House of Commons Hansard #211 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was families.

Topics

Opposition Motion--Care for VeteransBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. She was very passionate, and her speech was so interesting. She did not mention this, but I know that she was once a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. I would like to talk more about the personal side of this debate on the NDP motion.

Can the member talk about her experience in the Canadian Armed Forces and the amazing work these men and women in uniform do? What does she think of the Conservative government's lack of interest in helping these men and women in uniform, and what might be the consequences for her former armed forces colleagues?

Opposition Motion--Care for VeteransBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2015 / 1:50 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, all I can say is that over the years, I had the good fortune—if you can call it that—to have colleagues who talked about some of the experiences they had when they were sent on combat missions. Those individuals went through some difficult times, and some of their stories are hard to listen to. I have friends who have told me they remember the water in the river running completely red in Rwanda, because of all the bodies floating in it. When people are left with those kinds of images stuck in their heads, obviously the government and the country have a moral obligation toward them to recognize what they have been through and make sure that we are always behind them and supporting them. We also need to make sure that their families can count on us during the most difficult times to help these individuals heal and ease the suffering from the effects of their experiences.

Opposition Motion--Care for VeteransBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the House knows that since 2006 the current government has clawed back $1.13 billion that could have been spent on programs. The government claims that it met its obligations, met the thresholds, and paid veterans what they were entitled to, yet in the face of that we have thousands of veterans begging for better payments and better services for themselves and their families.

The government also closed nine veterans offices from Corner Brook in Newfoundland and Labrador to Prince George, British Columbia. It let 949 front-line staff go. The Conservatives were warned by their own that this would have a negative effect on Veterans Affairs and a worse negative effect on the veterans those offices were to serve. The Auditor General even recited that point in his report.

I wonder if the member can comment on any concerns she might have and on the effectiveness of the Conservatives' response to the many claims by veterans for better benefits for themselves and their families.

Opposition Motion--Care for VeteransBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, most of the people who have brought me their files—three or four binders, two inches thick—started their fight under a Liberal government. They have seen two or three successive prime ministers, and their files are still active under the Conservative government.

At the beginning of my speech, I said that taking care of veterans should not be a partisan issue, but a national issue. I do not want to start debating whether the Liberals or the Conservatives did the most damage to veterans. What I can say is that they did not do enough, that is for sure. Here we are in 2015 and we are still asking for everyone to stand up and recognize that we have a moral and social obligation to veterans. That is what is important, not which of the two parties was worse. Currently, we are seeing Liberal and Conservative MPs pointing the finger at each other, instead of making a sincere and deep commitment to understanding what veterans and soldiers are going through every day.

Opposition Motion--Care for VeteransBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to join this important debate today and to stand up for the veterans of our country who were there for Canada when we needed them and deserve our being there for them once they have finished serving.

I want to congratulate my colleague, the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam, for bringing this motion to the House today, and I would be remiss if I did not mention the vast body of work undertaken by the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore, who has been relentless with his work on behalf of the veterans of this country.

Surely most Canadians would agree with New Democrats when we say that we value the work and sacrifice of all Canadians Forces and RCMP veterans, along with those currently serving, in every aspect of the difficult jobs they have undertaken on our behalf. Whether they serve at home or in war or in peacekeeping missions, these individuals distinguish themselves with professionalism and honour at every turn. Sadly, their professionalism and honour have not been reflected in the actions of the government, which has set out to nickel-and-dime veterans while somehow convincing itself that it is being nothing but supportive.

The truth is that under the Conservatives' watch, we have witnessed injured and disabled veterans having to fight their own government in court for the compensation and care they deserve. It has become so bad that during the last few weeks that Parliament will sit, the Conservatives are playing politics with veterans in an attempt to woo back some voters in October. To do this, they have cynically included provisions to assist veterans in the latest omnibus budget bill. It is nothing but an attempt to force opposition parties who support those measures to vote against them when they oppose the larger reckless measures in this massive bill.

