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40th PARLIAMENT, 3rd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 113

CONTENTS

Wednesday, December 8, 2010





CANADA

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 145 
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NUMBER 113 
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3rd SESSION 
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40th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayers


[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

    It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for York South—Weston.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Anaphylaxis

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I had the pleasure of hosting a working luncheon to discuss anaphylaxis with a group of colleagues from across party lines.
     A growing number of Canadians face daily the potential of life threatening allergic reactions whether it be to a food product, medication, insect bite or other triggers. For the 1.3 million Canadians who suffer from anaphylaxis, especially for parents of young children with the condition, this means living with constant worry and anxiety as they try to avoid coming into contact with a substance that could lead to a fatal reaction.
    While there is no known cure for anaphylaxis, the good news is that with education and awareness, collective steps can be taken by society that can greatly reduce the risk of anaphylaxis reactions and allow sufferers and their families to lead more normal lives.
    Thanks to all the stakeholders who helped organize and present the luncheon and to all the members who attended.
    I look forward to my colleagues for the support of my motion on anaphylaxis, Motion No. 546, when it comes before the House next year.

John Richardson

    Mr. Speaker, a commerce graduate, educator, military leader and former member of Parliament for Perth—Wellington—Waterloo and Perth—Middlesex, John Richardson recently passed away at the age of 77.
    John served with the Princess Patricia's Light Infantry and the Queen's Own Rifles in Germany with NATO and continued his military life even after he became a teacher, vice-principal and superintendent of instruction for the Perth County District School Board. John eventually rose to the rank of Brigadier General.
    John Richardson was first elected in 1993 and retired in 2002. His dedication to and experience with the military led him to serve as parliamentary secretary for Veterans Affairs and National Defence.
    Those in the House who knew John Richardson had the honour to serve with a member who truly reflected all that is exemplary of our Canadian values: dignity, compassion and devotion to public service.
    I am certain all members will join with me in extending our condolences to his five daughters, Cindy, Paula, Anne-Louise, Judith and Jacqueline, as well as his many friends and extended family.

[Translation]

Multi-ethnic Centre in Quebec City

    Mr. Speaker, the Centre multiethnique de Québec is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and I would like to highlight the important work that the people behind the centre and its volunteers do every day for immigrants in the Quebec City region.
    The centre has strong roots in the community and helps welcome and integrate thousands of newcomers by offering services—such as housing searches, information workshops and linguistic and cultural interpretation services—adapted to the many needs of a varied clientele. The centre also helps develop innovative services, promote intercultural dialogue and raise public awareness of the realities facing refugees and immigrants.
    Immigration plays a huge role in the development of Quebec City, and the centre is an important resource that provides solidarity and support for newcomers. I want to thank all those who have worked for this organization in my riding.
    Congratulations to the Centre multiethnique de Québec. I wish you all the best in the future.

  (1405)  

[English]

Cellphone Towers

    Mr. Speaker, constituents in my riding are deeply concerned about cellphone towers popping up in our neighbourhoods, especially in Hastings-Sunrise and Grandview-Woodlands.
    Residents are very worried that cellphone towers in residential areas make people sick. The Vancouver School Board was so concerned about the impact on children's health it passed a regulation that they not be built within 350 metres of a school. Yet towers are being placed within a few metres of residential buildings where children live.
    The Standing Committee on Health issued a report recommending the government research the long-term health effects of exposure to radiation from these towers, particularly its effects on children. I urge the government to follow its recommendations.
    I call upon the government to also immediately put rules in place that require telecom companies to consult and seek the approval of the community and local municipalities before they place these towers. We cannot let telecoms invade our communities and jeopardize the health of people.

Correctional Service Canada

     Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about new dimensions in corrections.
    Many of our opposition colleagues have characterized our government as one dimensional, concerned only with building jails. However, there is much more going on behind the scenes. Correctional Service Canada has a program called “Restorative Justice”, bringing together offender and victims in a healing process.
    It is hard to over estimate the capabilities of a genuine apology to those who have been wronged. For offenders wishing to take responsibility for their actions, this can be a major step forward in their rehabilitation. For victims, it can close the door on debilitating anger and hatred that preclude a healthy future.
    This year my family participated in this program. After 18 years, we received answers to persistent painful questions. Was it worth it? “You bet”.
    I commend all those involved in this program. I extend my thanks to Angie Gates and Sandi Bergen.

Volunteerism

    Mr. Speaker, the small communities in my riding of Random—Burin—St. George's remain vibrant because of the many dedicated volunteers who get involved in ensuring our community, our province and our country are better places to live.
    I rise today to honour one of those fine individuals. Harold Wells has spent much of his lifetime helping both the towns of Stephenville Crossing and Stephenville. Mr. Wells was recently bestowed a lifetime membership by the board of directors of the International Association of Lions Clubs in acknowledgement of more than half a century of selfless work for others.
    Since joining the Lions Club in 1956, Mr. Wells has held every position within the local Stephenville Crossing and Stephenville clubs as well as positions at the district level. Over the years, Mr. Wells has received several awards in recognition of his dedication to Lionism, his community and all residents of Stephenville and Stephenville Crossing.
    I ask all members to join me in saluting Harold Wells, a shining example of the best that volunteerism has to offer.

Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation

    Mr. Speaker, in 2001, Her Majesty the Queen approved the design of a special bar to be worn with military decorations to be known as the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation.
    The honour is awarded to individuals who have performed commendable service to the veteran community and individuals who represent commendable role models for their fellow veterans. This perfectly described my friend and constituent, Margaret Kury, and I was pleased to be there when she received her commendation at a ceremony in Ottawa last month.
    A retired Canadian Forces veteran, she has been an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion since 1976, having received many legion honours for her service there. She is also an active member of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association and charter member of the Ridge Meadows Ex-service Women's Club.
    Margaret serves in many other volunteer capacities because she loves Maple Ridge and the feeling is mutual.
    I congratulate Margaret on her latest honour. Once again, she has done us proud.

[Translation]

Lionel Girault

    Mr. Speaker, on October 22, a resident of my riding was awarded the Governor General's Medal of Bravery. Constable Lionel Girault, a Montreal police officer, risked his life to apprehend an armed bank robber.
    Constable Girault and two other officers rushed towards the scene of the crime after hearing that a police officer had been shot. The officers followed the suspect and blocked his escape as he tried to flee in a taxi. The suspect then ran to another taxi and held a gun to the driver's head. Fearing for the taxi driver’s life, Constable Girault and his colleagues fired at the suspect, who eventually dropped his weapon and gave himself up.
    The Bloc Québécois and I congratulate Constable Lionel Girault for his act of bravery.

  (1410)  

[English]

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, Monday was the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and we solemnly remembered the 14 young women who were murdered on December 6, 1989. On this 21st anniversary, we must take note that we must not only remember, but we must also act.
    Today violence against women and young girls continues across our nation and throughout our globe. Prostitution is a serious form of violence against women and girls in Canada, especially impacting first nations women. Our government has taken this issue seriously and has committed to upholding the Criminal Code provisions that were struck down in Ontario.
    In addition, I would encourage all members of the House to support changes that would vigorously target the purchasers of sexual services and not the women who are prostituted and to provide support for those who wish to escape prostitution.

Volunteerism

    Mr. Speaker, we can continue to take pride in the contribution of more than 12.5 million Canadians who volunteer throughout our country. New research released today by Volunteer Canada in partnership with Manulife Financial focused on youth, families, baby boomers and employer-supported volunteers and found significant gaps between what Canadian volunteers were looking for and how organizations were involving volunteers.

[Translation]

    The results show that fostering volunteer engagement in Canada is not just a capacity issue, but also a strategic one.

[English]

    Volunteers fight poverty, lead the environmental movement, keep our democratic system strong, stand on the front lines of disaster relief and keep the arts and cultural scene thriving.
    I call on my colleagues in the House today to take a close look at this research and to support volunteer organizations in our communities.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, sexual assault is a serious and an all too common form of violence that continues to victimize thousands of women and girls every year.
    Our government introduced legislation to bring the age of consent for sexual activity from 14 to 16. We also introduced legislation to impose stricter conditions on repeat offenders. This would protect young people from sexual exploitation by adult predators.
    We promote personal safety and empowerment through the women's program of Status of Women of Canada by funding important community projects aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls across the country.
    During the 16 days of activism on violence against women, we must remember the countless women and girls worldwide who suffer or lose their life because of violence.
    Let us raise our voices and call an end to sexual assault and all forms of violence against women.

Former Leader of the B.C. New Democratic Party

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to salute Carole James' major contribution to the province of British Columbia and to our shared community of Victoria.
    She has dedicated her life to solidarity, social justice and the protection of children and families. From her winning fight for an independent children's commissioner to her ongoing work with first nations, from her school board leadership to her leadership of the B.C. NDP, Carole has embodied the spirit of public service.
    She has also faced the toughest challenges with dignity and courage.
     She has inspired me, through these qualities she has brought to public life. I look forward to continuing to serve our constituents together in the years ahead.
     I thank Carole for her exemplary commitment to community.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, while our government is working to make our streets and communities safer, the Liberal-led coalition has a different priority: the need for bilingual judges.
    Why is that the Liberals' priority when there is so much to get done?
    Because of Liberal stalling, victims continue to wait for legislation that would eliminate pardons for dangerous offenders, put in place mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences, eliminate the faint hope clause, stop Clifford Olson from collecting cheques from taxpayers and end house arrest for serious crime.
    I call on all opposition parties to stand with this government to finally put victims first and support our efforts to make our streets safer.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has been telling taxpayers over and over that belts will have to be tightened so that the government can get its fiscal house in order now that the deficit has reached a record $55.6 billion. Yet we recently learned that he himself overspent his own ministerial office operating budget by more than $430,000.
    How are we supposed to believe that he can bring down the deficit and stick to his own budget policies when he cannot even stay within his ministerial budget? Instead of leading by example, the minister utterly lacks credibility when he tells taxpayers that spending has to be cut.
    He is not the only one to have overspent his budget. The Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean did the same thing.
    The Conservatives need to do their own part before telling taxpayers there will have to be cuts when they are already being stretched thinner and thinner.

[English]

Human Rights

    Mr. Speaker, in the past, this House has hosted legendary figures who have distinguished themselves in the battle for human rights. Today, Mustafa Dzemiliev is here in Ottawa.
    At the age of six months, he and his family and the entire 200,000 Crimean Tatar people were ethnically cleansed from their ancestral land and deported en masse to central Asia by Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin. Forty per cent of their population died.
    As a young man speaking out for the rights of his people to preserve their culture and language and their right to return to their ancestral home, Mr. Dzemiliev spent 18 brutal years in the Soviet gulag. In the 1990s, he led the return of his people to Crimea and today is chairman of the Mejlis parliament of the Crimean Tatar people.
    His harrowing personal story and that of the Crimean Tatars is to be inspired by the triumph of human spirit over evil.
    On behalf of the House of Commons, I welcome Mr. Dzemiliev to Canada to share with us his vision of peace for his people and for the Crimean peninsula.

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Liberal member for Winnipeg South Centre stood in this place and said, “If the government wants to be tough on crime, then it should call an inquiry”.
    Despite what the Liberals say, calling an inquiry is not what it means to be tough on crime. Research is not action. Unlike the member for Winnipeg South Centre, our Conservative government does not just talk the talk and call an inquiry, we actually walk the walk.
    Yesterday, we successfully passed legislation that will make our streets and communities safer by strengthening the national sex offender registry and the national DNA data bank. We have also introduced important legislation that would eliminate pardons for dangerous offenders, repeal the faint hope clause and end house arrest for serious crimes.
    When will the Liberal-led coalition stop the double talk, stop stalling and finally get on the side of victims and support our tough on crime legislation?

