House of Commons Hansard #230 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economy.

Topics

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, in her victory speech last night, Montreal's new mayor, Valérie Plante, said she intends to ask the federal government for help increasing the supply of social housing units.

In Montreal, 25,000 families are waiting for social housing. The mayor is adding her voice to that of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' big city mayors' caucus, which recently called on the government to ensure that the national housing strategy includes funding to maintain and expand the social housing stock.

Has the minister heard her call?

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalMinister of Families

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ms. Plante on being elected Montreal's new mayor.

I also want to congratulate and thank all of the other candidates who worked very hard all across Quebec to run in the municipal election. I am personally very much looking forward to meeting Ms. Plante.

In the coming weeks, we will launch Canada's first-ever national housing strategy, which will provide extraordinary opportunities to strengthen the Government of Canada's role in supporting our families in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Pierre Breton Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Granby, in my riding of Shefford, we have the largest francophone singing competition in North America. Since 1969, this festival has been an important vehicle for showcasing and promoting Canadian francophone talent around the world. Recently, the Minister of Canadian Heritage made historic announcements for Canadian creators.

Could the minister tell the House what she is doing to support these artists and to showcase their work abroad?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

November 6th, 2017 / 3 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his excellent question and for his work in the cultural sector.

We believe in culture. That is why we invested $2.2 billion in our cultural sector since forming the government. When it comes to music, we also invested $4.15 million over two years to ensure that we can export our musical talent abroad. In addition, we invested $125 million over five years to relaunch cultural diplomacy and support our cultural exporting strategy.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, as an MP, Terence Young introduced Vanessa's Law to honour his daughter, who died after taking a prescription drug. Three years ago today, Vanessa's Law received royal assent, yet under the Liberal government, it sits idle and unenforced.

The Liberals are proposing to undermine the intent of this law even further by making Canadians wait six years for reports of injuries and deaths and by requiring researchers to sign contracts to never reveal crucial data.

Why has the government abandoned Vanessa's Law and the transparency crucial to reducing drug harm and deaths?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we remain committed to working with our provincial and territorial partners to ensure that all Canadians have access to the prescription drugs they require in an affordable and accessible way.

We will continue to work with all affected Canadians on ensuring that this system is fair for all.

EthicsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, it has gotten to the point where every time the issue of tax havens comes up, so does the Liberal Party, and every time we talk about tax havens and the Liberal Party, the Minister of National Revenue sounds like a broken record.

After learning that Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, and Stephen Bronfman, three prominent Liberals, are hiding millions of dollars down south, we understand why this government refuses to take action against tax havens. It would rather defend the indefensible than clean house. Taxes are for other people to pay, certainly not the Prime Minister's friends.

Will the Canada Revenue Agency do its job and investigate Stephen Bronfman?

EthicsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, during the last campaign, the government was very clear. Cracking down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance was part of our platform.

Over the past two years, we have invested nearly $1 billion, which has allowed us to conduct investigations and to recoup nearly $25 billion. Charges have been laid. We are working internationally and examining four jurisdictions per year.

That is what Canadians asked us to do and we are getting the job done.

EthicsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, we simply cannot trust the Liberals to do anything but get caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

We wondered why they voted against the Bloc Québécois motion to combat tax havens. We now know it was because that is where they hide their money. The Liberal Party is the tax-evasion party, and yet the Liberals still claim to be standing up for the middle class.

Will this government finally take action and go after people who use tax havens to evade taxes, even if those people include friends, family members, or colleagues?

EthicsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is fully committed to combatting tax evasion, and we have taken concrete action to do so.

Over the past two years, we have invested nearly $1 billion, allowing us to recoup $25 billion. Charges have been laid. We are working at the international level. We are working with our partners. The work is not done. It is ongoing.

I can say that we have always done quite a bit more than the Bloc Québécois.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Independent

Hunter Tootoo Independent Nunavut, NU

[Member spoke in aboriginal language]

[English]

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. The government is committed to making real progress on issues most important to indigenous peoples, including education. Targeted investments in first nations education have been made to ensure a brighter future for first nations children.

Nunavut currently has the lowest graduation rate in the country, with only 35% of students graduating. This is 50% lower than the national average. How and when will similar targeted investments be made for Inuit education in Nunavut?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in line with our commitment to work with provinces and territories, we recognize that the issues raised by my colleague are very important. I can assure him that they are at the very heart of our preoccupations. Recently the finance minister met with the organization Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which represents more than 50,000 Inuit in some communities my colleague has referred to.