I want to make it clear right now that if the Conservatives truly stood behind veterans, they would hive off that section of the budget and bring it for debate as a stand-alone item. I am convinced that if they were to do that, our veterans would be able to witness members of the entire House working together on their behalf. However, the Conservatives do not care about anything more than their political fortunes and are therefore planning to use veterans as a wedge in the October election. In that respect, they are showing even more contempt for our veterans than they have so far, which is really and truly saying something.

In reality, the Conservatives are not serious about making the circumstances of veterans any better. If they were serious about improving the care that our veterans actually receive, they would stop fighting veterans in court and recognize the historic covenant that is the veterans charter.

What our veterans deserve is a government that is willing to work with them and respect them, a government that wants to hear their stories and find ways to repair the damage that has been done. Instead, veterans are getting some last-minute attention from a government that up until now has made it seem as if the country they served so proudly has abandoned them.

What has to change is the way the Conservatives view the Department of Veterans Affairs. They need to understand that Veterans Affairs should be run in such a way that veterans and their families are well cared for from the moment members sign up until to the moment they pass away, including being given a dignified funeral and burial. It may sound inconceivable to some Canadians that we have to stand in this place and fight for these things, but that is the sad state of affairs that defines the relationship between our veterans and our government.

In fact, it is so bad that after nine years of Conservative rule, too many veterans and their families still cannot access adequate health care, pensions, and other vital supports. Despite those challenges, the Conservatives have gone ahead and closed nine front-line veterans affairs offices. I am sure most people understand that Canadian Forces veterans and their families deserve our deepest gratitude and deserve to be taken care of. Closing the front-line offices these people worked with and relied on is no way to do that.

We knew that Veterans Affairs was among the very best of our departments and that when it came to using its resources, it did so efficiently. It was lean and effective and should never have had to deal with the across-the-board budget cuts the government dealt out.

New Democrats said as much at the time, but the government refused to listen. Conservatives have proven time and again that they have a tin ear when it comes to these issues. They would rather fight for budget lines than fight for our veterans.

We have seen this many times, and it has resulted in the Conservatives eliminating more than 900 jobs at Veterans Affairs since 2009. That is a very large number of jobs that have been eliminated, and that is very troubling. This amounts to staff cuts of 23%. These deep and damaging budget cuts show that the government's actions fly in the face of what it says it stands for. That is why many people are wondering if this government really supports our military and our veterans.

Veterans are realizing this. They came to tell us about their problems, and we did what the government is incapable of doing: we listened. That is why the NDP is bringing forward proposals that will improve programs and services for veterans and their families.

The government prefers to play games with its omnibus budget at the last minute. The Conservatives know that they have made life more difficult for veterans, and they hope that the games they are playing with this budget will deceive enough people—

Opposition Motion--Care for VeteransBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please.

The Chair regrets interrupting the member. However, she will have four minutes remaining when the matter returns before the House after question period.

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy AssociationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the excellent work of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, or CCPA. It is the leading association for counselling and psychotherapy in Canada, which increases the awareness about the role of the profession in all health care, educational, and industry sectors.

Through its exclusive education programs, certification, professional development, and direct contact with professional peers and speciality groups, the CCPA promotes the profession and its contribution to the mental health and well-being of all Canadians.

The CCPA is celebrating its 50th anniversary at its 2015 conference in Niagara Falls. It will attract more than 450 delegates from several other countries.

This is the largest gathering of counsellors and psychotherapists in Canada and their opportunity to share information and training techniques and to connect and network with other health care professionals.

The conference, whose theme is “Communicate, Connect, Collaborate”, will facilitate professional development of mental health practitioners and promote the exchange of theory, research, and ideas among delegates

The mental health of Canadians is a very important issue to all of us, and the CCPA is doing is doing its part, and I thank it for that.

Lanaudière Native Friendship CentreStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Francine Raynault NDP Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the past three years, the Lanaudière native friendship centre has been organizing the Motetan Mamo nation-to-nation march.