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, according to the environment commissioner, this Conservative government has no plan for protecting drinking water, no plan for protecting our oceans from pollution and no plan for adapting to climate change. The environment commissioner has painted a dismal picture.
    With such a pathetic record, why does the government believe it can teach anyone anything in Cancun?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we appreciate the environment commissioner's report. The matters commented on by the commissioner are areas in which the government is taking action and making investments. If the Liberal Party has constructive or positive suggestions, I am prepared to listen to them.
    Mr. Speaker, my suggestion would be that they take the environment seriously and do good work. I would say that we cannot be leaders on the world stage if we are not leaders at home. For the past five years, the Conservatives' endeavours on the international scene have had one objective: to sabotage a climate change agreement.
    Does the Prime Minister understand that his lack of principles has cost us dearly internationally and contributed to our defeat at the UN—

  (1420)  

    The Right Hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear from the Leader of the Opposition's reply that he does not have any specific suggestions. With regard to climate change, our government's position is clear and very different than that of the opposition. The opposition wants to implement the Kyoto protocol, which excludes two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions, whereas we are looking for a binding, effective international agreement that includes all the major emitters in the world.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have to situate this performance at Cancun in a wider perspective. Let us look at the opportunities the government has squandered just this year.
    It held a G8-G20 summit and it turned into a fiasco. It went for a seat on the security council and it blew it. It had Camp Mirage and then lost it. It went to Cancun and all it managed to achieve was to sabotage an international climate change agreement. Meanwhile, it has stood silently while Haiti's democracy is in peril.
    How can the Prime Minister explain this pattern of obstruction, indifference and missed opportunities?
    Mr. Speaker, of course the opposite is totally at variance with that.
    For instance, let us take Haiti. This government, this country, has been a leader in responding to the crises in Haiti and in helping that country move forward. As for the economy, as is well-known through the G8-G20 and other forums, Canada has been leading the advanced world in economic performance and leading in solutions to the global economic recession. That is one of the reasons that, a year later, we are still in government.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment is under attack in Cancun for the Conservatives' absurdly dismal record on the environment. Now we learn that the minister is adding insult to injury by trashing the planned protected area in the Horn Plateau in the Northwest Territories, leaving it vulnerable to possible drilling and mining.
    The Minister of Infrastructure promised the grand chief that this would be protected for two more years. What happened? How can the minister put this pristine area at risk?
    Mr. Speaker, a national wildlife area designation does not preclude development. This government is of the view that well-managed resource development can co-exist with protected areas as long as it does not impact conservation values.
     It is important to remember that there are numerous other tools in place to protect the environment and manage development in the Northwest Territories. Any plans for exploration or development would have to include measures to mitigate environmental impacts.
    Mr. Speaker, the member should try explaining that PMO answer to the grand chief.
    The Conservative government is again embarrassing Canada on the world stage with no federal strategy to adapt to climate change, no ability to clean up major oil spills, no good answers to environmental petitions, no system to deal with hazardous chemical spills in our oceans, cancelling ecohousing programs, cancelling wind energy programs, closing our Arctic research foundation and cancelling climate change adaptation programs.
    Why is the government embarrassing us again by closing a 14,000 kilometre square park in the Horn Plateau?
    Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the hon. member's conclusion.
    When one looks at what the government is doing to make sure that we are ready for any problems both in the north and in the rest of the country, here are three examples. Transport Canada has updated its environmental prevention and response national preparedness plan. By this coming spring the Canadian Coast Guard will have updated its natural environment response strategy. And Environment Canada will be in place by the end of this year with its strategic emergency management plan.
    The Environment Commissioner asked us to work more closely together and we are taking that advice. These strategies show we are moving ahead.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has denounced the laissez-faire attitude of certain countries when it comes to fighting climate change, saying that we must not repeat the failure of Copenhagen. Yet to the Conservative government, the Copenhagen accord on climate change is a success.
    Is the Conservative government not in the process of doing in Cancun what it did so well in Copenhagen, namely stymying all negotiations on committing to new greenhouse gas emission reductions after 2012?
    Mr. Speaker, the Copenhagen accord was only a first step. It is important to have a binding agreement that includes all the major emitters around the world. The Bloc Québécois's position is that only a third of the greenhouse gas emissions should be controlled by the Kyoto protocol. That is a ridiculous position on dealing with greenhouse gases. All the major emitters have to be included.
    Mr. Speaker, the ridiculous thing is that the Prime Minister wrote, in 2002, that Kyoto is a “socialist scheme”. That was ridiculous.
    It is clear that industrialized countries have to make a greater effort since they pollute more per capita than emerging countries such as China.
    If it had a modicum of responsibility, should the Conservative government not be supporting the imposition of binding targets on all industrialized countries and introducing tariff policies for those that do not comply, like China for example, instead of obstructing all negotiations under the pretext that some countries are not on board?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously we must include all the major emitters around the world in order to control greenhouse gases.
    To come back to statements that are ridiculous or not ridiculous, I am quite intrigued by the Parti Québécois critic's statement on the Government of Quebec's climate change record. She said that it is “just by chance” that Quebec has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions. The leader of the Bloc Québécois might want to consult his leader in Quebec City to settle this debate.
    Mr. Speaker, if the Conservative government does not do something to fight climate change, Canada and Quebec could be hit with a punitive tax like the one proposed by the European Union. Quebec has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to below 1990 levels, and that is a fact. It would be unfair for Quebec to have to pay such a tax because of Ottawa's leniency toward oil companies, particularly given Quebec's special trade relationship with Europe.
    Does the government understand that if Canada is hit with such a tax, Quebec will bear most of the burden?
    Mr. Speaker, the real issue is, who in Quebec is speaking about climate change on behalf of the sovereignist movement, the Bloc Québécois or its head office in Quebec City?
    This morning, the Journal de Québec reported that PQ MNA Martine Ouellet said that lower greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec are just a coincidence. According to the paper, the member, who is in Cancun, believes that the reduction is due more to recent paper mill closures than to supposed intensive government action.
    Who is speaking on behalf of the sovereignist movement?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have no problem with Quebec paying the price for the Minister of Natural Resources' stance in favour of the oil sands.
    Still, can the government admit that it will use any excuse—and we just got another one—to defend the oil companies' interests at the expense of the environment and Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, that is utterly ridiculous. As I said yesterday, Canada has a huge range of natural resources. We have oil. Demand will continue to grow. The member can try to make people believe that cargo planes will fly using solar panels in the near future, but we have a way to position ourselves as a global leader in energy security and as a clean energy developer.
    Once again, who is speaking on behalf of the sovereignist movement about climate change, head office in Quebec City or the Bloc?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives remain an obstacle to any progress on climate change in Cancun; that much is clear. The United States is calling for co-operation, but this government is not helping the cause in any way. Worse still, here in Canada, the Conservatives are hiding the truth from Canadians. They are hiding reports on the impact of climate change on our communities, one by Health Canada and the other by Natural Resources Canada.
    Why is the government hiding these reports, which are important to Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, the idea that Canada is an obstacle is completely ridiculous. Our government's position is that we need an international agreement that compels nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Several countries oppose not only that, but also the very idea of measuring their emissions. To achieve such an agreement on reducing greenhouse gases, it is essential that all major emitters be included.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the government is embarrassing us on the world stage on this issue. In fact, it is embarrassing us here at home as well.
    The Environment Commissioner just yesterday came out with a scathing indictment of the government's inaction when it comes to protecting its citizens. Environment Canada is only testing the water of 12 out of 3,000 reserves in Canada. That is a dereliction of duty. The government is playing Russian roulette with people's lives by not testing the water.
    When will the Conservative government take responsibility and do what it is supposed to do and protect the water that Canadians drink?
    Mr. Speaker, not only has the government made additional investments in that area; of course, it has appointed an expert panel specifically on the Athabasca question.
    To return, the leader of the opposition says, once again, that Canada is somehow an obstacle.
     Canada believes there should be a legally binding international agreement on greenhouse gas reduction that includes all major emitters. The position of some countries at Cancun is that they are not only opposed to that; some countries are opposed to even the idea that they should measure and report their emissions.
     I wish the leader of the NDP and the opposition would get on side with Canada instead of trying to embarrass Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the government has no plan at all on climate change. It has no plan on clean water, and neither does it have a plan when it comes to protecting the coasts of our country.
    The Prime Minister used to say that a leader had a responsibility to respect the will of the House. He certainly has changed his tune on that one.
    He now has a chance to show that he can be that leader he used to talk about, because yesterday this House adopted an NDP motion to legislate a ban on tankers off the B.C. coast. Will he bring forward that legislation?
    Mr. Speaker, this government is more than willing to respond to practical and sensible ideas from the opposition.
    On climate change, all we have got from the opposition is targets pulled out of thin air with no idea of how it would achieve them. That is its only policy.
    Yesterday the opposition's idea on tanker traffic was a blanket ban, so we would not be able to deliver heating oil to coastal communities, aboriginal people, or deliver fuel to Vancouver Island. None of this is well thought out.
     We will defend the best interests of this country.

Government Spending

    Mr. Speaker, seniors are struggling; 25% more are in poverty. Youth is struggling, with the highest unemployment in history. Patients are struggling with longer health care wait times.
    Yet Conservatives continue to waste money at an alarming rate: $30 million on changes to the census; up to $60 million spent on action plan signs and more spent tracking them; more money spent on government advertising in one year than all the beer companies combined.
    It is about choice: family care or Conservative waste. When will they make the right choice?
    Mr. Speaker, one example after another shows where we continue to perform and continue to manage taxpayers' dollars in ways that are far better than the Liberals ever did.
    Ministerial office budgets are being reduced by $11.4 million this year. All operational spending of government is frozen for the next three years. There are reductions in items like the use of the Challenger jet. Cabinet ministers from the Conservative government have 80% less usage than the Liberals used to.
    We have things under control. We are going to keep it that way.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, how is this for management? The worst example of waste and mismanagement has been the excessive spending by the Prime Minister and his cabinet, almost $10 million more a year spent for ministers' offices.
     Twelve ministers actually overspent those increased budgets by more than $2 million. The finance minister alone overspent his budget by $430,000. Cuts the Treasury Board wants to make now will not even account for half of the ministers' overspending.
    Why is it the Conservatives will cut the GIS, but they will increase ministers' budgets?
    Mr. Speaker, I will send my hon. friend these items in writing, if that helps, because I already have that. Her people are not putting these items in front of her, obviously.
    Not one minister overspent the budget allocation. As a matter of fact, ministers spent 16% less than what was available to them. With what we are putting in place this year, there will be an $11.4 million saving on ministers' office budgets alone.
    I would like my hon. friend to say: Is she opposed to this reduction in ministerial office spending? I would like to know if she is opposed to that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, wastefulness and fiscal incompetence will eventually define this Prime Minister.
    He and his deficit champion allow their ministers to spend as if there were no tomorrow: $30 million just to scrap the census; $300 million just to satisfy the vanity of the government House leader; $1.3 million for ministers and their assistants to take taxis.
    Does the Prime Minister realize that all of that does absolutely nothing to help Canadians, who are stuck with the bill?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, for some moments of blind courage, I will give the Liberals some credit, because they continue to bring forward areas where they hopelessly overspent, and then they allow us to reflect on how we are spending far less than they were.
    Whether we are talking about travel, which we have frozen, whether we are talking about ministerial office budgets, which are going to be reduced, in every single area we are performing far better than they are. I think that is why they are upset. It is the exposure of this that is bothering them.
    We are going to keep on this track of paying respect to taxpayer dollars.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance exceeded his own budget by $430,000, so we do not need to take any lessons from him. Cabinet members' office spending has increased by 14%. PMO spending has increased by 31%. Some $2 million was spent on a fake lake and pavilion.
    After all that, they tell us that they have to make cuts to culture, that they cannot help the forestry sector and that struggling seniors will have to tighten their belts even further.
    Why do they not trim their $5.3 billion of fat instead?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will keep repeating it, but I do not want my own colleagues here to in any way become bored with the repetition, so I will refer to some figures the Liberals brought out today.
    They want us to cut professional spending in areas, and I am just reading from their own document. Which of the 1,200 nurses do they want us to cut, to not hire, in 600 communities across Canada? Which doctors should we not have hired who assisted to get us through the H1N1 crisis?
    The Liberals pointed to these items in their press release today. Which nurses and doctors do they want us to cut?

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, although the Conservatives have difficulty admitting that climate change even exists, there is little doubt that tides are higher and stronger because of climate change.
    Will the government admit that the disastrous conditions being experienced in the Lower St. Lawrence, Gaspé and North Shore regions constitute additional evidence that we must begin reducing our greenhouse gas emissions right away?