Our government transferred $1.6 billion for 2017-18 to Nunavut. We will continue to work with our partners to make sure we achieve results for all Canadians and to work with the member.

150th Anniversary of the First Meeting of ParliamentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Pursuant to an order made on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, I will now make a statement commemorating the 150th anniversary of the first meeting of the first Parliament of Canada, after which I invite representatives of all parties in the House to proceed with their own statements.

I invite all members to the Hall of Honour for the unveiling of a decorative window commemorating this event.

Today we mark an important milestone in Canada's history, the 150th anniversary of the first meeting of the first Parliament. I am honoured that in recognition of this significant chapter in our nation's history, we have in attendance today several of our former prime ministers, speakers, and clerks of the House of Commons.

On November 6, 1867, Canada's members of Parliament came together for the first time to begin shaping their new country, writing the laws that would enable their fellow citizens to govern themselves and strengthen our fledging democracy.

On this day 150 years ago, our predecessors embarked on an ambitious journey that continues to this day, the journey towards a fair, prosperous country for all citizens.

It is difficult to imagine the enormity of the task before those first parliamentarians gathered in the chamber that used to stand here, facing the monumental challenge of governing a vast and sprawling country still in its infancy. Consider, too, that in those days, Ottawa was not perhaps the most sophisticated location for Canada's capital. A decade before Confederation, the English essayist and political scientist, Goldwin Smith, dismissed Ottawa as “a sub-Arctic lumber-village converted by royal mandate into a political cockpit”.

To avoid hurting the feelings of Jim Watson, the mayor of Ottawa, I should add that Ottawa has come a long way since those days. It has even become a leading city, and a lot of work has gone into its development, but there is, of course, always more to be done.

Any democracy worthy of its name is always a work in progress, and it is our duty as parliamentarians to build on the foundation laid by those first members of Parliament who established the country that it is our privilege to serve.

150th Anniversary of the First Meeting of ParliamentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Prime Ministers, I rise today to mark a historic anniversary. On this day 150 years ago, Canada's first legislature sat for the very first time. Over the many years and sessions that followed, this House, more than any other institution, wrote Canada's history. Men and women sat in this chamber to debate and pass legislation to build a better, fairer, more equitable country for all.

Our 14th prime minister, the great Lester B. Pearson, once said, “We who are elected to serve Canada in Parliament owe those who elect us more than the advocacy of non-controversial ideas.” He was right.

This House has hosted some of the most important debates and decisions of our time. Within these walls, Canada has been reborn countless times since Confederation, and in our progress we have defined the character of a country. It was here that Agnes Macphail broke barriers as the first female MP. It was here that we introduced universal health care. It was here that we abolished the death penalty. It was here that same-sex couples were extended the right to marry.

It was here that the Official Languages Act was debated and passed. It was also here that we righted some of our most terrible wrongs. We apologized for dark, shameful chapters in our history, especially the horrible way indigenous people were treated in the residential school system and the refusal to take in the innocent people aboard the Komagata Maru who were seeking help.

This House has welcomed some extraordinary guests, including Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, and Malala Yousafzai. In fact, serving in this chamber is one of the greatest honours to which a person can aspire.

Day after day, year after year, members sit in this House and do important work on behalf of Canadians, work that impacts families and communities, work that shapes the course of people's daily lives.

Because of the magnitude of what happens and what can happen here, we will not always agree. However, it is the way we disagree that defines us. Let us be women and men of principle and of humility, for we have been bestowed the responsibility to serve and we must do so honourably.

We are lucky to have had strong leaders in this place to remind us of that, folks like Arnold Chan. Let us never lose sight of the fact that we are all here for the same reason, to make our country better, to improve the lives of the people we serve. We may have different ideas on how to get there, but there is always common ground. If we work together, we will find it.

On this historic day, I call upon all of us to continue to work hard and to stay true to ourselves. On that, I am reminded of something that our 15th prime minister once said: “Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die.”

150th Anniversary of the First Meeting of ParliamentOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for 150 years, our Parliament has been a reflection of Canada and Canadians. It is more than a building. It is the embodiment of our national character, its virtues and vices, its strengths and its weaknesses.

It has been burned to the ground and been built back up stone by stone. It has heard the echoes of gunfire, and felt the blast of a bomb that, thankfully, detonated mere minutes prematurely.

It has rung with cheers of victory at the end of two world wars, and it has stood mute witness to the tears of a nation mourning distinguished former members of this House lying in state, from Sir John A. Macdonald to the hon. Jack Layton.

