but I thought the rest was pretty precise. That was very impressive.

The member talked about how in a community in his riding there is a pipeline that has been there for 60 years, and people do not know it is there. One of the concerns we ought to have as we look at this bill and what the limits should be and how we regulate the pipeline sector is the concern that where there are pipelines that have been in place for 60 years they are being properly maintained and checked.

I am sure my colleague knows about the mechanisms used to run through pipelines. They are called pigs that go through pipelines. They are not actual pigs. That is the name of the machine that goes through the pipeline to examine the condition of the pipeline. We need to make sure that this is being done as it should be and that no pipeline is left in the ground longer than it ought to be, becoming a danger.

While it is true, as the member noted, and as I did earlier, that the safety record of pipelines in our country is enviable, it is not perfect, and we want to perfect it. The last thing we want in any community is a spill of oil or any kind of petroleum product, especially one that ends up in some of our fresh water or soil. That is a grave concern.

It is very important that we look at this in detail. I hope to be able to have a thorough study of this bill at committee.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his speech, and I share his skepticism with respect to whether we will have a thorough study in committee. However, hope springs eternal, and maybe in 2015 a committee will actually study it and make recommendations, and the government will actually make changes to the bill.

I would like to get the member's commentary on the $1-billion threshold for liability. As the member rightly points out, it is a no-fault threshold, and thereafter it is unlimited liability. In the matter of oil spills, particularly significant ones, $1 billion is actually just a rounding error. It is nothing in terms of the catastrophic effect an oil spill can have. To use my own community of Toronto as an example, if there were an oil spill and it leaked into Lake Ontario close to a water pipe intake, the consequences would be catastrophic

I wonder whether the committee might actually give some thought to whether $1 billion is a threshold. In fact, liability beyond $1 billion is limited by bankruptcy legislation. No company is immune from bankruptcy, and a company can hit its bankruptcy threshold pretty quickly in some of these things.

The third thing I would like the member to comment on is a terrorist incident. If there were a series of well-planned incidents by people who wished to do us harm, how would the liability play through, both for the $1-billion threshold and the post-$1-billion threshold?

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, on this question, I think it is important that the committee actually look at the options in terms of what the threshold should be for absolute liability.

It is kind of an odd coincidence that when the government has done its calculation, when it has weighed all the factors it thinks ought to be weighed, it so happens to have picked this round number of $1 billion. Why is that the number, and why do the Conservatives feel that it is the correct number?

That is why it is important to have experts talk to us about what might be the impact on the environment and on the industry if there was a different threshold. What is the argument for this particular threshold, and what are the arguments for other possible thresholds? I think the NDP is saying, basically, that it should be unlimited, but let us hear the argument on that and the impact it would have.

My hon. colleague talked about bankruptcy. I think another consideration here is insurance. It is not just a question of whether the company itself goes bankrupt in a case like this. It is also a question of whether the insurance company also goes bankrupt. One would expect the insurance to cover the consequences of a spill and to cover the liability provided for in the legislation, whether it is unlimited liability where fault is found or absolute liability where no fault is found.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, with friends like me, he does not need any enemies. This is actually an opportunity to have a real debate about this liability, as opposed to the usual nonsense that passes for debate around here.

I wonder whether the concept of pooled insurance would be a concept the committee might consider. It may well be similar to Lloyd's of London. The insurance company would take the first hit on the liability, and thereafter some form of Lloyd's-type insurance, either from the industry itself or from Lloyd's, would actually pick up the balance.

I appreciate the significance of the cost of the premiums, but on the other hand, as they say in the economics trade, these are externalities. These externalities are things that heretofore we have not actually factored into the cost of transporting carbon. We feel it is perfectly fine to pollute the environment, the water, the air, and that sort of thing and not price it, as opposed to other forms of energy generation. These are the kinds of things I would like to see a committee get into.

Does the member accept the minister's statement that it is 99.99% safe? There seem to be a heck of a lot of incidents in the newspaper about spills, small and large.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

The member is going to use up all the time, and the member for Halifax West is not going to have an opportunity to respond.

The member for Halifax West.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your intervention.

I do not think I can answer all the points and questions my hon. colleague raised. It is remarkable. In my time in this job, I have found it interesting how often some of the most fascinating debates around here happen within our own Liberal caucus. It is great to have discussions, because we need to have that kind of debate around here.

I think this question of pooled insurance is one we ought to consider. We have to have enough companies in the sector to make it worthwhile. For instance, in the nuclear sector in the U.S., apparently there are enough to do it, while it would not work here in the nuclear sector. Perhaps it might work well in the pipeline sector. It is a good question to raise in committee. I hope we will have the chance, with a good study of the bill, to do so.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member from Saskatoon—Humboldt today.

Let me begin by saying I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the pipeline safety act and its critical importance to all Canadians.

Most Canadians hardly think twice about the impact pipelines have on their day-to-day lives. These energy highways are essential for delivering energy that Canadians need to heat our homes, power industries, and fuel our vehicles. When Canadians turn up the thermostat, we hardly bat an eye. We tend not to consider where energy comes from. Like mine, most homes in Canada are heated with natural gas, all of which is delivered by pipelines, but Canadians do not need to give it a second thought, because it all happens so safely and seamlessly every single day.

Behind the scenes is a vast network of federally regulated pipelines. There are some 73,000 kilometres throughout Canada. These pipelines transport $100 billion worth of oil and natural gas each year. When we stop to think about it, energy fuels our daily lives and pipelines carry that energy. Pipelines are used to move oil from producers to refineries and on to customers right across the country. Whether we travel by car, bus, train, boat, or airplane, our journey is fuelled by energy that was most likely transported by pipelines at some point.

The oil and gas sector is tremendously important to Canada. It generates almost 8% of Canada's gross domestic product. As members know, energy is our leading export. Central to all of this economic activity are Canada's pipelines. In fact, 94% of all Canadian transportation is fuelled by energy from petroleum products moved by pipelines.

One thing is certain: pipelines are the cornerstone of Canada's oil and gas sector and are also an important national industry. In 2012, pipelines added nearly $9 billion to Canada's gross domestic product and over 6,800 jobs. They also account for between $40 billion and $55 billion in private sector investment each year. That is a lot of dollars being invested in the Canadian economy.

It seems that Canadians cannot pick up a newspaper or turn on the television these days without hearing about pipelines. Some Canadians have concerns about pipelines after a few recent incidents, but when it comes to safety, Canada's record is outstanding. In fact, our pipelines are among the safest in the world. Between 2008 and 2013, 99.999% of oil delivered through federally regulated pipelines arrived safely. As a result, our pipeline safety record easily tops that of Europe and the United States. What is more, during the last three years, 100% of the liquids spilled by these pipelines were completely recovered. Therefore, pipelines have proven to be one of the safest means of delivering the energy we all use.

Every day, Canadian pipeline companies move about three million barrels of oil. Moving the same amount of oil would require 15,000 tanker trucks or 4,200 railcars. Transporting oil through pipelines also consumes less energy and causes fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

However, we know we can always do better, and when it comes to the safety of Canadians and the safety of our environment, there is no second best. That is why new pipeline safety legislation is so important. With this legislation, the Government of Canada is building on its already impressive safety record through a suite of measures in the areas of prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation. We are taking action to strengthen pipeline safety and modernize the National Energy Board Act.

This legislation proposes preventative measures that will clarify the rules and responsibilities of pipeline owners to prevent pipeline incidents, increase safety for Canadians, and better protect the environment. It will ensure that pipeline operators have the financial resources to respond in the unlikely event that an incident occurs. For example, major oil pipeline operators will be required to show proof of $1 billion in financial resources. In addition, they will be required to carry a certain portion of these resources as cash on hand in order to ensure an immediate response.

New regulations would also give the National Energy Board the power to directly administer tough new penalties that would address contraventions quickly so that larger issues would not arise in the future. We would enshrine the polluter pays principle in law so that polluters, not Canadian taxpayers, would be held financially responsible for the costs and damages they caused.

The bill also introduces absolute or no-fault liability. This means that pipeline operators would be held liable even when fault or negligence has not been proven. For companies operating major oil pipelines, the amount of absolute liability would be set at $1 billion. The pipeline safety act would also give the NEB authority to take control of incident response and cleanup if a company is unable or unwilling to do so. At the same time, it would expand the authority of the National Energy Board to recover costs from industry if the NEB ever steps in and takes charge.

Beyond the legislation itself, our government is taking a wider approach to pipeline safety and resource development. We are deeply committed to working directly with aboriginal peoples in all aspects of pipeline safety operations, including planning, monitoring, incident response, and related employment and business opportunities. We believe that aboriginal peoples must be partners in everything we do, from ensuring the safety of our pipeline system to protecting our marine environment from incidents to sharing in the benefits of developing our resources. That is why our Conservative government is working with aboriginal peoples to ensure the responsible development of our resources and the long-term prosperity of our communities for the benefit of all Canadians.

Taken together, these measures would ensure that Canada's pipeline safety system is world class and among the safest in the world. Building safe pipelines is something Canadians have done well for decades now; with the proposed legislation, we are making Canada's robust pipeline safety system even safer.

When it comes to the handling of oil and gas, our government should and will strive for the highest safety standards possible. Canadians expect and deserve nothing less. Canada's pipelines carry the products that fuel our economy, support the livelihoods of thousands of Canadians, and support our day-to-day high quality of life. I am a big promoter of continuing the great record we have.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Green

Bruce Hyer Green Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, my dad was an investment banker and taught me from the time I was two that the first rule of business is “Buy low, sell high.” Here in Canada, we buy the world's most expensive oil in the east. We have an 80% dependency on oil from places like Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela, oil that has a large carbon footprint and is very expensive, and we sell at a huge discount in the west.

Yes, we want safer pipelines. This act is not going to do it without some major changes, but the real question for the member is this: does he understand that we have to reduce our use and export of oil, that we need to transport it more safely, and that this bill is not going to do what we really need to do, which is to stop putting all of our eggs in the oil basket?

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, diversity is, of course, a key to the success of our Canadian economy. Yes, I agree with the member opposite that we have to look at all alternatives for energy, but when we have a 99.999% success rate using pipelines to transport oil, it is incumbent on us to continue to look at this as a very viable option. With this new act, we would even improve on that record.

As long as we are going to use oil as an energy source, we need to do the best job we can in transporting it. Pipelines have one of the finest records so far, and this act will do nothing but improve that record.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the issue of pipeline safety is of great concern for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We understand and appreciate the need to capitalize on the potential of Canada's contribution of a very important energy source, but in looking at the legislation, one cannot help but be somewhat disappointed, in the sense that the government seems to be offloading quite a bit through regulations and the National Energy Board. The government could have been more precise in terms of how it is going to deliver that world-class pipeline safety.

My question for the member is this: does he not believe that the government has fallen short, in terms of having stronger legislation that would have provided assurance to Canadians that we are in fact serious about going forward?

Yes, we have a great record on pipeline safety, but there is more that we could have done through legislation, as opposed to being so dependent upon regulation. I would ask him to comment on that.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member agreed that our record is great, and it is nice to hear that from an opposition member. I must say, though, that the previous government's record was not necessarily great. We lived through a period of time of about 13 years when that particular government's record was not great.

Now our government is doing what it is supposed to do. We are supposed to keep Canadians safe and we are supposed to keep our economy growing and going forward, and this is what the act is all about. It would push the economy of this wonderful country forward and ensure that we deliver energy in a safe, secure manner. The bill would do nothing but that.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Saskatoon—Humboldt.

I advise the member that he will have approximately six to six and a half minutes before we end the debate for question period.

Pipeline Safety ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, like many members who arrive late on Monday mornings as a result of flights, I unfortunately have not been able to listen to all of the remarks of my hon. colleagues, so I hope I do not engage in too much duplication in my remarks.

By way of quick summary, as someone who has been on the natural resources committee, I would point out that I quite enjoy doing legislation like this. The pipeline safety act and the other safety acts we have done clearly demonstrate how we as a government and as responsible legislators try to bring together natural resources and the environment to provide for safety and to deliver results for all Canadians. This is something that we sometimes take for granted here in this country, because we have a modern society, a technologically advanced society, a clean society and clean industry that in many parts of the country is based on natural resources.

Other parts of the world do not necessarily have this. They produce natural resources and products for world markets, but they do not always have the safety, the technology, or the culture and mentality to deliver and produce natural resources in a safe way. That is why I enjoy talking about issues such as the pipeline safety act. Canada does have extraordinary expertise with respect to pipelines and an extraordinary safety record. The environment and oil production can go hand in hand.

I will make some comments on what I think a few other people will already have said in this debate, but which need repeating.

Building and operating safe pipelines is something that Canadians have done well for decades. Federally regulated pipelines in Canada have transported 99.999% of oil safely. Our environmental performance has been strong. It is world class. As technology and regulations are improved, safety standards are raised.

The government has structured its plan based upon four key objectives. First of all, we make regulatory review processes for major projects and pipelines fit in a more timely and predictable way. Another goal of all of our legislation involving natural resources and issues like pipelines is to reduce duplication. We also try to strengthen protections for the environment in everything that we do. Our government is also strongly committed to engaging first nations in every aspect of resource development.

Across Canada the opportunities for prosperity in aboriginal communities from infrastructure and resource development have never been greater. It is one of the reasons the government is determined to forging a strong and lasting relationship with aboriginal peoples in Canada in the development of oil and gas resources. There are not many economic opportunities for many aboriginal communities located in rural areas, except for natural resources.

Over the past year, as part of its responsible resource development plan, the government has initiated a series of new measures to ensure the safe development of natural resources. We introduced new enforcement mechanisms and monetary penalties for non-compliance, along with new legislation, regulations, standards, and environmental requirements. Oil and gas pipeline inspections have increased by 50% a year and comprehensive audits of pipelines have doubled.

The government has also brought in tough new measures for oil tankers to ensure the safe transportation of our energy resources through our waterways. With respect to the Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act, an expert panel reviewed Canada's current tanker safety. As Canadians can see, we are committed to safety from the second oil is pumped from the ground right up until the time it is delivered and leaves not only our lands but our waters as well. Building on these measures the government is taking steps to improve the pipeline safety record and ensure that it remains truly world class.

The new legislation focuses on prevention, preparedness, response liability, and compensation. It takes concrete action to strengthen pipeline safety and would modernize the National Energy Board Act.

I am just going to summarize my remarks by saying that in everything we do, we should have in mind a motto that goes something like this:

Good, better, best,
Let's never rest.
Our good is better;
Our better is best.

That rule should apply to everything in this place, and especially to environmentally sensitive legislation. Legislation like this would help to protect Canada's environment while our natural resources are developed.

Michel GuimondStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Independent

André Bellavance Independent Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of our colleague, Michel Guimond, the hon. member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord from 1993 to 2011, with whom I had the honour and pleasure of sitting for seven years.

Michel had a distinguished career as a lawyer, a municipal councillor, a lecturer, a sovereignist member of Parliament, the chief whip of the Bloc Québécois, a municipal chief of staff, and the list goes on. Through his career he made a difference in the lives of many.

He was loved and respected by friends and foes alike. He will be remembered for his determination, passion, outspokenness, and fiery and lively spirit. His straight talk is probably still echoing in this House. Nonetheless, he was above all a very giving person. I would be remiss if I did not mention his love of singing. In the evening, he would often regale us with his famous version of Piano Man.

I offer my deepest condolences to his partner, former MP Johanne Deschamps, his two children, his grandson, his parents, his entire family and all his friends.

Michel, you are gone too soon, but everyone you befriended, served and helped will never forget you. Thank you, my friend.

Assistance to BusinessesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, last week, I was proud to announce more than $120,000 in federal funding for two businesses in Rockland, Ontario: RONA J. Lalonde & Fils and A. Potvin Construction.

Our federal government fully supports these types of businesses and is committed to doing so, not just by providing grants, but also through many initiatives that yield positive results.

For example, under our leadership, we have reduced corporate income taxes from 22% to 15%.

These significant tax reductions strengthen our businesses; they keep more of their hard earned money to reinvest in their employees and create new jobs. This is a winning recipe for economic growth and job creation.

I am delighted that our government provides ongoing support for our businesses, which promotes the growth of the Canadian economy and all our local economies.

Preservation of our Natural EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my riding of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert is in a forest corridor with 4,000 wetlands and 18 exceptional forest ecosystems. It is also home to no fewer than 84 endangered species.

Today, I would like to recognize Nature-Action Québec, the Fondation du Mont-Saint-Bruno, the City of Saint-Bruno and all of the people who work to preserve our natural environment.

Because of their commitment, our region is rich in biodiversity. Too often, the personal interests of certain members of the other chamber threaten these areas that we hold dear.

That is why I am inviting my constituents to join the many conservation projects of Nature-Action Québec, the Fondation du Mont-Saint-Bruno and the City of Saint-Bruno, so that we can continue to enjoy a healthy environment.

Your Life Challenge: 28 Days Without AlcoholStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can we properly and easily understand the role that alcohol plays in our lives? I invite the people of Canada, the people of Quebec and the people of Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière to learn the answer to that question by joining me in the Longest 28 Days of Your Life Challenge.

The objective of the challenge is to raise $100,000 and to make 50,000 teens aged 12-14 more aware of the many risks of using alcohol and drugs.

We all know that over the long term, irresponsible alcohol use has devastating effects on young people, their friends, and their family.

I invite everyone who wants to join in, for one dollar a day for 28 days, to track their progress with the help of a downloadable mobile app and to work together to achieve the objective of this second Longest 28 Days of Your Life Challenge.

Alzheimer's Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, January is Alzheimer's Awareness Month, a time to renew our efforts to be more attentive to and to better combat Alzheimer's disease, its stigma, and the heavy burden it places on the family and caregivers of the hundreds of thousands of Canadian sufferers.

In Canada, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease every 5 minutes, and with baby boomers approaching their senior years, this rate will increase exponentially over the next few decades. Beyond the $33 billion direct cost to our economy, this disease takes a terrible physical, psychological, and financial toll on the many families who care for a loved one with a form of dementia.

Family caregivers spend hundreds of unpaid hours a year looking after loved ones with cognitive impairment. It shook the foundation of my family when my father, Mico Valeriote, developed Alzheimer's. The disease took a terrible toll, not only on his quality of life, but it also dramatically altered how my mother, siblings, and I related to him and to each other.

In his memory and the memory of so many Canadians with Alzheimer's we all know, let us be the difference this year.

John A. MacdonaldStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Chungsen Leung Conservative Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to rise in honour of Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth this year.

Our first prime minister turned his vision of trade and prosperity into a reality. Sir John A. Macdonald approached challenges without intimidation and asked for a big vision for Canada.

Canada's first prime minister was the first national leader to attempt to grant women and aboriginals the right to vote. Sir John A. Macdonald is remembered for his role in expansion of Canada's boundaries from sea to sea, the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the creation of the North-West Mounted Police.

The 200th anniversary of Sir John A. Macdonald's birth speaks to what Canadians have accomplished together, to the historical moments that have served to define us and to the promising future of this great country. In this country, where we celebrate our diversity, our values of freedom, unity and tolerance, let us be reminded of the great works of our first prime minister, but above all, let us be Canadians.

Pierre-André FournierStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday, over 1,500 people gathered at the Saint-Robert-Bellarmin church in Rimouski to pay their final respects to Monsignor Pierre-André Fournier, Archbishop of Rimouski and president of the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops, who died suddenly on January 10.

Although he was the Archbishop of Rimouski for just six years, he loved his adoptive community and region deeply, and was so beloved in return by the people of his diocese that one would have thought he had been archbishop there for 60 years.

Humble and genuine, he was so approachable and so close to people that many of his friends called him PAF, after his initials. He had a gift for making every person he spoke to feel that he or she was the most important person in the world to him at that moment. He spent countless hours with the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized, exemplifying his episcopal motto, “Blessed are the poor.”

He gave generously of himself. Rarely did he turn down an invitation from his community, be it to a community supper or a meeting to stand up for what mattered to the region.

As one person in the enormous crowd of people who attended the funeral called out, “Thank you, PAF”, not just for everything you did, but also for everything you were.

Community ServiceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, today, we honour Ron Ardell of Saskatoon, who exemplifies the faith of the common man that inspires us all.

Ron and his wife of 40 years, MaryAnn, met at Moose Lake bible camp, where he was a camp counsellor and she was the camp nurse. They raised a family of three boys and supported many local community and sports events, flipping thousands of burger with fried onions for good causes.

Ron's tireless support of grassroots democracy focused on pro-life and pro-family issues, as evidenced by his missing working in only two federal and provincial election campaigns in his entire adult life. A lifelong supporter of the local church, Ron views it as a calling to reach out to community and fellow neighbours in friendship and love.

In 2012, he received his Master of Theology degree, reflecting his lifelong love of God's word.

In 2013, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for lifelong volunteer efforts. In all that he has done, Ron has made putting Jesus Christ first and foremost in his life, running life's race alongside his wife and family.

I will miss my friend. I thank him for being there.

David WynnStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to express my sincere condolences to the family of Constable David Wynn, who will be laid to rest in St. Albert, Alberta, today.

Today, I stand with all of the families that have lost loved ones in the line of duty. What a tragedy that four RCMP officers were killed in the line of duty this past year.

With my own son being an RCMP officer who was on the ground following the Moncton shooting, I know the sacrifice and dedication it takes to be in the force, but none know that sacrifice more personally, more profoundly or more painfully than the families and colleagues of a fallen officer.

I would like to thank all police officers from all across our great nation for continuing to ensure that our communities and our families are safe. Truly, they serve and protect.

PovertyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the United Way for hosting its “Living on the Edge” poverty experience in Halifax last week. As I worked my way through the simulation, it was a powerful reminder of just how difficult life in poverty can be.

Poverty is not just about a lack of employment or money; it is a lack of safe affordable housing, reliable transportation, healthy food, child care, prescription medication, education and training. Poverty can box us in, limit our choices and rob us of our dignity.

I am grateful for the many organizations in and the people of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour who work tirelessly on these issues, including the Dartmouth Family Centre, the Public Good Society of Dartmouth, Feeding Others of Dartmouth, the Dartmouth Learning Network and the Circle of Care Society furniture bank, to name but a few.

As life becomes unaffordable for more and more Canadians, let us hope that 2015 is the year the government finally makes the elimination of poverty a top priority.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, over the break I was pleased to talk to hundreds of families across Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley. I was pleased to hear the confidence they had that our Prime Minister would protect the tax cuts that our government was delivering for Canadian families. They also expressed their concern with the Liberal leader's plan to actually reverse these tax cuts, raising taxes for Canadian families across the whole country.

This year, every parent in Canada will receive tax cuts equal to about $2,000 per child thanks to our expansion of family tax cuts and the universal child care benefit.

The Liberal leader has pledged to reverse these tax cuts and is threatening to do exactly what Liberal elites always do: raise taxes on ordinary hard-working people and spending it on big bureaucratic programs because they do not trust parents to make choices for their own families.

Canadians know that this Conservative government will continue to deliver these tax cuts and they can count on it to do what is right for Canadian families.

Maurice DumasStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to a former member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, Maurice Dumas, who passed away on January 17, 2014, at age 87 and eight months.

He served the people of my riding with integrity for seven years, from 1993 to 2000, just as he served all Quebeckers with integrity throughout his entire life.

He was a passionate man and a proud nationalist who loved the French language and Quebec culture. Mr. Dumas was a man of action who dedicated his life to moving our society forward. He will be remembered as a caring man with strong roots in the community he worked so hard for.

I invite all members of the House to join me in extending our sincere condolences to Mr. Dumas's family and friends and in remembering one of our colleagues, whose commitment should serve as an example to us all.

RussiaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Russian-backed proxies of Vladimir Putin attacked Mariupol killing and wounding over 100 people, a criminal act using Russian supplied weapons like those that shot down MH317.

Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian MP and former pilot, was kidnapped by Putin's proxies in Luhansk last June 17 and delivered to Russia bound and gagged. She is jailed in Russia and resisting with a hunger strike.

Savchenko is falsely accused of involvement in the death of a Russian journalist and entering Russia illegally. Putin claims she is a prisoner of war, but Putin claims he is not waging war in Ukraine. This is right out of the KGB cold war playbook: lies, obfuscation, kidnapping, murders and proxy wars.

Vladamir Putin is turning Russia into a pariah state. The Russian people are suffering through a failing economy and Putin's rogue behaviour. They deserve better leaders, leaders that the international community can respect.