  (1440)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. How do we reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally? Do we go with the coalition plan of addressing 27% or 85%?
    This government is supporting an 85% reduction, covered by 85% of the emissions. One hundred and ninety countries have signed onto the Copenhagen accord. We are down in Cancun right now getting it done for the environment.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it was an excellent question but, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the answer.
    We must work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but, in the meantime, we must also be preparing to adapt to the effects of climate change. The creation of a compensation fund seems more necessary than ever. This fund would be used, for example, to pay for measures to slow the shoreline erosion caused by high tides.
    Will the government create an adjustment fund to compensate for the effects of climate change?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in Cancun Canada will seek to build upon the successes of the Copenhagen accord, the only accord that includes, as the Prime Minister said, all the major emitters. Canada will work with the nations focusing on the five pillars of the accord: financing, mitigation, adaptation, technology, measuring and reporting.

[Translation]

G8 and G20 Summits

    Mr. Speaker, while the federal government continues to justify the police's use of excessive force during the G20 summit held in Toronto, the Ontario ombudsman has concluded that it constituted an abuse of power similar to the war measures. We know that the RCMP played a key role in planning and coordinating security for the summit.
    In light of such a serious statement by the ombudsman, does the Minister of Public Safety plan on launching a public inquiry to expose the abusive arrests made at the G20?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, specific bodies exist to handle complaints regarding police conduct. It is appropriate for individuals, including the member, to direct her concerns to those bodies.
    Our Conservative government has been up front about the real need and cost of security from the beginning. We are, in fact, very proud of the work that the police have done in the G8 and G20. If there are any specific concerns about specific officers, there are specific bodies that could deal with that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I remind the minister that the RCMP is part of his department.
    The RCMP played a key role in coordinating this summit. It is partly responsible for the arbitrary and abusive arrests. More than 1,000 people were arrested, including hundreds who were arrested without the necessary warrants.
    Since the Ontario ombudsman himself recognizes that his mandate is very limited, will the government finally launch a public inquiry to shed light on this mistake?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think it is reprehensible that the member would slander the reputation of each and every police officer who provided security at the G8 and G20.
    Our front line police officers did an excellent job in protecting the safety of Canadians, delegates, and visitors to the city of Toronto. If there are specific officers who did something wrong, there are specific bodies that can handle those complaints. I would direct the member to those bodies.

[Translation]

Public Accounts

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday at the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the Auditor General said that the Department of National Defence's helicopter acquisition process was not fair, open and transparent.
    Bureaucrats admitted that there had been mistakes, which were very costly for the public, but that lessons had been learned.
    Meanwhile, senior defence officials passed the buck to the minister.
    Given that this squares firmly with the agenda of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, my question is for the committee chair.
    Does the committee plan to call the minister to testify and explain this fiasco?
    Mr. Speaker, I will propose this to the committee. The member is absolutely right.

[English]

    He emphasized the Auditor General's scathing report on two counts. First, that the contract process was neither fair nor open nor transparent; and second, that the government's mismanagement of the process has cost taxpayers billions of dollars so far with no helicopters.
    The minister, if he is truly accountable and willing to be responsible, can quickly volunteer to come before the committee and explain himself. I am sure the committee will accommodate him.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, when I asked whether the rules for awarding the Chinook contract were followed, the Deputy Minister of National Defence told me that they were not followed to the letter but that they were not that serious anyway. Then he said that he did not understand what all the fuss was about because, and I quote, “nothing bad happened”. Each Canadian will pay $400 in taxes for this violation of the rules, and we have yet to see a helicopter here in the country.
    Does the minister agree with the deputy minister, and will he come and defend this opinion before the committee?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me rewind the clock here. In 1993, the Prime Minister stood up and said, “Zero helicopters”.
    Seventeen years later and about $1 billion later, we are still waiting for the first airplane. That program has been problematic because of what the Liberals did to the program. It has taken us this long to resurrect it.
     We are finally going to equip the back end of our ships with a modern, updated helicopter that is going to meet the needs of the Canadian Forces, that is going to meet the needs of Canadian industry, and is going to correct the errors that those folks on that side made 17 years ago.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday we heard two more companies say that they meet Canada's requirements for the replacement of the CF-18s.
    That is a total now of four companies. One company told us that the final assembly line would be in Canada, a huge industrial benefit to Canada. Another told us the total cost would be $6 billion. That is about one-third of the cost of the F-35s.
    Why does the government still refuse to have an open, transparent and Canadian competition to get the right plane for our air force and the right value for Canadian taxpayers?
    Mr. Speaker, what would the member expect those companies to say?
    The F-35 investment is a win-win for Canadian Forces and the Canadian economy. The Canadian Forces are replacing an aircraft that is at the end of its lifetime. The Canadian aerospace industry will benefit from opportunities with tens of thousands of highly skilled well-paying jobs for decades to come.
    Why do the Liberals want to take the force out of the air force, and let the air out of the aerospace industry?
    Mr. Speaker, when Norway was choosing a plane to replace their F-16s, leaked state department memos indicated the process was skewered and the failure of Lockheed Martin to guarantee industrial benefits was a big problem.
    We have a similar situation in Canada. The Conservatives developed secret criteria for a plane that they have already chosen. They refuse to hold an open, Canadian competition, and abandon guaranteed industrial benefits.
    Why are the Conservatives so afraid to get the right plane for the right value for Canadian taxpayers?
    Mr. Speaker, in 10 countries, highly paid, highly qualified experts, civilian and military, have looked at this situation and have all come up with the same answer, and that is the F-35.
    Let me tell the House what some people are afraid of. They are afraid of going to Lockheed Martin. They are afraid of going to Fort Worth to look at the airplanes and to find out the truth. They scuttled a trip by the defence committee that was supposed to go there last week.
    The Minister of National Defence is there today with the Minister of Industry, with representatives from 11 companies that do know the truth and understand the truth.
    This is the best deal for the Canadian air force. It is the best deal for Canadian industry. It is the best deal for Canadian taxpayers. Get with the program.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians can trust our Conservative government to make their streets and communities safer.
    Yesterday, our Conservative government passed a piece of legislation that will strengthen the national DNA databank and the national sex offender registry.
    There are currently 20 pieces of legislation before Parliament that, like this piece of legislation, get tough on crime.
    Would the Minister of Public Safety please remind this House why we need to get these important pieces of legislation passed without further delay?
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday our legislation to provide greater protection for children and all Canadians was passed in the House, but thanks to the Liberal-led coalition there remains much more to be done. Because of the opposition stalling, victims continue to wait for legislation that would eliminate pardons for dangerous offenders and end house arrest for serious crimes.
    I would call on all opposition parties to finally put the victims first and support our efforts to make the streets safer.

  (1450)  

[Translation]

Banks

    Mr. Speaker, governing is about making choices. The Conservatives have chosen to reduce taxes for banks rather than help the hundreds of thousands of seniors who are living in poverty.

[English]

    For this year alone, Canada's chartered banks racked up record profits of over $20 billion, $10 billion of which will be used for executive bonuses this year. The tax reductions given to the banks this year will exceed $840 million. That is more than enough to lift every Canadian senior above the poverty line.
    Why are bonuses for bank executives a higher priority for the government than help for impoverished seniors?
    Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, the NDP voted against Bill C-47, which is a budget bill. That budget bill contains important protections for consumers, the highest level of protection that bank customers have ever had in the history of Canada.
    However, here comes the NDP. Every time it gets an opportunity to help consumers, it votes against the interests of consumers in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, let us put the $20 billion bank profits in perspective. That is almost half of this year's deficit. While the Conservatives choose to give another $840 million in tax breaks, a pure windfall to the banks, seniors and others in poverty are vulnerable to predatory credit card companies, seniors like Nancy Chamberlain from B.C. Capital One gave this mentally-ill woman a credit card with full knowledge she would never repay it.
    Why will the government not, finally, crack down on the predatory credit card practices of banks and protect seniors?
    Mr. Speaker, we have done substantial credit card reforms. We have also brought in a code of conduct for credit card companies. Again, the NDP is against consumers. Every time we do something for consumers or want to do something in a bill before the House, it votes against it.
    Here is what the Consumers Association of Canada said, “All of the things that [the Finance Minister] has done [re: credit cards]are actually just what we asked for...overall, 'I've got to congratulate [him]'”.

[Translation]

Gateways and Border Crossings

    Mr. Speaker, Quebec is not receiving its fair share of the gateways and border crossings fund. Only $10 million of the $1.6 billion allocated by Transport Canada was announced for Quebec. And yet, the needs are enormous. A few examples include the need to upgrade the coastal navigation infrastructure, the ports of Montreal and Quebec City and the border crossing infrastructure all along the American border.
    How does the government explain the fact that Quebec received less than 1% of the gateways and border crossings fund?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true, but it is true that gateways are tremendously important. The Asia-Pacific gateway and corridor initiative has been one of Canada's signature and most successful pieces. The Atlantic strategy is coming on stream very quickly and the continental corridor, which includes Quebec, will come on stream early next year.
    It is important to remember that the single biggest thing we could do to help Quebec trade is to improve the direct crossing at the Windsor-Detroit border. Twenty-five per cent of all of Canada's cross-border trade goes across there. We should build that bridge. We urge Michigan to pass the legislation necessary to make that possible.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, significant investments must be made so that the St. Lawrence Seaway remains a true gateway for goods from the Atlantic. The Port of Montreal alone is asking for $450 million to $650 million in federal funding, mainly to strengthen its strategic position in terms of cabotage and intermodal transportation.
    When will the Conservative government finally understand the importance of the St. Lawrence Seaway and give Quebec its fair share of the gateways and border crossings fund?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we look forward to the launch of the continental gateway initiative. Ontario and Quebec are working closely together with us to ensure that the strategy which does not just involve infrastructure but also regulatory reform and some other common approaches for a Canadian approach, which the Bloc might find interesting. That is the way to success. That is why when we make investments large and small and when the Prime Minister went to Sept-Îles to make an announcement on the expansion of the ports, we realized how important that is to the Canadian economy, not just Quebec, and why the continental strategy is an important part of this government's program.

  (1455)  

Copyright

    Mr. Speaker, the copyright bill is skewed to the detriment of copyright holders and creators.
    In committee, artists and creators laid out the full extent of lost revenue they will suffer if the bill is adopted as is.
    The minister knows full well about these losses and about how this will punish creators. Is he ready to find a solution to compensate creators or will he just wash his hands and say, “Too bad for you”?
    Mr. Speaker, this legislation is what is in the best interests of Canada. A prominent Canadian said that the new copyright legislation will protect creators and consumers. The person went on to say that the government had struck “an appropriate balance between the rights of Canadian creators and the needs of consumers”.
    Who said that? It was said by the former Liberal finance minister, John Manley.
    We have this bill right. Where we clearly disagree with the opposition is that our government is saying no to the opposition's demands to put in place a massive new tax against consumers to impose a tax on iPods, cellphones, laptops and everything. We are against raising taxes on consumers. We are in favour of setting up effective copyright legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, that was a serious question and I should have had a serious answer.

[Translation]

    We know that the bill is completely unbalanced. We also know that it harms our creators, our writers and our authors. It eliminates grandfathered protection. It will lead to lost revenue. It increases the number of exemptions and it is far too vague on a number of topics. What is clear, however, is that the bill must be amended.
     And so, I have a question for the minister: will he work with us to improve his bill and make it fairer, more equitable and better balanced?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, if my hon. colleague thinks that quoting John Manley is not serious, he can tell him that in 30 minutes when he sees him at the committee.
    However, this is a responsible piece of legislation that we have right.
    We started our consultation process last summer. The Liberals have had this legislation before them since June 2 of this year. It is going on six months that the Liberals have had our copyright report and now the member stands in the House and says that they want some amendments. If the Liberals have amendments on this legislation they should show them to us and put them before the House.
    It has been five months since we tabled the legislation and the Liberals have done nothing on this. We have put forward responsible legislation and we are getting it done properly.

