House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economy.


Opposition Motion—The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier for her speech.

In fact, I wanted to come back to the Bank of Canada figures on the participation rate of those aged 25 to 54. That is the most active segment of the population, the one that makes up the majority of all wage earners in Canada. The Bank of Canada indicated that the participation rate dropped drastically in 2014. That was a direct result of decisions made by this government. I would like my colleague to talk about that, that is, the results of government decisions and how they are undermining our future prosperity.

Opposition Motion—The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question. He has just given another example of the Conservatives' disastrous decisions.

Frankly, I am running out of words to describe to what extent the government's decisions have had a negative impact on families in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. I know my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou is seeing the same thing in his riding.

The October 2015 election cannot come soon enough. Let us hope for a new government, an NDP government that really cares about the middle class and Canadian families.

Opposition Motion—The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish everyone a happy election year.

My colleagues have certainly picked a very important topic for this first opposition day. The economy, the regions, the middle class and intervention: that is how I would sum up this rather troubling and above all disturbing situation. Meanwhile, the Conservative government for its part prefers to let things go, rather than intervene immediately and appropriately.

This approach reminds me of a young person who believes that the budget can balance itself. The invisible hand inevitably interacts with forces in the economy only when economic stimulus is applied and when there is something palpable to activate the economic process. When the main players take their places, they can create wealth and generate growth.

I always make a rather more social analysis of the economy, because I believe the most important thing is to observe how the players react in such situations. First, I would like to commend the subject matter of the excellent motion moved by my colleagues from Skeena—Bulkley Valley and Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, which clearly demonstrates the inaction, not to say the incompetence, of our current government in response to the vagaries of current economic conditions.

In this motion, the NDP is calling on the Minister of Finance and the Conservative government to get themselves together and immediately present an economic and fiscal update to Parliament outlining the state of the nation's finances in light of the unstable economic situation, including job losses, falling oil prices, declining government revenues and the effect of these factors on one another. In addition, the motion calls on the government to prepare a budget that addresses the economic challenges facing the middle class by creating more good-quality full-time jobs and encouraging economic diversification.

The government brags about creating a lot of jobs, but these are atypical, short-term, part-time jobs at minimum wage. That is not what drives an economy and enables a country to create wealth in order to maintain and improve the legendary quality of life for Canadians from coast to coast.

The middle class—because it is the middle class that has suffered most—has been crucified in recent decades, both by the Liberal Party and by the Conservative Party. The list is so long that I would lose my way before I came to the end of my remarks. Why is that? We could talk about an administrative framework for SMEs in which they can operate properly and prosper, the social fabric for low-income families, social housing, employment insurance as a way of transitioning between jobs, and the jobs cut at Canada Post and the CBC, jobs typically held by members of the middle class that reflected the identity of Canadians from coast to coast.

It is unbelievable what the middle class has been made to endure, with all the drains on their budget, including administrative and other related costs, reduced purchasing power, and especially energy costs—electricity, heating oil and gasoline—and the impact all of those things have on their daily lives.

One example I would like to mention is that of my parents. I come from a modest, working-class family. In my parents’ day, it was possible to save to buy a small house and a small or mid-size car, while providing adequate food and clothing for the family and enjoying some recreation from time to time.

This was possible without drowning in debt, with an available family doctor and plans to send the children to university. Unfortunately, today, all of that has changed: it is no longer the case.

Middle-class families have to make agonizing choices about food and clothing. With regard to clothing, I have teenagers who say that they want the most fashionable brand, which is, of course, the most expensive. The other choice that torments the middle class is going deeper into debt, and thus being at the mercy of the big banks. In a society where so much wealth exists, that is totally unacceptable, particularly when a government does not react to changing economic circumstances that have been in transition since 2008.

Consequently, the government must invest to stimulate growth. It must make major investments in research and development, which are the key to the future. It needs to invest in the SMEs that generate solid jobs and guarantee a viable local economy, and in many cases the existence and even the survival of some regions of Canada.

Investments must also be made in transport infrastructures in general. For example, roads, overpasses, bridges, railroads and public transit are all of capital importance in a country as large as Canada.