Today is Free Savchenko Day and Canada calls for Nadiya Savchenko to be freed.

Slava Ukraini.

David WynnStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer our respects on the death of a courageous and honourable Canadian, RCMP Constable David Wynn.

Constable Wynn was shot in the line of duty as he tried to apprehend a criminal in St. Albert, Alberta. Tragically, he succumbed to his injuries last week.

All of us in this place know the bravery of the men and women who work to protect us. My whole life, I have been fortunate to see first-hand the selflessness of the RCMP in times of crisis, and I am reminded of it today.

Constable Wynn's wife, Shelly, said that the RCMP's recent support had been unbelievable. I rise today to say that she and her three boys have the support of the entire House, and of all Canadians. We stand with them, and we will never forget his sacrifice.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, under the strong and dependable leadership of our Prime Minister, our government will balance the budget and put money where it belongs: in the pockets of hard-working Canadians. The last thing we can do is put our economy at risk with high taxes and debt promised by the Liberals and the NDP.

With the enhancement of the universal child care benefit, moms and dads in my riding of Don Valley East and across the country will receive nearly $2,000 per year for every child under 6 and $720 per year for every child between the ages of 6 and 17. However, the NDP and Liberals want to take this money away and spend it on big government bureaucracy instead.

Our government understands the challenge of balancing a family budget and saving for education, while ensuring that Canadian children can take advantage of the opportunities available to them.

On this side of the House, we know Canadian families deserve to make their own decisions and we are proud to be the only party standing up for them.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, climate change continues to be a threat to our future and costs our economy billions of dollars, but the Conservatives continue to evade any action on the climate crisis.

The Prime Minister promised to introduce regulations on oil and gas emissions. For years, that was his stock answer: “Just wait for the regulations.” Then one day, the Prime Minister decided his own plan was “crazy”. Despite promising a cap and trade system in the 2008 campaign, Conservatives now say they are opposed to dealing with the climate crisis.

What about the Liberals? Just a few days ago, the leader of the Liberal Party announced that he did not believe in any federal role in dealing with climate change. Shame. This is the voice of a corporate party that champions the Keystone pipeline and says that carbon pricing is for others.

Only the NDP can be counted on to take action on climate change. Later this year, with a new NDP government, we will take action because Canadians deserve better from their government.

David WynnStatements By Members

January 26th, 2015 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, today, joined by family, friends and members of his law enforcement family, Constable David Wynn will be laid to rest in St. Albert, Alberta. With a heavy heart, we pay our respects to Constable Wynn for his dedication and service to our nation.

He was an RCMP officer, a paramedic, a father of three and was noted for his work in local minor hockey and the food drive during Christmas.

Let us also spare a thought for Auxiliary Constable Derek Bond, his partner who was also shot in the line of duty and is recovering.

Together, these two brave officers worked to keep us safe, and for that they have our gratitude. The horrific tragedy in St. Albert was a stark reminder of the dangers faced by all law enforcement officers.

On behalf of the government and all Canadians, I would like to thank all front-line police officers for putting themselves in harm's way each and every day to keep us safe.

David WynnStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I understand there have been discussions among representatives of all parties in the House and there is agreement that we now rise and observe a moment of silence to commemorate RCMP Constable David Matthew Wynn who died on January 21, 2015, as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty.

[A moment of silence observed]

National DefenceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last fall, the NDP asked clear and specific questions about the deployment in Iraq. The Conservatives repeatedly said that our soldiers would be training the Iraqis and would definitely not be accompanying them into combat.

Now, the Chief of the Defence Staff has confirmed that the mission has changed and that our soldiers are accompanying Iraqi troops to the front lines. The Minister of National Defence says that there are no longer any limits on Canada's engagement. That is not what the Prime Minister said in the House in the fall.

Why have the Conservatives kept the truth from Canadians?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is not in fact the case. We were very clear before Parliament that our special forces would be in a position to advise and assist, and that is exactly what they are doing. From the reports that I have, they are doing an outstanding job. Of course there are risks, but they are risks that are being managed. We are 100% behind our armed forces, and everyone can be proud of the work that they are doing.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our forces and less proud of a government that does not tell the truth to Canadians.

Last fall the Prime Minister specifically said that Canadian Forces would not be pinpointing targets on the ground. The Chief of the Defence Staff agreed that such a role would be a “semi-combat role” and would not fit with a non-combat mission.

Is the Minister of National Defence now telling us that he disagrees with the Chief of the Defence Staff and with his own Prime Minister, or is he finally willing to admit that this is indeed a combat mission?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear. We have been giving continuous updates to members of the opposition and to the public, just as we indicated that we would do.

He asks if I agree with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister says that if Canadian Armed Forces are shot at, they will shoot back, and I am very proud of the work that they are doing.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, of course they have to defend themselves, but the real question is why the government put them in harm's way after promising Canadians they would not be at the front. That is the real question.

We learned more today. We learned that our forces have been caught up in even more firefights. How many gun battles, how many air strikes, how many targets painted by our troops on the ground before the Prime Minister or this minister finally admits that our troops are indeed in a combat mission? Stop playing with words. Our troops deserve better.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear throughout that we are there to assist the Iraqis in their fight against this terrorist organization and we are there in support of our air fighters who are operating out of Kuwait. I know the NDP has some problems with this, but I believe most Canadians are 100% with us behind our Canadian Armed Forces when they stand up against terrorism and take the fight to them.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Bank of Canada lowered its prime rate to less than 1%, the lowest rate since the financial crisis.

The bank seems to fully understand the economic risks and the potential impact on the middle class. Analysts and economists are sounding the alarm. We have been sounding the alarm for quite some time, but the Conservatives' only response has been to panic and delay the budget in the hope that things will work themselves out. Crossing one's fingers is not a good economic plan.

Where is the budget?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our growth rate is higher than that of most G7 countries.

The Bank of Canada itself has said that our economic growth will be superior to 2%. The IMF actually was more optimistic: it said 2.3%. We will honour our commitments to the provinces to increase our transfer payments, we will honour our promises to four million Canadian families, we will honour our promises to 780,000 small businesses, and we will balance our budget.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for nine years the Prime Minister has put all of our economic eggs in the resource extraction basket, leaving our economy at the mercy of falling oil prices. The Prime Minister has dithered as hundreds of thousands of well-paid manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Now, with a string of bankruptcies across the retail industry, he is watching tens of thousands of those jobs disappear as well.

Where is the Prime Minister's plan? When will he start creating the next generation of middle-class jobs? Where is the budget?

The minister said one thing and its opposite day after day last week. He—

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Finance.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Canadians understand that we have a highly diversified economy. The manufacturing sector is something that we are proud of and that will continue to be an important contributor to the Canadian economy. It will be advantaged now by several things: the decline in energy prices and the fact that more growth will come to the global economy, particularly the U.S. economy.

We have a plan. The plan has created 1.2 million net new jobs. We have reduced taxes for Canadians. The last thing that Canada needs now is a high-tax plan, a bureaucratic plan, which will drive us—

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Papineau.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of a plan to strengthen Canada's middle class, the Conservatives responded to the drop in oil prices with confusion, delays, and secrecy. In the fall the minister tabled an update rejecting $81 per barrel for oil. Today oil is closer to $45. Exactly how much has that difference cost the government so far?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when I presented the economic and fiscal action plan, we based our results, our bottom line, on the price then. We made an adjustment of $2.5 billion, and when we present our budget we will take into account the 15 private sector economists, as we always do, and will base our projections on their projections.

What we are saying to Canadians is that they should be reassured that we have a strong economy. We will balance the budget and we will honour our commitments.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's officials have given him the answer to my question. He is choosing not to share that with Canadians.

The Minister of Employment and Social Development said that the government would refrain from using the contingency reserve. The Minister of Finance said the opposite, that the reserve might be used. All this ad libbing by the government is bad for Canada's economy.

Which of these two ministers, who head major departments, is right?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no difference in our economic forecast. We base it on private sector economists, all 15 of them. We take the average, and that is what we base our projections on.

Last week the leader of the Liberal Party told the hundreds of thousands of people working in the manufacturing sector that they should find another job. He has turned his back on manufacturing just at the moment that the manufacturing sector is emerging from the recession. It is the worst possible message to send to—

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Papineau.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians support the right of our forces to defend themselves when they are sent into harm's way. The government said our ground forces would advise and assist, but not accompany, Iraqi troops. Now we find out they are routinely on the front lines. Why did the government mislead Canadians?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure we could train troops without accompanying them. We have been very clear that we would be in the business of assisting and training these individuals.

What I do not get is the Liberal position on this, which is that we should know the outcome before we get in there and expect others to do the heavy lifting. That has never been the Canadian way for 200 years. We do not stand on the sidelines; we get out there and stand up for those who are oppressed.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives can bury their heads in the sand, but they cannot hide from the fact that they have done such damage to our economy.

There have been 375,000 manufacturing jobs lost since 2006. There is a 13% youth unemployment rate. Family incomes are shrinking, and household debts have skyrocketed to 163% of disposable income.

Canadian families need help now, so why are the Conservatives making corporate giveaways a priority?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am proud that our government has presented a benefit plan for four million Canadian families, every one of them, a plan whereby two-thirds of the benefits will go to low- and middle-income families, with 25% going to families earning less than $30,000 a year. We are also providing a tax benefit for 780,000 small businesses, 90% of all businesses.

We are doing what is right for Canadians. What the NDP proposes would create deficits. It would cancel the tax plan and go back to the old days of high spending and high debt.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives remain in denial, but job losses are mounting and the inequality gap between the privileged few and the middle class keeps on growing.

It is time to make the economy work for all Canadians. Instead, the government is taking billions away from hard-working families and giving it away to the wealthy few who do not need it.

Will the Conservatives finally admit their backward economic policies are failing the middle class?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite does not seem to listen to the answers. I said that two-thirds of the benefits will be going to low- and middle-income Canadians.

There has been a 45% increase in the net worth of Canadians since we took office, a 10% increase in real income, and 14% for lower-income Canadians. We have created 1.2 million new jobs and we are continuing to grow at a superior rate to that of developed countries.

We have a lot to be proud of.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has postponed his budget. He claims he needs time to see where the economy is headed.

The Minister of Employment, however, is ready to get out the axe. He is suggesting that there will be another round of cuts in public services. He seems more keen to impose his ideological agenda than to take measures to stimulate the economy and job-creating businesses.

When will the government show some economic leadership and address the needs of the middle class?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Finance just said, 1.2 million jobs have been created since the global recession and we continue to make significant investments in labour market training.

For example, we just launched the Canada apprentice loan, which will increase the number of young Canadians who apprentice in specialized trades and end up in very good jobs.

We will keep making these investments and reduce the tax burden on Canadians in order to create jobs.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' deplorable management is hurting the Canadian economy.

Thousands of jobs have been lost since the beginning of the year. In the past three weeks, Target, Suncor, Sony, Bombardier, Mexx and Groupe Épicia have announced major layoffs. Job losses and bankruptcies are mounting, and the government is just watching from the sidelines.

Why is the government refusing to show economic leadership? Why has it abandoned the middle class?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely wrong.

Our government has made job creation its top priority. That is why 1.2 million jobs have been created since the global recession.

In addition, as I just said, we have cut taxes and employment insurance benefits to help small businesses create new jobs, created new loans for apprentices and put forward a number of initiatives to support training. Thanks to these measures, we will continue to create new jobs.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is standing idly by while Canada loses thousands of jobs and slides into economic uncertainty. It is stubbornly refusing to face reality.

During the 2008 election campaign, on the eve of a major economic crisis, the Conservatives told us that there was no problem and that everything was under control. The opposition parties had to unite to force the government to react.

Rather than dragging his feet and refusing to face the facts, why does the Minister of Finance not show some leadership and help our businesses so that they can create jobs?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government is focusing on what is important to Canadians: jobs and economic growth.

Over 1.2 million net new jobs have been created since the recession. The IMF and the OECD both predict that Canada will be among the G7 economies with the strongest growth in the coming years. According to a report published by the International Labour Organization on wages, Canada has the second-best wages of all the G20 countries.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives insist on denying the facts. We cannot wait until April for the government to bring down a budget and take action. Thousands of jobs are at stake here.

What we need is leadership, but the government seems more disorganized than ever. The Minister of Employment is calling for a new round of cuts, while the President of the Treasury Board is telling us that is not necessary. The Minister of Finance does not know whether he will have enough revenue to balance his budget, but he knows he will have enough money to bring in his ineffective income-splitting policy.

Why does the minister not give us an economic and fiscal update right now, so that Canadians know where we stand?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. The NDP's only economic policy is to increase spending, taxes, the deficit and debt. All that does is kill jobs. The NDP's policy is wrong-headed.

This government will continue to balance the budget and support training for young Canadians and the unemployed. We will continue to reduce the tax burden to create new jobs.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the federal budget, it seems with Conservatives it is different day, different minister, different answers. If panic and confusion could get us out of this mess, Conservatives would actually be doing something right, but their economic plans and their credibility are in tatters. Maybe it was the employment minister just jumping the gun a little bit when he let slip that big cuts were coming in order to fix his own government's mess.

Will the minister confirm that he is willing to cut services to all Canadians just to pay for his reckless income-splitting scheme?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we will not be cutting expenditures. We will be honouring our commitments to Canadians. We will be providing tax breaks to four million Canadian families and tax breaks to small businesses. We will continue on our low-tax plan for jobs and growth. We will reject the high-tax, high-spend policies of the NDP, which would bring us to ruin.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is what their policies got us. They lost 400,000 manufacturing jobs, and just last year when things were supposedly good, the Canadian economy grew slower than our population grew, and these guys want a pat on the back. Everyone can see that Conservatives delaying the budget is pure politics.

Former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page said that in spite of their rhetoric, Conservatives are bad economic managers, that they built their budgets on a “house of cards”. The Bank of Canada and the private sector economists are all saying our economy is in real trouble, but just as in 2008, the Conservatives are pretending that there is nothing to worry about.

Why will the Conservatives not come clean with Canadians and give us a real fiscal update on the situation now and be straight with Canadians for once?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, whenever I have an opportunity to attend an international conference, I am struck by how positive the experts, decision-makers, and economists from around the world are in the way they view Canada and the Canadian economy. Certainly that was the view at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

In contrast to that, the opposition members are mired in negativity and a desire to talk down Canada's success, and they do that with all their lopsided presentations. Canadians have a more positive view of Canada, a more accurate view. It is our view. We will not talk down Canada. We will—

The EconomyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice is saying that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are demanding a CETA “slush fund”. Now that is coming from the minister who used a military search and rescue helicopter to taxi him from a fishing trip. It is also not true. What my province deserves is a “transition” fund for “development and renewal”, because that is word for word what the trade minister's chief of staff and the Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency promised my province.

Why will the minister not honour that promise?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in the past, we remain open; our government remains open to a transition initiative that includes support for displaced workers, research and development, as well as innovation. However, this fund was always intended to compensate hard-working Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for actual losses arriving out of the removal of MPRs. It was never intended to be a blank cheque that could be used to disadvantage other provinces.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Bank of Canada said that low oil prices will “weigh significantly on the Canadian economy.” The bank acted on its grave concerns by lowering rates to an astonishing 0.75%, yet the Minister of Finance has the gall to pretend, as he has done today, that the Canadian economy is in “a good space”. His actions belie his own words. Why else would he delay the budget?

When will the Conservatives come clean with Canadians and present a plan to stimulate growth and create jobs rather than cling to their imprudent and expensive tax cuts for the Canadians who need them the least?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we will not have a budget before April because of the current instability in the market. We want to have as much information as we can.

Canadians should understand that the implications of a precipitous drop in oil prices will have different effects on the economy. Everyone knows it is going to advantage people at the pumps, which should increase either consumption or savings. It will advantage manufacturing and transport companies. It will raise global growth around the world, but it will have negative effects on part of the economy. We are taking that all into consideration in planning the budget.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week the Bank of Canada cut rates, because the bank's priority now is jobs and growth, but the Conservatives' priority is a $10 billion income-splitting scheme that does nothing for jobs or growth. According to TD, income splitting will drive Canadians or the Canadian government $10 billion deeper in debt.

When will the Conservatives realize that their pre-election income-splitting scheme does nothing for growth, is unfair, and now is unaffordable? When will they scrap this $10 billion fiscally irresponsible scheme?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, in fact, this is a massive tax saving for families with kids to help them cover the cost of taking care of their children. We do not apologize for one minute for a package of tax relief and child care benefits that will support 100% of Canadian families with children under the age of 18. The average benefit will be nearly $1,200. Families with two kids under the age of six will be getting at least $3,800 in benefits annually.

We are proud to provide more support, because that is not the government's money. That money belongs to those working Canadian families.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I guess it is that minister and not the Minister of Finance who speaks on behalf of the government when it comes to the budget.

On January 14, the Minister of Finance said that his budget projections accounted for the lower price of oil; yet the next day he said that the impact of the oil price was complex, and he postponed the budget until April.

Which of the minister's stories should markets and Canadians actually believe? More fundamentally, why is the minister creating instability when he should be strengthening the reputation of Canada in the world by introducing a real plan for jobs and growth?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member of the opposition may not want to acknowledge that we have emerged from the greatest recession since the Great Depression more quickly and in better shape than other countries. We have half the debt of the G7 countries, on average, in relation to our GDP. We are growing faster than most of the G7 countries. Canadians are benefiting in terms of their net worth and in terms of their income, and we are able to sustain this international shock because we are in such strong fiscal shape.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, we hope the new Minister of Veterans Affairs will not take the same path as his predecessors. Our veterans have been left out in the cold. They have been abandoned. They have been treated as though they were a terrible burden.

These men and women fought for us, and yet they often have to wait months or even years to access the health care they are entitled to.

Will the minister commit to taking concrete action to correct his predecessors' blunders, starting by reopening the Veterans Affairs regional offices?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in this House as the Minister of Veterans Affairs. I want to thank the Associate Minister of National Defence and the two other members of this House who served in this capacity. I am the 31st minister of veterans affairs and I am the 13th who has served in the Canadian Forces. Daniel J. Macdonald and George Hees are illustrious names. In the last three weeks, I have been listening across this country to our veterans, to their needs. We will make sure we meet those needs now and in the future.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, for the record, he is my 11th minister in 17.5 years, and these problems still continue. However, I do congratulate the hon. member for Durham for his new post as veterans affairs minister. I also thank him for his service to our country.

Having said that, as a veteran and as the Minister of Veterans Affairs, does he now believe—because the Prime Minister and the former minister would not answer this question—that the Government of Canada has a social, moral, legal, and fiduciary responsibility to care for those men and women it asks to put themselves in harm's way?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote Sir Robert Borden to this House:

...That you need not fear that the government and the country will fail to show just appreciation of your service to [this] country....

Our support for our veterans, from Borden's time to today, is important, but we also have to meet the needs, the evolving needs, of our veterans. In Borden's day, there was no support to Sam Sharpe, in his own caucus, for mental injuries from war. I am proud to say that our government is moving mountains to ensure we address the mental injuries from service.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, for years, we have seen human rights take a back seat under these Conservatives. Now, we have the case of Raif Badawi, a free-speech activist in Saudi Arabia, condemned to 1,000 lashes for making a website, and the minister waited until after he had 50 of those lashes before speaking out about his concerns over the flogging.

Members will know that Canadians expect their government to speak out loudly and clearly on human rights abuses, wherever they are.

To the minister, starting here, today, will you send an unambiguous message to the Government of Saudi Arabia that Mr. Badawi must—

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

I just remind the hon. member to address his question through the Chair, not directly to the minister.

The hon. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular)

Mr. Speaker, Canada does consider the punishment of Mr. Badawi to be a violation, a very serious violation, of human dignity, and we do continue to call for clemency in this case. The promotion and protection of human rights are integral to our policy, and we promote and protect human rights.

While Mr. Badawi is not a Canadian citizen, we will continue to make our position very clear, diplomatically and publicly.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, this kind of lip service means nothing if no action is taken.

A woman in my riding is asking her government for help. If the government really cares about human rights, now is the time to prove it.

Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for creating a blog that Saudi authorities did not like. He has already received 50 lashes. How many more does he have to bear before Canada takes a clear stand on the matter?

When will the government finally walk the talk and put some real pressure on the government of Saudi Arabia to release this activist?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular)

Mr. Speaker, our government has been very clear. We have made our position known, both publicly and diplomatically, through diplomatic channels. We have called, and continue to call, for clemency in this case. While Mr. Badawi is not a Canadian citizen, we still continue to call for clemency.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week we saw how our government's strong support for manufacturing is creating jobs and generating economic growth in my community of Brantford and all across the region.

Meanwhile, the Liberal leader was busy turning his back on southern Ontario's manufacturing sector and on the hundreds of thousands of workers who depend on it. Many of my constituents were disappointed to hear the Liberal leader attack manufacturing

Can the minister responsible for FedDev Ontario update the House on our Conservative government's support for the manufacturing sector?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, southwestern Ontario's manufacturing sector is a driving force in Canada's economy, and our government is committed to helping these regional businesses and communities thrive.

I too was shocked to hear the Liberal leader say he has given up on southwestern Ontario's manufacturing sector. While the Liberal leader attacks and undermines this vital manufacturing sector, this Conservative government will continue to fight for these hardworking people, their families, and their jobs.

His comments are further proof that the Liberal leader is an economic novice who is completely incapable of managing Canada's economy.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the program Enquête revealed that the report on the Lac-Mégantic tragedy was watered down.

The public's confidence cannot be restored by allowing such important decisions to be made behind closed doors. Canadians are worried. We need a public inquiry on the rail transportation of dangerous goods.

What is the government waiting for to take action?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, obviously our thoughts and prayers are always with the victims of that tragedy in Lac-Mégantic.

The Transportation Safety Board, we should also note, is an independent body that actually formulates its own analysis based upon the facts that they find in an accident.

What they found in this accident is that it was caused by somebody who was not following the rules, and the Sûreté du Québec is actually following up with criminal charges in this matter.

We have taken the report and recommendations of the Transportation Safety Board extremely seriously. We have responded on a number of things and will continue to work on this file.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 2009, Transport Canada spending on transportation safety has dropped by more than 20%.

At the same time, the volume of oil transported by rail has increased by a factor of 27. The Lac-Mégantic tragedy laid bare the terrible consequences of Transport Canada's complacency. Allowing the industry to regulate itself and cutting oversight can lead to worst-case scenarios.

Why is the minister cutting Transport Canada's oversight funding?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Transport

First, Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member should know, rail safety has not been cut at Transport Canada. In fact, it has been increased, and we take oversight extremely seriously.

Second, it is also important to note that safety management systems in this country are the way to go, and indeed the Transportation Safety Board has indicated such. It is a world renowned system.

It works very effectively in other transportation modes. It will continue to work effectively in rail transport as well.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, thanks to recent media coverage, Canadians are finally talking about the horrific levels of racism faced by indigenous people in cities like Winnipeg and elsewhere.

From health care to police protection to employment and education, indigenous people are too often treated as second class citizens. That treatment as second class citizens often has a direct correlation with government policy put forward by this federal government.

Instead of being part of the problem, will the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs commit to working with indigenous communities and Canadians to put an end to the racism that indigenous people in Canada face?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, our government believes that aboriginal people should have the same quality of life, the same opportunities, and the same choices as all other Canadians.

That is why we continue to work and to take concrete action on priorities that we share with first nations and aboriginals, such as on economic development, good governance, skills training, and on advancing treaty negotiations and reconciliation, and we will continue in that vein.

Northern DevelopmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, indigenous Canadians want action, not rhetoric, and that is what we need to end racism in this country.

Speaking of systemic discrimination, let us talk about nutrition north. People in northern communities have been forced to root around in garbage dumps to find food, but instead of fixing the issues with nutrition north, the government has said that it is looking at alternative programs.

We are such a wealthy country, there is no excuse for people in the north of this country to look to the garbage dump for food.

Why is the government refusing to take immediate action in fixing nutrition north?

Northern DevelopmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, again, our government wants northerners like all other Canadians to have access to quality and nutritious food. As a matter of fact, and as the member cannot deny, the results are clear. Since the implementation of nutrition north, the cost of a food basket has gone down by $110 since 2011. Moreover, 25% more nutritious food gets to northern Canada because of this program.