The legislative measures debated and passed in this chamber help Canada progress and, unfortunately, they also sometimes set us back. Our House has seen legislative measures that support our liberties, and others that limit them.

This is a physical place, but also an institution, and as an institution made of human beings, the outcomes are not always perfect.

As Canadians, we must not forget our past. We must never be afraid to admit when we have made a mistake and to apologize when necessary.

That is why Prime Minister Harper came to the House nine years ago and issued a formal apology to former victims of the Indian residential schools on behalf of a country that had failed them. It was appropriate, because so many of the decisions that caused so much grief and suffering had been deliberated and, in some cases, approved right here in this building.

That we who have been trusted with the governance of Canada have sometimes failed should not be surprising. This chamber may be made of wood and stone, but the men and women who give it its life are hewn from the crooked timber of humanity. These chairs have supported patriots and heroes, but also a few rogues, so we cannot claim to have always been perfect, but we know that perfection is not available to us this side of eternity. Yet, somehow, the motley and imperfect assemblages that have gathered here over the last 150 years have achieved something of a miracle.

Together, the members who came before us superintended a Canada that has grown and flourished beyond what anyone in the first Parliament could have dreamed.

It is fashionable today to look down at the past, but that is a luxury we enjoy from heights built by those who preceded us in this chamber. If we look back at our rich history and study the leading figures in its telling and see only the blemishes, then we are missing out on the beautiful story of a country constantly bettering itself, and consistently offering a refuge to so many around the world. It is a story of different parliaments at different times, working through the imperfections of the day. It is a story that on the whole has been a story of hope for so many. It is a story of prosperity, compassion, liberty, and human rights.

To those who deny we have anything to be proud of as a country, I would pose a simple question: “Where else would you have rather lived for the last 150 years?” That is not a rhetorical question. It is a straightforward question for which there is only one honest answer. There is nowhere we would rather have lived, no country we would rather call our home, for no country has acquitted herself better at home and abroad than Canada.

It is indisputable that the world has been better off for the last 150 years because of Canada. Without the sacrifices of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen, more than 100,000 of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice, while many more came home bearing scars, mental and physical, the world would be more dangerous.

Without the brilliance of our artists, painters, sculptors, writers, singers, and actors, the world would be losing part of its cultural richness.

Without the work of the men and women who cultivate, farm, and develop our incredible landscape, who fish in our three great oceans that surround us, and who work in the towns, plants, and office towers, the world would be poorer, colder, and darker. If we dwell on past mistakes, we miss out on their remarkable successes. We end up taking for granted their contribution to Canada and Canada's contribution to the rest of the world.

It is time for a little gratitude. Make that a lot of gratitude.

That we have prospered and flourished is no accident. It is a combination of good fortune and good stewardship. We are fortunate to have inherited the most stable and enduring political system in the world. We should be grateful to the members of the House who have nurtured and sustained it for the benefit of Canadians and the inspiration of the world.

For it is to this House that world leaders have come over the last century to express their admiration of Canada as the very exemplar of peace, order, and good government. It was here that Churchill came in Britain's darkest hour, when Hitler's armies were within sight of English shores, to thank Canada for our support and to display his jowl-shaking defiance in the face of Nazi aggression.

Later, we were engaged in a very different kind of war against Soviet imperialism, a battle not just based on geography but on ideology, a battle to defend the economic freedom that had created untold prosperity for so many millions around the world, yet a freedom that was denied to so many. During that battle, two of the great figures of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, each came to this House twice to thank Canada for our friendship and dedication to key principles.

More recently, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko came to Canada while his country was suffering under a new Russian imperialism, to praise "the special partnership between Ukraine and Canada" and to salute Canada as a model for Ukraine and for the world.

It is in our nature as Canadians to be self-deprecating, but sometimes, maybe once every 150 years, it is okay to acknowledge what the rest of the world tells us: we occupy a special place in the fellowship of free nations and our institutions, including this Parliament, are the envy of other nations.

I am not asking members of the House to pat ourselves on the back and congratulate ourselves for assuming this awesome duty. Rather, let us roll up our sleeves and get to work in the House and across Canada to continue the work of those who came before us so that those who come after us, 150 years from now, will consider us worthy of the same gratitude we offer today to our predecessors.

150th Anniversary of the First Meeting of ParliamentOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to join my colleagues in marking the 150th anniversary of the first sitting of Parliament. Canadians can be truly proud of having built, shaped, and preserved one of the longest uninterrupted parliaments in the world. Every day we demonstrate to the world how ideas can be debated in a peaceful, civil, and productive manner, with the possible exception of question period.