The march is approximately 185 kilometres long and goes from Joliette to Manawan. It is a fundraiser to assist Atikamekw people who have to leave Manawan in order to receive dialysis, which takes half a day every three days.

This event is a demonstration of solidarity, but it also brings together the nations in our region. It is a classic example of the extraordinary work that friendship centres do across the country.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Regroupement des Centres d’amitié, whose representatives are on the Hill today, and I invite all my colleagues to take the time to learn more about the friendship centres in their regions.

Artfest on the EsplanadeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the City of Pickering, in partnership with the PineRidge Arts Council and the Music by the Bay, is pleased to host Artfest and Blues Fest in Esplanade Park in Pickering, Saturday, May 23, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Every summer, the Esplanade comes alive with music, dance, crafts, and singing, along with children's art areas and artists' demonstrations.

This free arts event will include more than 90 artists from across Canada who will exhibit a great variety of original art, which includes paintings, photography, pottery, wood carvings, jewellery, handmade rugs, stationery, candles, and much more.

This year's Artfest will include also a blues festival, bringing together the whole community, where everyone will enjoy the food, various types of art, live music, and the offerings of local artists.

I would like this House to join with me to wish the City of Pickering and its partners a successful and memorable event in order to promote, educate, and celebrate the arts, while creating awareness of the need of a visual and performing arts centre in the city of Pickering and Durham region.

Lifetime Achievement AwardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize William Callahan of Newfoundland and Labrador, who has had a distinguished career in journalism and politics. Mr. Callahan was recognized this past weekend at the Atlantic Journalism Awards as recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

His career spanned radio and television, as well as print media in which he held various positions, including principal owner of the paper The Daily News. His sports writing and broadcasting earned him a place in the Newfoundland and Labrador Hockey Hall of Fame.

As a reporter, he covered everything from the Germany that emerged after the fall of the Berlin Wall to the burgeoning oil and aquaculture industries in Norway.

He also authored two books, as well as editing a third.

Mr. Callahan took a break from journalism when he ran successfully to be a member of the provincial House of Assembly.

While he served as minister of energy, mines, and resources, he was involved in the establishment of Gros Morne as a national park, which later became a UNESCO world heritage site, and L'Anse aux Meadows and Port au Choix as historic sites in the province.

I ask all members to join me in congratulating 83-year-old William Callahan on this prestigious award.

Bruce Grey Music Hall of FameStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise in the House today to recognize the upcoming grand opening of the long-awaited Bruce Grey Music Hall of Fame.

The hall will officially open on June 7 and will be located in what was originally known as the Hepworth Country Music Auditorium.

The auditorium has a long music history with performances from several famous artists. It is said that Stompin' Tom Connors got his start at the auditorium when he asked if he could take the stage while the headliner took a break. I was there that night. The soon-to-be-open Hall of Fame will recognize all genres of local music and will highlight all local entertainers who have made their mark in Bruce Grey.

I would like to congratulate Bill Murdoch, Arnie Clark, Jim Merriam, and Kevin Moyse, for all the work they have put into this project.

As Stompin' Tom said in his farewell letter, the torch has been passed on to future artists to “keep the Maple Leaf flying high” in Canadian music. The Bruce Grey Music Hall of Fame will do just that by keeping local music in Bruce Grey alive for generations to come.

HousingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Toronto, rents have soared year after year and, without real rent control or new affordable housing, tenants are being squeezed.

In my riding of Parkdale—High Park, private landlords are buying up apartment buildings, but doing modest repairs and then applying for above-guideline rent increases that force residents out of their homes. However, Parkdale tenants are fighting back, challenging multi-national property owner Akelius at the Landlord and Tenant Board. It was an honour to join them in solidarity, and I congratulate them on their victories.

Local residents and community organizations have also founded the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust to create space for affordable housing in our rapidly changing downtown neighbourhoods. It is a model for integrated and democratic urban development.