In addition, the Auditor General has made recommendations that we have said we accept and will be implementing to benefit the program.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, we now know that first nations on reserve have been excluded from Canada's job numbers. The government is flying blind when it comes to the real need for job training, a fundamental component of the Canadian economy.

Canadians are fed up with the Conservative government relying more on ideology than credible information.

Will the government close this unacceptable gap in employment statistics and stop making it up as it goes along on the economy?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that Statistics Canada has never surveyed reserves for the labour force survey, including under the 13 years of the previous Liberal government, because Statistics Canada statisticians advise that there are significant practical challenges to doing so.

I have raised this with Statistics Canada and have asked that it come up with suggestions on how it can get better labour market information from reserves, because we do know that unemployment rates are typically far too high on aboriginal reserves. That is why our government has invested record amounts in skills development and job training programs for aboriginal people to ensure that they can benefit from Canada's prosperity.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the Minister of Veterans Affairs to his new role. I am glad that the Prime Minister has finally recognized how poorly the previous minister was treating veterans. A new face does not mean a change in attitude though.

The new minister already started off on the wrong foot by excluding from consultations the veterans groups with whom he disagrees. This does not offer us much hope for movement on major issues like reopening veterans offices, ending budget cuts on the back of veterans services, and recognizing the sacred obligation owed to veterans.

Why was the minister's very first act an attempt to silence Canadian veterans who have rightly called the government out for mistreating them?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it appears that my friend is just as angry as he was last fall, which is unfortunate because my outreach to veterans groups was about listening and reaching out. All stakeholders were called and talked to, and I found that there is tremendous diversity among our stakeholder community, those traditional organizations, those helping veterans, as well as those new groups, the peer-based counselling and support groups.

I am going to continue to reach out and listen to all of them, if we are all going to work together to help our men and women.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1961 the Canadian government made a terrible mistake when it approved thalidomide and was slow to pull it off the shelves. It was not until 2014 that the House unanimously voiced its support for compensation for hundreds of victims and adopted a motion to that effect. Today was the deadline for the government to move from the motion to action. However, nothing has been done.

Can the minister guarantee that the victims will receive compensation as soon as possible?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mississauga—Brampton South Ontario

Conservative

Eve Adams ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I can absolutely assure the House that we remain committed to working collaboratively with the survivors to ensure that their health care needs are supported.

Officials from Health Canada are working to undertake the analyses needed to approve this new spending. As one can imagine, in government all sorts of spending programs will have checks and balances that need to be covered off.

We are hopeful that the minister will be able to make an announcement very shortly.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, thalidomide survivors just do not have the luxury of time. They have been suffering from their disabilities their whole lives. The Canadian government told their mothers that thalidomide was safe. That means we have a moral responsibility to provide them with support now.

In December, the House vowed to make things right, but today an important deadline has passed and the government still has not moved to action.

Will the minister act quickly to give survivors the support they so desperately need?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Mississauga—Brampton South Ontario

Conservative

Eve Adams ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, nothing can ever undo the pain and suffering that has been inflicted on these survivors. This tragic event from the 1960s reminds us why we need to take drug safety so seriously.

I have had the pleasure of meeting with many members of the Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada and will continue working to ensure that survivors are properly supported.

We hope that the minister will be able to make an announcement very shortly.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month we witnessed the terrorist attacks in Paris. One of the targets, tragically, was a kosher grocery store.

Too often we have seen that enemies of freedom and democratic rights target their hatred against the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism is on the rise globally and we must stand ready to fight this rising hatred.

Can the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration please update the House on our government's efforts to combat anti-Semitism?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all members of the House, I would like to thank the member for Thornhill for his leadership on this issue across Canada and around the world in opposing anti-Semitism in all its forms.

As the member said, with Canada and the international community standing up to the menace of terrorism and the ideology of hatred and violence it represents, we find ourselves increasingly dealing with the scourge of anti-Semitism, which we thought we had been left behind.

That is why Canada continues to participate in a meeting of the UN called just last week by Israel to address the rise of anti-Semitism. We outlined our government's leadership on these issues, which will continue under the Prime Minister's leadership and with the participation of everyone on these benches.

We have supported efforts to promote Holocaust remembrance and are opposing the deeply misguided boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign. This government will stand on the principle of opposing anti-Semitism.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs initially refused to intercede on behalf of Raif Badawi because he is not a Canadian.

The Liberal opposition insisted that the minister condemn the cruel and inhuman punishment inflicted on the blogger and that he call on the Saudi authorities to overturn his sentence, just as the United Nations, the U.S. government and many Nobel Prize recipients have done.

Will the Prime Minister intercede directly with the new Saudi king as requested by Mr. Badawi's spouse?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular)

Mr. Speaker, to expand on this, the Minister of Foreign Affairs recently raised Mr. Badawi's case directly with Prince Turki Al-Faisal. Canada also made representations to Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Ottawa. Canada's ambassador in Riyadh has met with senior Saudi officials about the case, seeking further meetings. Canada does consider the punishment to be a violation of human dignity. We continue to promote and protect human rights as an integral part of our Canadian foreign—

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Victoria.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have sad breaking news. We have just heard that the first case of H7N9 bird flu in North America has been found in a traveller in British Columbia. This is obviously a very serious public health concern for all Canadians.

Can the minister update the House about what measures the government will be taking to screen travellers and identify anyone who may have been in contact with that virus?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Mississauga—Brampton South Ontario

Conservative

Eve Adams ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I can inform the House that, unfortunately, the first case of H7N9 has now reached Canadian soil. The patient is being monitored, is in isolation, and is recovering.

Health officials have also been in contact with the close contacts of that patient, and all of those individuals are being monitored.

The Public Health Agency advised us that the risk to Canadians remains very low, as H7N9 does not appear to spread easily from human to human.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the serious situation in Ukraine is escalating. Russian-backed rebels in Mariupol fired rockets that killed 30 innocent Ukrainians. This escalation of hostilities has resulted in a mounting civilian death toll and has exacerbated an already-dire humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine. Russia continues not to fulfill its commitment outlined in the Minsk agreement.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence please comment on this serious situation in Ukraine?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Selkirk—Interlake Manitoba

Conservative

James Bezan ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Langley for his strong commitment in standing in support of the people of Ukraine.

Our government is appalled by Russia's latest aggression, and we demand that Russia stop its reprehensible actions. Russia must immediately abide by the Minsk agreement and respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Furthermore, today we join the Canadian Ukrainian community in calling for the immediate release of the Ukrainian pilot and member of parliament, Nadiya Savchenko, who was illegally abducted and is now being held in Russia.

Our government will continue to work with our allies to isolate Russia for its destabilizing actions in Ukraine. As the Prime Minister has said, Russia needs to get out of Ukraine.

National DefenceOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Forces et Démocratie

Jean-François Larose Forces et Démocratie Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised Canadians that the Canadian Forces' mission in Iraq would not be a ground combat mission. He has broken that promise. Even the Chief of the Defence Staff has acknowledged that there are Canadian soldiers at the front.

Since the mission is completely different than what Canadians were told it would be, the Prime Minister needs to set the record straight and move a new motion this week for debate in the House. Will he do that?

National DefenceOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are operating under the government's decision, that was approved by Parliament, that the six-month mission would come up for discussion and/or renewal, if that be the case, in the first week of April. That being said, members of our armed forces are doing an outstanding job standing up to terrorism in that part of the world, and we can all be very proud of that.

The EconomyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, now that oil prices are dropping, we can see just how fragile the Canadian economy really is. We have been living in an oil bubble created by the federal government.

The Bloc Québécois and its partners have already proposed an economic recovery plan that would have allowed and would still allow the federal government to diversify and modernize its economy. However, yesterday, the Prime Minister said that he wanted to put a strong focus on the manufacturing industry in order to promote the interests of Ontario and appeal to voters.

What does he intend to propose for Quebec other than a pipeline for which the province will have to assume all the environmental risks without reaping any of the financial benefits?

The EconomyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, falling oil prices will have an impact on the government's room to manoeuvre. However, we are going to balance the budget by 2015.

Falling oil prices will affect the economy in various ways. As I said, there will be a drop in the price of gasoline and energy prices for manufacturers, including Quebec manufacturers.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Independent

André Bellavance Independent Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has been caught with its pants down after basing its economic strategy exclusively on oil production.

This government, which did not even believe in the crisis in 2008, did not see the drop in oil prices coming, and now its vote-getting plans are being thwarted. That worries us.

Since we know that the government insists on moving forward with its promise to introduce income splitting for the wealthy and balance the budget, can the Minister of Finance guarantee that he will not offset this by cutting transfers to Quebec and making cuts to social programs?

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, this government has significantly increased transfers to the provinces, and in particular to Quebec. We are talking billions of dollars.

Quebeckers want to see a decrease in their tax burden. They want their taxes to go down. The reforms we have made to help families will help 100% of Quebec families with children under the age of 18. These families will receive on average $1,200 a year, as a result of the benefits we increased. That is good for Quebec families.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, last month, in Lima, at the climate negotiations, Canada signed on to a decision in which all nations are invited to submit their intended nationally determined contributions—in other words, the next round of pledges for cuts—within the first quarter of 2015.

My question for the minister is this. Will Canada meet this request? Will we submit new pledges by the first quarter of 2015? Will it slide to a nebulous budget date? Will we actually have a pledge that will mean we can avoid a 2° Celsius global average temperature increase?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, our government is working to negotiate a new global climate change agreement that includes commitments from all major emitters.

We take the challenge of climate change seriously, which is why we are doing our part reducing emissions in Canada and working with our international partners. We will continue to reduce short-lived climate pollutants under the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Arctic Council, and the Montreal protocol. Our recent contribution to the Green Climate Fund will also help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change and promote private sector investment.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 (8), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the government's response to 32 petitions.

Taxpayers' OmbudsmanRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32 (2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a document entitled “Taxpayers' Ombudsman Annual Report 2013-2014”.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 29th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on Bill C-586, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (candidacy and caucus reforms). The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this is an opportune time for me to rise and confirm for the House information that was given to the opposition parties last week, that being that tomorrow shall be the first allotted day, and the House will debate a topic of the New Democrats' choosing. Thursday shall be the second allotted day, when it will be the Liberals' next chance to share with us some insight into their policy positions.

Impaired DrivingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today on behalf of many Canadians to present a petition regarding impaired driving causing death. Petitioners want to see tougher laws and the implementation of new mandatory minimum sentences for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death.

SeniorsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by a number of my constituents. They support my colleague from London—Fanshawe, who is fighting for a strategy to address the aging population and protect seniors.

We know that the issues affecting people in need, such as affordable housing and credit card fees, significantly affect seniors. That is why we think it is important for the Government of Canada to take action. That is what these petitioners are calling for.

AgriculturePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table a petition today, signed by many people in Regina and elsewhere across Canada, expressing their concern about the rights and interests of small-scale farmers, both in Canada and around the world. They call upon the Canadian government to adopt policies and programs that would protect the rights of small family farms to preserve, use, and freely exchange seeds.

Mining IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present four petitions from my constituents in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

The petitioners are calling on the government to create a legal mechanism to establish a Canadian extractive sector ombudsman for responsible mining.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege to present in the House today a petition signed by hundreds of residents of southeastern New Brunswick. They are very concerned about the government's cuts to Canada Post and what the layoff of so many employees of Canada Post and the potential closure of so many small rural post offices will mean for seniors, for persons living with disabilities, and for small communities. They are asking the government to reverse this ill-conceived plan from Canada Post.

National Day of the MidwifePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to present a petition signed by several dozen people from the north shore and Laval. They are asking the government to support my Bill C-608 to designate a national day of the midwife.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition signed by residents of Saint-Eustache. They are asking the federal government to cancel its plans to eliminate home mail delivery by Canada Post and to stop cutting public services to citizens.

CBC/Radio-CanadaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise today to present petitions on behalf of petitioners primarily from Mississauga, Ontario, but also from Victoria and even Sidney, within Saanich—Gulf Islands.

All of the petitioners are calling on the government to save the CBC, to provide steady, predictable, long-term funding, and to reduce the brutal recent cuts.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Green

Bruce Hyer Green Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from hundreds of Canadians from across the entire country who are concerned about the northwest pipeline in B.C. They are very concerned about it, but the particular focus of the petition is that they want the government to allow the National Energy Board and the regulatory agencies to do their work, to not interfere in the process, and to stop supporting the pipeline project explicitly.

AgriculturePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of a number of residents of Winnipeg North who have expressed a great deal of interest in an issue. They would like to see Canada ensure that Canadian policies and programs are developed in consultation with small family farmers to protect the rights of small family farms to preserve, use, and freely exchange seeds.

Elephant PoachingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I present this petition with hundreds of signatures regarding elephant poaching, which has reached critical levels. According to a continent-wide survey, African forest elephant population levels declined 62% between 2002 and 2011.

The petitioners are calling on the Parliament of Canada to adopt a unanimous motion to support the implementation of the African elephant action plan, to provide financial contributions to the fund to assist African and Asian elephant range states to improve their capacity to manage and conserve their populations, and to destroy Canada's stockpile of confiscated ivory to enforce the message that ivory is not a legitimate consumer product.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 773, 777, 781, 785, 791, 792, 795, 800 to 803, 809, 810, 815, 819, 822 to 825, 829, 832 to 837, 839, 844 to 846, 858, 862, 870 to 872, 883, 885, 886, 889, 891, 911, 915, 919, 932.

Question No. 773Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

With regard to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) animal transportation inspection system, and review of the animal transport regulations under Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations: (a) what corrective actions are being taken in light of the apparent violations of the Health of Animals Regulations and CFIA inspectors’ apparent failure to respond to unacceptable treatment of animals, as recently suggested by images filmed at the Western Hog Exchange in Red Deer, Alberta (http://www.ctvnews.ca/w5/hidden-camera-investigation-reveals-abuse-in-canadian-pork-transportation-system-1.2049011); (b) what is the status of draft amendments or proposals to the animal transport regulations under the Health of Animals Regulations, Part XII, and what is the Agency’s timeframe for publishing those proposed changes in Part I of the Canada Gazette; and (c) what measures will the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food advise CFIA to take to ensure that Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) are dissuasive and specifically, is the Minister planning to significantly increase AMPs in order to ensure that they are dissuasive?

Question No. 773Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the CFIA has taken immediate action with regard to the regulatory authority for which it is responsible upon learning of this situation.

To assess the state of compliance with humane transportation provisions of the Health of Animals Act, staff conducted humane transportation inspection blitzes. While the inspection team observed some minor health issues with transported animals, the district veterinarian concluded that the inspected loads were in compliance with the sections of the regulations that were assessed.

A team of subject matter specialists external to the region was tasked with conducting a review to determine whether federal rules were broken and if appropriate inspection actions were taken. The results of this review are pending and appropriate actions will be taken based on the review results.

To address any perceptions or concerns of regulatory capture, CFIA has increased inspector presence within the Western Hog Exchange barns. The increased inspection presence will continue until the results of this review are received and an action plan is in place.

CFIA management has met with inspection staff in the area to reinforce our values of courage, rigour and respect. The CFIA has also taken this opportunity to discuss with staff our ongoing expectation that animal welfare responsibilities be carried out in a compassionate and respectful manner.

With regard to (b), the CFIA is committed to updating Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations, which pertains to the transportation of animals, and continues to work on the proposed amendment. There have been ongoing consultations with Canadian stakeholders and the CFIA is currently assessing feedback received.

With regard to (c), the Government of Canada is taking significant measures to implement appropriate penalties in the agricultural sector. Among others, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food introduced Bill C-18, the agricultural growth act, which contains provisions that propose to amend the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, AAAMP. In the bill, clauses 114 to 116 aim at increasing monetary penalties for businesses from $2,000, minor violation, $10,000, serious violation, and $15,000, very serious violation, to $5,000, $15,000 and $25,000 respectively.

The government believes that this updated regime of penalties included in Bill C-18 will be dissuasive and encourage compliance from regulated parties in the sector. Unfortunately, the Liberal agricultural critic introduced an amendment during the consideration of this bill at committee stage to water down this updated regime. A majority of members of Parliament disagreed with this amendment and defeated the attempt by the Liberal agricultural critic to significantly lessen the impact of this provision.

Question No. 777Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With respect to the Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development: (a) is the Department currently conducting interviews to fill the role of CSR Counsellor within the office and, if so, (i) how many candidates have been interviewed by the Department, (ii) by what date does the Department expect to fill the role of CSR Counsellor; (b) how many staff are currently employed by the Department to administer the Office of the CSR Counsellor; and (c) including the cost of staff, office space rental, stationery and similar materials, hospitality, and any other expenses not mentioned above, what was the total cost of maintaining the Office of the CSR Counsellor during the period from October 2013 to October 2014?

Question No. 777Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), on November 14, 2014, the government officially launched the selection process to appoint a new extractive sector CSR counsellor. The process commenced through notifications on the Canada Gazette and Governor in Council websites.

No candidates have yet been interviewed, as potential candidates had until December 1, 2014, to submit their applications to the Privy Council Office, assistant secretary of the cabinet.

It is not possible to indicate a precise date for the completion of the selection process; however, in light of the announcement on November 14 of the updated CSR strategy, Doing Business the Canadian Way, the government is moving to staff this important post as soon as possible.

With regard to (b), administration of the CSR counsellor’s office consists of three positions: the CSR counsellor, a senior adviser, and an administrative assistant.

With regard to (c), the total operating cost of maintaining the CSR counsellor’s office from October 2013 to October 2014 was $181,600.

Question No. 781Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

With regard to the Canadian Space Agency: (a) why was the photograph of Canadarm 2, previously posted to the Agency's Tumblr accounts at “http://canadian-space-agency.tumblr.com/post/76666430256/csa-astronaut-jeremy-hansen-canadarm2-looks” and “http://agence-spatiale-canadienne.tumblr.com/post/76666430181/jeremy-hansen-asronaute-de-lasc-canadarm2”, modified to add the Canada wordmark; (b) who made these modifications to the photograph; (c) who requested or directed that the modifications be made; (d) when was that request or direction issued; (e) why was the Tumblr posting removed; (f) who removed the Tumblr posting; (g) who requested or directed that the Tumblr posting be removed; and (h) why was that request or direction issued?

Question No. 781Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the altered image was produced for an internal event celebrating the fifth anniversary of Canadarm2.

With regard to (b) to (d), in 2006, the Canadian Space Agency, CSA, employees made the modifications to the original photo, at their own initiative.

With regard to (e), as soon as the CSA was made aware of the situation, it took steps to remove the altered photo from its Tumblr account. The agency also contacted both Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, and the Privy Council Office, PCO, to have the altered image replaced with the original photo already available on the CSA’s website. The correct image has now been posted.

With regard to (f) to (g), the CSA’s communications and public affairs directorate.

With regard to (h), the altered photo was intended to be used for an internal event in 2006. As soon as the CSA was made aware of its error, it took steps to replace the photo with the original image available on the CSA website, including replacing it on the Tumblr website.

Question No. 785Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

With regard to the War Veterans Allowance (WVA) program: (a) how many Allied veterans have applied for the program since it was expanded in June 2009; (b) what are the criteria that Allied veterans must meet to be eligible for the WVA; (c) specifically, are Allied veterans required to be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or living in Canada to be eligible; (d) how many applicants have been approved; (e) how many family members of Allied veterans have applied for the program since it was expanded in June 2009; (f) how many family members of Allied veterans have been approved to receive the benefit; (g) what is the total value of benefits approved for Allied veterans and their families since the WVA was expanded in June 2009; and (h) after submitting an application, what is the average wait-time for Allied veterans or their families to receive a benefit?

Question No. 785Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Erin O'Toole ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), as of March 31, 2014, 2,356 Allied veterans have applied for the war veterans allowance program since it was expanded in June 2009.

With regard to (b), effective January 1, 2010, low-income Allied veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War who live in Canada have access to war veterans allowance and associated health benefits. These benefits include treatment benefits, the veterans independence program, long-term care as well as the assistance fund and funeral and burial assistance. To qualify for these benefits, Allied veterans must have served in a war zone during the Second World War or Korean War, lived in Canada prior to enlisting, or moved to Canada after the war and have lived here for at least 10 years and live in Canada now.

With regard to (c) Allied veterans do not have to be Canadian citizens or permanent residents as those terms are described in legislation administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The War Veterans Allowance Act requires that an Allied veteran be a resident in Canada to apply for and receive the allowance.

With regard to (d) Of the 2,356 Allied veteran applications, 1,103 have been approved. This number does not include veterans’ survivors.

With regard to (e) As of March 31, 2014, 170 Allied veteran family members (survivors of veterans) have applied for the program since it was expanded in June 2009.

With regard to (f) Of the 170 applications by family members of Allied veterans, 66 have been approved to receive the benefit.

With regard to (g) As of March 31, 2014, the total expenditure for Allied veterans and their families, since the war veterans allowance program was expanded in June 2009, was $2.1 million.

With regard to (h) The average adjudication decision turnaround time for applicants is 47 days.

Question No. 791Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Macleod, AB

With regard to the operations of the RCMP in and around the Town of High River, Alberta, between June 20, 2013, and July 12, 2013 (“the High River operations”): (a) what are the definitions of “illegally stored firearms”, “carelessly stored firearms” and “unsafe storage” as accepted and enforced by the RCMP, (i) are there any circumstances under which these definitions are expanded or altered in such a way that it impacts the extent to which the RCMP can enforce them, (ii) if (i) is answered affirmatively, did any of these circumstances occur in the context of the High River operations, and in what way were these definitions thus altered; (b) what statutes and regulations, as enforced by the RCMP, regulate the storage of legally owned firearms, of all classifications, (i) are there any circumstances under which these statutes and or regulations are expanded or altered in such a way that it impacts the extent to which the RCMP can enforce them, (ii) if (i) is answered affirmatively, did any of these circumstances occur in the context of the High River operations, and in what way were the statutes and regulations in question thus altered; (c) what specific sections of RCMP training, procedural manuals, or other documentation governed the procedures that led to the seizure of legally stored firearms located by RCMP in residences during the High River operations; (d) what prior examples of large scale door-to-door searches by the RCMP that included the seizure of firearms from multiple residences informed the procedure for the seizure of legally stored firearms that occurred in the context of the High River operations; (e) what information was recorded by the RCMP regarding the location in each residence of the firearms that were seized and or secured by the RCMP in the course of the door-to-door searches of residences during the High River operations, (i) where is this information being kept, (ii) who has access to it, (iii) what was the purpose of recording this information; (f) in how many instances were legally stored firearms located in residences by RCMP in the context of the High River operations and not seized or secured by the RCMP; (g) was any information recorded regarding legally stored firearms in residences which were not seized and or secured by the RCMP in the context of the High River operations and, if so, (i) what are the details of the information recorded, (ii) who (including name, rank, and detachment) authorized the recording; (h) under what statutory or procedural authority was the RCMP operating when the firearms which were seized or secured by the RCMP during the course of the door-to-door searches of residences in the context of the High River operations were queried in the Canadian Police Information Centre database; (i) how many times has the Canadian Police Information Centre database been accessed by any members of the RCMP regarding (i) any residents of the Town of High River, Alberta, (ii) any firearms-license holders residing in and around the town of High River, Alberta; (j) what was the purpose of querying, in the Canadian Police Information Centre database, the firearms which had been seized or secured by the RCMP in the context of the High River operations, (i) what are the names, ranks, positions, units and detachments of the officer or officers who authorized this procedure, (ii) what other seized items were queried in the Canadian Police Information Centre database, (iii) if no other seized items were checked against the Canadian Police Information Centre database, why not, (iv) in how many instances did this process result in the identification of stolen weapons, (v) in how many instances did this process result in the identification of persons in possession of firearms that they were prohibited from possessing; (k) was the Canadian Police Information Center database accessed by any member or members of the RCMP regarding any residences which were linked with federal firearms-license holders, in and around the Town of High River, Alberta and, if so, (i) what information was accessed, (ii) why was the information accessed, (iii) on what specific dates was the information accessed, (iv) what are the names, ranks, positions, units and detachments of the RCMP officers or officer who authorized this procedure; and (l) was the restricted-firearms registry accessed at any point between June 20, 2013, and July 12, 2013, by any members of the RCMP regarding any residents of the Town of High River, Alberta, or regarding any restricted or prohibited firearms registered to persons residing in and around the Town of High River, Alberta and, if so, (i) what information from the restricted-firearms registry was sought by the RCMP, (ii) what was the purpose of accessing the restricted firearms registry at this time, (iii) what was the number of restricted or prohibited firearms identified in the restricted-firearms registry as being registered in and around the Town of High River, Alberta, (iv) how many such firearms were eventually seized by the RCMP, (v) what are the names, ranks, positions, units and detachments of the officers or officer who authorized this procedure?