We show how we can come together to make life better for the people who sent us here to represent them. In a country as geographically, linguistically, and ethnically diverse as ours, this is no small achievement.

The NDP can be proud of the major firsts they have contributed to Parliament. Among those, our party was the first to have an openly gay man elected to the House and the first to have a woman lead a federal political party in the House, just to name a few milestones. There is no doubt that we have made a lot of progress since the days when Parliament was made up of only white men. We are pleased to see that the members sitting in the House look a lot more like the people who voted for them than they used to a long time ago.

However, we have to be honest that we are nowhere close to where we need to be. We have yet to achieve even near gender balance in the House. The 2015 election sent a record number of women to this chamber and yet they still only make up a little more than one quarter of the MPs in the House. All parties should use this important anniversary to commit to reaching gender parity in the House as soon as possible.

New Democrats and Canadians across the country also believe our Parliament can be made even better by reflecting Canadians' actual voting preferences.

Let us be honest, the House does not reflect the proportion of support each party received in the last election.

If we move toward a proportional system of elections, we could not only make room for new voices, but re-inspire Canadians with the knowledge that their votes truly do matter and their Parliament is truly a reflection of their will. Surely there is no better way to mark the 150th anniversary of Parliament than by working to make it more representative. All Canadians will benefit from it.

No celebration of our Parliament would be complete if we did not mention the hard work of the devoted staff and public servants who, by the thousands, over many decades, have kept this institution on a steady course by handling everything that goes on behind the scenes.

We thank the Clerk, the committee staff, the legislative support staff, our financial officers, our cafeteria workers, the janitorial staff, the security guards, and every other member of the personnel who I will not be able to mention specifically today. This Parliament literally cannot function without them.

Last, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all Canadians on the 150th anniversary of their Parliament and recommit to making this place a source of pride for our country, but, more important, a source of the support, solutions, and leadership that will make life better for everyone, from coast to coast to coast.

Thank you and congratulations.

150th Anniversary of the First Meeting of ParliamentOral Questions

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to congratulate those who spoke before me for their heartfelt tribute to the 150 years of the Canadian parliamentary system. I am sure that the Canadian parliamentary system is something very important to them. I am sure that it is very important and that many Canadians are proud of it.

Unfortunately, for many Quebeckers, it means something else. Let us face it, the 150th anniversary was not exactly celebrated in Quebec, which is not surprising. Quebec never looked forward to signing the British North America Act. There have not been too many opportunities for Quebec to look forward to anything since the Dominion of Canada was created.

Confederation, for Quebec, means 150 years of being constantly undermined by the decisions taken in the House year after year. It was here that, during the First World War, the federal government temporarily granted itself the right to tax Quebeckers' income. The war is over, all the heroes who fought it have been dead for a long time, but we still pay half of our taxes to this government, even though it barely delivers any services. All this to have the power to decide on provincial jurisdictions, when the provinces are the ones that deal with publicly funded services and are accountable to Quebeckers. The reality of one hundred years of holding our people hostage is an anniversary that federalist parties would prefer to ignore.

It was also here in the House that federal politicians voted to prevent Quebec from controlling broadcasting by taking away a portion of our government's jurisdiction over culture, education, and information. The current government's agreement with Netflix is the unfortunate proof that it is bent on meddling incompetently in areas that are supposed to be under Quebec's jurisdiction. Rendering history and reality meaningless, the Canadian Constitution essentially denies the existence of the Quebec nation. Even now, we refuse to sign this pact whose sole intention is to force our distinct society to fall in line every time we try to do things our own way.

This is where the Clarity Act was passed, an authoritarian law that undermines Quebeckers' right to the most basic expression of democracy. Today's celebration is about weakening Quebec's position in the Canadian parliamentary system. The day before Confederation, Quebec held half the seats in Parliament. The day after, it held a third of them. Now we have less than a quarter.

When the very first sitting of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada took place on November 6, 1867, the first subject of debate was the appointment of the first Speaker of the House of Commons. The elected representatives had been together for barely 10 minutes when a member from Quebec was forced to complain because John A. MacDonald wanted to appoint a unilingual anglophone Speaker. That member found it unfortunate that, at the inauguration of Confederation, greater respect was not shown. I am sure he would have fallen off his chair had he known that, 150 years later, we would still be having this kind of debate.

150th Anniversary of the First Meeting of ParliamentOral Questions

3:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a huge honour for me to rise today as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of this House of Commons.