G20 Summit

    Mr. Speaker, during the G20, innocent local residents were trapped by martial law. At the corner of Spadina and Queen, they were huddled in the pouring rain and humiliated for hours. Hundreds and hundreds of people were arrested and detained in horrifying conditions only to have their charges dropped.
    The people of Toronto need to know what happened. How did it go so wrong? Why will the government not call a full public inquiry? Why are Conservatives afraid of the truth?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, specific bodies exist to handle complaints regarding police conduct. If that individual member has concerns in respect of any particular issue, she can take those complaints to that specific body to have those complaints heard.
    Our Conservative government has been up front about the real need and the cost of security from the beginning. In fact, we are prepared to ensure that our streets are safe and to ensure that police act appropriately. Appropriate bodies exist and she can refer the complaint there.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday's ombudsman's report shows just how badly the G20 security was planned and executed. It revealed secret and illegal laws, deliberate misrepresentations by police and mass civil rights violations.
    The Conservatives are trying to bury the truth and shift responsibility but it was their summit, their billion dollars and their officials who planned the security.
    Canadians want to know what happened, who is responsible and how we can ensure it is never repeated. They want the government to be accountable.
    Will the Conservatives do the right thing and call a full public inquiry into the G20 security immediately?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, as host nation of unprecedented, back-to-back G8 and G20 summits, we are proud of their success. As we have said all along, the majority of the costs that we expended there were security related. Approximately 20,000 security personnel were tasked with safeguarding both summits.
    The member continues to smear all of the police officers who put their safety at risk during those summits. If he has concerns about any specific officer or any conduct or any provincial law that was enacted in that respect, there are bodies to do that.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal coalition is as busy as ever delaying the passage of important bills with useless amendments. It is preventing the passage of the faint hope clause that will ensure that murderers end up behind bars and not on our streets. The Liberals in the Senate insist on delaying a bill that would create stiffer penalties for drug traffickers and producers. And they are showing their total lack of priorities by delaying a bill that would protect our children against sexual exploitation online.
    Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice talk to the House about the coalition's tactics?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.
    Unfortunately, the Liberal coalition is playing petty politics, but I have a test for the members of the coalition. Our bill on drug crimes is the same—yes, the same—as the one that this House passed last year, before the Liberal senators eviscerated it.
    I wonder if the coalition is prepared to pass Bill S-10 at all stages when it comes before the House.

[English]

Greater Toronto Airport Authority

    Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.
    Since December 1, drivers working at Pearson Airport for limousine provider Macintosh have been protesting their employer's alleged unfair and improper business practices, such as the mandatory purchase of vehicles and insurance from the company at inflated prices.
    What immediate action will the minister take to ensure that the Greater Toronto Airport Authority conducts an investigation and takes appropriate action?
    Mr. Speaker, of course the Greater Toronto Airport Authority is a stand-alone agency that has considerable independence from the federal government, as it should.
     If the hon. member wants to give me some specific ideas, I could pass those along, but we do not interfere in the operation of the airport authority. It has the needed independence to do its job.

[Translation]

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry granted Rogers Telecom permission to build a cell phone tower in a residential neighbourhood in Châteauguay. The city was worried about potential health effects, so it proposed a site where there would be less impact, but that still met the company's technical requirements. However, Rogers is insisting on the original plan.
    Will the Minister of Industry demand that Rogers consider the viewpoint of the residents of Châteauguay and put up its tower on an alternate site, as called for by local authorities?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in this particular circumstance, I am not aware of the particular case. However, after question period I would welcome the opportunity to chat with the member about it directly.

Gasoline Prices

    Mr. Speaker, in Kapuskasing, the price of gas at the pump this week has skyrocketed to $1.22 a litre. All over northern Ontario, the high cost of transportation is stretching family budgets to the breaking point. The government's reckless HST policy is just adding to our pain.

[Translation]

    When will this government admit that it is responsible for the fiasco the HST has become?

[English]

    When will the government take action on soaring gas prices that impact greatly on rural communities and northern Ontario?
    Mr. Speaker, somewhere in there, there was mention of the HST. The HST is a provincial responsibility. The provinces decide what they will do with their sales tax. A couple of provinces have decided to harmonize their sales tax. A group of provinces did so under the Liberal government back in the 1990s.
    What we will not do in the provinces is imitate the NDP in Nova Scotia and increase the sales tax by 2%.

  (1505)  

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to combatting the exploitation of vulnerable persons and will continue to take steps to ensure that all Canadians can live in safe and healthy communities, free from fear and violence.
    Yesterday, I learned that the CEO of Craigslist has refused to remove erotic services ads from his Canadian websites. Would the Minister of Justice please update the House on Mr. Buckmaster's decision?
    Mr. Speaker, last month, I sent a letter to Jim Buckmaster, the CEO of Craigslist to ask him to remove the erotic services ads from his Canadian websites. I am extremely disappointed that he has failed to do so.
    Our government is concerned that such advertisements are facilitating serious criminal offences, such as living off the avails of child prostitution and trafficking in persons. It has already removed these ads from its American sites. Craigslist should do the right thing and remove those ads immediately.

Points of Order

Comments by Member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a point of order to correct comments made by the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine in yesterday's question period.
    Yesterday, in reference to international firearms marking regulations, she incorrectly told the House “After all, even Bush's Republicans implemented them in 2004”. While President Bush was president of the United States in 2004 and a Republican, that is where the member's historical accuracy ends.
     As a matter of public record, and on the United Nations website, the United States has neither signed nor ratified the protocol for the firearms marking regulations, not under the previous Republican president, nor the current President, who is a Democrat.
    I am happy to have this opportunity—
    The hon. minister knows that this is a matter for debate. Points of order deal with procedure in the House. This is not a procedural matter.

Oral Questions  

    Mr. Speaker, on a question that was asked of the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, he quoted the current CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the former deputy prime minister of Canada, John Manley. I distinctly heard the member for Ottawa South say aloud “What would John Manley know anyway?” I would like to have him retract those comments. They are disrespectful.
    I think we will move on.
    Mr. Speaker, during question period, the President of the Treasury Board in response to a question I asked said that he would like to put something in writing. I would like to remind him that the Public Accounts of Canada have already been put in writing.
    I ask for the permission of the House to table those documents. I have highlighted the documentation on the expenditures of ministers' offices. As well, I have the policies and guidelines for ministers' offices that are already in publication. I would be happy to table them for the House so the minister might read them to understand why I am telling the House that ministers are over budget.
    Does the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl have the unanimous consent of the House to table the documents?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    Mr. Speaker, my comments were quite clear. I said that these numbers were in print and she should actually read them. I am glad she has made a commitment to do that because maybe tomorrow she might ask how we were able to go about the task of reducing ministerial office budgets by $11 million. That would be a good question.
    I would urge hon. members to carry on the debate in the late show. It is a matter for debate rather than a point of order.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Statistics Act

    The House resumed from December 3 consideration of the motion that Bill C-568, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    It being 3:10 p.m., pursuant to order made on Tuesday, December 7 the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-568 under private members' business.
    Call in the members.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

     (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 140)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevington
Bonsant
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brison
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coady
Coderre
Comartin
Cotler
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dryden
Duceppe
Dufour
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Easter
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Garneau
Gaudet
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Hall Findlay
Harris (St. John's East)
Holland
Hughes
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kania
Karygiannis
Laforest
Laframboise
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard
Mendes
Minna
Mourani
Mulcair
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Oliphant
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Ratansi
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simms
Simson
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Tonks
Trudeau
Valeriote
Vincent
Volpe
Wilfert
Wrzesnewskyj
Zarac

Total: -- 147

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Arthur
Ashfield
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boucher
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Cadman
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Dykstra
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Généreux
Glover
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Oda
Paradis
Payne
Petit
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young

Total: -- 136

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee.)

Canadian Human Rights Act

    The House resumed from December 7 consideration of Bill C-389, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.
    Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, December 7, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-389, under private members' business.

  (1525)  

     (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 141)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevington
Bonsant
Bouchard
Boucher
Bourgeois
Brison
Brunelle
Byrne
Cannon (Pontiac)
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coady
Coderre
Comartin
Cotler
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dryden
Duceppe
Dufour
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Easter
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Garneau
Gaudet
Glover
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Hall Findlay
Harris (St. John's East)
Holland
Hughes
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kania
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Laforest
Laframboise
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
Ménard
Mendes
Minna
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Oliphant
Ouellet
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Ratansi
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Siksay
Silva
Simms
Simson
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Trudeau
Valeriote
Vincent
Volpe
Wrzesnewskyj
Zarac

Total: -- 143

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Arthur
Ashfield
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Dykstra
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Généreux
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Karygiannis
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
McTeague
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Oda
Paradis
Payne
Petit
Poilievre
Preston
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Tonks
Trost
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young

Total: -- 131

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Canada's Engagement in Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a report entitled, “Canada's Engagement in Afghanistan—Quarterly Report to Parliament for the Period of July 1 to September 30, 2010”. And I have 11 more.

  (1530)  

[Translation]

Exchange of Information on Tax Matters

    Mr. Speaker, with the permission of the House and pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I would like to table, in both official languages, the following 10 treaties:
    Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Anguilla under Entrustment from the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the Exchange of Information with respect to Tax Matters, done at Bridgetown on October 28, 2010;
    Agreement between Canada and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, done at Nassau on June 17, 2010;
    Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Bermuda under Entrustment from the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, done at Hamilton, Bermuda, on June 14, 2010;
    Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Cayman Islands under Entrustment from the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, done at Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island, on June 24, 2010;
    Agreement between Canada and the Commonwealth of Dominica for the Exchange of Information with Respect to Tax Matters, done at Roseau on June 29, 2010;
    Agreement between Canada and the Republic of San Marino for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, done at San Marino on October 27, 2010.
    Agreement between Canada and Saint Lucia for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, done at Castries on June 18, 2010;
    Agreement between Canada and the Federation of Saint Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, done at Basseterre on June 14, 2010;
    Agreement between Canada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, done at Kingstown on June 22, 2010
    Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands under Entrustment from the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, done at Cockburn Town, Grand Turk Island, on June 22, 2010.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order today concerning Question No. 614, which appears on today's notice paper.
    On page 520 of O'Brien and Bosc it states:
    Since questions must be coherent and concise, the Clerk may split a question into two or more questions if it is too broad.....
    To prove the point that this question is not concise, I would like to read the question into the record. The question reads as follows—
    We are on tabling of documents, I would remind the hon. parliamentary secretary. Can we not do this after routine proceedings?
     I thought the member was rising to table some responses to petitions, and reading this question might take half an hour. I do not think we want to go through all of that right now when members are waiting to table petitions and are looking forward to the response to various petitions that the parliamentary secretary is about to table.
    Perhaps we could deal with tabling of documents, and go to the point of order after.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Government Response to Petitions

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

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the visit of the committee on the civil dimension of security to the observer program of exercise Armenia 2010, held in Yerevan, Armenia, from September 16 to 17, 2010.
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have to the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the visit of the subcommittee on east-west economic co-operation and convergence held in Prague, Czech Republic, from September 29 to October 1, 2010.

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Transport, Infrastructure and Communities  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities regarding Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act.

[English]

    The committee has studied the bill and decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

Public Accounts  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
    The 21st report, main estimates, 2010-2011: part III, 2010-2011 report on plans and priorities and 2008-2009 departmental performance report of the Office of the Auditor General.
    Second, the 22nd report, chapter 1, Canada's economic action plan, of the fall 2010 report of the Auditor General of Canada.
    The 23rd report, chapter 4, electronic health records, of the fall 2009 report of the Auditor General of Canada, and “Electronic Health Records in Canada--An Overview of Federal and Provincial Audit Reports” of the spring of 2010 report of the Auditor General.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109 of the House of Commons, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to each of these three reports, and we look forward to receiving same.

[Translation]

Status of Women  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Status of Women regarding Canada's position on polygamy.

  (1535)  

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) the committee believes that polygamy goes against the right to equality between men and women and recommends that the government affirm that this practice does not reflect the values of gender equality.

Income Tax Act

     She said: Mr. Speaker, today it is my privilege to table new legislation on severance pay and employment insurance benefits.
    In the London community and across Canada, we have experienced the effects of plant closures and job losses and heard the stories of Canadians who have worked at plants for more than 30 years, only to be let go due to plant closures.
    My bill is intended to address these often catastrophic economic disasters that families face, to reverse these setbacks and to replace them with hope and optimism.
    The bill would allow any worker who has lost his or her job through no fault of that individual to make a one-time-only lump sum payment over the maximum allowable investment into their RRSP without financial penalty. It also would ensure that workers receive the maximum amount of EI benefit for which they are eligible.
    After years of work, no individual should have to give up retirement security, a family home, the dreams of their children or hope for the future.