The only thing missing in the fight for affordable housing in Toronto is the federal government. We need a comprehensive national plan to build and support social and affordable housing, and Canadians can count on the NDP to deliver just that.

Camp XStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Friday, I had the honour to attend the 70th anniversary VE Day ceremony at Camp X, near my home riding of Oshawa.

Camp X was a top secret spy training ground set up by Sir William Stephenson, who is believed to be the real-life inspiration for James Bond. Oshawa's Royal Canadian Legion Branch 637 is named after Sir William Stephenson.

The deciphering and communications ability of the Hydra communications facility at Camp X was so advanced that Alan Turing, who was recently portrayed in the highly acclaimed movie, The Imitation Game, came to study it. By mid-1944, the Hydra station sent and received the bulk of allied communications in the western hemisphere. The work made German tapping of transatlantic lines useless, and was crucial for allied victory in Europe.

Camp X is a symbol that Canada has always punched above its weight and plays an important role in preserving world peace. With CBC's X Company, a new generation of Canadians is beginning to understand this truth.

McHappy DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, Canadians celebrated the 22nd annual McHappy Day. Each year, more than 1,400 McDonald's restaurants across Canada celebrate this day, raising money for the good work of their charity.

Ronald McDonald House Charities helps give sick children the one thing they need most: their families. It provides families with a home away from home or a place of peace and calm within a hospital. Since its inception, 300,000 families have been served by the Ronald McDonald houses, family rooms, and care mobiles.

The McHappy Day 2015 and the happy meal program this year raised more than $9 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities and local children's charities across Canada.

My riding of Don Valley West is home to McDonald's Canada's head office. I want to congratulate and thank them for giving back to the communities in which they operate.

Heroes of New Westminster—CoquitlamStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, every community has heroes meriting recognition for their volunteerism, charitable giving, commitment to helping others, and building a caring and prosperous Canada. Recognizing these community heroes allows us to publicly thank them for their contributions.

I would like to recognize some heroes in my community. Elsley and Yetty Foulds are long-time volunteers with the Coquitlam Legion. For years, Yetty has been the driving force behind the local poppy drive, while Elsley recently received the French National Order of the Legion of Honour, just before he died.

Brenda Miller volunteers with the Port Moody Legion and promotes local heritage.

Tally Baybic is an award-winning youth advocate for social justice and the environment.

Ruth Foster is a nationally recognized environmental educator who has worked for decades to promote environmental stewardship at Mossom Creek Hatchery.

Guy Black is a Canadian Forces veteran who was instrumental in organizing the largest Korean War commemorative event in Canada.

These are just a few of the many community heroes from my riding, and I am proud to honour them.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals do not think that people earning up to $60,000 a year are middle class. The Liberals think that people who earn up to $60,000 are too rich and, therefore, should pay higher taxes.

The Liberals clearly have no idea of how to make life better for the middle class, small businesses, and seniors. They want to replace our family tax cut with a family tax hike. In fact, they admit that their plan has a $2 billion hole, which we know they will fill by taking away tax-free savings accounts and income splitting for seniors.

We will not let them do this to the people of Canada or the people of Nipissing—Timiskaming. The people of my riding work too hard to be double-taxed by the Liberals. Clearly, this side of the House is the only side that stands up for the middle class.

PrivacyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the debate on Bill C-51, the Conservatives' draconian attack on our rights and freedoms, a number of my colleagues expressed concern about sweeping new powers to share information among government departments and agencies on almost anything, not just terrorism and violence. We heard that the Privacy Commissioner is concerned that the bill would allow information on law-abiding Canadians to be collected and shared without reasonable cause and that it could allow the government to build personal profiles on each and every one of us.

In Scarborough and in Toronto, we have heard this story before. For the past 10 years, Toronto police have been engaged in carding. Carding allows police to stop anyone without cause and collect personal information and enter it into a database. This practice has been widely criticized, with many people seeing little difference between carding and racial profiling. Will the information in the carding database be subject to the sharing provisions of Bill C-51?