Question No. 791Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, in response to this question, the RCMP has provided the following assessment. There is an ongoing review of this matter by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

With regard to (a), the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code, and their supporting regulations, are used by the RCMP to determine storage requirements. With regard to (i), no. With regard to (ii), not applicable.

With regard to (b), there are two regulations that apply to the storage of firearms: the Storage, Display and Transportation of Firearms and Other Weapons by Businesses Regulations; and the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations. With regard to (i), no. With regard to (ii), not applicable.

With regard to (c) to (e) and (h) to (l), there is an ongoing review of this matter by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

With regard to (f) and (g), the RCMP’s data collection system does not capture this information.

Question No. 792Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Macleod, AB

With regard to the operations of the Canadian Armed Forces in and around the Town of High River, Alberta between June 20, 2013, and July 12, 2013: (a) what were the operational directives issued to the Canadian Armed Forces concerning their operations in conjunction with the RCMP, specifically with respect to (i) the door-to-door searches of residences, (ii) door-to-door searches of residences by forced entry, (iii) searches for any firearms in residences, (iv) collection of any firearms found while searching residences, (v) transportation of any firearms found while searching residences, (vi) recording of any information regarding firearms found while searching residences, (vii) recording of any information regarding residences in which firearms were located; (b) what operations were conducted by the Canadian Armed Forces in conjunction with the RCMP specifically with respect to (i) the door-to-door searches of residences, (ii) door-to-door searches of residences by forced entry, (iii) searches for any firearms in residences, (iv) collection of any firearms found while searching residences, (v) transportation of any firearms found while searching residences, (vi) recording of any information regarding firearms found while searching residences, (vii) recording of any information regarding residences in which firearms were located; (c) what requests were issued by the RCMP to the Canadian Armed Forces specifically with respect to (i) the door-to-door searches of residences, (ii) door-to-door searches of residences by forced entry, (iii) searches for any firearms in residences, (iv) collection of any firearms found while searching residences, (v) transportation of any firearms found while searching residences, (vi) recording of any information regarding firearms found while searching residences, (vii) recording of any information regarding residences in which firearms were located; (d) were any requests by the RCMP refused by the Canadian Armed Forces and, if so, (i) what was the content of each request by the RCMP that was refused by the Canadian Armed Forces, (ii) on what date was each request made, (iii) what were the reasons for the refusal of each request; (e) what requests were issued by any government entities, including, but not limited to municipal, provincial and federal governments, to the Canadian Armed Forces specifically with respect to (i) the door-to-door searches of residences, (ii) door-to-door searches of residences by forced entry, (iii) searches for any firearms in residences, (iv) collection of any firearms found while searching residences, (v) transportation of any firearms found while searching residences, (vi) recording of any information regarding firearms found while searching residences, (vii) recording of any information regarding residences in which firearms were located; and (f) was any request by any government entity refused by the Canadian Armed Forces and, if so, (i) what was the content of each request by any government entity that was refused by the Canadian Armed Forces, (ii) on what date was each request made, (iii) what were the reasons for the refusal of each request?

Question No. 792Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in June 2013, the Canadian Armed Forces, CAF, provided support to Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP, flood relief operations in High River, Alberta. The support was provided pursuant to subsection 273.6(1), Public Service, of the National Defence Act, following a request for assistance from the Minister of Public Safety, which was itself preceded by a request for assistance from the province of Alberta. The CAF was asked for humanitarian support, including transportation support in the effort to locate trapped or injured persons.

The CAF operation in the area was guided by a tasking order from the Chief of the Defence Staff and an operations order issued by the commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command. Concerning operations in conjunction with the RCMP, the operations order stated that CAF personnel would remain under military command at all times and would not engage in assistance to law enforcement agency operations. CAF support and capabilities were specifically directed to be in response to relief efforts for flooding.

With regard to (b), the basis for CAF involvement in the flood relief operations in Alberta was pursuant to the National Defence Act, subsection 273.6(1), Public Service, and not specifically for law enforcement assistance. Public Safety Canada has the lead responsibility for emergency response and CAF personnel were in continuous liaison with Public Safety Canada, as well as with provincial authorities and our other federal partners as part of relief efforts.

With regard to (c), the Department of National Defence and CAF, DND/CAF, did not find any records of official requests made by the RCMP to the CAF for law enforcement assistance.

With regard to (d), DND/CAF did not find any records of official requests made by the RCMP to the CAF for law enforcement assistance.

With regard to (e), these requests would have been made through the formal request for assistance, RFA, process between the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Public Safety. DND/CAF do not have any records of formal RFAs on assistance with law enforcement activities. On June 21, 2013, the Minister of Public Safety requested the following assistance: evacuation and safeguarding of at-risk persons; safeguarding of critical infrastructure from flooding; resupply of those areas isolated by flooding as requested by civil authorities; provision of engineering, logistic and humanitarian relief support to those communities that must shelter in place; and, assistance in informing the public of the need to avoid entry in to those areas evacuated, damaged or otherwise in need of control and surveillance in order to ensure the safety of emergency personnel and evacuees.

If informal requests for assistance were made to the local commanders, these low-level RFAs would have been handled at site unless there were larger operational concerns.

With regard to (f), as with part (e) these requests would have been made through the formal request for assistance process between the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Public Safety. DND/CAF do not have any records of formal RFAs on assistance with law enforcement activities.

Question No. 795Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Northwest Territories, NT

With respect to the imprisonment in China of Canadian citizen Huseyin Celil; (a) has the government discussed the topic of his case with Chinese government officials; (b) if discussions have taken place, how were they conducted; (c) what questions did the government ask regarding his status and well-being; (d) what responses did the government receive from the Chinese government; (e) what were the government's follow-up actions based on these responses; (f) has the Canadian Consular services ever visited him in prison (either directly, or indirectly through a third party like Red Crescent or Red Cross); and (g) if the Canadian Consular Services has not visited him in prison, why not?

Question No. 795Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular)

Mr. Speaker, in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. Information that constitutes personal information and information that could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs is not shared in accordance with the law.

With regard to (a), the Prime Minister of Canada and senior cabinet ministers have raised Mr. Celil’s case with their counterparts.

With regard to (c), the Government of Canada is actively engaged in Mr. Celil’s case. Senior-level officials have raised his case at every opportunity with the goal of ensuring that he is safe and that he is treated fairly and in accordance with local laws and international norms.

With regard to (e), the Government of Canada is very engaged. Senior officials continue to raise Mr. Celil’s case at every opportunity calling upon the Government of China to permit consular access to Mr. Celil. Canadian consular officials continue all efforts to pursue access to Mr. Celil.

With regard to (f), Canada remains deeply concerned at China’s refusal to recognize Mr. Celil’s Canadian citizenship or permit Canadian consular officials to visit him. Canadian officials continue to call upon the Government of China to permit consular access to Mr. Celil. China does not permit visits by the Red Cross to Chinese prisons.

With regard to (g), Canada remains deeply concerned at China’s refusal to recognize Mr. Celil’s Canadian citizenship or permit Canadian consular officials to visit him. Canadian officials continue to call upon the Government of China to permit consular access to Mr. Celil.

Question No. 800Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

With respect to fines and penalties issued or imposed for violations of the Do Not Call List since January 1, 2010: (a) what is the total number and dollar value of Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) that have been imposed; (b) what is the total number and dollar value of AMPs that have been paid to date; (c) what is the total number of negotiated settlements that have been reached to date; (d) what is the total number and dollar value of negotiated settlements that have been paid to date; (e) what is the number of companies that have refused to either pay an AMP or reach a negotiated settlement; (f) for Pecon Software Ltd., (i) did the company seek a review of the fine, (ii) what was the total dollar value of the fine after a review, if any, was completed, (iii) did the company request a negotiated settlement of the fine, (iv) was a negotiated settlement reached, (v) if a negotiated settlement was reached, what was its total value (vi) what is the total dollar value of the fine, if any, that has been paid to date, (vii) has the company refused to pay the fine or reach a negotiated settlement; and (g) for Avaneesh Software, (i) what was the finding of the Violation and Review Panel, (ii) what was the total dollar value of the fine after the review, if any, (iii) did the company request a negotiated settlement of the fine, (iv) was a negotiated settlement reached, (v) what was the total value of the negotiated settlement, if any, (vi) what is the total dollar value of the fine, if any, that has been paid to date, (vii) has the company refused to pay the fine or reach a negotiated settlement?

Question No. 800Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), since January 1, 2010, the CRTC has issued 86 administrative monetary penalties, AMPs, including negotiated settlements, for a value of $4,499,800.

With regard to (b), since January 1, 2010, the total number and dollar value of AMPs paid are 62 and $3,900,419 respectively.

With regard to (c), since January 1, 2010, the CRTC has entered into 31 negotiated settlements.

With regard to (d), since January 1, 2010, 28 negotiated settlements have been paid in full for a total of $ 3,423,400.

With regard to (e), since January 1, 2010, no companies have refused to either pay an AMP or reach a negotiated settlement.

With regard to (f), with respect to the fine of $495,000 to Pecon Software Ltd., the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC, issued a notice of violation on October 2, 2012. In order to comply with international service requirements, the CRTC filed the documents with the Indian Government’s Ministry of Law and Justice--central authority for extrajudicial service of documents. The CRTC cannot proceed with these matters legally until Pecon Software Ltd. has been legally served. According to the Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, the Indian central authority is required to provide the CRTC with an affidavit attesting to the fact that they have legally served the documents to Pecon Software Ltd.

The documents were received by the central authority in India on April 2, 2013. The CRTC is now working with the Indian Ministry of Law and Justice--central authority to serve the documents to Pecon Software Ltd. Once the Indian Ministry has attested to the fact that the documents have been served, Pecon Software Ltd. will have 30 days to pay the penalty or file representations with the CRTC.

With regard to (g), with respect to the fine of $12,000 to Avaneesh Software, the CRTC issued a notice of violation on October 2, 2012, and Avaneesh Software accepted the service of the notice and accompanying documents. Avaneesh Software has submitted representations as per section 72.07(2) of the Telecommunications Act and a violation and review panel will be held to determine if the violations set out in the notice of violation occurred and whether or not to uphold the administrative monetary penalty. The matter has yet to be reviewed.

Question No. 801Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

With respect to information in the government's possession concerning First Nation students on-reserve who participated in provincial standardized testing for numeracy and literacy: (a) what was the methodology used to determine the results; (b) what were the ages of the individuals tested; and (c) what were the numeracy and literacy results, broken down by reserve?

Question No. 801Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, insofar as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, AANDC, and its special operating agency, Indian Oil and Gas Canada, are concerned, the response is as follows:

With regard to (a), first nations schools on reserve covered by regional first nations organizations that receive funding under the first nation student success program, FNSSP, are required to administer to their students standardized tests that are identical to those used by the relevant provincial ministry of education to assess student outcomes. Regional first nations organizations are responsible for the collection, analysis and reporting to AANDC of data on student achievement.

With regard to (b), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada does not gather information on the ages of the individuals who were tested.

With regard to (c), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s 2013-2014 departmental performance report, DPR, sets out the percentages of male and female first nations students, broken down by region, who: attended an on-reserve school covered by a regional first nations organization that received funding under the first nation school success program; participated in provincial standardized testing; and met the provincially established standard associated with this testing.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada does not gather or break down information on literacy and numeracy results by reserve.

Question No. 802Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

With regard to Canada’s combat mission in Iraq, known as Operation IMPACT: (a) what are the total estimated flying hours for the six-month mission, broken down by month, for each of the following, (i) CF-188 Hornets, (ii) CC-177 Globemaster, (iii) CC-130J Hercules, (iv) CP-140 Aurora, (v) CC-150T Polaris; (b) what are the total estimated costs per hour associated with the flying hours for each of these previously mentioned aircraft; and (c) what is the amount of any additional costs related to the deployment and sustainment of the air mission to Iraq, including the total estimated costs of the establishment of personnel in Kuwait, and all associated costs for the six-month period?

Question No. 802Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces, DND/CAF, provided an estimate of flying hours to the government to inform decision-making on the mission. However, this information cannot be provided at this time, as flying hours remain dynamic and evolve with the refinement of planning and operational assumptions, as well as the requirements of the coalition.

With regard to (a), (i), (iv), and (v) specifically, as of 25 November 2014, Air Task Force Iraq had conducted 111 sorties, including 72 sorties by CF-188 Hornet fighters; 21 sorties by CC-150T Polaris aerial refuelling aircraft, delivering some 976,000 pounds of fuel to coalition aircraft; and 23 reconnaissance missions by CP-140 Aurora aircraft.

With regard to (a), (ii), and (iii), as of 26 September 2014, CC-177 Globemaster and CC-130J Hercules aircraft had completed 25 flights, delivering more than 1,600,000 pounds of military supplies, consisting of small arms, ammunition, and equipment donated by contributing allies to Iraq.

Further information on the Royal Canadian Air Force’s activities as part of Operation Impact is available on DND/CAF’s website at http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-abroad-current/op-impact.page.

With regard to (b), cost estimates are dynamic and evolve with the refinement of planning and operational requirements. Estimates are updated regularly to support planning efforts and decision-making, and therefore any estimate provided would be inaccurate.

With regard to (c), all elements, units, and organizations involved in Operation Impact are required to capture incremental costs and charge expenses related to their tasks in accordance with the published financial directives, and to report results through the Department of National Defence’s financial review process. The costs of a mission are available through the regular parliamentary process, including with the publication of the annual departmental performance report or 90 days following the end of the mission.

Question No. 803Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

With regard to the Canadian Armed Forces’ advise and assist mission to Iraq announced on September 5, 2014: (a) what are the estimated total and incremental costs of the mission; (b) are there other personnel associated with this mission and, if so, how many; and (c) is this mission scheduled to end six months from October 7, 2014, the date the motion to initiate it was adopted by the House of Commons?

Question No. 803Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the costs of a mission are available through the regular parliamentary process, including with the publication of the annual departmental performance report, or 90 days following the end of the mission. Cost estimates are dynamic and evolve with the refinement of planning and operational requirements. Estimates are updated regularly to support planning efforts and decision-making, and therefore any estimate provided would be inaccurate.

With regard to (b), as announced by the Government of Canada, up to 69 personnel have been authorized for the advise and assist mission in Iraq.

With regard to (c), the Canadian Armed Forces’ advise and assist mission to Iraq is running on the same timelines as those indicated in the motion that was adopted by the House of Commons on the contribution of Canadian military assets to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, and terrorists allied with ISIL.

Question No. 809Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

With regard to transactions respecting Leclerc penitentiary in Laval between the federal government and the Government of Quebec: (a) what was the total cost of the penitentiary transaction; (b) for how much was the kitchen equipment sold; (c) for how much was the laundry equipment sold; and (d) was the heating equipment including in the transaction, and if so, what are the details of the service contract for sharing the heating equipment with the rest of the complex, which includes other federal penitentiaries?

Question No. 809Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the transaction regarding the Leclerc Institution is not a real estate sale, but rather a lease for a period of ten years effective April 1, 2014, with a renewal option of five years.

In processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. As such, the details of the transaction are protected under these principles, as the information was obtained in confidence from the government of a province. In order to determine whether this information can be disclosed, consultations with the provincial government of Quebec are required, and these consultations cannot be completed within the timeframe provided.

Question No. 810Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

With regard to Shared Services Canada: (a) what was the intention of the privatization of email services; and (b) what are the consequences of this privatization with respect to (i) public service jobs, (ii) the possible loss of these jobs, (iii) the reliability of email services for shared services employees, (iv) the confidentiality and security of these email services, (v) the savings or losses from these changes to email services?

Question No. 810Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the email transformation initiative, ETI, will replace 63 different legacy email systems across 43 organizations, affecting over 375,000 employees, as part of a whole-of-government approach, consistent with the government’s strategy to create a secure, centralized, and modern information technology infrastructure. The decision to move to an enterprise-wide email solution was based upon meeting the Government of Canada’s stated requirements: increased security, providing value for money, and improving services to Canadians.

With regard to (b)(i) and (ii), the decision to move to an enterprise-wide email solution was based upon meeting the Government of Canada’s stated requirements: increased security, providing value for money, and improving services to Canadians.

When SSC was created in August 2011, there were approximately 360 public service employees supporting email services across 63 email systems. There are currently about 140 public service employees supporting the existing email legacy systems and working to implement a single modern, consolidated system for the Government of Canada.

As the consolidation project is implemented, some employees who had been working on legacy departmental email systems have already been re-assigned to other transformation activities within SSC or have accepted appointments to positions outside of SSC. Other employees will continue to work on supporting the existing email legacy systems until the transition to the modern, consolidated system is complete. They will then be assigned to other positions. SSC is committed to supporting employees throughout this transformation process, helping them build the skills they need to meet evolving government requirements. To do this, SSC has implemented a workforce management strategy that was designed at the outset of the ETI project and endorsed by SSC and bargaining agents.

With regard to (b)(iii), moving to a single, integrated email system will reduce the diversity, duplication, and complexity of email services; enhance access; and improve how public servants work to deliver programs to Canadian citizens and businesses. To ensure reliability and to help better manage, monitor, and protect the email system, state of the art anti-spam and anti-virus software will be used to inspect all emails entering the system. The email server will be hosted in secure facilities to ensure high availability and recoverability of data in accordance with government policies and procedures. The ETI project is being rolled out in a series of waves across the Government of Canada, beginning with SSC, to ensure that the solution works and that it is secure.

With regard to (b)(iv), increasing the security of email communication is a fundamental component of the new email service, which has up-to-date security features incorporated into its design, construction, and operation. SSC is committed to protecting the information and the confidentiality of data held by the Government of Canada.

For all services, including the new consolidated email system, SSC's security architecture is based upon an approach that uses a series of control measures to protect information. SSC will continue to work with its partners to ensure that equipment comes from trusted vendors and that services meet Government of Canada security standards.

With regard to (b)(v), beginning in 2015–16, the Government of Canada will achieve $50 million in annual savings through the standardization and consolidation of email services into one solution.

Question No. 815Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

With respect to each expenditure contained in each budget or budget implementation bill since fiscal year 2006-2007, inclusively: (a) has the Department of Finance done an economic impact analysis of the expenditure; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what is the date, name and file number of any record which constitutes part of that analysis; (c) has the Department of Finance relied on any economic impact analysis of any organization outside government on the expenditure or not; and (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, (i) which organizations analysed the measure, (ii) what is the date, name and file number of any record obtained from that organization which constitutes part of that analysis?

Question No. 815Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the department conducts a broad analysis of every measure included in the budget and budget-related legislation on elements that include the following: proposed program design, program effectiveness, administrative issues, and general economic impacts. It is not the department’s practice to develop specific estimates of the job impact of each measure.

With regard to (b), in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act, and some information has been withheld on the grounds that the information is considered confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.

With regard to (c), when assessing proposals, the department considers analyses of outside organizations.

With regard to (d), in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act, and some information has been withheld on the grounds that the information is considered confidences of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.

Question No. 819Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

With regard to Canada Post: (a) what are the details of the five-point turnaround plan to put Canada Post on track for financial sustainability by 2020; (b) what is the annual budget for advertising campaigns, broken down by (i) medium, (ii) region, (iii) product or service line, (iv) any additional internal categories used not included in this question; (c) what are the internal metrics for measuring success of any advertising outlined in (b); and (d) what is the cost of any advertising campaigns from (b) in (i) fiscal year 2012-2013, (ii) fiscal year 2013-2014, (iii) fiscal year-to-date 2014-2015?

Question No. 819Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Canada Post’s five-point action plan is available at: https://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/assets/pdf/aboutus/5_en.pdf

With regard to parts (b), (c), and (d), the requested information is financial and commercial in nature and has always been treated as confidential.

Question No. 822Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

With regard to employment insurance benefits: (a) what are the amounts paid out for employment insurance benefits in Quebec from fiscal year 2010–2011 to the current fiscal year, broken down by (i) year, (ii) economic region, (iii) electoral district, (iv) regional county municipality (RCM) or the most detailed level available; (b) how many beneficiaries have there been in Quebec from fiscal year 2010–2011 to the current fiscal year, broken down by (i) year, (ii) economic region, (iii) electoral district, (iv) RCM or the most detailed level available; and (c) if the information requested in (a) and (b) is not available, why is that the case?

Question No. 822Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley Nova Scotia

Conservative

Scott Armstrong ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the amount of employment insurance regular benefits paid, which is under part I of the Employment Insurance Act, and the number of employment insurance beneficiaries, meaning the number of new claims for which at least one dollar of employment insurance regular benefits was paid, are available by province and employment insurance economic region and by year until 2012–13. Annex 2.5 of the 2012-13 EI Monitoring and Assessment Report provides this information. The report is accessible via the following link: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/reports/ei/monitoring2013/index.page.

The employment insurance program is designed and administered based on 62 employment insurance regions. As a result, data by electoral district and regional county municipality, or RCM, are not available. As for the data in 2013–14, they will be available in the first quarter of 2015.

Question No. 823Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

With regard to the government's Temporary Public Policy Concerning Tibetans Living in the State of Arunachal Pradesh in India: (a) how much has been spent in research towards implementing this resettlement program; (b) what is the budget allocated to this program; (c) how many applications for permanent residence have been made under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for this program; and (d) how many applicants have been resettled?

Question No. 823Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, with regard to (a) and (b), this public policy has been implemented within existing CIC reference levels and with existing staff. There have been no funds earmarked specifically for research.

With regard to (c), as of November 26, 2014, 517 applications for permanent residence have been made.

With regard to (d), as of November 26, 2014, 197 persons have been resettled.

Question No. 824Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

With regard to construction undertaken during the period from fiscal year 2004-2005 to 2014-2015, inclusively: (a) how much has been spent on scaffolding throughout the Parliamentary Precinct including specific costs incurred for (i) the preparation of the building, (ii) construction, (iii) maintenance, (iv) the entire project; and (b) how much has been spent on scaffolding for the Paul Martin Building in Windsor, Ontario, including specific costs incurred for (i) the preparation of the building, (ii) construction, (iii) maintenance, (iv) the entire project?

Question No. 824Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a) and (b), the information on scaffolding for the Parliamentary Precinct was obtained for multiple projects over multiple years, while the information on scaffolding for the Paul Martin Building is accounted for as a single project.

With regard to part (a), the scaffolding costs throughout the Parliamentary Precinct, including specific costs incurred, were, for (a)(i), $835,902.33; for (a)(ii), $18,757,302.86; for (a)(iii), $1,733,470.72; and for (a)(iv), $21,326,675.91.

With regard to part (b), scaffolding was installed on the Paul Martin Building in 2010. The specific costs listed in the question were, for (b)(i), nil, in that there were no preparation costs; for (b)(ii), $77,212.00; for (b)(iii), $407,931.90; and for (b)(iv), $538,750.15. The entire project cost $485,143.90, plus an encroachment fee for the use of the public sidewalk of $53,606.25, which was paid to the City of Windsor for the period July 2, 2014, to July 1, 2015, bringing the total cost to $538,750.15.

Question No. 825Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

With respect to the creation of the position of President of the Public Health Agency of Canada in Bill C-43, the Budget Implementation Act: (a) what are the names, positions, organizations or affiliations of all the stakeholders consulted leading up to the creation of this position; (b) what submissions, proposals or recommendations were made by stakeholders during the consultation process before the creation of this position; and (c) what are the dates, times, and locations of the meetings with those individuals or organizations consulted before the creation of this position?

Question No. 825Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, changes to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s organizational structure are aimed at strengthening both its internal management and public health capacity. The division of responsibilities between the president and the chief public health officer will enhance the agency’s internal management and allow the chief public health officer to focus on the important public health needs of Canadians. The proposed position of president will bring the leadership of the agency in alignment with other health portfolio organizations; both the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research are led by presidents. These changes were proposed by the chief public health officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor, and recommended by both him and the president-designate, Ms. Krista Outhwaite.

As part of the legislative process, parliamentarians were briefed on the proposed changes. Bill C-43 was discussed and read in both the House of Commons and the Senate and examined in committees: the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology; the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance; the Senate National Finance Committee. Witnesses gave their opinions on the bill and it was subjected to clause-by-clause study based on the testimony.