I am overwhelmed and grateful for my colleagues that there is an opportunity for the Green Party to mark the 150th sitting of the Parliament of Canada. I want to acknowledge that we are on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin nation. We all are very grateful for the perpetual generosity of indigenous peoples in our country to be willing to consider our meek efforts at reconciliation.

I note that at 150 years old, our democracy here, the first meeting of Parliament on November 6, 1867, was a bit late. One hundred years earlier, the first parliamentary representative democracy in North America met in Nova Scotia. In 2008, Nova Scotians celebrated the 250th.

Imagine that I can stand here today, on our 150th occasion, in the presence in the gallery of four extraordinary Canadians, each of who I hold in such respect and affection. That the Right. Hon. John Turner, the Right Hon. Joe Clark, the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney, and the Right Hon. Paul Martin would be here for this celebration, as well as our former Speakers, John Bosley and Peter Milliken, is an extraordinary moment.

I want to reiterate how proud I am. I find it incredible that I have the privilege to participate, because it is indeed a privilege, not a right.

Even as we look back at Halifax and the 250th anniversary, we are all pikers. The longest continuous participatory democracy on the planet is the 800-year-old Iroquois confederacy of the Haudenosaunee. We have learned parliamentary democracy. We have learned that Parliament comes from the word parler. We know we are here to speak with each other, work together, respect each other, and to work to earn the respect of our constituents who have sent us here not to blow our own horn, but to carry their cares and concerns to this place.

I could not agree more with our right hon. Prime Minister that one of the greatest parliamentarians I have ever had the privilege to know and work with left us too soon when we lost Arnold Chan. It is his words I think of today, that call in his last speech, the last time he had the physical strength to stand in this place, for us to respect each other.

I also ask us to look around. We are in this room, what a privilege, day in and day out, but how often do we look up, and I am afraid I am going to go in a Friendly Giant direction, look way up? There is a reason that this magnificent chamber dwarfs its occupants. This room is not about us as members of Parliament. This room is about democracy. It is about Canada. We are very tiny in this space because our role is to represent something far bigger than ourselves. We are here for Canada. We are here for a country in which we are blessed to live, know, and love. We are to cherish that democracy. This room dwarfs us for a reason.

Thank you to all of my colleagues and thank you Canada. Congratulations and thank you.

150th Anniversary of the First Meeting of ParliamentOral Questions

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Please indulge me for a few seconds. For the historical record, while it was the first meeting of the Parliament of Canada here some 150 years ago, it was not the first meeting that took place in this very chamber some 150 years ago. The very first meeting that took place was the last session of the Parliament of the United Province of Canada, which met here for its last time before Confederation. I would like that to be noted because this building has a very deep history indeed.

150th Anniversary of the First Meeting of ParliamentOral Questions

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

While this may not be a point of order, it is a good point of history. I thank the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills for it.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary 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 table, in both official languages, the government's response to three petitions.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian section of ParlAmericas respecting its participation at the “2nd Gathering of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change” held in Panama City, Panama, on August 3 and 4, 2017.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food entitled “Non-Tariff Trade Barriers to the Sale of Agricultural Products in Relation to Free Trade Agreements”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency ActRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-384, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (pension plans and group insurance programs).

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this time to thank my seconder, my colleague who has done great work and works very hard in this House, and who has also helped me a lot on this bill.

I rise today to introduce a private member's bill titled, an act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act. This bill will amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the CCAA so that companies will have to bring any pension plan fund to 100% before paying any other secured creditors. It also makes amendments to require companies to pay any termination or severance pay owing before paying any secured creditors.

Other amendments will prevent a company from stopping the payment of any post-retirement benefits during any proceedings under the BIA or CCAA. These amendments will inject some fairness into a process that often sees the interests of workers, retirees, and their families placed behind all others.

We must fix the imbalances in current legislation and provide Canadian workers, retirees, and their families with the protection they expect and deserve. I am hopeful that all my colleagues in Parliament will put aside their partisan differences and support this bill. Canadian workers, retirees, and their families deserve no less.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Climate ChangePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to introduce today, both of which are issues that are near and dear to my heart.

The first petition recognizes that climate change is drastically affecting the flow rates of the Cowichan River in the Cowichan Valley. It is posing a threat to both fish and fish habitat.

Recognizing that, and recognizing the strong federal role and jurisdiction in that area, the petitioners are calling on the federal government to fund the raising of the Lake Cowichan weir so we may better control the flow rates in that very important river.