When we look at the impact that transportation has on the operating costs of businesses in many industries—with respect to inputs, of course, but above all with respect to its effect on productivity and efficiency—we immediately see beyond any doubt why it is urgent that we take action for the good of our economy as a whole, the good of the sectors that are still competitive—because some still are—and the good of promising sectors that are still developing.

I would like to list a few businesses in my own riding that deserve an appropriate economic framework. There is Enerkem, which is located in Westbury and is one of Canada’s leading producers of biofuel. Soucy Techno in Rock Forest and Waterville TG in Waterville are active in the rubber sector, which is always extremely competitive and dependent on the automobile industry. La Scierie Paul Vallée Inc. in Saint-Isidore-de-Clifton is active in the lumber industry. The granite industry in Stanstead is booming. With regard to transport costs, there is one thing I can say: given the weight of the items they have to ship, they ship them one at a time, and that is expensive. The Cabico Inc. Group in Coaticook makes cabinets.

All of these businesses and many others in my riding are waiting for the government to act and finally produce a framework with an emphasis on prosperity. I forgot to mention the Graymont plant in Marbleton, which is one of the oldest mines in North America, dating from 1840, and one of the world biggest lime production facilities.

An economic update followed by practical measures focused on economic diversification can only be perceived as action properly taken by a responsible minister and government; it is bound to reassure the public. Instead, the Conservatives continue to rely on a single sector of activity, which bears the entire burden of Canada’s economic growth.

It is extremely disappointing that the government is thinking and acting in that way, given all of the communities, regions and municipalities that, in the last century, owed their existence in most cases to a single industrial activity. They were called single-industry towns. Those that did not adapt, did not react and did not make adjustments became virtual ghost towns.

Is that what lies ahead for Canada?

Opposition Motion—The EconomyBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Joe Comartin

The hon. member will have five minutes for questions and comments when debate resumes.

Correctional Service CanadaStatements By Members

January 27th, 2015 / 1:55 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, first there was the uncertainty over the compensation Quebec's cheese and dairy producers would receive for the potential loss of millions of dollars as a result of the free trade agreement with the European Union. Now the federal government is attacking Quebec's dairy producers once again.

Instead of doing business with local companies, federal penitentiaries will now serve powdered milk shipped by truck from Winnipeg to the penitentiaries in Quebec. For decades, the Chagnon dairy delivered 12,000 cartons of milk a week to the Cowansville and Drummondville penitentiaries.

Will the minister make Correctional Service Canada listen to reason and take it to task for this unreasonable decision?

This not about what tastes better in coffee. It is about the economic consequences that this federal decision will have for this region and Quebec and the job losses that will result.

Simon Alexander KingstonStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to commemorate the life of a dear constituent.

Simon Alexander Kingston was born in Bay du Vin on October 2, 1920. He was a retired, self-employed businessman and founded both Kingston Fuels Limited and Kingston Car Wash Limited, which are both still operating in Miramichi and are providing much-needed employment.

In addition to his business, Simon was also a dedicated member of St. Mary's Anglican Church, where he was a former church warden, a member of vestry, and a member of the cemetery committee.

He was also a member of the Miramichi chapter of the Shriners Club. Mr. Kingston was a veteran of the Second World War, serving overseas with the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers, and a member of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 18 in Miramichi.

Most importantly, Simon was a dedicated husband and father. His absence will be felt by many, both by his family and his community.

Family Literacy DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on this Family Literacy Day in my new capacity as the official opposition critic for La Francophonie.

As a mother, I know that it is not always easy to be a parent. Many parents in Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles are active and engaged people who must deal with a busy and stressful life.

In Canada, there are a number of initiatives that encourage Canadian families to include in their routine at least 15 minutes dedicated to the love of learning.

It is important to acknowledge the work of literacy organizations, libraries and schools. These organizations contribute to the social and economic integration of Canadians.

This government should place greater emphasis on families by rejecting income splitting and creating a national plan to end poverty. In 2015, an NDP government will make Canadian families its priority.