The chief public health officer, Dr. Taylor, pointed out during his appearances that he supports this proposal as it will allow his position to focus on moving Canada forward on public health issues; providing excellent advice directly to the Minister of Health and to Canadians; collaborating with all partners, and interacting with multiple key players including the Canadian public.

At the same time, a dedicated Public Health Agency of Canada president will provide strategic policy and management leadership for a world-leading and strong public sector organization. The president, as deputy head, will become the agency’s accounting officer and will focus on many of the issues for which the CPHO was previously accountable, including finance, audit, evaluation, staffing, official languages, and access to information and privacy. These are all important functions, requiring the attention of an experienced public service leader.

The changes will allow the chief public health officer to dedicate more of his time to public health issues of importance to Canadians. This is also a model seen in many provinces across Canada, and internationally.

Question No. 829Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

With respect to Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s pause in processing visa applications from foreign nationals who have been physically present in a country designated by the World Health Organization as having widespread and intense transmission of the Ebola virus on Friday, October 31, 2014: (a) what are the names, positions, organizations or affiliations of all the stakeholders consulted leading up to this decision; (b) what submissions, proposals or recommendations were made by stakeholders during the consultation process; and (c) what are the dates, times, and locations of the meetings with those individuals or organizations consulted?

Question No. 829Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, the Government of Canada has a duty to ensure that the security and safety of Canadians is paramount in determining the admissibility of foreign nationals. In rapidly evolving situations where the potential impact may be very significant, potentially resulting in loss of life, it is essential that the government take decisive action to protect the well-being of its citizens.

That is why on October 31, 2014, it announced precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of all Canadians. Under these new measures, visas for temporary residence will not be issued unless the officer is satisfied the applicant has not been in an Ebola-affected country within the three months prior to the finalization of an application. Discretion remains for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to grant entry where travel is essential and in Canadians’ interest.

CIC consulted with partners across government including those in the public safety and health portfolios. The Public Health Agency of Canada has significant experience and responsibility for public health and safety. This includes a consultative relationship with the World Health Organization, which was contacted upon development of these new measures. The government has advised various domestic and international stakeholders including government representatives from the affected countries, at the time of deployment.

Question No. 832Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

With regard to the Family Class sponsorships and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) Regulation 117(9)(d): (a) how many Family Class sponsorships have been denied by visa officers based on this Regulation since its inception in 2003; (b) of the refused applications, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors; (c) how many sponsors have requested an exemption from this Regulation to allow their excluded family member to come to Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds under Section 25 of the IRPA; (d) how many requests for exemptions were granted; (e) of the exemptions that were granted, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors; (f) how many requests for exemptions were refused; and (g) of the exemptions that were refused, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors?

Question No. 832Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, in response to question (a), a total of 1,200 family class applications have been refused based on the R117(9)(d) refusal ground, in persons, beginning in 2010. Prior to 2010, a different system was in use by the department, which did not allow for the consistent tracking and reporting of refusal grounds. Due to this, CIC can only report on the number of applications that were refused based on 117(9)(d) beginning in 2010 for those applications that were processed in the global case management system, GCMS.

In response to questions (b)(i) and (ii), CIC does not capture this level of detail sought for these questions in a systematic fashion and therefore cannot provide this information.

In response to question (b)(iii), of the 1,200 family class applicants refused with R117(9)(d), 333 were female sponsors and 594 were male sponsors.

In response to questions (c) to (g), CIC is not able to report on this type of information as it is not tracked systematically in the global case Management system, GCMS, and therefore CIC cannot provide the level of detail required.

Question No. 833Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

With regard to the Department of National Defense and the policy stating that Members of Parliament only have permission to visit a regional base if it is within their constituency: (a) when did this policy become a formal departmental policy; (b) what were the reasons given for establishing this policy; and (c) how many requests have been denied?

Question No. 833Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, while the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces endeavour to maintain an open and accessible posture in order to connect with the Canadian public, this approach is balanced against the need to limit visits to military bases when such visits interfere with operational missions and critical security activities. A directive is currently in draft form awaiting publication in the defence administrative orders and directives. The departmental position is that the Canadian Armed Forces’ wings and bases are to support cabinet committee work, commissions, as well as their own members of Parliament and senators within capabilities. The draft directive reflects this position.

The Department of National Defence has no central tracking system regarding visits to military bases and therefore cannot report how many, if any, requests from members of Parliament to visit bases have been denied.

Question No. 834Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

With regard to Transport Canada and tanker vessel traffic entering Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) where is the oil spill response equipment for Placentia Bay stored; (b) what is the oil spill capacity of the response equipment; (c) what is the response time if an oil spill should occur; and (d) is there personnel on-call to handle an oil spill?

Question No. 834Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in response to part (a), the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, its regulations and standards require potential polluters to maintain a minimum level of preparedness at all times. Prescribed oil handling facilities must have an arrangement with a certified response organization that would maintain a prescribed level of preparedness to respond to a spill on the polluter's behalf. Oil handling facilities must each have onsite plans, equipment, personnel, and training and exercise programs that allow them to deploy an immediate response in the event of an oil spill.

There are several caches of oil pollution countermeasures equipment in Placentia Bay. Oil handling facilities such as North Atlantic Refining Limited and Newfoundland Transshipment Limited have their own stockpile of spill response equipment equating to 150 tonnes as they are responsible for initially responding to their own spills.

Eastern Canada Response Corporation, the response organization responsible for responding to ship-source oil spills in this area, stores its pollution countermeasures equipment at its base in Donovan’s Industrial Park in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Canadian Coast Guard also stores its pollution countermeasures equipment at its base in Donovan’s Industrial Park in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador.

In response to part (b), Transport Canada is the lead agency responsible for Canada's marine oil spill preparedness and response regime. The regime was established in 1995 to enable industry to respond to its own oil spills of up to 10,000 tones within the prescribed time standards and operating environments, for Canadian waters south of 60 degrees north latitude. The regime is built upon a partnership between government and industry. It sets rigorous standards for response organizations and oil handling facilities, and establishes the requirements for national preparedness capacity.

In response to part (c), designated ports, each with a primary area of responsibility, are an important piece of Canada's marine oil spill response regime.. A designated port has higher volumes of oil transferred between the shore and a vessel than other ports. The associated higher risk requires more concentrated response capability. A designated port thus has advantages with respect to spill response time and capability. Holyrood and Come By Chance are two designated ports in Newfoundland and Labrador. The response time to deploy equipment at a designated port is six hours.

In response to part (d), under part 8 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, prescribed oil handling facilities and vessels must have arrangements with a response organization, in this case, Eastern Canada Response Corporation. As part of its response plan, Eastern Canada Response Corporation has response personnel available to respond to a spill when contracted by the polluter.

In addition, oil handling facilities have personnel, listed in their oil pollution emergency plans, who must be available to respond in the event of a spill.

The Canadian Coast Guard monitors the overall response to ensure that it is effective, timely, and appropriate to the incident. In the event that the polluter is unable to respond, unwilling to take action or unknown, the Canadian Coast Guard becomes the on-scene commander.

Question No. 835Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

With regard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the food fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) what communication occurred between the Minister's office and the Department regarding the extension of the food fishery in fall 2014 in Newfoundland and Labrador; and (b) what were the formal reasons given for the extension?

Question No. 835Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the communication between the department and the minister’s office regarding the extension of the recreational groundfish fishery in fall 2014, in Newfoundland and Labrador, included the drafting of a note regarding the decision to extend the fishery.

In response to (b), the formal reason for the extension was the result of poor weather during the second half of the fall fishing seasons, September 20 to September 28, which created safety concerns for recreational fishers. As a result the minister made the decision to extend the fishery by three days.

Question No. 836Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

With regard to federal judicial appointments from 1993 to 2014 inclusive: (a) broken down by year, province, level of court, (i) how many judicial appointments were made, (ii) how many of those appointments were women, (iii) what percentage were women, (iv) how many indicated French as a first language, (v) what percentage indicated French as a first language, (vi) how many were visible minorities, (vii) what percentage were visible minorities, (viii) how many were Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis, (ix) what percentage were Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis; (b) broken down by year, how many persons were appointed to the following Judicial Appointments Advisory Committees or their predecessors, if any names changed, (i) Alberta, (ii) British Columbia, (iii) Manitoba, (iv), New Brunswick, (v) Newfoundland and Labrador, (vi) Northwest Territories, (vii) Nova Scotia, (viii) Nunavut, (ix) Ontario, East and North, (x) Ontario, Greater Toronto Area, (xi) Ontario, West and South, (xii) Prince Edward Island, (xiii) Quebec, East, (xiv) Quebec, West, (xv) Saskatchewan, (xvi) Yukon, (xvii) Tax Court of Canada; (c) for the persons named by the Justice Minister to the committees in (b), how many and what percentage were (i) women, (ii) Francophone, (iii) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis, (iv) visible minorities, broken down by committee and year; (d) how many applications were received total, and of these, how many were from (i) women, (ii) Francophones, (iii) Aboriginals, First Nations, or Métis, (iv) visible minorities, broken down by year and Judicial Advisory Committee; (e) what percentage of applicants were appointed, broken down by (i) gender, (ii) first language, (iii) visible minority status, (iv) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis status, broken down by year for all federal judicial appointments; (f) what was the ratio of men to women on the committee and the ratio of women to men in terms of appointments for each year, broken down by Judicial Advisory Committee; (g) in what ways were appointment demographics measured, tracked, and monitored; (h) were any targets, quotas, or principles set with respect to the diversity of those serving on the Advisory Committees; (i) were any targets, quotas, or principles set with respect to the diversity of those who received judicial appointments; (j) what specific efforts were made to ensure diversity on Judicial Advisory Committees; (k) what documents are available that substantiate the answer in (j) with reference, control, or access numbers; (l) what specific efforts were made to ensure diversity in federal judicial appointments; (m) what documents are available that substantiate the answer in (l) with reference, control, or access numbers; (n) what meetings did the Department or Minister have with regard to ensuring diversity on Judicial Advisory Committees, broken down by year; (o) what meetings did the Department or Minister have to ensure diversity among federal judicial appointees, broken down by year; (p) how many Supreme Court of Canada appointments were made, broken down by Prime Minister; (q) how many of the appointments in (p) were of women; (r) what efforts were made to ensure gender parity on the Supreme Court of Canada; (s) how many federal judicial appointments were made to the (i) Federal Court, (ii) Federal Court of Appeals, (iii) Tax Court of Canada or their predecessor bodies, broken down by year; (t) of the appointments in (s) how many were (i) women, (ii) Francophone, (iii) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis, (iv) visible minorities; (u) of the candidates considered for each position filled in (s) how many were (i) women, (ii) Francophone, (iii) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis, (iv) visible minorities; (v) are women statistically more likely to be appointed to some courts over others and, if so, what explains this difference; (w) are women statistically less likely to be appointed to some courts over others and, if so, what explains this difference; (x) in what ways does the likelihood of an Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis person receiving a federal judicial appointment vary; (y) in what ways does the likelihood of visible minority receiving a federal judicial appointment vary; (z) regarding the statistics needed to answer (x) and (y), have any quantities studies been completed by the government regarding any relationship between likelihood of appointment and demographic factors; (aa) have any studies been conducted on the demographics of individuals receiving federal judicial appointments; (bb) have any studies been conducted on the demographics panels, boards, and committees responsible for federal judicial appointments; (cc) regarding applications for judicial appointment, how do the percentage of applicants compare with general Canadian population as a whole, broken down by (i) year, (ii) gender, (iii) visible minority, (iv) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis status; (dd) regarding federal judicial appointments, how do the percentage of appointees compare with the general Canadian population, broken down by (i) year, (ii) gender, (iii) visible minority, (iv) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis status; (ee) regarding appointment to Federal Judicial Advisory Committees, how does the percentage of applicants compare with general Canadian population as a whole, broken down by (i) year, (ii) gender, (iii) visible minority, (iv) Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis status; (ff) for each appointment made within the period, what was the duration of time between the date the vacancy arose and the date of appointment, broken down by court; (gg) what policies, guidelines, or targets exist regarding the timeliness of filling vacancies on courts; (hh) for each appointment made within the period to a judicial advisory committee, what was the duration of time between the date the vacancy arose and the date of appointment, broken down by advisory committee; (ii) what policies, guidelines, or targets exist regarding the timeliness of filling vacancies on advisory committees; (jj) what was the average time between a vacancy arising and it being filled, broken down by (i) year, (ii) court; (kk) what accounts for variations in the delay between a judicial vacancy arising and its being filled; (ll) when multiple vacancies exist concurrently, in what order are appointments made; (mm) for each court to which federal judicial appointments are made, what is the vacancy percentage, broken down by (i) year, (ii) court; (nn) do any requirements exist regarding the deadline by which a vacancy must be filled, broken down by court; (oo) what are the consequences of judicial vacancies on courts to which federal judicial appointments are made; (pp) what studies has the government undertaken or completed with respect to the impact of judicial vacancies; (qq) what metrics, if any, has the government identified with respect to judicial vacancies, (i) how are these measured, (ii) how often, (iii) by whom, (iv) for what purpose, (v) with what reporting; (rr) what metrics, if any, has the government identified with respect to judicial appointments, (i) how are these measured, (ii) how often, (iii) by whom, (iv) for what purpose, (v) with what reporting; and (ss) in what ways have any of the federal judicial appointments processes changed over the period indicated?

Question No. 836Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the information requested is not readily available and would require an extensive manual search of all records. It is therefore not feasible to produce a response within the time period allotted.

Question No. 837Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

With respect to the evidence requested from the Department of Justice by the Costa Rican Attorney General, to which the latter referred in his statement of October 3, 2014: (a) does the Minister of Justice or his Department have any information regarding an amount of $200,000 sent to the Aria Foundation for Peace in 2008 and, if so, what are details, including the identity of the sender and the relationship between the sender and Infinito Gold, Ronald Mannix, the Norlien Foundation, and Coril Holdings Ltd.; and (b) did the Department of Justice answer the Costa Rican Attorney General's questions in the first request letter (#08-000011-033-PE) sent on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, as well as in the second request letter (#12-000124-621-PE) dated Tuesday, February 4, 2014, (i) if so, what answer was provided, (ii) if not, why not?

Question No. 837Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, due to the confidentiality of state-to-state communications, the Department of Justice does not confirm nor deny any requests for legal assistance by other countries.

Question No. 839Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

With regard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard: has the Department done an assessment on the total cost to remove the oil from the Manolis L that sunk off the coast of Newfoundland in 1985?

Question No. 839Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard remain committed to protecting our oceans from ship-sourced oil spills. The government has made this clear through the ongoing implementation of a world-class tanker safety system.

The Canadian Coast Guard has received some advice from international experts regarding how to best address the Manolis L situation since March 2013. Further analysis and data collection is required in order to make the most informed decision as part of the ongoing management plan for the Manolis L. The Canadian Coast Guard successfully completed a major operation on the Manolis L wreck in December 2014. This included the cleaning of the cofferdam, replacement with a new cofferdam and detailed inspection of the hull. Removal of oil collected in the cofferdam was within its capacity and samples will be sent to Environment Canada for analysis.

Surveillance of the area has detected no oil. The Canadian Coast Guard plans to return to the site of the Manolis L in the spring of 2015 to conduct the next oil removal from the cofferdam.

The Canadian Coast Guard, along with its federal partners, Transport Canada and Environment Canada, is continuing to monitor and manage the site. Should this situation change, the department will take the necessary action to mitigate the risk.

Question No. 844Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

With regard to Canadian military bases and stations both in Canada and abroad: since 2007, what are (a) the names and ridings of Members of Parliament who have visited any bases or stations; (b) the dates that the Members visited; (c) the name of the base or station that was visited; (d) the purpose of the visit; and (e) any costs associated with Member’s visit?

Question No. 844Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces, DND/CAF, do not have a centralized tracking and reporting mechanism for visits by members of Parliament to CAF bases and stations, whether in Canada or abroad. As such, DND/CAF is unable to provide the requested details in the available timeframe.

Question No. 845Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

With respect to the implementation of Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in contraband tobacco): (a) what is the full itemized cost of implementing the bill; (b) what are the steps identified to implement the bill; (c) what is the timeline to implement the bill; (d) on the Mohawk territory of Kanehsatà:ke, whom does the government anticipate will enforce the law once implemented and, more specifically, does the government anticipate that it will be enforced by (i) the Sureté du Québec, (ii) the RCMP; (e) on the Mohawk territory of Kanehsatà:ke, what does the government project it will cost to enforce the law, once implemented; (f) how many residents of Kanehsatà:ke does the government project will potentially be affected; (g) how much contraband tobacco does the government expect to seize fromKanehsatà:ke; (h) how much revenue in Kanehsatà: ke will be affected; and (i) how does the government anticipate that residents of Kanehsatà:ke will be tried under the law, once implemented?

Question No. 845Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), it is not anticipated that there will be any new costs in implementing this bill.

With regard to (b), the act will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council. On coming into force, it will provide a new tool for federal and provincial law enforcement to lay charges under the Criminal Code for the trafficking of high volumes--10,000 cigarettes or more or 10 kg or more of raw leaf or any other tobacco product--of contraband tobacco.

On the act’s coming into force, the RCMP will implement an internal communications process to inform front-line RCMP officers of the new legislation.

With regard to (c), the act will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.

With regard to (d), the Criminal Code applies evenly across Canada. The new Criminal Code offence will provide both the RCMP and the Sureté du Québec with a new tool to address the problem of trafficking in contraband tobacco. The bill will also allow for concurrent jurisdiction, whereby the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and provincial attorneys general would share the authority to prosecute this new Criminal Code offence. It is not anticipated that there will be any new costs in implementing this bill.

With regard to (e), it is not anticipated that there will be any new costs in enforcing this bill.

With regard to (f), it is recognized that organized crime networks are exploiting first nation communities and the jurisdictional and political relationships between those communities, governments, and enforcement agencies.

The objective of Bill C-10 is to target organized crime groups operating in these communities and involved in the large-volume trafficking of contraband tobacco, as well as other forms of serious criminality, including trafficking in weapons and illicit drugs.

With regard to (g), Bill C-10 provides a new tool for federal and provincial law enforcement agencies to target organized crime groups involved in the contraband tobacco market.

The RCMP focuses its federal investigations on criminal networks conducting illegal operations in Canada, regardless of the illicit commodity. The outcome of potential seizures of contraband tobacco resulting from Bill C-10 is unknown.

With regard to (h), Bill C-10 establishes a new Criminal Code offence to help address the problem of trafficking in contraband tobacco. The bill is not intended to affect legitimate trade in tobacco products, but rather to target organized crime groups and their associates involved in the large-volume trafficking of contraband tobacco.

With regard to (i), under the bill, the maximum penalty for a first offence would be six months’ imprisonment on summary conviction and five years’ imprisonment if prosecuted on indictment. The decision to proceed by way of summary conviction, six months, or indictment, five years, is a matter of prosecutorial discretion.

The bill also establishes mandatory minimum penalties of imprisonment of six months to two years less a day on second and subsequent convictions.

Question No. 846Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

With respect to the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) Conference of the Parties in March of 2013: (a) why has the government placed reservations on all species added to Appendix I or II of the Wild Animal and Plant Trade regulations from the meeting of the Conference of the Parties rather than adding them to Schedule I of Canada’s Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations; and (b) does the government intend to lift these reservations and fulfil its commitment to CITES and, if so, what is the timeline in which the government intends on lifting the reservations on all species given increased protection?

Question No. 846Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Canada is supportive of all the CoP16 decisions and takes the commitments made at the CITES Conference of the Parties very seriously. Canada’s reservation on all the species listing decisions at the 16th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties, CoP16, is temporary, undertaken for administrative and procedural reasons.

The reservation placed by Canada is done so that Canada is not in contravention of CITES obligations and with Canada’s treaty law policy and procedures.The convention, drafted in 1975, allows 90 days for countries to update their regulations. Canada, as with many other parties to the convention, is unable to meet the short timelines for making the necessary regulatory changes. In order to avoid being in contravention of treaty requirements, the Government of Canada placed a temporary reservation until such time as listing decisions of the Conference of the Parties can be reflected in its domestic regulations.

With regard to (b), yes, Canada fully intends to lift the temporary reservation.

Environment Canada is working diligently to complete the regulatory changes to schedule I of the wild animal and plant trade regulations to enable the listing changes agreed at the 16th Conference of Parties to be legally enforced in Canada by spring 2015. Once the regulatory changes are completed, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will proceed to obtain the necessary authorities and lift the temporary reservation.

Question No. 858Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

With regard to Public Works and the temporary flagpole erected between West Block of Parliament and the central lawn: (a) what is the date on which the temporary flagpole was initially installed; (b) on what dates was it relocated; (c) who carried out each relocation; and (d) what have been the costs associated with each relocation?

Question No. 858Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in the winter of 2011, the pole was temporarily moved outside the West Block construction area to replace the pole that was on the West Block prior to the start of the major rehabilitation project.

With regard to (b), during the summer of 2014, the construction area for the West Block rehabilitation project was expanded for health and safety reasons. The base and the pole in question were therefore relocated southeast of the West Block. The pole is there to ensure that the flag is present on the west side of the Hill and that the program whereby Canadian flags from Parliament Hill are given to Canadian citizens is continued for the duration of the rehabilitation work.

With regard to (c), in the winter of 2011, PWGSC and PCL Construction carried out the relocation. In the summer of 2014, PCP Construction carried out the relocation.

With regard to (d), in the winter of 2011, the total cost for the purchase of the pole and its installation was $25,000. Of that cost, $14,000 was used to purchase the flagpole, with a brushed aluminum finish; and $11,000 was used for the installation of the pole and the establishment of a safety perimeter. The pole in question is 15.25 metres high and meets the ceremonial standards for Parliament Hill.

In the summer of 2014, $2,000 was used to relocate the base, the flagpole, and the safety perimeter southeast of the West Block.

Note that the cost of these relocations was included in the budget approved for the West Block rehabilitation project.

Question No. 862Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

With regard to the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy: (a) what progress has been made in reaching the goals of the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy; (b) has there been a performance review of the Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation Policy since its 2009 announcement, (i) if so, what are the findings of such a review, (ii) if not, why not, (iii) again if not, what justification is there for not respecting the five year deadline for an independent review; and (c) has the government formed a task force or advisory committee with the authority and resources to meet with stakeholders, review relevant information, and advise Fisheries and Oceans Canada of the measures needed to increase salmon populations on the Miramichi River, (i) if so, what are the details of the task force or advisory committee, (ii) if not, why not?

Question No. 862Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the intent of the wild Atlantic salmon conservation policy is to provide a framework for decision-making and priority-setting. The progress of its goals is therefore measured in terms of plans, investments, and partnerships, some recent examples of which include the following: the establishment of the recreational fisheries conservation partnership program in 2013, and allocation of over $1 million to community groups for projects to rebuild and restore wild salmon habitat; support of 53 projects in 2014 under the Atlantic salmon endowment fund, and ongoing science activities to rigorously undertake counts of salmon returns, including the dedication of nearly 65,000 hours in 2013 alone for monitoring and enforcement activities; introduction of extra measures for salmon conservation in 2014, including reductions in allowable retention for recreational anglers; and advocacy for sustainable fishing at forums such as the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization.

With regard to (b), early planning to review of the wild Atlantic salmon conservation policy starting in 2015 has been initiated. The intention is to present a plan for discussion and feedback at the next meeting of the Atlantic salmon advisory committee, expected in the spring/summer of 2015.

With regard to (c), the creation of a ministerial advisory committee on Atlantic salmon to help determine the course of action to address low returns of Atlantic salmon on the east coast was announced on December 18, 2014. The committee, supported by officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, will focus on the following aspects: conservation and enforcement measures, predation, and a strategy to address international unsustainable fishing, and focused areas for advancing science.

Question No. 870Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

With regard to the Canadian observers sent by the government to monitor Tunisia’s recent presidential and legislative elections: (a) how many observers took part in the observation missions and what are their names; (b) with which organizations did the observers work; and (c) what selection process was used to choose the observers?

Question No. 870Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as announced on October 26, following Tunisia’s legislative elections and again following the first and second rounds of the presidential election, Canada is pleased to have supported the deployment of both domestic and international election observers. These election observers served as a confidence building measure for the Tunisian population as they voted in their first democratic elections, and monitored and reported upon the conduct of the elections in line with national regulations and international election benchmarks and standards for democratic elections.