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

Nobel Peace Prize

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That, in the opinion of the House, Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia should be permitted to attend the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremonies in Oslo on Friday, December 10th 2010.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous support of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, citizens in my riding of Sydney—Victoria are shocked and angered having learned that a 10-year lease-to-buy agreement has been signed by a crown corporation, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation.
    This permits a garbage collection company to establish a depot in the buildings and on the land of ECBC's development farm at Point Edward without any environmental assessment or public participation, which are specifically required under the Canada Environmental Assessment Act.
    If this deal is not revoked it will compromise ECBC's mandate of developing agricultural land in Cape Breton at a time when local food production is becoming increasingly important.
    In addition to the 66 signatures on the petition sheets, certified by the Clerk of Petitions, I have with me 1,264 more, which gives a total of 1,330 signatures by the citizens in my riding.
    I present this petition to the House.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I have over 300 signatures here of folks from right across Canada in support of my bill, Bill C-544.
    The petitioners are saying that because horses are ordinarily kept and treated as sport and companion animals, are not raised primarily as food producing animals and are commonly administered drugs that are strictly prohibited from being used at any time in all other food processing animals destined for the human food supply, they call upon the House of Commons and Parliament assembled to bring forward and adopt into legislation Bill C-544, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act (slaughter of horses for human consumption), thus prohibiting the importation and exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption, as well as horse meat products for human consumption.

  (1540)  

Vale Inco  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to bring forward the voices of the people of Thompson in northern Manitoba. Today I would like to present a petition on their behalf calling for the federal government to stand up for Canadians and Canadian jobs.
    On November 17, Vale announced devastating news that it was planning to shut down the smelter and refinery in Thompson. This announcement means the loss of over 600 jobs and a devastating impact on a community, our norther region and our province.
    The people of Thompson are saying that the federal government must stand up for them. Not only did the government allow the foreign takeover by Vale, it also gave it a loan of $1 billion just over a month ago, this just weeks before such devastating news.
    The people of Thompson and Manitoba are asking that the federal government stand up for Canadians and work with all stakeholders to save the 600 jobs in the Thompson Vale smelter and refinery.

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today on behalf of literally hundreds and hundreds of constituents in my riding who are talking about the inadequacies of the OAS, GIS and CPP and what it is doing for seniors across the country who are living in poverty. The petitioners need this situation addressed today.
    The seniors in our region and, indeed, across the country who are living below the poverty line is a travesty, an injustice and a black mark on all of us in this House of Commons, and one that we ought to rectify.
    The petitioners are not only calling for an increase, but are saying that when companies go bankrupt, as my colleague from Thunder Bay has done with Bill C-501, we need to put those seniors and pensioners at the front of the line when it comes to creditors. They also say that we ought to ensure that pensions are funded from private enterprises and private companies.
     Ultimately, the petitioners are saying that no senior in this country should live in poverty. The petitioners are calling on the government to end poverty for seniors today.

Veterans Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from members of my community who genuinely support and value the contributions of our veterans. They regard a veteran as a veteran, regardless of where or in which deployment that veteran may have served.
    The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to: extend the mandate of veterans' hospitals to include veterans who have served in conflicts and peacekeeping operations since 1953; end the clawback of veterans' pensions; eliminate the reduction of veterans' pensions at age 65; change the widows benefit to a non-taxable benefit; create a veterans advisory panel to provide input on the selection of future veteran ombudspersons; and ensure that Veterans Affairs Canada remains as a stand-alone department.

Afghanistan  

    Mr. Speaker, my petition, signed by dozens of Canadians, demands that the government end Canada's involvement in Afghanistan.
    In May 2008, Parliament passed a resolution to withdraw Canadian Forces by July 2011. The Prime Minister, with the agreement from the Liberal Party, broke his oft-repeated promise to honour the parliamentary motion.
    Committing 1,000 soldiers on a training mission still presents a danger to our troops and an unnecessary expense when our country is faced with a $56 billion deficit. The military mission has cost Canadians more than $18 billion so far, money that could have been used to improve health care and seniors' pensions right here in Canada. In fact, polls show that the clear majority of people in Canada do not want Canada's military presence to continue after the scheduled removal date of July 2011.
    Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Prime Minister to honour the will of Parliament and bring the troops home now.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 499 and 506.

[Text]

Question No. 499--
Hon. Wayne Easter:
     With respect to Kevin S. MacLeod's position as Canadian Secretary to the Queen, as of September 20, 2010: (a) what was the total cost associated with the position, broken down by the amount spent on (i) travel, (ii) accommodations, (iii) per diems, (iv) meals, (v) hospitality, (vi) gifts, (vii) all other expenses; (b) what government department or agency paid for the expenses in (a); (c) what are the names of the people who travelled with Kevin MacLeod in his capacity as Canadian Secretary to the Queen; and (d) for the people in (c), what was the amount spent on (i) travel, (ii) accommodations, (iii) per diems, (iv) meals, (v) hospitality, (vi) gifts, (vii) all other expenses?
Hon. James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to a) As of September 20, 2010, no costs were associated with the position and with regard to (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii): Nil
    With regard to b) As of September 20, 2010, there were no expenses.
    With regard to c) As of September 20, 2010, Kevin MacLeod did not travel in his capacity as Canadian secretary to the Queen.
    With regard to d) As of September 20, 2010, Kevin MacLeod did not travel in his capacity as Canadian secretary to the Queen and with regard to (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii): Not applicable
Question No. 506--
Mr. Todd Russell:
     With respect to the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), as of September 30, 2010: (a) what is the total number of fines that have been imposed to date by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC); (b) what is the total value of fines that have been imposed to date; (c) what is the total number of fines that have been paid to date; (d) what is the total value of fines that have been paid to date; and (e) has the CRTC forwarded information on violations of the National DNCL to the RCMP for further investigation?
Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Industry, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to Canada’s national do not call list, DNCL, and with regard to a) As of September 30, 2010, the total number of fines, more appropriately referred to as administrative monetary penalties, AMPs, imposed is 25. These AMPs have been imposed on 23 separate entities.
    With regard to b) The total value of AMPs that have been imposed to date is $176,000.
    With regard to c) Partial payments have been received on 5 of the imposed AMPs. These 5 entities have made payment arrangements on $26,500 owing.
    With regard to d) The total value of AMPs that have been paid as of September 30, 2010, is $9,129.
    Collection action continues to be pursued on all files where the CRTC has imposed an AMP in relation to violation of the national DNCL rules. The CRTC is utilizing all means of collection available for outstanding accounts. This includes, but is not limited to, actions such as referral of outstanding accounts to collection agencies or the Canada Revenue Agency, CRA, for refund set-off of funds otherwise payable by the CRA under the Income Tax Act, the Excise Tax Act or the Excise Act; under authority of subsection 164(2) of the Income Tax Act; or under authority of subsection 155(1) of the Financial Administration Act.
    With regard to e) During an investigation, if the information uncovered suggests that the telemarketer might be engaged in criminal activities, the CRTC notifies agencies that are empowered to pursue such activities. This includes the Competition Bureau and PhoneBusters, which is the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, managed on a tripartite basis by the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Competition Bureau. To date, the CRTC has not forwarded information on violations of the national DNCL to the RCMP for further investigation.
    Note: On its website, the CRTC publishes a monthly national do not call list status report. The report, published since July 2009, contains monthly and cumulative information on a number of key variables, including the number of telephone or fax numbers registered on the national DNCL; the number of complaints; the number of new, closed and active investigations; the number of notices of violation issued; and the number of AMPs issued.
    The CRTC’s national do not call list status report also contains a list of CRTC decisions regarding violations of the unsolicited telecommunications rules. The list identifies the companies that were found to be in violation of the rules, and includes the URL link to each of the decisions. These decisions contain information on the circumstances of the case as well as the amount of the AMP levied.

  (1545)  