Alex Van Bibber and Ted HarrisonStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, over the past few months the Yukon has lost two iconic figures.

Alex Van Bibber passed away in late November at the age of 98. A child of the gold rush, Alex played a hand in almost every major event in the Yukon, including becoming one of the first Canadian Rangers in 1947. He pioneered the Yukon's robust outfitting industry and led the humane trapping initiative. He worked eight summers on a gold dredge.

When Robert Kennedy came north to climb a Yukon mountain for his brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Alex was hired as one of the expedition guides. He embodied everything that is great about the Yukon and was dubbed the toughest man in Canada.

The recent passing of Yukon artist Ted Harrison at the age of 88 has left a distinct hole in the Yukon art scene, as well as the hearts of Yukoners. His vision of the north and its people was so vibrant that it not only filled Yukoners with pride but made others long to visit and witness the majesty of Yukon for themselves.

Mr. Harrison is one of Canada's most popular artists. His love of the land and the people of Yukon brought him international acclaim, and his paintings can be found in private collections around the world.

Both of these men contributed to Yukon. We are sad for their loss but proud they are Yukoners.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, next month is Black History Month, and, as a nation, we should mark the occasion by exploring and celebrating the proud traditions of African Canadians.

In 1995, at the request of Hon. Jean Augustine, Prime Minister Chrétien established Black History Month to highlight the countless contributions made by people African descent to the Canadian mosaic.

Today, as we reflect, we must remember the influences of people like Hon. Lincoln Alexander, Hon. Jean Augustine, Carrie Best, and dozens of others who pushed aside outdated boundaries.

In this spirit, I am proud to welcome a group of young leaders to Ottawa today. These young Canadians from the Children's Breakfast Clubs represent hope and change for tomorrow.

In the month ahead, I encourage all Canadians to celebrate the many offerings made by our friends and neighbours of African descent. Certainly we are all better off for their work, their generosity, and their spirit of giving.

I welcome them to Ottawa.

National Non-Smoking WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, every 11 minutes, a Canadian dies from tobacco use. Every ten minutes, two Canadian teenagers start smoking cigarettes, and if they continue, one of them will lose his or her life because of it. I made a decision to quit smoking 35 years ago and I am so happy I did.

Earlier this month I took part in the Break It Off campaign, a partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society and Health Canada as part of National Non-Smoking Week. The team stopped at St. Lawrence College's Cornwall campus to encourage young Canadians to quit smoking. Over the years, these types of initiatives have contributed to reducing smoking rates from about 50% in the 1960s to about 16% today.

We are investing in this youth program because youth are the future. I hope that whatever their futures hold, it will not include smoking.

Youth and DemocracyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, popular opinion has it that Canadian youth are disengaged from the democratic process, yet from my experience our youth are playing an active role.

Let us take Nessa Deans as an example. She is an 11-year-old constituent who is enthusiastically participating in the political process at all levels. Nessa was named the youth winner of the 2014 Samara Everyday Political Citizen award for her efforts.

Claire Edwards, while in high school, successfully advocated for a student trustee position at the Edmonton Public School Board and now chairs the City of Edmonton Youth Council. She has been recognized with the Top 30 Under 30 award.

In the last federal election, University of Alberta students organized a votemobile service to help students access advanced polls.

Finally, at the service for Constable David Matthew Wynn, Keenooshayo grade 6 students sang this verse, lauding his support for the value of youth engagement:

We can make a difference in our world today
Together we can make our world a better place
When we work together, so much can be done
If all the children in the world would sing in unison.

Azerbaijan Black January TragedyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Barry Devolin Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, a couple of months ago we marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a great day that opened the door to democracy and human rights across Europe and beyond.

Today we mark a monumental anniversary of a different kind, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a word synonymous with the absolute worst of human behaviour.