With regard to (a), the delegation included four Canadian observers for the legislative elections and nine for each round of the presidential elections.

For the legislative elections on October 26, 2014, the observers were Darrell Dexter, Elizabeth Weir, Eric Duhaime, and Sylvia Thomson.

For the first round of the presidential election on November 23, 2014, the observers were Les Campbell, Olivia Chow, Paul Hong, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Michael Ferrabee, Mathieu Jacques, Greg Lyle, David McLaughlin, and Chris Yonke.

For the second round of the presidential election on December 21, 2014, the observers were Les Campbell, the Hon. Ken Dryden, Darrell Dexter, Paul Hong, Greg Lyle, John MacDonell, the Hon. William Paul Robert Norris, Nathan Rotman, and Chris Yonke.

With regard to (b), while a number of international organizations sent election observers to Tunisia, Canada’s funding was through the National Democratic Institute, NDI. The aforementioned Canadian observers formed a part of the NDI delegation.

With regard to (c), the recruitment, selection, and deployments of observers were done by the partner, NDI, who selected individuals through its global network of experts and partners. NDI draws upon current and former members of parliaments and other legislative bodies, current and former heads of state, current and former government officials, election commissioners, technical and legal experts, and civil society activists, among others.

Canada supports the tremendous progress that has been achieved in the pursuit of a free and democratic Tunisia and will continue to support Tunisia’s continued efforts to strengthen its democracy and build a prosperous and secure future for all Tunisians.

Question No. 871Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

With respect to servers, including leased physical and virtual servers and cloud-based servers, owned, operated, shared, or otherwise used by the government for all platforms and protocols, broken down by department: (a) what operating system and kernel version is the server using, including, for all unix-variant systems, the output of "uname -a"; (b) in what datacenter is the server physically located; (c) who owns, provides, and operates the server; (d) what is the purpose of the server; (e) for each service provided by the server, what is the name, type, software used, protocol, and listening ports of the service; (f) what security compromises have been detected in each service provided by the server, broken down by (i) the nature of the security compromise (privilege escalation, rooting or rootkits, sniffed packets, compromised passwords, worms, viruses, trojans, lost data storage devices, unauthorised use of information by otherwise authorised users, etc.), (ii) the details of any information accessed without proper authority, damaged, or lost, (iii) the classification and designation of the compromise and the information compromised, (iv) measures taken to prevent further security compromises, (v) date the security compromise was detected, (vi) date the security compromise was believed or found to have taken place, (vii) date the security compromise was resolved; (g) of the security compromises identified in (f), what are the file numbers of any correspondence or government records related to any such security compromises, broken down by (i) relevant file numbers, (ii) correspondence or file type, (iii) subject, (iv) date, (v) purpose, (vi) origin, (vii) intended destination, other officials copied or involved; and (h) on what dates have any threat risk assessments been conducted that affected or involved the server or its surrounding infrastructure, stored data, use, or relevant department?

Question No. 871Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, SSC was created on August 4, 2011, as a common service organization providing information technology, IT, infrastructure services to other federal government departments and agencies. Its mandate is to consolidate, standardize, transform, and deliver e-mail, data centre, and telecommunication services to 43 federal departments and agencies.

For security reasons, SSC does not share or discuss information related to Government of Canada servers.

SSC is accountable and responsible for IT infrastructure, systems, and services within its purview and for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information processed. SSC does not publish information that, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to be used in a malicious fashion against Government of Canada IT infrastructure. This includes information relating to servers, data centre locations, cyberattacks, and current tactics, techniques, and processes used to defend Government of Canada IT infrastructure.

Question No. 872Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

With regard to the government and the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB): (a) the 2011-12 Annual Report states that expenses were “offset by $177.3 million in government reimbursements”, what is meant by this statement; (b) what expenses were the reimbursements made for; (c) what government reimbursements were made in fiscal years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014; (d) what total government revenues were paid to the CWB in each fiscal year and crop year between 2011 and 2014; (e) what was the objective of these government revenues; (f) on which dates and in which amounts were the $349 million, pledged by the Minister of Agriculture in June 2012, transferred to the CWB; (g) what studies were conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food regarding the future of the CWB; (h) what public and private consultations were undertaken regarding the privatization of the CWB in 2012, 2013, and 2014, (i) who were those consultations with, (ii) on what dates; (i) what is the total outstanding amount owed to the government for credit sales undertaken by the CWB; (j) what foreign customers have outstanding credit sales; (k) what is the status of interest owed on outstanding credit sales; and (l) which body or government agency will receive the interest paid on credit sales?

Question No. 872Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in anticipation of the government’s funding of certain restructuring costs of the Canadian Wheat Board, CWB, through the Canadian Wheat Board transition cost program, CTP, the CWB notionally estimated $177.3 million in reimbursable costs as of July 31, 2012, accrued in their financial statements.

With regard to (b), the funding provided under the CTP was in relation to the following restructuring expenses that were incurred in the year ended July 31, 2012 and described in the CWB’s financial statements as follows: loss on property, plant and equipment; impairment loss on intangible assets; employee severance expense; and net expenses related to the curtailment of pension and post-employment benefit plans.

With regard to (c) and (d), see the Public Accounts of Canada.

With regard to (e), the purpose of these expenditures from the CTP was to reimburse the transaction costs of the CWB as it transitions to a voluntary grain marketing organization. By assisting with the transition costs, the CWB will be better positioned to be a viable marketing alternative for farmers in the open wheat and barley market.

With regard to (f), the amounts were transferred in fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15.

With regard to (g), the department has conducted an economic analysis of a June 2008 study by Informa Economics. The Informa study examined the potential impact on farmers of an open marketing system for wheat, durum, and barley in western Canada.

With regard to (h), since Bill C-18, the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, has received royal assent, consultations with stakeholders are ongoing.

With regards to (i), (j), (k), and (l), this information is protected under subparagraph 21.(1)(e)(3) of the Canadian Wheat Board (Interim Operations) Act.

Question No. 883Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

With regard to Employment Insurance, has the government conducted any assessments or evaluations of the reforms implemented in 2012 and, if so, (i) what are their titles and dates, (ii) will the government make them public?

Question No. 883Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley Nova Scotia

Conservative

Scott Armstrong ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, with regards to the employment insurance, EI, program, ESDC has not yet conducted any assessments or evaluations of the reforms implemented in 2012.

The EI program is evaluated through the employment insurance monitoring and assessment report on an annual basis. The most recent version of the report can be accessed at http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/reports/ei/monitoring2013/index.page

Question No. 885Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

With regard to all written questions on the Order Paper, submitted to date during the 41st Parliament, which received returns in the House of Commons from the government: (a) on what date was each question, with instructions to answer, forwarded by the Privy Council Office (PCO) to all relevant departments and agencies; (b) on what date did each department or agency receive and process the incoming request; (c) on what date did each department or agency return their respective answer to PCO; and (d) how many days did each department or agency require to complete each request for answer?

Question No. 885Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a) of the question, during the 41st Parliament, more than 2,300 written questions have been placed on the order paper. The Privy Council Office, or PCO, analyzes each question and, when required, provides guidance and instructions to organizations assigned to provide a response.

Each assignment or set of instructions is developed as a result of consultations with implicated organizations. This process is iterative in nature, and as a result, assignments and instructions are modified as necessary. The dates of these modifications are not tracked in PCO information systems. In order to compile a response, an extensive manual search of records would be required. This search cannot be completed in the timeframe allotted to respond to this question.

PCO strives to assign questions and provide instructions as soon as possible to ensure that organizations have the maximum amount of time possible to produce a response.

With regard to part (b), organizations assigned to respond to each question receive the assignment notice and instructions immediately following the assignment by PCO.

With regard to part (c), in order to compile a response, an extensive manual search of records for more than 2,300 written questions would be required. This search cannot be completed in the timeframe allotted to respond to this question. For all questions for which a response was requested within 45 calendar days, PCO encourages organizations to return their answers at least five business days prior to the deadline for responding to the question.

With regard to part (d), the date on which each written question was placed on the notice, as well as the date of the response, can be found in the Status of House Business section on the Parliament of Canada website. It should be noted that when a member of Parliament requests a response within 45 calendar days, the deadline for responding to the question is not established until the question is transferred to the order paper.

In the case of the 41st Parliament, 1st session, members are referred to: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=status&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1&File=12.

In the case of the 41st Parliament, 2nd session, members are referred to: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=status&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=2&File=12.

Question No. 886Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

With regard to the log books for personal use of ministerial executive vehicles: for each fiscal year since 2011-2012, (a) what is the total number of entries for each executive vehicle; (b) what are the dates, time and length for each entry; (c) what is the trip description, if any, of each entry; (d) what is the identification, if available, of the family member or member of the household that was the driver for each entry; and (e) what is the total kilometres travelled for personal use?

Question No. 886Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, with regard to parts (a) to (d) of the question, the Privy Council Office, or PCO, has no information in regard to logbooks for the personal use of ministerial executive vehicles for each fiscal year since 2011-12. When processing Parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. Information has been withheld that could compromise the security of government officials or family members.

Question No. 889Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

With regard to Health Canada and drug shortages: (a) what is the compliance rate with the voluntary drug-shortage reporting recommendations; (b) what communications has the Department received from concerned health care providers, pharmacists, patients and caregivers related to drug shortages; and (c) what actions has the Department undertaken to respond to these concerns?

Question No. 889Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the current voluntary drug shortage reporting system, which can be seen at www.drugshortages.ca, was launched by industry associations in March 2012 in response to calls from the Minister of Health. This industry-funded and administered reporting website enables drug manufacturers and importers to provide public notification of shortages and discontinuances. As of November 2014, over 1000 shortages and discontinuances have been publicly reported by drug companies on the website.

Timely, comprehensive, and reliable drug shortage information is critical to the health and safety of Canadians. Drug companies have been reminded on several occasions of the federal government’s expectation that they provide public notification of all drug shortages. Health Canada also publicly issues letters of non-compliance to drug companies that fail to provide notification of anticipated or actual drug shortages. These letters are posted publicly on Health Canada’s website as part of the department’s ongoing efforts to improve drug supplier transparency and accountability for drug shortages and discontinuances.

Health Canada’s efforts to address drug shortages, and to improve shortage notification in particular, benefits greatly from the direct involvement of key stakeholders, including health care providers, pharmacists, and patient groups. From May 2014 to July 2014, Health Canada led extensive consultations on the voluntary notification system and on whether a voluntary or mandatory notification approach would be appropriate and effective for Canadian patients and those who care for them. Direct input was received from the Canadian public and a broad range of stakeholders, including provinces and territories, patient and consumer advocates, health care professionals, regional health authorities, drug companies, group purchasing organizations, distributors, wholesalers, importers, and international counterparts. With consultations now complete, Health Canada is analyzing the findings and assessing options to improve drug shortage notification in Canada so that Canadians have access to the timely, comprehensive, and reliable information they need.

Health Canada co-chairs the multi-stakeholder steering committee on drug shortages, MSSC, with the Province of British Columbia. The MSSC brings together representatives from provincial and territorial governments, industry, group purchasing organizations, distributors, and health professional associations in support of a more rigorous and coordinated approach to drug shortages. This comprehensive and collaborative approach recognizes that all levels of government and all stakeholders across the health care system have important and distinct roles to play in response to drug shortages. Reflecting the input provided by health care providers, pharmacists, patients, and other key stakeholders, the MSSC has made considerable progress to date, including the enhanced coordination of actual shortages and the development of concrete tools such as the MSSC Protocol for the Notification and Communication of Drug Shortages and the MSSC Multi-Stakeholder Toolkit, announced in September 2013. The MSSC is building on this momentum while focusing on identifying underlying causes and the prevention of drug shortages

Health Canada will continue to work with all key stakeholders across the drug supply and health care system, including patient and caregiver groups, to advance concrete action on improving the communication, management, and prevention of drug shortages.

As has been consistently communicated, the government is open to a mandatory reporting system if needed, especially if it will benefit patients.

Question No. 891Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

With regard to the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) advertisements: (a) how much money has been spent on these ads, broken down by (i) television, (ii) radio, (iii) internet; and (b) what are the internal tracking numbers of all documents, communications or briefing notes regarding the UCCB advertisements, broken down by (i) prior to the release of the ad, (ii) following the release of the ad?

Question No. 891Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the UCCB component is part of a broader campaign that highlights various proposed benefits to help Canadian families keep money into their pockets, such as the new family tax cut, the doubling of the children’s fitness tax credit and the Increasing of the child care deduction. However, at this time the Department of Finance is not able to determine the final costs for the campaign, as all invoices have not yet been received, verified, and paid. All advertising costs will be published in the annual report on advertising, available at http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-eng.html.

With regard to (b)(i), prior to the release of the ad, the tracking number is ADV#1415-0040/ 1415 0167/1415-0176/1415-0208/1415-0200.

With regard to (b)(ii), following the release of the ad, the tracking number is not available.

Question No. 911Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

With regard to property No. 06872 in the Directory of Federal Real Property, also known as the Old St-Maurice Firing Range: (a) has the Department of National Defence estimated the total cost of decontaminating site No. 00008471 in the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory; and (b) how much is the total cost of decontaminating the site identified in (a)?

Question No. 911Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the Department of National Defence has evaluated the cost for decontaminating site No. 00008471, located on property No. 06872.

With regard to (b), in processing Parliamentary returns, the government applies the principles set out in the Access to Information Act, and this information has been withheld on the grounds that the information is related to economic interests of Canada and of federal Institutions.

Question No. 915Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

With respect to Canada’s involvement in Iraq since September 2014: what are the direct costs, broken down by department or agency incurring the cost, which have been incurred, and are anticipated to be incurred by the end of the current fiscal year, relative to (a) the deployment of the Canadian Forces; (b) the deployment of Canadian F-18s; and (c) other costs?

Question No. 915Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, all elements, units, and organizations of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces involved in Iraq are required to capture incremental costs and charge expenses related to their tasks in accordance with the published financial directives and to report results through the Department of National Defence’s financial review process.

The costs of a mission are available through the regular parliamentary process, including the publication of the annual departmental performance report or within 90 days following the end of the mission.

Cost estimates are dynamic and evolve with the refinement of planning and operational requirements. Estimates are updated regularly to support planning efforts and decision-making, and therefore any estimate provided would be inaccurate.

Question No. 919Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

With respect to the Public Service Health Care Plan for pensioners: (a) how many plan members were or are members of (i) the federal public service, (ii) the RCMP, (iii) the Canadian Forces, (iv) the Veterans Affairs client group; and (b) what will the pensioner contribution rate be for single person supplementary coverage as of (i) April 1, 2014, (ii) April 1, 2015, (iii) April 1, 2016, (iv) April 1, 2017, (v) April 1, 2018?

Question No. 919Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, in managing the federal benefit plans in a way that is affordable, sustainable, and fair for both plan members and Canadian taxpayers, the Government of Canada noted in Economic Action Plan 2013 that it would examine overall employee compensation and pensioner benefit with a view to aligning federal compensation with other public and private sector employers. The government worked with and consulted key stakeholders, including retiree representatives, with a resulting negotiated settlement reached with retiree representatives and federal public sector unions.

The government health care plan is a voluntary program that retirees can opt into. To have this choice is a privilege. The benefits of the plan are generous, with coverage included for hospital beds and therapeutic mattresses, hearing aids, psychological services, and $15,000 a year in nursing services. Retired employees may choose to join the government program or elect to join in any number of alternative benefit plans available to Canadians. It should be noted that the provision of health care benefits to retired workers is the exception in Canada, not the rule. Most public and private sector employers in Canada do not provide health care benefits to employees after retirement, as alternative plans are available.

Previously, the costs of the federal benefit plan were subsidized by Canadian taxpayers, with retirees paying 25% of the plan costs and Canadian taxpayers 75% of the costs. As a result of the negotiations, the costs of the voluntary supplemental plan will be split evenly between retirees and Canadian taxpayers. Canadian taxpayers should be aware of the health care benefits that they subsidize as part of the federal public servants’ retirement benefit package. It should be noted that this negotiated agreement does not apply to low-income pensioners, who will not be subject to the 50:50 cost-sharing measures.

With regard to (a), as of November 30, 2014, the following is the breakdown of Public Service Health Care Plan pensioner member participation: with regard to (a)(i), the federal public service, based on pensioners in receipt of a pension under the Public Service Superannuation Act: 205,843; with regard to (a)(ii), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, based on pensioners in receipt of a pension under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act): 16,171; with regard to (a)(iii), the Canadian Forces, based on pensioners in receipt of a pension under the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act: 80,469; with regard to (a)(iv), the Veterans Affairs client group: 2,179.

With regard to (b), the pensioner contribution rate for a single member with supplementary coverage can be found at: http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/directive/index.php?hl=1&lang=eng&merge=2&sid=87

An exception is that a new PSHCP pensioner supplementary relief rate will be introduced effective April 1, 2015, and will be available at the above-mentioned site on January 30, 2015. The new provision is only available to those pensioners enrolled in the PSHCP on or before March 31, 2015, and requires an application to be submitted to the pensioner’s respective pension office. Following receipt of an application, eligibility is contingent upon the pensioner being in receipt of a guaranteed income supplement, GIS, benefit or having a single or joint net income that is lower than the applicable GIS thresholds in effect on the date application is received.

The pensioner contribution rates for a single member approved for the supplementary relief provision effective April 1, 2015 will be available on January 30, 2015, at the above-mentioned site.

Contribution rates are calculated based on plan experience. As a result, the rates for (b)(iii), April 1, 2016, (b)(iv), April 1, 2017, and (b)(v), April 1, 2018, have not yet been determined. It is anticipated that the rates for April 1, 2016, will be established in early 2016. Similarly, it is anticipated that the rates for April 1, 2017, will be established in early 2017 and that the rates for April 1, 2018, will be established in early 2018.

Question No. 932Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

With regard to Employment and Social Development Canada: (a) what funding has been spent since January 2013, including the 2013 Budget and up to today, fulfilling the promise within the 2013 Speech from the Throne about providing seniors with access to information about government programs and services such as, but not limited to, Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Allowance and the Allowance for a Survivor, Canada Pension Plan and, in each case, (i) what are the funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees provided, (ii) what is the monetary value of the funding, (iii) what is the location and organization or group given the funding, (iv) what is the specific purpose of the funding; (b) what oversight mechanism has been put in place to ensure funding in order to provide seniors increased access to information about the aforementioned programs; and (c) what detailed plans have been articulated in writing by the government to improve access to information about seniors’ programs for seniors who rely on door-to-door mail delivery, (i) what is the timeframe in which seniors will have increased information about seniors’ programs as a replacement for door-to-door delivery, (ii) what is the expected cost of any such plans, (iii) what input has the government received from seniors regarding their need to greater access to information on these programs?

Question No. 932Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley Nova Scotia

Conservative

Scott Armstrong ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, ESDC is not in a position to respond to the question in a specific way within the time allotted. However, in general, ESDC is committed to providing seniors with information about government programs and services.

The department has implemented budget and Speech from the Throne commitments by taking a number of steps to improve seniors’ access to benefits. They include enhancing mobile services to better reach seniors where they live; ensuring clients have easier access to the information they need on the web, by phone, and in person through the Service Canada network; increasing the number of applications that are sent proactively to Canadians before they turn 65 of age; and reorganizing and rewriting the pension-related pages on the Service Canada website using a plain language perspective to better explain the retirement income system in Canada and improve access to the Canada pension plan, CPP, and the old age security, OAS, pensions and benefits.

Through inserts with tax slips for CPP or OAS benefits, we advise seniors on how to access information on the full range of benefits available to them. In 2013, we sent out 7.2 million tax inserts.

Between April 2013 and March 2014, Service Canada mobile outreach services delivered 1,774 information sessions to 22,490 senior citizens and caregivers, community groups, and service delivery partners across the country.

Service Canada also mails application forms for CPP and OAS benefits or the renewal of guaranteed income supplement, or GIS, and the allowances to many senior Canadians. In 2013-14, Service Canada mailed OAS application forms to approximately 250,000 individuals who recently turned 64 years old. A CPP retirement application was also included for individuals not yet in receipt of CPP Retirement benefits. An additional 10,000 CPP application forms were sent to individuals who recently turned 64 and were not in pay for CPP, but for whom an application for OAS had already been received. As well, 138,605 individuals received automatic enrolment letters instead of an application form. Most of these individuals will not need to apply for their OAS pension. Approximately 50,000 applications for the GIS and allowances were sent to individuals who may be eligible, based on Canada Revenue Agency income.

Service Canada has also introduced a landing page on the Internet devoted to content of particular interest to seniors at servicecanada.gc.ca. This page is continually updated with new information of interest to seniors.

In addition to the above, automatic enrolment of OAS beneficiaries using existing information on their CPP and Quebec pension plan began in April 2013 and was fully implemented in October 2013.