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if the following questions, Questions Nos. 491 to 494, 497, 498, 500, 501, 502 and 507 to 513 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 491--
Mr. Scott Andrews:
     With regard to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for clients in Newfoundland and Labrador, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008, up to and including the most recent information available for the current fiscal year, and broken down by divisions 1 to 9: (a) how many clients received financial EI benefits while reporting that they were attending a training institution or training course; and (b) how many clients that were approved to receive or were receiving benefits had their claims suspended or terminated because they were attending a training institution or training course?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 492--
Mr. Jean-Claude D'Amours:
     With respect to the Canada Revenue Agency, for each calendar year from 2005 to 2009: (a) how much was owing in overdue accounts; (b) how much has been recovered from overdue accounts; and (c) how much has been written off from overdue accounts?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 493--
Mr. Jean-Claude D'Amours:
     With regard to applications for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefits, for each calendar year from 2006 to 2009, broken down by province: (a) what is the average response time once an application has been submitted; (b) what is the average delay between receiving approval to request a reconsideration and receiving the response; (c) what is the average delay between being authorized to make an appeal before the Office of the Commissioner of Review Tribunals (OCRT) and receiving the decision; and (d) what is the average delay between receiving the right to appeal and receiving the final decision from the OCRT?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 494--
Mr. Peter Julian:
     With regard to the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI): (a) what activities happened on this project during fiscal years 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011; (b) how much project funding was provided or will be provided to each Western province under APGCI, broken down by riding, during fiscal years 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011; (c) what federal departments and agencies have been involved in the realization of the APGCI since 2007 until the present; (d) what are the funding and full-time equivalent projections for APGCI for fiscal years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013; (e) what private companies and consultants received project funding under the APGCI since fiscal year 2007-2008, up to and including the current fiscal year; (f) how will the costs of the APGCI projects be shared between the federal and provincial governments; (g) are there any foreign investments made for APGCI related projects and, if so, what foreign companies made investments for these projects; (h) when is the APGCI scheduled to sunset; (i) what is the federal government's policy position on the future of this initiative, taking into account the global economic recession; (j) did the global economic crisis result in changes to the implementation of the Atlantic Gateway Initiative and, if so, what were they; (k) which countries are Canada’s main competitors and what did the government do to secure Canada's advantages and leading positions; (l) how many trade missions took place in relation to APGCI, where did these take place and how much did they cost, from fiscal year 2007-2008 up to and including the current fiscal year; and (m) what are the names of the Canadian representatives from both the public and private sector organizations who took part in trade missions in relation to APGCI since 2007 to 2010, and by which organization, including government, was their participation funded?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 497--
Ms. Chris Charlton:
     With regard to the employment in the public service: (a) distributed by province, how many new full-time equivalents (FTEs) were hired by each federal department, agency and crown corporation during fiscal years 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010; (b) do departments expect to make cuts to funding for FTEs as a result of the economic recession; (c) how many employees were given permission to run for political office; (d) what criteria does the Public Service Commission (PSC) use to ensure fair hiring processes; (e) how much time does it take each department, agency, and crown corporation to complete hiring processes; (f) how many staff members of the PSC who are responsible for hiring and staffing services are located in each province and territory; and (g) what organization is responsible for staffing and hiring processes in departmental branches outside of the National Capital Region?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 498--
Ms. Chris Charlton:
     With regard to the government's hiring of temporary and full-time employees through recruitment agencies: (a) what are the name of agencies accredited to provide staffing services to the government; (b) how many people were hired temporarily and permanently through recruitment agencies by each federal department, agency or crown corporation for each fiscal year since 2006-2007, up to and including the current fiscal year; (c) for each fiscal year since 2006-2007, up to and including the current fiscal year, how much money did each department, agency and crown corporation pay to recruitment agencies for each employee hired; (d) what is the role of the human resources branches of each federal department and agency when the hiring process is given to the third party; (e) why does the government use external organizations for internal hiring processes and what rules regulate this process; and (f) for each department, how many people who were hired on both short and long-term contracts through recruitment agencies were later hired on a permanent basis?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 500--
Hon. Wayne Easter:
    With respect to the recent visit of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh: (a) which Members of Parliament or Senators were invited to any functions related to the visit; (b) which Members of Parliament or Senators received additional invitations; and (c) how many additional invitations were sent to each Member of Parliament and Senator in (b)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 501--
Hon. Joseph Volpe:
     With respect to the 2007 report by the Advisor on Healthy Children and Youth, "Reaching for the Top", identified by ISBN 978-0-662-46455-6, what is the status of each of the recommendations made in Chapter 10?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 502--
Mr. Jean-Claude D'Amours:
     With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency, for each calendar year from 2006 to 2009: (a) what is the total funding that the Agency requested from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) or the Privy Council Office (PCO) for advertising purposes; (b) how much funding did the Agency receive in response to these requests; and (c) how much funding did the Agency receive from the PMO or PCO for advertising ordered by the PMO or PCO?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 507--
Mr. Todd Russell:
     With regard to the government’s May 21, 2010 announcement concerning Nutrition North Canada: (a) has Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) completed any studies providing evidence that delivery of the subsidy through retailers rather than Canada Post will be more cost-effective and efficient and, if so, (i) how was this shown, (ii) on what dates were the studies completed, (iii) what are the titles of these studies, (iv) what are the names, positions and qualifications held by the authors; (b) has INAC completed any studies providing evidence that delivery of the subsidy through retailers will make healthy food more accessible and affordable in isolated Northern communities and, if so, (i) how was this shown, (ii) on what dates were the studies completed, (iii) what are the titles of these studies, (iv) what are the names, positions and qualifications held by the authors; (c) has INAC completed any analyses of the effect of proposed program cost-containment measures on the price of healthy food and on food security in isolated Northern communities and, if so, (i) what did they show, (ii) on what dates were the studies completed, (iii) what are the titles of these studies, (iv) what are the names, positions and qualifications held by the authors; (d) has INAC completed any analyses of the impact on demand and therefore on program expenditures of Health Canada activities under Nutrition North Canada to promote the consumption of healthy food in isolated Northern communities and, if so, (i) what did they show, (ii) on what dates were the studies completed, (iii) what are the titles of these studies, (iv) what are the names, positions and qualifications held by the authors; (e) has INAC completed any analyses of the impact on food prices and food security in isolated Northern communities resulting from the removal on October 3, 2010 of most non-perishable food from eligibility for the Food Mail Program in isolated Northern communities with marine service and, if so, (i) what did they show, (ii) on what dates were the studies completed, (iii) what are the titles of these studies, (iv) what are the names, positions and qualifications held by the authors; (f) what measures are included in Nutrition North Canada to support the use of sealift and winter roads for the transportation of non-perishable food and non-food items to isolated Northern communities; (g) how will the per kilogram subsidy rates by community for perishable food provided under Nutrition North Canada compare, on the same basis, to the subsidy that was provided by INAC to Canada Post; (h) what are INAC's projected administrative costs for Nutrition North Canada, and how do these compare to the department's on-going administrative costs for the Food Mail Program and the government-subsidized portion of Canada Post's administrative costs; (i) what is the projected number of INAC employees required to administer Nutrition North Canada compared to the number that have administered the Food Mail Program; (j) does INAC intend to continue using the Revised Northern Food Basket as a costing tool to determine the impact of Nutrition North Canada on food prices in isolated Northern communities and, if so, does it intend to continue location price gathering by personnel not affiliated with the recipients of the subsidy; (k) does INAC intend to show retailers' costs for shipping eligible perishable foods to isolated Northern communities; and (l) will INAC present the subsidy under Nutrition North Canada in a way that makes it comparable to the present postage rate for perishable food under the Food Mail Program and, if so, how?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 508--
Mr. Todd Russell:
     With regard to the review of the Food Mail Program: (a) what were the total costs of the review including salaries, travel and contracts to consultants; (b) which consultants were contracted for work on the review, what were their qualifications and what are the titles of their studies; (c) what percentage of participants in the engagement sessions on the three reform options for the Food Mail Program were in favour of changing to a retailer-delivered subsidy and what percentage were in favour of retaining the current model of delivery through Canada Post; and (d) who did the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs or the Minister of Health meet with about changes to the Food Mail Program and, for each meeting, (i) what are the names of all the individuals who were present, (ii) what were the dates and locations, (iii) what was discussed?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 509--
Mr. Todd Russell:
     With regard to government expenditures in Labrador during fiscal years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011: (a) what is the value of (i) each grant, contribution, repayable contribution, loan, or contract for the supply of goods or services made or awarded to any group, business or organization located in Labrador, (ii) each grant, contribution, repayable contribution, loan, or contract for the supply of goods or services made or awarded to any group, business or organization located outside Labrador but for activities carried out within Labrador, (iii) each transfer payment or other payment to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador for work or activities primarily carried out in Labrador, a municipality in Labrador, or a First Nations, Inuit or Innu local government in Labrador; and (b) for each case in (a), (i) what was the specific government department or agency which made the grant, contribution, repayable contribution, loan, contract for the supply of goods or services, or transfer or other payment, (ii) on what date was it made or awarded by the department or agency, (iii) under which program, policy or authority was it made or awarded?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 510--
Ms. Christiane Gagnon:
     With respect to interdepartmental committees, is there or has there ever been an interdepartmental consultation or communication committee whose membership includes the Department of Environment, the Department of National Defence and/or the Department of Justice and that dealt with contamination of the soil or water table in Valcartier, Quebec, or contamination of property belonging to Canadian Arsenal (Industrie Valcartier Inc./SNC Tech Inc.) and, if so: (a) what is or was the nature of this committee; (b) what is or was its mandate; (c) what were its objectives; (d) which other departments, if any, sat on this committee; (e) who were the individuals sitting on the committee; (f) did the committee’s membership change at any point and, if so, who was added or removed; and (g) are there any reports on the committee’s activities and, if so, (i) to whom were the reports sent, (ii) were the reports sent to the legal services units of the departments involved, (iii) when were the reports sent to the departments’ legal services units, (iv) who asked for the reports to be sent to the departments’ legal services units?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 511--
Ms. Christiane Gagnon:
     With regard to the burial or discharge into the environment of chemicals in Valcartier, Quebec, does the Department of National Defence have any documentation establishing knowledge of the burial or discharge into the environment of chemicals in various locations in Quebec and Canada and, if so, (i) are there records indicating the locations of the burial or discharge sites and the substances that were buried or discharged and, if so, what substances were buried or discharged at each of the documented sites?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 512--
Ms. Christiane Gagnon:
     With respect to analyses of the water supply system conducted at CFB Valcartier as of 1970: (a) what level of trichloroethylene (TCE) has been found for each year as of 1970 and for each well; (b) has the quality of the drinking water been assessed; (c) how often have analyses of this system been conducted; (d) did these analyses include the chemical characteristics of the water; and (e) what entity is responsible for maintaining and monitoring the findings?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 513--
Ms. Christiane Gagnon:
     With respect to the decontamination of the former property of Canadian Arsenal in Valcartier, Quebec, has the Department of National Defence or another department received a request for funding by the former operator of this factory, SNC Tech. Inc., its parent corporation or a sister corporation of the SNC-Lavalin Group and, if so: (a) when was the request received; (b) who received the request; (c) what was the amount of funding awarded; (d) what documents were submitted in support of the request; (e) on what dates was the funding allocated by the government; (f) on what date was the funding distributed; (g) what was the method of payment; (h) to which company was the funding paid; and (i) who performed quality control of both the proposed and accomplished work?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Motions for Papers

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, government orders will be extended by 16 minutes.

Points of Order

Order Paper Question No. 614  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a point of order concerning Question No. 614 in the name of the hon. member for Honoré-Mercier, which appears on today's notice paper.
    On page 520 of O'Brien and Bosc it states:
    Since questions must be coherent and concise, the Clerk may split a question into two or more questions if it is too broad.
    To prove that Question No. 614 is not concise, I will read it into the record. The question is as follows:

[Text]

     With respect to Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Copyright Act: (a) how was this Bill developed; (b) did the government request any specific studies for this Bill and, if so, (i) what was the subject of these studies, (ii) what conclusions did they reach, (iii) what recommendations did they put forward, (iv) what methodology was followed in the studies, (v) on what date were the studies requested, (vi) on what date were the studies submitted, (vii) do the studies contain quantitative analyses (are they supported by data), (viii) what are the quantitative data and in what context are they presented;
    (c) did the government request an analysis of the Bill’s economic impact on creators’ income and, if so, (i) what options did the analysis offer, (ii) what data were collected as part of the analysis, (iii) what conclusions did the analysis reach, (iv) were the ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada aware of this analysis before it began, (v) on what date was the analysis requested, (vi) on what date was the analysis tabled, (vii) who or which department requested the analysis, (viii) who or which department conducted the analysis, (ix) what guidelines were issued regarding the analysis, (x) to whom or to which department was the analysis submitted, (xi) did the Minister of Canadian Heritage read the analysis after it was submitted, (xii) did the Minister of Industry read the analysis after it was submitted, (xiii) was a minister or an employee of a minister involved in the analysis, or did a minister or an employee of a minister interact with the researchers at any time during the analysis, (xiv) what methodology was followed in the analysis, (xv) did the author(s) of the analysis state the methodological considerations or limitations, either in writing or verbally, (xvi) what are the methodological considerations or limitations stated by the author(s) of this analysis, (xvii) does the analysis contain a quantitative component (is it supported by data), (xviii) what are the quantitative data and in what context are they presented;
    (d) did the government request an analysis of the different ways of compensating artists for private copying and, if so, (i) what options did the analysis offer, (ii) what data were collected as part of the analysis, (iii) what conclusions did the analysis reach, (iv) were the ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada aware of this analysis before it began, (v) on what date was the analysis requested, (vi) on what date was the analysis tabled, (vii) who or which department requested the analysis, (viii) who or which department conducted the analysis, (ix) what guidelines were issued regarding the analysis, (x) to whom or to which department was the analysis submitted, (xi) did the Minister of Canadian Heritage read the analysis after it was submitted, (xii) did the Minister of Industry read the analysis after it was submitted, (xiii) was a minister or an employee of a minister involved in the analysis, or did a minister or an employee of a minister interact with the researchers at any time during the analysis, (xiv) what methodology was followed in the analysis, (xv) did the author(s) of the analysis state the methodological considerations or limitations, either in writing or verbally, (xvi) what are the methodological considerations or limitations stated by the author(s) of this analysis, (xvii) does the analysis contain a quantitative component (is it supported by data), (xviii) what are the quantitative data and in what context are they presented;
     (e) did the government request an analysis of the Bill’s economic impact as far as fair dealing is concerned and, if so, (i) what options did the analysis offer, (ii) what data were collected as part of the analysis, (iii) what conclusions did the analysis reach, (iv) were the ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada aware of this analysis before it began, (v) on what date was the analysis requested, (vi) on what date was the analysis tabled, (vii) who or which department requested the analysis, (viii) who or which department conducted the analysis, (ix) what guidelines were issued regarding the analysis, (x) to whom or to which department was the analysis submitted, (xi) did the Minister of Canadian Heritage read the analysis after it was submitted, (xii) did the Minister of Industry read the analysis after it was submitted, (xiii) was a minister or an employee of a minister involved in the analysis, or did a minister or an employee of a minister interact with the researchers at any time during the analysis, (xiv) what methodology was followed in the analysis, (xv) did the author(s) of the analysis state the methodological considerations or limitations, either in writing or verbally, (xvi) what are the methodological considerations or limitations stated by the author(s) of this analysis, (xvii) does the analysis contain a quantitative component (is it supported by data), (xviii) what are the quantitative data and in what context are they presented;
    (f) did the Department of Canadian Heritage put forward recommendations for this Bill and, if so, (i) what were they, (ii) on what date were they put forward; (g) did Industry Canada put forward recommendations for this Bill and, if so, (i) what were they, (ii) on what date were they put forward; (h) with respect to the recommendations put forward by the Department of Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada, (i) by what process were the recommendations adopted, (ii) have other changes been made by parties other than the departments, (iii) did the ministers make changes to the Bill which had not been proposed by their respective departments, (iv) in relation to question (h)(i), what are these changes, (v) for every clause in the Bill, which department proposed the change, (vi) for every clause in the Bill, which minister proposed the change first, (vii) for every clause in the Bill, which minister gave his support;
    (i) did the government request an analysis of the statutory damages and, if so, (i) what options did the analysis offer, (ii) what data were collected as part of the analysis, (iii) what conclusions did the analysis reach, (iv) were the ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada aware of this analysis before it began, (v) on what date was the analysis requested, (vi) on what date was the analysis tabled, (vii) who or which department requested the analysis, (viii) who or which department conducted the analysis, (ix) what guidelines were issued regarding the analysis, (x) to whom or to which department was the analysis submitted, (xi) did the Minister of Canadian Heritage read the analysis after it was submitted, (xii) did the Minister of Industry read the analysis after it was submitted, (xiii) was a minister or an employee of a minister involved in the analysis, or did a minister or an employee of a minister interact with the researchers at any time during the analysis, (xiv) what methodology was followed in the analysis, (xv) did the author(s) of the analysis state the methodological considerations or limitations, either in writing or verbally, (xvi) what are the methodological considerations or limitations stated by the author(s) of this analysis, (xvii) does the analysis contain a quantitative component (is it supported by data), (xviii) what are the quantitative data and in what context are they presented;
    (j) with respect to the legal analyses, (i) which ones were done to determine if the Bill complied with the standards of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty adopted in Geneva in 1996, (ii) what were the results of these analyses, (iii) what were the recommendations of these analyses, (iv) were alternatives put forward, (v) what are these alternatives, (vi) who or which department conducted these analyses, (vii) on what date were these analyses requested, (viii) on what date were these analyses submitted, (ix) to whom or to which department were these analyses submitted, (x) did the Minister of Canadian Heritage read the analyses after there were submitted, (xi) did the Minister of Industry read the analyses after there were submitted; (k) was the Bill reviewed by Canadian Heritage employees and, if so, (i) did they make comments or criticisms or ask questions about it, (ii) what are these questions, criticisms or comments made by Canadian Heritage representatives, (iii) did the minister or a member of his staff respond to these questions or comments, (iv) what was their response to these questions or criticisms; and
    (l) with respect to piracy, (i) which studies were done to determine if the Bill can put an end to piracy, (ii) what are the results of these studies, (iii) what are the recommendations put forward by these studies, (iv) were alternatives put forward, (v) what are these alternatives, (vi) who or which department made these studies, (vii) on what date were these studies requested, (viii) on what date were these studies submitted, (ix) to whom or to which department were these studies submitted, (x) did the Minister of Canadian Heritage read these studies after they were submitted, (xi) did the Minister of Industry read these studies after they were submitted?