Last week, the people of Azerbaijan marked a 25th anniversary of their own. Unfortunately, this was also for a terrible tragedy, one that came at the end of the Cold War. On January 19, 1990, in response to peaceful demonstrations in Baku calling for Azerbaijani independence, Soviet leaders sent in tanks and troops to viciously quell those gatherings. When the smoke cleared, 130 civilians had been killed and more than 700 more had been wounded. At the time, Human Rights Watch reported that “the violence used by the Soviet Army...was so out of proportion to the resistance offered by Azerbaijanis as to constitute an exercise in collective punishment.”

As chair of the Canada-Azerbaijan Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, I have twice laid flowers for victims at the Martyrs' Alley memorial in Baku and heard first-hand accounts from Azari friends who were there that night.

This month, Canadians join with Azerbaijanis to remember those who died and recognize that, in the end, their sacrifices ultimately hastened the end of the Soviet Union and the Cold War.

May they rest in peace.

Link ByfieldStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a sad honour for me to rise today to celebrate the life of Link Byfield, whose name is synonymous with Alberta politics. He embodied the passion and the conservative spirit of Alberta.

When the west wanted in, it was Link who knocked on the door. His Alberta Report and Western Report were the voice of Reform. The Reform Party would never have become the powerhouse that it was in Canada without Link. However, he did not stop there; he went on to become Canada's first independent elected senator, with 236,000 votes. Then he co-founded Alberta's Wildrose Party.

Link changed the political landscape of Canada. He did it with humility, humour, and faith. We should all recognize the contributions that he made to this great country.

Our prayers go out to his family, but they can rest assured that the things Link stood for, his passion and his commitment to freedom and justice, will be carried on.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Michel GuimondStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jonathan Tremblay NDP Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Monday we heard the sad news that my predecessor, Michel Guimond, had passed away unexpectedly.

I want to pay tribute to this political figure, here, in the House where he sat as the member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord from 1993 to 2011.

Political differences aside, I want to pay tribute to this larger-than-life man whose sole focus was the well-being of his constituents

Michel was a caring man who was committed to his community. Everyone was on a first-name basis with him, and he had an exceptional ability to make a connection with the people he met.

I hope that his children, Isabelle and Alexandre, his grandson Olivier and his partner Johanne will always remember how Michel lived his life to the fullest and how he dedicated the best part of his life to serving others.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to keeping the worst of the worst behind bars right where they belong. That is why we are committed to bringing forward legislation that means life sentences for dangerous individuals and predators will be just that, a life sentence. Never again will they be free to terrorize law-abiding citizens.

Sadly, today, I was disturbed to learn that the NDP and the Liberal Party will oppose this legislation, legislation they have not even yet read. This is clearly an example that the Liberal leader is not up to the serious job and, I might even say, the critical responsibility of protecting Canadian families.

Job CreationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, 200,000 more Canadians are out of work than before the recession. Crossing our fingers and delaying the budget is not a good economic plan. That is not how to show leadership. As Kevin Page said, the government has the means and must invest to stimulate the economy and broaden its tax base.

That is exactly what our leader proposed today by putting forward a plan to stimulate job creation in the manufacturing sector and in small businesses. Rather than offering billions of dollars to large corporations that are already making a profit, we believe that it would be better to support SMEs, which are the driving force behind job creation in Canada.

It is time to diversify our economy and encourage innovation in order to revive job creation in Canada. While the Conservatives are delaying their budget and the Prime Minister is refusing to work with the provinces to address economic issues, Canadians know that they can count on the NDP.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Parm Gill Conservative Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, since coming to office, our government has made it a mission to reduce taxes on Canadian families. This is why our Prime Minister announced that we would be putting hard-earned money back into the pockets of Canadian moms and dads with our family tax cut and the enhanced universal child tax care benefit.

Soon families in my riding will receive approximately $2,000 annually per child under the age of six. When added up, a family with five children will receive nearly $60,000 by the time their children turn the age of six. While we are making life more affordable, the Liberals and NDP would take this money away from families and hike taxes.

Unlike the members on that side of the House, we will continue to stand up for hard-working Canadian families.

International Holocaust Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed every January 27 to mark one of the darkest atrocities in human history, the systematic killing of six million Jews during the Second World War.