As of November 2014, Service Canada has sent automatic enrolment letters to notify individuals that they will be put into pay for their OAS benefit without having to apply. It is estimated that the first 130,000 of these individuals will have been put into pay at the age of 65 by the end of 2014-15.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 768 to 772, 774, 778 to 780, 782 to 784, 786 to 790, 793, 794, 796 to 799, 804 to 808, 811 to 814, 816 to 818, 820, 821, 826 to 828, 830, 831, 838, 840 to 843, 847 to 857, 859 to 861, 863 to 869, 873 to 882, 884, 887, 888, 890, 892 to 910, 912 to 914, 916 to 918, 920 to 931, 933, and 934 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 768Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

With regard to travel paid for by government departments and agencies for Members of Parliament and Senators other than the minister, Minister of State, or Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the department: since 2010-2011 inclusively, (a) what was the total cost for each trip; (b) what was the cost for each trip, broken down by (i) transportation, (ii) accommodation, (iii) meals and incidentals, (iv) gifts; (c) what was the reason for each trip; (d) what was the name of the Member of Parliament or Senator on each trip; (e) what was the itinerary for each trip; (f) was the Member accompanied by staff and, if so, what was the cost for the staff member or members, broken down by (i) transportation, (ii) accommodation, (iii) meals and incidentals, (iv) gifts; and (g) was a press release issued regarding the trip and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 769Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

With regard to the Youth Gang Prevention Fund Program announced on February 21, 2012: (a) how much funding has been disbursed; (b) which organizations have received funding; and (c) for each funding award, (i) how many participants have there been, (ii) how many participants are expected to take part over the course of the program, (iii) where is the program located, (iv) what is the estimated at-risk population in each city, town, or municipality concerned, (v) how much funding did the project receive?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 770Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

With regard to the Treasury Board Secretariat: (a) does the Directive on Open Government, dated October 9, 2014, apply to tabular material prepared by departments, agencies, or crown corporations in response to written questions placed on the Order Paper by Members of the House of Commons or Senators; (b) if the response to (a) is negative, (i) why does the Directive not apply, (ii) who made this determination, (iii) when was this determination made; and (c) what are the titles and file numbers of any file, briefing note, dossier, or any other document, created or held by either the Treasury Board Secretariat or the Privy Council Office, relating to the application of the Directive on Open Government to government responses to written questions placed on the Order Paper by Members of the House of Commons or Senators?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 771Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

With regard to the rental or charter of private aircraft for the use of ministers and parliamentary secretaries since January 1, 2010: (a) what was the cost for each rental or charter; (b) what was the passenger manifest for each flight; (c) what was the purpose of the trip; (d) what was the itinerary for each trip; and (e) was a press release issued regarding the trip and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 772Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

With regard to Passport Canada: what was the total number of passport applications received in each year since 2006 inclusive, broken down by (i) in-person location, (ii) Service Canada receiving agent location, (iii) Canada Post receiving agent, and (iv) mail?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 774Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

With regard to the statutes, regulations, policies and practices governing the Department of Fisheries and Oceans related to the issuing and administration of commercial fishing licences and fisheries resource allocation decisions: (a) what is the definition of (i) a commercial fishing licence, (ii) a commercial fishing permit; (b) what are the differences between a commercial fishing licence and a commercial fishing permit in terms of (i) the rights and responsibilities of the harvester holding either a licence or a permit respectively, (ii) the rights and responsibilities of the Minister in terms of resource allocation policy; (c) what is the definition of the “Last-in – First-out” (LIFO) policy; (d) how often has the LIFO policy been acted upon in determining allocations of annual quotas to either commercial fisheries licences or to permit holders that have experienced any year-over-year decline in the total allowable catch, broken down by (i) year, (ii) each such regulated harvesting category within any of the fisheries management areas of each fisheries stock area within the Newfoundland and Labrador, the Gulf, the Maritime and the Quebec regions of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, further broken down in turn by (iii) species fished, (iv) individual fisheries management area within the species stock area within the past ten years, including the total quota levels for each such species and for each such fisheries management area within each stock area in each year; and (e) in each of the occurrences reported in answering (d), for each of the past ten years described, what was the total number of fish licence holders or permit holders who were directly affected by a reduction in quota on a year-over-year basis and were subject to the application and enactment of the LIFO policy, broken down by (i) species, (ii) individual fisheries management area within each fisheries stock area?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 778Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

With regard to the application of the Access to Information Act: (a) what are the dates, titles, and file numbers of all directives, orders, memoranda, reports, dossiers, or other documents that deal with the security concerns associated with the release of documents pursuant to Access to Information requests in digital formats or on digital media; and (b) what are the dates, titles, and file numbers of all directives, orders, memoranda, reports, dossiers, or other documents in which the Privy Council Office has set down or promulgated its policies concerning the provision or non-provision of documents released pursuant to Access to Information requests in digital formats or on digital media?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 779Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

With regard to the ship Kathryn Spirit moored in Beauharnois, Quebec: (a) has Environment Canada or Transport Canada received a towing plan or an environmental certificate application from the ship’s owner and, if so, when was this plan received; (b) according to government information, is Reciclajes Ecologicos Maritimos the ship’s owner; (c) if the answer to (b) is no, who owns the ship, according to government information; (d) has the government conducted an analysis as to whether federal legislation allows the ship to be dismantled at its mooring location and, if so, what are the details of this analysis; (e) has the government conducted an analysis of the risk of pollution from dismantling the ship and, if so, what are the details of this analysis; (f) according to government information, does the ship contain toxic materials and, if so, what are they; (g) is there a port equipped to dismantle such a ship in Canada and, if so, where is it; (h) has the government analyzed whether federal legislation allows it to (i) seize the ship, (ii) tow the ship to a safe location and, if so, what are the details of this analysis; (i) does the government intend to (i) seize the ship, (ii) tow the ship to a safe location; and (j) has the government conducted an analysis on dismantling the ship in the Port of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield or in another port elsewhere in the country and, if so, has it estimated the cost of such an operation?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 780Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

With regard to government expenditures on sporting event tickets: since January 1, 2013, what was the (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) ticket cost, (iv) identity of persons using the tickets, (v) nature of the sporting event, for all sporting event tickets purchased by any department, agency or crown corporation, or any person acting on behalf of a department, agency, or crown corporation, whether the event was held in Canada or outside Canada?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 782Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

With regard to government advertising since September 1, 2012: (a) how much has been spent on billboards, advertising and other information campaigns, broken down by (i) date released, (ii) cost, (iii) topic, (iv) whether any analysis of the effectiveness of the advertising campaign was carried out and, if so, the details of that analysis, (v) medium, including publication or media outlet and type of media used, (vi) purpose, (vii) duration of campaign (including those that are ongoing), (viii) targeted audience, (ix) estimated audience; and (b) what are the details of all records of related correspondence regarding the aforementioned billboards, advertising and other information campaigns broken down by (i) relevant file numbers, (ii) correspondence or file type, (iii) subject, (iv) date, (v) purpose, (vi) origin, (vii) intended destination, (viii) other officials copied or involved?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 783Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

With regard to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose: (a) since 2006, what government funding has been allocated or provided to research this disease, broken down by (i) department or agency, (ii) year; (b) what documents have been produced by government departments or agencies with regard to existing or future economic, health or environmental impacts of CWD including, for each document, the (i) date, (ii) authoring department or agency; (c) what documents have been produced by government departments or agencies regarding CWD generally including, for each document, the (i) date, (ii) authoring department or agency; (d) for each year since 2006, what measures have been taken by the government to mitigate the spread of CWD in Canada, including (i) the department or agency responsible for each measure, (ii) the date each measure was initiated, (iii) the duration of each measure, (iv) the objective of each measure, (v) whether those objectives were met; (e) what strategies and programs are currently in place or are being developed to deal with the potential spread of CWD to animals not currently susceptible to the disease, and to humans; (f) since 2006, what meetings or consultations have been conducted with provincial or territorial governments regarding CWD and what documents or decisions were produced from those meetings or consultations, including (i) the initiating and responsible federal department or agency, (ii) the date of the document that was produced or of the decision that was taken; (g) since 2006, what consultations, meetings or outreach has any federal department or agency had with any First Nations, Inuit or Metis government, organization or representative, including the (i) date of the interaction, (ii) names of participants, (iii) topics discussed, (iv) outcomes, (v) documents produced as a result of the interaction; (h) since 2006, what measures has the government put in place to monitor the spread of CWD, including (i) the department or agency initiating each measure, (ii) the date each measure was initiated, (iii) the duration of each measure; and (i) what measures are currently being considered by government departments or agencies as a result of, or in relation to, CWD?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 784Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

With respect to the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act: how much have payments increased on average for (i) the 2,717 veterans entitled to increased earnings loss benefits, (ii) the 590 veterans entitled to increased Permanent Incapacity Allowances, (iii) the 202 veterans entitled to Exceptional Incapacity Allowances?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 786Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

With respect to the benefit provided by the government for veterans' funeral and burial expenses: (a) what is the maximum amount available through the Veterans Funeral and Burial Program for funeral services; (b) how does the amount in (a) compare to the allowable maximum established for members of the RCMP and Canadian Forces; (c) in order to qualify for the maximum amount available through the Veterans Funeral and Burial Program, at what must a veteran's estate be valued; (d) how does the amount in (c) compare to the means test established for members of the RCMP and Canadian Forces; (e) how many requests for assistance with burial costs were made in each of the fiscal years from 2006 to 2013; (f) how many of the requests in (e) were approved; (g) for each request in (e), broken down by fiscal year, what were the reasons for rejecting the request; and (h) what is the total number of requests that were rejected for each particular reason mentioned in (g)?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 787Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

With regard to the Income Tax Act: during each of the last five taxation years, (a) what is the number and percentage of the income tax returns of income tax filers in each province or territory who have been reviewed, broken down by income tax filers who live (i) in a Prescribed Northern Zone for the purposes of the northern residents deduction, (ii) in a Prescribed Intermediate Zone for the purposes of the northern residents deduction, (iii) in a location other than a Northern or Intermediate Zone; (b) what is the number and percentage of the income tax returns of income tax filers in each province or territory who have been audited, broken down by income tax filers who live (i) in a Prescribed Northern Zone for the purposes of the northern residents deduction, (ii) in a Prescribed Intermediate Zone for the purposes of the northern residents deduction, (iii) in a location other than a Northern or Intermediate Zone; (c) what is the number and percentage of the income tax returns of income tax filers in each province or territory who have been (i) reviewed, (ii) audited, broken down by income tax filers who have claimed any northern residents deduction and those who have not claimed any northern residents deduction; (d) what is the number and percentage of the income tax returns of income tax filers in each province or territory who, after having been (i) reviewed, (ii) audited, have had their claim for the northern residents deduction rejected, broken down by those income tax filers who have claimed the northern residents deduction in a Prescribed Northern Zone and those who have claimed the northern residents deduction in a Prescribed Intermediate Zone; (e) what is the number and percentage of the income tax returns of income tax filers in each province or territory who, in respect of the northern residents deduction, have been asked to document the cost of the lowest return airfare available at the time of the trip between the airport closest to their residence and the nearest designated city, broken down by those who live (i) in a Prescribed Northern Zone for the purposes of the northern residents deduction, (ii) in a Prescribed Intermediate Zone for the purposes of the northern residents deduction; (f) of the tax filers enumerated in (e), what is the number and percentage of the income tax returns of income tax filers in each province or territory who, in respect of the northern residents deduction, informed the Canada Revenue Agency that they could not document the cost of the lowest return airfare available at the time of the trip between the airport closest to their residence and the nearest designated city; and (g) of the tax filers enumerated in (e), what is the number and percentage of the income tax returns of income tax filers in each province or territory whose claim of the northern residents deduction has been rejected because they could not document the cost of the lowest return airfare available at the time of the trip between the airport closest to their residence and the nearest designated city?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 788Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

With regard to the administration of the Income Tax Act: (a) what are the titles, dates, and file-numbers of any studies, assessments, or evaluations that have been conducted or are being conducted concerning the cost-effectiveness of reviewing or auditing income tax filers who claim the northern residents deduction; (b) what are the results of the studies, assessments, or evaluations referred to in (a); (c) what are the titles, dates, and file-numbers of any studies, assessments, or evaluations that have been conducted or are being conducted concerning the administrative burden faced by income tax filers who claim the northern residents deduction; (d) what are the results of the studies, assessments, or evaluations referred to in (c); (e) what are the titles, dates, and file-numbers of any studies, assessments, or evaluations that have been conducted or are being conducted concerning the administrative burden faced by the Canada Revenue Agency in administering the northern residents deduction; and (f) what are the results of the studies, assessments, or evaluations referred to in (e)?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 789Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

With regard to Public Private Partnerships involving Infrastructure Canada or PPP Canada: since January 1, 2006, for each such project, what are (a) the details of the project; (b) the time taken to design the bidding process; (c) the length of the bidding process from the initial expression of interest to the close; and (d) the cost to proponents of preparing a bid?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 790Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

With regard to the Department of Veterans Affairs: how many clients were served each year from 2010 to 2014 inclusively at each Veterans Affairs office location, including the nine offices that have recently closed?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 793Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

With regard to government spending in the constituency of Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing: what was the total amount spent, from fiscal year 2010-2011 up to and including the current fiscal year, broken down by (i) the date the funds were received in the riding, (ii) the dollar amount of the expenditure, (iii) the program through which the funding was allocated, (iv) the department responsible, (v) the designated recipient?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 794Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

With respect to licenses and permits issued by government departments, related to any maritime activity for potential use anywhere within, or in the waters of, the Atlantic provinces: (a) for each license or permit issued since 2009, (i) on what date was each license or permit issued, (ii) who were the owners or operators, (iii) under what conditions concerning the use, retention, or renewal of the license or permit, was it issued; (b) for each vessel whose license was suspended, rejected, or for which a renewal was denied, (i) on what date was the license suspended, rejected, or the renewal denied, (ii) for what reasons, (iii) by whose authority; (c) what are the file numbers of all ministerial briefings or departmental correspondence between the government and all entities, departments, companies, contractors, or individuals, relating to the suspension, rejection or denial of license renewal, broken down by (i) minister or department, (ii) correspondence or file type, (iii) date, (iv) purpose, (v) origin, (vi) intended destination, (vii) other officials copied or involved; (d) what are the specific rules for the retention or renewal of any such license or permits; (e) what are all rules, files, and correspondence related to observer and dockside monitoring of these license-holders and users, broken down by (i) all relevant file numbers, (ii) entities, companies, contractors, or individuals, (iii) minister or department, (iv) correspondence or file type, (v) date, (vi) purpose, (vii) origin, (viii) intended destination, (ix) other officials copied or involved, (x) military base, asset, or facility, (xi) type of activity or contract; (f) what differences exist in the conditions for licenses or permits among different regions, zones, or provinces; and (g) what are the rules governing the keeping, as opposed to the releasing, of fish caught on boats used for recreational or touristic purposes, broken down by (i) province, (ii) number of applicable licensees or permits?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 796Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

With regard to the Canadian Armed Forces Task Force Libeccio in Operation Mobile: what were the (a) full and incremental costs from March 2011 to October 2011, broken down by month; (b) full and incremental costs for the (i) CF-18, (ii) CC-150, (iii) CC-130, (iv) CC-177, (v) CP-140; (c) total flying hours for the (i) CF-18, (ii) CC-150, (iii) CC-130, (iv) CC-177, (v) CP-140; (d) full and incremental costs of all base support arrangements (e.g. accommodations, meals, amenities, infrastructure, utilities) including any in-kind support received; (e) full and incremental costs of all deployment, supply, and re-deployment flights, including Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and charter aircraft; (f) ordnance ammunition used and its full and incremental costs; (g) full and incremental costs related to fuel delivered by RCAF tankers; (h) full and incremental costs of repair and overhaul; (i) full and incremental costs of any special pay or allowances for deployed personnel; (j) full and incremental costs associated with Home Leave Travel Assistance; (k) full and incremental costs associated with Class C Reserves deployed on operations; and (l) full and incremental costs associated with Class B Reserves employed as backfill in Canada?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 797Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

With regard to the Canadian Armed Forces Operation IMPACT: what are the estimated (for the entire six-month operation) and actual (to-date) (a) full and incremental costs for the mission, broken down by month; (b) full and incremental costs for the (i) CC-130J, (ii) CC-177, (iii) CF-188, (iv) CP-140, (v) CC-150T; (c) total flying hours for the (i) CC-130J, (ii) CC-177, (iii) CF-188, (iv) CP-140, (v) CC-150T; (d) full and incremental costs of all base support arrangements (e.g. accommodations, meals, amenities, infrastructure, utilities) including any in-kind support received; (e) full and incremental costs of all deployment, supply, and re-deployment flights, including Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and charter aircraft; (f) ordnance ammunition (i) used, (ii) to be used, and its full and incremental costs; (g) full and incremental costs related to fuel delivered by RCAF tankers; (h) full and incremental costs of repair and overhaul; (i) full and incremental costs of any special pay or allowances for deployed personnel; (j) full and incremental costs associated with Home Leave Travel Assistance; (k) full and incremental costs associated with Class C Reserves deployed on operations; and (l) full and incremental costs associated with Class B Reserves employed as backfill in Canada?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 798Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

With regard to the Department of Canadian Heritage: (a) for the data collected in the Grants and Contributions Information Management System (GCIMS), for all the Department’s various program components, what were the processing times for grant and contribution applications between the time the program received the application and the time the Department made a funding decision, broken down by program component and quarter, for fiscal years 2011-2012 to 2014-2015 inclusively; and (b) for the Department’s executive committee responsible for reviewing the data on processing times collected in the GCIMS, (i) who are the members of the executive committee, (ii) how often does it meet, (iii) what is its operating budget, (iv) what were its recommendations to the Minister’s office, broken down by quarter for fiscal years 2011-2012 to 2014-2015 inclusively, (v) what were its recommendations to the deputy ministers, broken down by quarter for fiscal years 2011-2012 to 2014-2015 inclusively, (vi) what were its recommendations to the assistant deputy ministers, broken down by quarter for fiscal years 2011-2012 to 2014-2015 inclusively, (vii) what were its recommendations to directors general, broken down by quarter for fiscal years 2011-2012 to 2014-2015 inclusively, (viii) what were its recommendations to program managers, broken down by quarter for fiscal years 2011-2012 to 2014-2015 inclusively?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 799Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

With regard to the government’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit (the Summit) held in Toronto, May 28-30, 2014: (a) who within the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development was responsible for the organization of the Summit; (b) what was the initial budget of the event, (i) did the Summit go over budget, (ii) if so, what were the cost overruns, (iii) were there unforeseen expenses; (c) what was the total cost of the Summit; (d) what was the total cost for the venue rental (Fairmont Royal York); (e) how many bedrooms in the Fairmont Royal York were paid for by the government and at what cost; (f) how many names were on the final guest list and what were the names; (g) how many government officials and employees attended the Summit and what are their names; (h) how many guests who are not employees of the government had their stay at the Fairmont Royal York paid for by the government and what are their names; (i) did the government pay for the travel expenses of international visitors; (j) how was the Fairmont Royal York chosen as a venue for the Summit, (i) on what date was the hotel first contacted with regard to the Summit, (ii) on what date was the contract with the hotel signed, (iii) did the Summit organizers contact venues other than the Fairmont Royal York and, if so, how many; (k) what was the total cost for security; (l) what was the total cost of meals and hospitality; and (m) was the Summit paid for by funds dedicated to the Muskoka Initiative?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 804Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

With regard to the Mount Polley mine spill: (a) has the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) or Environment Canada filed charges regarding the spill, (i) if so, what are the details of the charges, (ii) if not, why not; (b) what role are DFO and Environment Canada playing in the ongoing investigation being led by British Columbia conservation officers; (c) are DFO and Environment Canada reviewing the rehabilitation plan developed by Imperial Metals Corporation, (i) if so, what are the findings of any such review, (ii) if not, why not; (d) has the government obtained the approval of the Secwepemc people for the investigation process or the review of the rehabilitation plan; (e) has the government studied the impact of the waste that remains in the Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake Watershed; (f) during and following the rehabilitation process, how will DFO and Environment Canada ensure that there are no ongoing violations of the Fisheries Act; (g) how is the government monitoring and enforcing compliance with best practice standards by Imperial Metals Corporation at its other mine sites; (h) how will the government ensure that there are additional layers of control to prevent loopholes in regulatory oversight and enforcement by the province; (i) will the government be examining any proposals concerning (i) repairs to the tailings storage facility, (ii) the resumption of operations at the mine; (j) how will the government ensure that the interests of the affected First Nations are addressed prior to any resumption of operation; (k) what steps will the government take to ensure that First Nation rights are addressed; and (l) what are the internal tracking numbers of all documents, communications or briefing notes regarding the Mount Polley spill for senior departmental officials at the Regional Director General level and above, at both DFO and Environment Canada?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 805Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

With regard to the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation (ECBC): for each year from 2005 to 2014 inclusively, (a) how much did the ECBC spend on infrastructure; and (b) what were all the projects of the ECBC, including but not limited to details such as the project’s name, purpose, and cost?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 806Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

With regard to federal government employees in Nova Scotia: for each year from 2005 to 2013 inclusively, broken down by department, how many government employees worked in (i) Cape Breton Regional Municipality, (ii) Victoria County, (iii) Inverness County, (iv) Richmond County?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 807Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

With regard to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), how much government funding has been approved and distributed to each of the 37 census divisions by year since 2009?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 808Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

With respect to the Canada Job Grant: (a) how much is each province and territory receiving in federal transfers under the Canada Job Fund for the current fiscal year, and for each subsequent fiscal year until the Fund is fully phased-in; (b) how much did each province and territory receive in federal transfers under the Labour Market Agreements in 2013-2014; (c) how much is, or is projected to be, the federal portion of the Canada Job Grant, year-to-date and for each of the coming fiscal years until the program is fully phased-in; (d) is the federal contribution to the Canada Job Grant paid out of the 40 % funds earmarked for employer-driven training under the Canada Job Fund; (e) if the federal portion of the Canada Job Grant is not paid out of the Canada Job Fund, from which program envelope is the contribution drawn; (f) on a year-to-date basis for fiscal year 2014-2015, how much has the government actually spent on the Canada Job Grant, broken down by province and territory; (g) on a year-to-date basis for fiscal year 2014-2015, how much has each province and territory contributed to the Canada Job Grant from the Canada Job Fund; (h) on a year-to-date basis for fiscal year 2014-2015, how much has been the employer contribution to the Canada Job Grant, broken down by province and territory; (i) how much is the employer contribution projected to be for the Canada Job Grant for each of the coming fiscal years, until the program is fully phased-in; (j) how many businesses are projected to be eligible to provide “in-kind contribution” as their share of the Canada Job Grant when the program is fully-phased in; (k) what are eligible contributions “in-kind” for an employer’s participation in the Canada Job Grant; (l) on a year-to-date basis for fiscal year 2014-2015, how many Canadians have been trained with the help of the Canada Job Grant, broken down by province and territory; (m) how many Canadians will be trained with help of the Canada Job Grant for each of the fiscal years until it is fully phased-in; and (n) on a year-to-date basis for fiscal year 2014-2015, for which occupations have Canadians been trained with the help of the Canada Job Grant (using the National Occupational Classification system)?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 811Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

With regard to government records: what information, asset management systems, correspondence tracking systems, telecommunications logs, vehicle logs, and all other forms of records are (a) kept, broken down by (i) department, (ii) record type, (iii) duration of preservation, (iv) frequency of update, (v) date of oldest currently preserved record, (vi) method of disposal, (vii) file numbering or similar record access system, (viii) list of employees (by title), contractors or other individuals with access to the records, (ix) method of keeping track of access requests to the records; and (b) not kept, including the details pertaining to what was not kept and why?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 812Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

With regard to the changes announced in October 2014 to the Caregiver Program (the Program), formerly known as the Live-In Caregiver Program: (a) what individuals, organizations, agencies, and other governments did the government consult as part of the process of developing the changes; (b) when did each consultation in (a) occur; (c) how did each consultation in (a) occur; (d) who in the government carried out each consultation in (a); (e) for past or current participants in the Program, (i) what opportunities existed to participate in consultations, (ii) how did the government make them aware of these opportunities, (iii) when did the government make them aware of these opportunities; (f) for other individuals, organizations, agencies, and other governments, (i) how did the government make them aware of the opportunity to participate in consultations, (ii) when did the government make them aware of the opportunity; (g) what results of the consultations in (a) were presented to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; (h) how were the results of the consultations in (a) presented to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; (i) when were the results of the consultations in (a) presented to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; (j) according to what criteria were the inputs that were received through consultations in (a) evaluated by the government; (k) what studies, reports, surveys, or other documents were consulted by the government; (l) based on what factors did the government cap at 2750 the number of applicants for permanent residence through the Caring for Children Pathway; (m) based on what factors did the government cap at 2750 the number of applicants for permanent residence through the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway; (n) what was the number of principal applicants for permanent residence through the Program for each of the last ten years; (o) do the caps in (l) and (m) refer only to the number of new applications that the government will accept each year, or do they refer to the total number of applications that will be processed each year; (p) broken down by province and territory, how many temporary residents are currently in Canada as part of the Program; (q) broken down by province and territory, how many temporary residents have been in Canada as part of the Program for each of the last ten years; (r) how many temporary residents does the government expect to be in Canada as part of the Program for each of the next ten years; (s) what studies has the government carried out or consulted to determine whether the number of temporary residents in Canada as part of the Program is likely to change in the coming years; (t) what are the conclusions of the studies in (s); (u) for each of the last ten years, not including spouses and dependents, how many applications for permanent residence under the Program have been (i) submitted, (ii) accepted, (iii) denied; (v) if the number of principal applicants for permanent residence exceeds the cap of 2750 in either category in a given year, how will the government determine which applications to consider; (w) who will make the determination in (v); (x) based on what factors will the determination in (v) be made; (y) how many applications for permanent residence under the Program are currently being processed, not including spouses and dependents; (z) how many applications for permanent residence under the Program, not including spouses and dependents, does the government intend to process for each of the next five years; (aa) how will the government reduce the backlog of permanent residence applications under the program; (bb) by what date does the government intend to reduce the backlog in (aa); (cc) how many applications must be processed before the government will consider the backlog in (aa) to be reduced; (dd) when will the six-month limit on processing times for applications under the Program take effect; (ee) what impact will the six-month limit in (dd) have on applications underway at the time the limit takes effect; (ff) what measures will be implemented to ensure that applications for permanent residence will be processed within six months; (gg) what recourse will be available to applicants whose applications are not processed within six months; (hh) how will applications that remain in process after six months be dealt with by the government; (ii) will the six-month limit apply regardless of (i) the number of dependents, (ii) the country of origin of the principal applicants, their spouse, or their dependents; (jj) what measures are being introduced to give recourse to temporary residents in Canada under the Program who feel that they are being exploited or treated inappropriately by their employers, whether or not the caregiver lives with the employer; (kk) what changes have been made or will be made to the criteria used to evaluate applications for permanent residence under the Program; (ll) what directives have been or will be issued to visa officers; (mm) when do the directives in (ll) take effect; and (nn) how will applicants with applications currently underway be affected by the changes?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 813Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