[English]

 
    Mr. Speaker, I think you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in this place or, frankly, anyone in Canada, who would agree that this question would fit the definition of concise.
    Furthermore, our government's position is that this question should either be withdrawn or, should the member for Honoré-Mercier agree with my intervention, he should at least break the question down into multiple questions and resubmit.
    I would ask that you, Mr. Speaker, agree with our intervention and rule accordingly in this matter.

  (1555)  

    The Chair thanks the hon. parliamentary secretary for his submission. It will be taken under advisement and the Chair will get back to the House at an appropriate time with a ruling.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Safer Railways Act

    The House resumed from December 7 consideration of the motion that Bill C-33, An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Transportation Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    When the House last dealt with this matter, the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona had three and a half minutes left for questions and comments.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Churchill.
    Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Churchill rail transportation is absolutely critical, given we have isolated communities along the Bay line leading up to Gillam and then Churchill that depend entirely on it for access to goods and services. The first nation of Pukatawagan also depends on rail transportation. We recognize that rail safety is absolutely critical.
    Could my colleague expand on his views around the importance of the bill and of rail safety, given the history of rail transportation in our country?
    Mr. Speaker, the member asked an important question. I have taken the train from Thompson to Churchill on several occasions. There is a big problem there. Sometimes the train takes a long time to arrive because of problems with the railbed.
    A viewer who was watching yesterday contacted my office regarding some information that I put on the record yesterday. I indicated that the largest train accident involving the loss of life was in Dugald, Manitoba in 1947. He pointed out that on December 8, 1942, in Almonte, Ontario, close to Ottawa, 36 people were killed in a train wreck. One of them was from the member for Churchill's riding, Dorothy Rafter from Gillam, Manitoba. Both of these disasters were equally devastating to the families of the victims.
    This points to the fact that this report is long overdue. We have to establish tough rules for safety when it comes to railways, both passenger and freight trains. As the parliamentary secretary pointed out yesterday, when he introduced the bill, the passenger rail system in Canada carries some 72 million passengers a year and two-thirds of Canada's freight is still carried on the railway. With 72 million passengers riding the trains, we have to make certain that we do not have accidents like those that happened in Almonte and Dugald.

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-33, An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act.
    Canada's railways are an intrinsic part of our country's history and nation-building experience. They continue to serve as a symbolic reminder of the great geographic distances brought together by Confederation.
     In addition to the purely symbolic aspects of Canada's rail network, railways continue to provide a vital connection between the various regions of Canada, both in terms of passenger trips and cargo and freight shipments. Although the advent of modern transportation, such as air travel, have led to a reduction in the number of annual passenger train trips, this does not mean that the industry in Canada has become obsolete. In fact, rural and northern communities remain highly dependent on the availability of rail services.
    That is why since my election, as a member of the great riding of Sudbury, I have been a vocal advocate for the expansion of rail lines and the upgrading of rail infrastructure in communities in northern Ontario. Specifically, I have been an ardent supporter of keeping the Huron Central Railway's operations alive and running.
    Along with the help of northern Ontarian New Democrat members, including the members for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, Nickel Belt, and Sault Ste. Marie, the NDP has successfully lobbied both the federal and provincial governments to infuse $33 million into infrastructure funds devoted to maintaining and improving rail connections in northern Ontario.
    In addition to maintaining and upgrading northern and rural access to rail services, ensuring that rail travel is safe is paramount. Whether it is passengers on board trains themselves or pedestrians and motorists at railway crossings, it is crucial that Canada maintains an exemplary record in regard to safety.
    Although the numbers of pedestrians and motorists in collisions at railway crossings have marginally declined since the early 1990s, general incidents have actually increased during this period. This does not mean that in implementing more stringent safety practices we should be ignoring crossing accidents. In 2006 crossing accidents accounted for approximately 23% of all railway accidents in Canada. Instead, we need to provide adequate provisions that ensure improved safety for motorists and pedestrians at crossings, while continuing to implement processes that will simultaneously reduce the more general forms of railway accidents, which include both collisions and derailments.
    In spite of the marginally decreasing rates of crossing incidents, in 2003, 247 collisions were reported, resulting in deaths of 27 people and more than 50 serious injuries across the country. This rate has remained roughly stagnant over the past seven years, as from January to September 2010, there were 128 officially reported incidents resulting, unfortunately, in 16 fatalities and 15 serious injuries across Canada.
    Let me recall a story from my riding of Sudbury as a demonstration of how the issue of rail safety can affect ordinary Canadians and their children.
    Just last year a newborn baby was miraculously unharmed following a two-vehicle collision at the CN railway crossing on Maley Drive in Sudbury. The vehicle carrying the child was slowing to a stop for the flashing lights and control arm as the train was approaching the crossing. The vehicle was struck from behind and pushed across the tracks as the train approached. Thankfully, the vehicle cleared the crossing and was not struck by the train or the resulting collision would have caused significant injury, damage and possibly death.
    This story demonstrates the necessity of implementing enhanced public awareness campaigns designed to ensure that Canadians are aware of potential dangers that meet them at railway crossings. Moreover, it demonstrates the overarching need for heightened safety standards which will provide protection to passengers, pedestrians, motorists and railway service staff, all of whom deserve to be protected from dangerous incidents, such as crossing accidents, collisions and derailments.

  (1605)  

    As of 2001, there were approximately 22,500 public railway crossings across Canada, with an equal number of private crossings falling under the jurisdiction of 2,500 different road authorities. In addition, 2001 statistics reveal that 145 of the 278 crossing collisions occurred at public crossings when there were automated flashing lights and warning bells.
    This speaks to the fact that many Canadians are not taking the necessary precautions when approaching these crossings. Furthermore, the incident rate at these types of crossings also point to a deficiency in the way public railway crossings are managed. Clearly, the government needs to address the danger which these types of crossings can present by taking a dual approach encompassing more stringent regulations and an enhanced public awareness campaign.
    Improving rail safety across Canada is integral for protecting passengers, pedestrians, motorists and railway staff respectively.
    Therefore, the New Democratic Party will be supporting Bill C-33 at second reading in order to send it to committee for further debate and discussion.
    Although the proposed amendment to the Railway Act is not perfect, the broad goal of improving railway safety is laudable. Our party welcomes the opportunity to discuss this bill at committee in order to improve specific aspects of the legislation which are lacking in its current incarnation.
    The New Democratic Party is therefore committed to the goal of improving railway safety in Canada and looks forward to working with all parties to ensure that this bill provides the necessary safety protocols which are needed to protect Canadians across the country.
    We also hope that this bill will continue to protect people such as those unfortunate two who were involved in the accident in Sudbury, and all people who have been involved in accidents in the past.
     Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Sudbury on his wonderful speech here in the House today.
    I know that there has been a lot of talk in his riding of Sudbury and my riding of Nickel Belt about the railway going right through downtown Sudbury. I would like to know if he thinks that the federal government should get back into assisting municipalities that request to have their railroads removed from downtown where they are causing traffic congestions.
    Could the hon. member for Sudbury please give me his opinion on that?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his great work on all issues pertaining to our ridings, as we are neighbours, especially regarding the Huron Central Railway.
    When it leads specifically to the railway crossing in downtown Sudbury, there is a line that goes right through Elm Street, which is right in our downtown core. This line not only causes major traffic backups, which have caused accidents, but many times I have seen individuals who try to run across the tracks, and what they do not recognize is that there is one track in front and then another track in between, and then a line behind.
    There have been so many instances of people thinking they can beat the first train, but they do not realize that the arms coming down and the lights that are flashing are actually for the third train coming on the far line.
    We have had way too many close calls in Sudbury. I agree with my hon. colleague that it would be fantastic if we could get the federal government involved again in supporting federal initiatives with the municipalities when we are looking at removing train lines, and removing tracks and moving them to other locations.