This year's solemn day of remembrance has a special meaning. It is also the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The victims of the unfathomable crime against humanity were six million daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, people whose lives were ended prematurely through acts of blind hatred.

Today is a day of deep reflection not only for the Jewish community but for all Canadians and people around the world. On this day and every day we must give special meaning to the words “never again”, by pledging to actively stand up against hate, injustice, anti-Semitism, and racism and refuse to be silent in the face of genocide.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, thanks to our Conservative government, Canadian families know that their hard-earned money will make its way back into their bank accounts.

Our plan is simple and we will stay the course. We trust parents to invest for their children and to spend their money as they see fit. Soon, Canadian families will receive $1,920 per year for each child under the age of six and $720 per year for each child aged six to 17.

The NDP and the Liberals want to take that money away and use it for massive bureaucratic expenses. Despite opposition from the New Democrats and the third party, the Liberal Party, which have taken a stand against middle-class families, I am proud that the Conservative government is giving money back to over four million Canadian families with children under the age of 18.

We recognize that parents are in a better position than the government to manage their own money.

International Holocaust Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Outremont Québec


Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today we stand together to commemorate the Holocaust, humanity's darkest hour. We remember the millions of mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters who were targeted by evil, including my wife's family.

We remember the children whose bright eyes were snuffed out too soon, and together, we commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz 70 years ago today.

That day, humanity did more than extinguish an infernal blaze; we reignited the flame of the human spirit.

Elie Wiesel said, “The opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference.”

May we never accept indifference in the face of anti-Semitism and intolerance, poisonous in all of their guises.

New Democrats stand with those who wish to build a better Canada, one of diversity and peace, and so against hate and indifference, we will work tirelessly so that this can never happen again. We will build a world where love will prevail.

AuschwitzStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Beginning in 1942, Jews would arrive from the ghettos of eastern Europe in cattle cars. Upon arrival, those strong enough to work would be sent to the right. Women and children would be sent to the left to die in the gas chambers. By 1944, some 20,000 people a day would be murdered in this fashion.

Some had another fate. Josef Mengele, the camp doctor, would pick children, particularly twins, for gruesome experiments.

Those sent for slave labour would be tattooed with a number of their arm, like my dad, 15 years old at the time. Many were worked to their death. Others, by time of liberation, would sit or lie on the ground, staring vacantly into space, no longer aware of who or where they were. By liberation, over one million Jews had died in Auschwitz, plus 100,000 others were in this factory of death.

Therefore, when we remember the dead souls and we say, “never again”, let this not be a mere phrase but a call to action, a call to resist anti-Semitism and ignorance in all it forms and to refuse to be bystanders to evil whenever it rears its ugly head.

Let that be the true legacy of Auschwitz.

AuschwitzStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Following discussions by representatives of all parties in the House, I understand that there is an agreement to observe a moment of silence in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation.

I invite hon. members to rise.

[A moment of silence observed]

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec


Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last fall I asked the Prime Minister whether Canadian Forces in Iraq were painting targets for air strikes. The Prime Minister answered, “...the purpose of Canadian Forces in Iraq is to assist and advise.... ...there is not a direct combat role.”

Again, I asked about ground forces targeting for air strikes, and again the Prime Minister said, “...Canadian Forces involved in Iraq are not involved in combat.”

However, the Chief of the Defence Staff has confirmed that painting targets is a combat role. That mission has involved combat from the beginning.

Why did the Prime Minister mislead Parliament and mislead Canadians about sending Canadian Forces into combat in Iraq?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the only problem here is that the NDP does not support the military mission against the Islamic State, something that all of our principal allies and many more around the world are involved in because it involves a direct threat to this country and to the civilized world.

Our troops are there advising and assisting Iraqi forces, and they are doing an excellent job. We stand 100% behind them.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec


Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, our troops always do an excellent job in the missions that they are given by the Canadian government and by this Parliament.

The question here is this. Why did the Prime Minister mislead the Canadian public?

Those quotes are clear. Those questions were precise. The Prime Minister gave intentionally misleading answers. Canadians want to know why their Prime Minister, on something this important, did not tell the truth to Canadians.