With regard to applicants seeking permanent residence in Canada as dependent children of Canadian residents: (a) broken down by source country and year of application, for each of the last ten years, how many applications has Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) received from applicants seeking permanent residence as dependent children of Canadian citizens; (b) broken down by source country and year of application, how many of the applications in (a), (i) have been accepted, (ii) have been denied, (iii) are still being processed; (c) broken down by source country and year of application, for each of the last ten years, how many applications has CIC received from applicants seeking permanent residence as dependent children of non-citizen permanent residents of Canada, excluding the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP); (d) broken down by source country and year of application, how many of the applications in (c), (i) have been accepted, (ii) have been denied, (iii) are still being processed; (e) broken down by source country and year of application, for each of the last ten years, how many applications has CIC received from applicants seeking permanent residence as dependent children under the LCP; (f) broken down by source country and year of application, how many of the applications in (e), (i) have been accepted, (ii) have been denied, (iii) are still being processed; (g) broken down by source country and year of application, what is the average processing time of applications in (a); (h) broken down by source country and year of application, what is the average processing time of applications in (a) by applicants who, at the time of their application, were (i) under 15 years old, (ii) between 15 and 17 years old, (iii) over 17 years old; (i) broken down by source country and year of application, how many applications in (a) were denied or abandoned subsequent to the applicant becoming too old to qualify as a dependent; (j) broken down by source country and year of application, what is the average processing time of applications in (c); (k) broken down by source country and year of application, what is the average processing time of applications in (c) by applicants who, at the time of their application, were (i) under 15 years old, (ii) between 15 and 17 years old, (iii) over 17 years old; (l) broken down by source country and year of application, how many applications in (c) were denied or abandoned subsequent to the applicant becoming too old to qualify as a dependent; (m) broken down by source country and year of application, what is the average processing time of applications in (e); (n) broken down by source country and year of application, what is the average processing time of applications in (e) by applicants who, at the time of their application, were (i) under 15 years old, (ii) between 15 and 17 years old, (iii) over 17 years old; (o) broken down by source country and year of application, how many applications in (e) were denied or abandoned subsequent to the applicant becoming too old to qualify as a dependent; (p) has the government set processing times it considers acceptable for applications by applicants seeking permanent residence in Canada as dependent children (i) of Canadian citizens, (ii) of non-citizen permanent residents, (iii) under the live-in caregiver program; (q) how were the acceptable processing times in (p) determined; (r) who determined the acceptable processing times in (p); (s) what variance, if any, exists for acceptable processing times in (p) based on (i) source country, (ii) age of applicant, (iii) visa office, (iv) other factors; (t) what changes, if any, have been made to the acceptable processing times in (p) over the last ten years, and what accounts for these changes; (u) if no acceptable processing times have been set, why have they not been set; (v) what evaluations of processing times has the government undertaken; (w) what were the results of the evaluations in (v); (x) if no evaluations of processing times have been undertaken, why has this not been done; (y) broken down by year, for each of the last ten years, what operational bulletins, changes to operational manuals, or other directives, published or unpublished, formal or informal, written or oral, have been issued by CIC to visa officers regarding applications by individuals seeking permanent residence as dependents of residents of Canada; (z) for each of the directives in (y), (i) how was the directive issued, (ii) by whom was it issued, (iii) what was the objective of the directive, (iv) how were its effects evaluated, (v) is it still in force; and (aa) for each directive in (y) no longer in force, (i) why was it terminated, (ii) who made the decision to terminate it, (iii) how was the decision to terminate it communicated to visa officers?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 814Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

With respect to the government’s implementation of motion M-456, a Pan-Canadian Strategy for Palliative and End-of-Life Care: (a) what steps has the government taken or do they plan on taking to implement this strategy; (b) what are the needs identified by the government that this strategy could address; (c) what information or data has been provided or solicited from Statistics Canada or the Canadian Institute for Health of Information regarding patient needs for palliative and end-of-life care; (d) what standards and best practices have been identified for this strategy; (e) what stakeholders and medical experts have been identified as collaborators in developing this strategy, and which of them have been approached; (f) which provinces and territories have been approached to discuss the establishment of this strategy; (g) what steps has the government taken to implement this strategy for the jurisdictions where it has a direct responsibility for health care delivery, including, but not limited to, services to First Nations on reserve, the military, and prisoners; and (h) what palliative and end-of-life care programs are currently in place where the government has a direct responsibility for health care delivery, including, but not limited to, services to First Nations on reserve, the military, and prisoners?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 816Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

With regard to the Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America to Improve International Tax Compliance through Enhanced Exchange of Information under the Convention Between the United States of America and Canada with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (the Agreement), the government’s Policy on Tabling of Treaties in Parliament (the Policy), and the statement of Peter Van Loan, Government House Leader, in the House on Monday, April 28, 2014, that “in this case, the fact is that the government, the cabinet, actually did grant such an exemption to the tabling policy. As such, the very words of the policy, the requirements of the policy, have been followed. The processes for obtaining the exemption were obtained. As a result, the requirement that it be tabled in the House 21 days in advance of the legislation being introduced is not necessary and the policy is fully complied with” (the Statement): (a) was an exemption to the government’s Policy granted with respect to the Agreement; (b) what is the difference between an “exemption” and an “exception” in terms of the Policy; (c) if the word “exception” is substituted for “exemption” is the Statement accurate; (d) on what basis was the Statement made; (e) how was the Government House Leader informed of the exemption or exception being granted to the Policy; (f) what documents or memos were created regarding this exemption or exception and what are their access or control numbers; (g) who was involved in this decision to grant an exemption or exception and at what stage were they involved; (h) what was the process, step-by-step, by which this Agreement was granted an exemption or exception; (i) who reviewed the decision to grant an exemption or exception, (i) when, (ii) why, (iii) how; (j) does the Policy apply to the Agreement, and how; (k) between what departments does correspondence exist regarding the tabling of the Agreement under the Policy and what are the file numbers for these documents; (l) on what date was the Agreement concluded; (m) on what date was the Agreement tabled in Parliament; (n) on what date was the Agreement ratified; (o) when was the House made aware of the text of the Agreement; (p) how was the House made aware of the text of the Agreement; (q) when was the House made aware of the granting of an exemption or exception to the Policy in the case of the Agreement; (r) how was the House made aware of the granting of an exemption or exception to the Policy in the case of the Agreement; (s) when and by what means is the House usually informed that an exception has been granted to the Policy; (t) in the absence of the point of order prompting the Government House Leader's response, how and when would the House have been informed of the exemption; (u) what steps and measures are in place to ensure that Parliament is informed of exceptions being granted to the Policy; (v) what steps are in place to ensure that Canadians are informed when exceptions have been granted; (w) what steps and measures are in place to ensure that Parliament is informed of exemptions being granted to the Policy; (x) what steps are in place to ensure that Canadians are informed when exemptions have been granted; (y) what does “urgent” mean in the context of the Policy; (z) how was the ratification of the Agreement determined to be urgent; (aa) who made the determination in (z), (i) how, (ii) on the basis of what information, (iii) with what authority, (iv) under what criteria; (bb) how was the decision in (z) reviewed, (i) by whom, (ii) how, (iii) when, (iv) by what criteria; (cc) who are or were the lead ministers with respect to the Agreement in terms of the Policy and how was this determined; (dd) when and how did the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the lead ministers seek approval from the Prime Minister for an exemption to the treaty tabling process; (ee) when was the approval in (dd) granted and how; (ff) what correspondence is available – with file and control number--to corroborate the information provided in response to (dd) and (ee); (gg) was a “joint-letter that clearly articulates the rationale to proceed with the ratification, without tabling in the House of Commons” created; (hh) with respect to the letter in (gg), (i) who created this letter, (ii) when is it dated, (iii) how can it be obtained, (iv) who has access to it, (v) to whom is it addressed; (ii) was the letter drafted in consultation with the Treaty Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the relevant Secretariat in the Privy Council Office; (jj) what documentation exists – with file or control number for each document--to corroborate the information provided in response to (ii); (kk) who is responsible for retention and access of such joint letters; (ll) with respect to the Agreement, were the responsible ministers and the Minister of Foreign Affairs aware early on of the need to request an exemption to the treaty process prior to obtaining Cabinet authority to sign a treaty; (mm) how is “early on” defined for purposes of the Policy; (nn) how is “aware” defined for purposes of this provision in the Policy; (oo) was a request made in a Memorandum to Cabinet, seeking policy approval for the Agreement; (pp) what Memorandums to Cabinet exist relative to this agreement, (i) what are their dates, (ii) are they subject to privilege, (iii) who made them, (iv) what are their record or control numbers; (qq) which document in (pp) can be said to “clearly articulate the rationale for the exception to the treaty tabling process”; (rr) what is the rationale for the exception to the treaty tabling process with respect to the Agreement; (ss) who determines the rationale per the Policy; (tt) what is an acceptable rationale per the Policy; (uu) how is rationale defined in terms of the Policy; (vv) is there a minimal level of sufficiency for a rationale per the Policy and if so what is it; (ww) when was the exception granted; (xx) did the Minister of Foreign Affairs “inform the House of Commons that Canada has agreed to be bound by the instrument at the earliest opportunity following the ratification” per the Policy; (yy) when did the actions in (xx) occur and how; (zz) in 2014, how many exemptions or exceptions were granted under the Policy before the Agreement; (aaa) in 2014, was the Agreement’s rationale for exception unique; (bbb) in 2014, was the Agreement the only item determined to be urgent in terms of the Policy; (ccc) is the Government House Leader always informed of exceptions and exemptions under the Policy and, if so, how; (ddd) is the House always informed of exceptions or exemptions under the Policy and, if so, how; (eee) how early could the Agreement have been tabled in Parliament; (fff) how was the date in (eee) determined; (ggg) if the Agreement could have been tabled earlier in Parliament than the date in (o), (i) why was it not, (ii) what decisions were made in this regard, (iii) who made these decisions, (iv) how, (v) on what basis; and (hhh) if the Statement could have been made sooner in the House than Monday, April 28, 2014, (i) why was it not, (ii) what decisions were made in this regard, (iii) who made these decisions, (iv) how, (v) on what basis?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 817Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

With regard to Statistics Canada: (a) have studies been done on how to use alternative sources of data and methods of data collection, outside of surveys, to replace the information gathered by the mandatory long-form census in 1971, and every five years from 1981 to 2006; (b) what alternative sources of data and methods of data collection, outside of surveys, were considered prior to 2011 to replace the information gathered by the mandatory long-form census in 1971, and every five years from 1981 to 2006; (c) what alternative sources of data and methods of data collection, outside of surveys, were considered from 2011 to the present to replace the information gathered by the mandatory long-form census in 1971, and every five years from 1981 to 2006; (d) prior to 2011, which foreign jurisdictions were consulted in order to assess alternative sources of data and methods of data collection, outside of surveys, to replace the information gathered by the mandatory long-form census in 1971, and every five years from 1981 to 2006; (e) from 2011 to the present, which foreign jurisdictions were consulted in order to assess alternative sources of data and methods of data collection, outside of surveys, to replace the information gathered by the mandatory long-form census in 1971, and every five years from 1981 to 2006; (f) what studies, reports or assessments have been prepared by Statistics Canada regarding alternative sources of data and methods of data collection, outside of surveys, to replace the information gathered by the mandatory long-form census in 1971, and every five years from 1981 to 2006, broken down by (i) date of studies, reports or assessments, (ii) title of studies, reports or assessments, (iii) internal tracking number of studies, reports or assessments; (g) what briefing documents have been prepared for ministers and their staff regarding alternative sources of data and methods of data collection, outside of surveys, to replace the information gathered by the mandatory long-form census in 1971, and every five years from 1981 to 2006, broken down by (i) date of studies, reports or assessments, (ii) title of studies, reports or assessments, (iii) internal tracking number of studies, reports or assessments; (h) before 2011, did Statistics Canada consider the possibility of establishing connections between existing databases in different Canadian jurisdictions containing the personal information of Canadians, with the use of any form of primary key; and (i) from 2011 to the present, did Statistics Canada consider the possibility of establishing connections between existing databases in different Canadian jurisdictions containing the personal information of Canadians, with the use of any form of primary key?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 818Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

With regard to government funding: for each fiscal year from 2011-2012 to present, (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group in the electoral district of Parkdale—High Park, providing for each (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the location of the recipient, indicating the municipality, (iii) the date, (iv) the amount, (v) the department or agency providing it, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 820Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

With regard to the Prime Minister’s announcement of $5.8 billion in new infrastructure investments on November 24, 2014, in London, Ontario, and each of the commitments detailed in the accompanying backgrounder: (a) what department and program does each commitment fall under; (b) how much will be spent on each commitment in each of the next five fiscal years; (c) were these funds in the fiscal framework in Budget 2014; (d) do any of these commitments constitute an increase in planned spending and, if so, (i) which, (ii) by how much; (e) on each of these programs for capital and infrastructure investments in each fiscal year since 2004-2005, what was (i) allocated, (ii) spent, (iii) lapsed; and (f) was the expenditure of these funds already accounted for in the economic forecasts used by the Finance Department?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 821Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

With regard to government funding for the aerospace industry since 2010: how much has been invested in the form of loans or research and development tax credits, broken down by (i) year, (ii) province and territory, (iii) federal program, (iv) funding type (tax credit, repayable loan, non-repayable loan), (v) individual company?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 826Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

With regard to the Prime Minister's trips to Northern Canada in or about August 2006, August 2007, August 2008, August 2009, August 2010, August 2011, August 2012, and August 2013: what are the details concerning the costs of these trips, including those costs of federal personnel already on the ground in Northern Canada tasked with support, broken down by (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) department or agency, (iv) purpose or nature of the expenditure?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 827Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

With regard to Veterans Affairs delegations to Cyprus in March 2014, to Normandy in June 2014, and to Italy in November 2014: (a) for each delegation, what was the (i) total cost to each department which incurred expenditures related to the delegation, (ii) total cost for accommodation, (iii) total cost for travel, (iv) total cost for gifts, (v) total cost for meals and incidentals, (iv) complete list of delegation members, (vii) complete itinerary, (viii) reason for each delegation; (b) for each member of the delegation, what was the (i) total cost to each department which incurred expenditures related to the delegation, (ii) total cost for accommodation, (iii) total cost for travel, (iv) total cost for gifts, (v) total cost for meals and incidentals, (vi) reason for inclusion on the delegation; (c) for each contract for accommodations, was the contract competitively or non-competitively sourced and, if non-competitively, what was the rationale for non-competitive sourcing; and (d) for each delegation, (i) when was the itinerary tentatively established, (ii) when was the itinerary finalized, (iii) when was the Minister of Veterans Affairs own travel booked, (iv) if there were any changes to the booking referred to in (iii), what were those changes and when were they made?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 828Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

With respect to Health Canada’s marketing campaign concerning marijuana and prescription drugs, launched on or about October 20, 2014: (a) what are the names, positions, organizations or affiliations of all the stakeholders consulted leading up to this decision; (b) what submissions, proposals or recommendations were made by stakeholders during the consultation process; (c) what are the dates, times, and locations of the meetings with those individuals or organizations consulted; (d) how much funding has been allocated to the deployment of this proposal for fiscal year 2014-2015; (e) what are the next steps in this marketing campaign; (f) how is the effectiveness, reach, and impact of this campaign measured; and (g) what other methods is the Department or government considering to make Canadians more aware of the real dangers of drug abuse?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 830Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

With regard to government advertising: what was (a) the total amount spent on radio or television advertisements; and (b) the total number of placements in each medium, broken down by (i) subject matter of the advertisement and title of the advertising campaign, (ii) broadcast outlet on which the advertisements were placed, (iii) identification number, Media Authorization Number, or ADV number, (iv) name, (v) time-period when the advertisement was broadcast, namely, from September 5, 2014, to October 11, 2014, from October 12, 2014, to November 17, 2014, and on or after November 18, 2014?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 831Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

With respect to the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program launched in September 2013: (a) how much money was budgeted for the program, broken down by year; (b) how many applications have been received, broken down by province and territory; (c) how much money will be allocated, broken down by province and territory; (d) which groups have received funding; and (e) which groups have received a pledge of funding?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 838Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

With respect to the access to information system: broken down by government department, institution and agency, for each year from 2004 to 2014, (a) what is the budget for managing access to information requests; (b) how much was spent on the access to information system; (c) how much was spent on full-time equivalent employees; (d) how much was spent on non-full-time equivalent employees, such as consultants and temporary hiring services, to carry out access to information activities; (e) how much did these non-full-time equivalent employees cost per hour; (f) what were these non-full-time equivalent employees hired to do; and (g) what are the security clearances of these non-full time equivalent employees?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 840Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

With regard to the government’s announcement that it will transfer to the National Capital Commission up to 60 acres of land belonging to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for the construction of a hospital and teaching facilities: (a) was this decision preceded by public and private consultations; (b) what was the consultation process and what were the methods involved; (c) when was the consultation process launched; and (d) what organizations were consulted?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 841Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

With regard to public revenue: for each government organization, including a department, agency, or Crown corporation, (a) when providing a good or service, does that organization charge a fuel surcharge or any other charge or fee related to the cost of fuel; and (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, (i) what is the nature or description of the good or service provided for which a fuel surcharge or related fee is charged, (ii) in each case, when was the fuel surcharge or fee first instituted, (iii) how often is the fuel surcharge or fee adjusted, (iv) what were the dates of each occasion on which the fuel surcharge or fee was adjusted or set since January 1, 2011, (v) for each adjustment or setting of a fuel surcharge or fee referred to in (iv), what was the amount established on that date for the fuel surcharge or fee?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 842Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

With regard to the court cases on the changes to the Interim Federal Health Program: (a) what are the costs, including legal fees, incurred by the government to date; and (b) what are the estimated total costs, including legal fees, of the government’s appeal of the Federal Court’s ruling?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 843Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

With respect the procurement of goods and services for use by the Department of National Defence: for each awarded contract over $25,000 for which a supplier cancelled or failed to meet a delivery date after March 31, 2011, what is (a) the name of the contract; (b) the type of contract or method of supply; (c) the reference number, solicitation number, and tracking number; (d) the names of all parties to the contract; (e) the date the contract was awarded; (f) the description of the good or service to be supplied; (g) the value of the contract; (h) the delivery date specified in the contract; (i) the value of monies paid by the government to the supplier in advance of delivery, if applicable; (j) the date that the good or service was delivered, for goods and services that were delivered late; (k) the planned future delivery date, for deliveries that remain outstanding; (l) the date the contract was cancelled, for cancelled contracts; (m) the reason for the cancellation of the contract, for cancelled contracts; (n) the value of advance payments returned to the government, for undelivered goods and services; (o) the values and conditions of the contractual penalties for late and failed delivery; and (p) the value of monies recuperated by the government pursuant to penalties for late or failed delivery?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 847Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With regard to meteorological services: (a) what is the name, location and identifying number or code of each terrestrial Automated Weather Observing Station which has been in service in Canada at any time since January 1, 2006; (b) what is the name, location, identifying number or code, and model type of each Ocean Data Acquisition System buoy which has been in service in Canadian waters, or in international waters but operated by the Government of Canada, since January 1, 2006; (c) what is the name, location and identifying number or code of each weather radar station which has been in service in Canada at any time since January 1, 2006; (d) what is the name, location and identifying number or code of each lightning sensor which has been in service in Canada at any time since January 1, 2006; and (e) for each station, buoy or sensor referred to in (a) through (d), for each month since January 1, 2006, (i) on how many days has it been out of service, (ii) what was the reason for which it was not in service, (iii) was it returned to service, (iv) which department or agency is responsible for maintaining it?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 848Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

With regard to government public relations, for each contract for the provision of photography services to the office of the Prime Minister, a minister, a Minister of State, or a Parliamentary Secretary, since January 1, 2006: (a) what was the date, file number, and value of the contract; (b) what were the dates on which the photography was carried out; (c) what was the event or occasion, if any, to which the photography related; (d) were the photographs which were produced used in any government publications or on any government websites; (e) were the photographs used in any other way, specifying the way in which they were so used; (f) who has custody or care of the photographs which were produced; (g) if no longer required for the day-to-day operations of the office, have the photographs been transferred, or will they be transferred, to a library or historical division within the department, a national museum, or Library and Archives Canada; (h) does the department, agency, or other government organization for which the Minister, Minister of State or Parliamentary Secretary is responsible, have an office or position which has the capacity to carry out photography, identifying the office or position; and (i) if the answer to (h) is affirmative, why were the services of an outside photographer engaged?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 849Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

With regard to government procurement: what are the details of all contracts for the provision of research or speechwriting services to ministers since June 6, 2014 specifying (a) for each such contract (i) the start and end dates, (ii) contracting parties, (iii) file number, (iv) nature or description of the work; and (b) in the case of a contract for speechwriting, the (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) audience or event at which the speech was, or was intended to be, delivered?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 850Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

With regard to government communications since September 18, 2014: (a) for each press release containing the phrase “Harper government” issued by any government department, agency, office, Crown corporation, or other government body, what is the (i) headline or subject line, (ii) date, (iii) file or code-number, (iv) subject matter; (b) for each such press release, was it distributed on (i) the web site of the issuing department, agency, office, Crown corporation, or other government body, (ii) Marketwire, (iii) Canada Newswire, (iv) any other commercial wire or distribution service, specifying which service; and (c) for each press release distributed by a commercial wire or distribution service mentioned in (b)(ii) through (b)(iv), what was the cost of using the service?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 851Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

With regard to Parks Canada, in respect of Beaubassin National Historic Site of Canada (“Beaubassin”): (a) what are the details of all expenditures, broken down by fiscal year since 2002-2003 inclusive, related to the (i) acquisition, (ii) maintenance, (iii) archeological research, (iv) archival research, (v) other expenditures, specifying the nature of those other expenditures; (b) what are the dates, file numbers, and titles of all reports or documents concerning the operation of Beaubassin; (c) what are the dates, file numbers, and titles of all reports or documents concerning archaeological or historical research related to Beaubassin; and (d) what are the bibliographic details of all published reports or articles relating to Beaubassin authored, co-authored, or contributed to by any archaeologist or researcher working for, on behalf of, or in association with the government or an employee or officer of the government?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 852Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

With regard to the Royal Canadian Mint's television advertising activities since January 1, 2009: for any communication between the Mint and any agency, department, Crown corporation, or other organization of government other than the Mint, (a) what is the date; (b) who are the sender and recipient; and (c) what is the file or reference number?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 853Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

With regard to government communications, for each department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government body: (a) how far back in time does its website archive of press releases and backgrounders extend; (b) what is the rationale for the date range of press releases and backgrounders which are retained for on-line access; (c) are press releases and backgrounders which pre-date the date limit retained elsewhere; (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, where are they retained, and are they accessible to the public; (e) what are the titles, dates, and file numbers of any document, order, policy, directive, or other record in which the current policy pertaining to the retention of press releases and backgrounders on websites is set forth; (f) what are the titles, dates, and file numbers of any document, order, policy, directive, or other record in which any former policy pertaining to the retention of press releases and backgrounders on websites was set forth; (g) is there a government-wide policy pertaining to the retention of press releases and backgrounders on websites; and (h) if the answer to (g) is affirmative, what are the titles, dates, and file numbers of any document, order, policy, directive, or other record in which the current policy, or any former policy, is or was set forth?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 854Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

With regard to regional ministerial responsibilities, for each fiscal year since 2005-2006 inclusively: (a) which ministers have had regional representation responsibilities, and for which provinces, territories or other regions; (b) what were the start and end dates of those responsibilities; (c) what were the instructions given to each minister in respect of his or her regional ministerial responsibilities; (d) what were the operating expenditures for each minister in respect of his or her regional representation responsibilities, including the amount spent on wages, salaries, contracts for the provision of services, contracts for the provision of goods, office leases, and other expenditures, giving particulars of those expenditures; (e) where were these leased offices located; (f) how many employees are or were employed by each minister’s regional office; (g) where did each employee have his or her principal place of employment; and (h) what were the travel and hospitality expenses of each minister or minister’s employee in respect of their regional ministerial responsibilities?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 855Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

With regard to a verification strategy for Métis identification systems: (a) what are the purposes of proposed or actual contracts with the Canadian Standards Association to develop a verification strategy for Métis identification systems; (b) what is the monetary value of the contract or contracts; (c) what are the effective dates of the contract or contracts; (d) what is the file number of the contract or contracts; (e) what is the scope of the work to be carried out under any such contract; (f) was any such contract awarded on a sole-source or competitive basis; (g) if any such contract was awarded on a competitive basis, how many bids were received; (h) are there provisions for Métis employment or procurement benefits under this contract; (i) has the government consulted with Métis representative organizations concerning Métis identification generally or as concerns this contract in particular and, if so, (i) with which Métis representative organizations has it consulted, (ii) what was the nature, duration, and extent of such consultations, (iii) what was the outcome of those consultations; (j) what definitions of “Métis” are to be used for this verification strategy; (k) what is the rationale behind the definition or definitions of “Métis” that are to be used; and (l) is the verification strategy consistent with Articles 9 and 33 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and, if not, what is the nature and extent of the inconsistency?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 856Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Li