We should all be very concerned. As Tom Mulcair said, we cannot protect our freedoms by sacrificing them.

PrivacyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I believe the hon. member meant to refer to his colleague by his riding and not by his proper name.

The hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Conservative Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, moms and and dads, not government bureaucrats, should be the ones making important decisions that affect their own children. That is why our new family tax cut and enhanced universal child care benefit would give 100% of families with kids an average of nearly $2,000 per child annually. That is nearly $12,000 over a child's first six years. Families in my riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore are pleased that they can utilize that support for their family's unique circumstances.

What do we hear from the leader of the Liberal Party? He wants to take away the universal child care benefit and the family tax cut. He would raise taxes on the middle class, raise taxes on small business, and raise taxes on seniors. We will not let that happen.

Claude PoirierStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to acknowledge the contribution of Claude Poirier, one of my constituents from Bourassa. This year, he received the Governor General's award for his contribution.

Claude Poirier has been actively involved in his parish’s activities and within his community for more than 50 years. Young people are a special focus of his volunteer involvement. He is dedicated to promoting mental health and early intervention as part of the youth net program, of which he is the founding president.

He also served on the board of directors of Muscular Dystrophy Canada, of Fleury hospital and of the Fondation de la recherche sur les maladies infantiles, in addition to being involved with the Regroupement des Auberges du coeur du Québec and with Club Richelieu.

Mr. Poirier is a successful businessman. He is the president of Société Montréal-Nord 2015. I would like to congratulate him and thank him on behalf of my colleagues and on behalf of the people of Bourassa.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the ISIS death cult has made it clear that it targets Canada and Canadians by name. Ignoring this threat and standing on the sidelines will not keep Canada safe. I rise today to thank the men and women in uniform who are working to degrade ISIS so that it is no longer a threat to Canada.

In fact, on May 9, one our CF-18 Hornets carried out a successful strike on an ISIS fighting position located north of Bayji. On behalf of my constituents of Mississauga—Streetsville, I thank our brave members who serve.

EthicsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, Senator Duffy's trial has been under way for a month, revealing with every passing day a little more about the Conservatives' and the PMO's manoeuvring.

Duffy served as the front man to help 74 Conservative MPs raise funds for the party. He did so at taxpayers' expense. It is hardly surprising that the Conservatives and the PMO did everything they could to bury the scandal. Heedless of Privy Council's warnings, the Prime Minister appointed an Ottawa-based senator for P.E.I. in violation of the Constitution.

The RCMP says that the PMO carried out a deliberate strategy to delete or change information in a confidential internal Senate report on Duffy's questionable expenses. After violating the Constitution, covering up information, and systematically refusing to answer questions, the Prime Minister no longer has a choice. He has to tell us the truth, the whole truth.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Yellowhead, my constituents are very pleased with our government's low-tax plan for Canadians and their families. These are families whose incomes come from agriculture, forestry, mining, energy, and tourism.

We cut the GST, introduced pension income splitting, created the tax-free savings account, implemented the family tax cut, and enhanced the universal child care benefit to provide 100% of families with children with more money to spend on their priorities.

The Liberals want to replace our family tax cuts with their family tax hike, taking more of these families' hard-earned income. We know that the Liberals would raise taxes to fill the $2 billion hole in their scheme. However, on this side of the House, we will not let that happen to families in my riding and across Canada.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office exists to provide the Prime Minister with advice. Nowhere in its mandate is there any mention of orchestrating cover-ups or interfering with Senate investigations, yet the RCMP found the PMO was secretly making changes to a Senate report in order to try to cover up Mike Duffy's expense and residency scandal.

Will the government cut its evasions and answer two simple questions: under whose authority did the PMO staff get hold of a confidential Senate report, and under whose authority was it whitewashed?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as members know, this matter is before the courts, so it would obviously be inappropriate for me to comment on evidence that is before the courts.