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Sudbury is familiar with a community north of Sudbury called Capreol. Bill C-33 is a railway safety bill. Because of the length of the trains today, often if the train stops in a specific area, the community of Capreol is landlocked, so if there were an emergency such as a fire, it would be in trouble.
    Does my colleague believe that these trains should be shortened to make it safer for communities like Capreol?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the great town of Capreol. I had the opportunity of spending one summer working on a tie gang, so I know rail safety quite well. I swung a sledge hammer for a summer, hence the large physique.
    However, the town of Capreol, as my hon. colleague has mentioned, has been landlocked several times because of trains being so long and not being able to move. It is fearful for us, as residents of those communities. We hope we will never hear a tragic story of someone being rushed to the hospital in Sudbury from Capreol because they cannot get through because of the two kilometre train they cannot get around.
    The bill and the legislation we will looking at in committee we hope will address many of these concerns.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague, does he believe that the federal government ought to play a greater role in investing in rail?
    In northern Manitoba, the Liberal government of the time privatized the railway. We face some real challenges. There is deterioration in terms of infrastructure and that has had a real impact on safety. While work is currently being done, we need a great deal more and the federal government is nowhere to be seen.
    Mr. Speaker, yes, we need the federal government to play an active role by investing in rail, especially in northern communities like that of my hon. colleague and my own community.
    Unfortunately, if I wanted to take the train right now to Ottawa from Sudbury, which is about 500 kilometres away, it would take me two days because there is no train line between Sudbury and Ottawa.
    We need to ensure that northerners can commute to their nation's capital, to other cities, to one another to see family, and the federal government can play an active role in that.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for their enthusiastic response as I take this opportunity to share the views of the residents of Winnipeg Centre on a subject that we find very timely, topical and of great import, and that is the review of Bill C-33, the railway safety act.
    In the context of speaking to the bill I want to share a little bit about Winnipeg and how the railway has not only affected modern-day Winnipeg but actually almost shaped the way that my city grew and developed into the great metropolis that we know it to be today.
    In 1882, when the CPR first laid down the tracks in Winnipeg, it laid them down quite logically and reasonably right from the junction of the two great rivers, the Assiniboine River and Red River, directly west to the Rocky Mountains and the west coast. This was the transcontinental railway.
    As such, the marshalling yards were put well outside the developed area of Winnipeg as it stood in 1882, but frankly it was not long. In fact, by the turn of the century, Winnipeg had grown out that far and these great marshalling yards, 40 tracks wide in many places with full shops for upholstery, maintenance and the wheel house, created a great divide for the city of Winnipeg.
    It created a tale of two cities because the railway barons lived along Wellington Crescent south of those tracks and the north end of Winnipeg became, as we know it, the low-income working class part of the city. That great divide exists to this day. So it shaped the growth of our city very much.
    The reason I want to mention these things in the context of Bill C-33, the railway safety act, is that it has been a huge safety issue, not just a great physical barrier and a great industrial blight in the heart of our city. It has created a safety issue to where there have been explosions, collisions and accidents. There have been vehicle-train mishaps, chemical spills, and 130 years of environmental degradation as the trains just naturally spill diesel and drop materials onto that soil.
    It is not a good thing to have a huge marshalling yard in the middle of a major urban centre. Those houses beside the tracks, north and south, are the least desirable neighbourhoods, the least desirable housing. Creating what began as reasonable housing for workers alongside the tracks, it gradually became, over a period of time, some of the roughest and meanest streets in the city of Winnipeg as they were not exactly a person's first choice to move to in terms of raising a family.
    I raise this in the context again of Bill C-33 because I believe when it comes to committee, the government will hear from a number of sources that we want another element added to the bill. We want reconsideration of what was called the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act, which has laid dormant, essentially, for almost 15 to 18 years.
    The Railway Relocation and Crossing Act was, in fact, a rail safety measure where a municipality, upon application to the federal government, could appeal to have the railways lift up their tracks, whether it was a level crossing or a marshalling yard, and tear up the tracks, move them outside the city to a place where they would not pose a health or contamination hazard, and 50% of that cost would be borne by the federal government.
    One would think with all we have given the railways over the years, that they would heed the wishes and will of the residents of the municipality where they reside and we could oblige them to move those tracks somewhere that would be more beneficial to us. They were not all that co-operative. I do not know how this developed, but at a period of time, the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act was the avenue of recourse for municipalities which wanted to get rid of the rails.

  (1615)  

    It exists today. It is on the books. It exists as legislation. It is inactive and dormant and we believe the government of the day, in the same context of dealing with the Railway Safety Act, should be reviewing the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act .
    I could make the argument that it is directly relevant to the safety of citizens to get these tracks out of the yards, but it also helps us to rationalize our rail transportation network in the country. If we are to truly avail ourselves of the new reality that rail is the best way to move freight, the old marshalling yards in the inner city of Winnipeg, in my riding of Winnipeg Centre, in Outremont in Montreal and in other cities around the country are obsolete, outdated and unable to avail themselves of the new intermodal container shipping practices that typify a modern shipping transportation system.
    In fact, we believe the city of Winnipeg needs to develop what we call a great inland port, in other words, a fully-modern, 21st century intermodal container terminal that is not on an ocean but is in fact at the heart of the continent. It is the heart of a great X from the Asia Pacific trade route, from the St. Lawrence Seaway through the Great Lakes, over the northern Ontario trade route straight up to our only deep sea Arctic port at Churchill and then straight down the Red River corridor to trade into the populated areas of the United States.
    We are uniquely located. The city of Winnipeg's best advantage is being at the heart of the continent. Yet it is handicapped and stymied by the outdated, obsolete, polluted marshalling yards that are not only an eyesore and a liability, but are holding us back from developing into the inland port computerized terminal we need.
    I have travelled to modern-day container shipping terminals in Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Fuzhou, China. I went to those four terminals and studied the way a modern, computerized shipping terminal worked. It is nothing like the inner city of Winnipeg. It does not even bear a remote resemblance to what we need to develop and we cannot develop that in its existing grounds.
    These container terminals work with computerized gantries that can go about half a mile down a line of terminals that are stacked 12 high and find the exact shipping container that it is looking for 80 rows down, 6 rows up and 15 rows over. It can go on this gantry system, pick it up, bring it out and ship it.
    That is the kind of speed and just-in-time shipping we need if we are to have a proper distribution network in our country. We also need to consider that it has to be intermodal from air traffic to train traffic to truck traffic, all in the same centre if we are to put more freight on the rails where it belongs and take it off the highways.
    In the consideration of Bill C-33, the safer railways act, we are negligent in our duties if we do not consider the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act in the same context at the same time. We do not know when we will be able to raise this issue in Parliament again as part of the legislative framework associated with rail safety. If I had more time, I would also explain that the government needs to revisit the rail freight review for western Canadian grain farmers.

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will give the member time to finish his thoughts because this is not the first time he has spoken about the relocation of railway lines in Winnipeg. He has fought this issue for at least a decade.
    Where does he see the rail yards being relocated to? Not only are there rail yards in his constituency but there are rail yards in the Transcona area as well. He seems to suggest that they should be around the airport and I agree with him that the transportation hub would have to be concentrated around the new expansion of the airport.
    What is his vision on where the rail yards in his area should be relocated to as well as the rail yards in the Elmwood—Transcona, if at all?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Elmwood—Transcona comes from an area that was actually borne of the railway industry. I do not think there is a community in Canada where the railroad is more relevant. However, the member asks an excellent question.
     I believe there will be input from the federal government should we avail ourselves of financial support from the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act. We expect the transportation ministry to have some input as to how we reroute the rail yards around the city of Winnipeg and to rationalize the rail so it does not need to be a CN line and a CP line both running through the inner city of Winnipeg. They can share track at least until they get past Winnipeg and even past the province of Manitoba.
    If we are trying to view an intermodal consolidation of our transportation system, it is going to be key to having freight arriving by air and rail and put on trucks for further distribution all in the same intermodal network somewhere near the airport.

  (1625)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague a question that relates to something I think we have in common in terms of our communities. I was asked earlier by my hon. colleague from Nickel Belt about the problem we have with rail lines through our downtown core. It seems the hon. member has talked about a similar problem.
    My municipality is talking about the possibility of moving the rail yards. Our downtown business association is talking about turning these rail lines into a park, almost turning the city core into a park.
    What does the hon. member think about the role of the federal government in supporting downtown business associations and municipal governments in getting these rail lines out of our communities to ensure we can still have a rail line through our communities, but at the same time have a prosperous downtown core?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Sudbury is absolutely right. The liability also has an opportunity built into it as well. As we tear up the tracks and relocate the rail line somewhere outside of the city, for safety and pollution reasons, it leaves us opportunities for green space within the inner city. I understand Windsor, Ontario has made very good use of the lands it made available.
     The Forks in downtown Winnipeg, of which we are very proud, was in fact the old rail yard's maintenance shops. It was terribly contaminated and polluted, but with the co-operation of all three levels of government, we have turned an eyesore liability into one of our best assets.
    I like the idea of bicycle paths along the routes where the rail lines used to run. In fact, it is natural to use that whole railway bed for a bicycle path.
    We need a recommitment to rail transportation in our country. For years the tracks have been torn up in places we did not want torn up. The tracks should be torn up in our inner cities and urban environments to create more green space and opportunity to social housing. We can put that land to better use.
    Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Accordingly the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

     (Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

[Translation]

    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl, Government Spending; the hon. member for Labrador, The Hon. Member for Nepean—Carleton.

Criminal Code

Hon. Stockwell Day (for the Minister of Justice)  
     moved that Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to begin the debate on Bill C-30, Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Shoker Act, an important bill that illustrates our government's desire to improve the safety of our communities.
    This bill will help ensure that offenders respect prohibition orders on the consumption of alcohol or drugs, which will better protect our streets and communities from offences committed by people under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
    Bill C-30 will once again make it possible to require offenders to provide samples of bodily substances in order to ensure that they are complying with prohibition orders on the consumption of alcohol or drugs. The courts lost that power in the fall of 2006 as a result of the R v. Shoker decision, in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Criminal Code does not grant the courts the authority to order that samples of bodily substances be taken in the context of prohibiting the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
    This power is essential to solving one of the glaring problems facing our society: the harm caused by people who abuse drugs or alcohol.
    Everyone in the House knows that in this country and around the world, drug and alcohol abuse often leads to all kinds of crime: property crimes, violent crimes and sex crimes. The sheer number of crimes committed by individuals under the influence of drugs or alcohol is staggering. The Correctional Service of Canada estimated that about 50% of the 250,000 convictions handed down every year are directly related to alcohol or drug abuse. The more serious and violent the offence, the more likely it is that the individual committed it after consuming alcohol or drugs. Nearly 80% of the offenders sentenced to two years or more stated that alcohol or drug consumption was the cause of the offence.
    We also know that most offenders commit crimes to get the substances they abuse. Approximately 38% of federal offenders dealing with substance abuse problems committed the crime that led to their incarceration in order to support their addictions.
    This problem has serious repercussions on society. The victims suffer the most, but their families and the offenders' families suffer, too. Businesses suffer major losses, and the justice system has to bear a heavy burden. They health care system is struggling under the weight of efforts to treat victims' injuries and offenders' addictions. Furthermore, these crimes add to the financial burden on police resources and taxpayers.
    We will continue to charge, try and sentence individuals who have committed crimes because of their abusive consumption of alcohol and other substances because, if we do not address their addiction problems, they will continue to commit crimes once they are released.
    In Canada, federal and provincial correctional services provide inmates with addiction treatment and counselling services. But this kind of support has to continue once the offender is released. The best tools we have to manage the risk posed by an offender with addictions who is released are conditions that require the offender to participate in a treatment program and to abstain from drugs and alcohol. Such conditions can help eliminate the problem that led to the crime.

  (1630)  

    For example, every time an offender is sentenced to less than two years in prison, the court can also impose a period of probation that can last up to three years. Every probation order also includes a requirement to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. The court can also impose any other conditions necessary to ensure the offender's rehabilitation and public safety.
    As I mentioned earlier, one of the most effective and most commonly used conditions is the prohibition of drugs and alcohol. According to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, approximately half of all probation orders include such a condition.
    Until 2006, judges imposed this condition along with a condition requiring the offender to provide a sample of a bodily substance for analysis on the demand of peace officers and probation officers. This condition made it possible to monitor the offender's conduct and his sobriety after his release. This condition was a deterrent since the offender knew that if he breached his drug and alcohol condition, he might be caught, tried and sentenced to two years for breach of parole.
    What is more, it is essential to get a sample of a bodily substance to present as evidence at a trial for breach of parole. This is so important that crown prosecutors who do not have a sample that tested positive are generally reluctant to initiate these types of proceedings. The ability to try an offender for breach of condition prohibiting the use of alcohol or other substances is important, because failure at this point means that the substance abuse would continue, leading to new crimes being committed and more people being victimized.
    As I was saying, it used to be common for a sentencing judge to impose a condition requiring the offender to provide a sample of a bodily substance. This practice ended following the Supreme Court ruling in Shoker.
     In 2004, the accused was convicted in British Columbia of breaking and entering a dwelling house with intent to commit sexual assault. Mr. Shoker, who had a history of abusing methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine, was sentenced to 20 months in prison followed by 3 years of probation. The probation order stated that he must abstain from consuming drugs or alcohol, participate in a treatment program and, at the request of a peace officer or probation officer, allow the seizure of bodily samples.
    The accused appealed, arguing that the condition that he provide bodily samples was unconstitutional because it violated his right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure, as guaranteed under section 8 of the charter. The case went to the Supreme Court, which concluded in October 2006 that the condition requiring the offender to allow the seizure of bodily samples was illegal.
    I should note that the court did not declare that requiring an offender to allow the seizure of bodily samples was fundamentally unconstitutional under section 8 of the charter. It clearly established that Parliament could, if it so decided, enact legislation to authorize the seizure of bodily samples. According to the court, the provisions of the Criminal Code simply do not authorize the sentencing judge to impose such a condition in a probation order. Furthermore, the court rejected the Crown's argument that the probation provisions implicitly authorize the imposition of conditions regarding the seizure of bodily samples.
    As a result, the courts have since been unable to impose a condition in a probation order requiring offenders to provide bodily samples.

  (1635)  

    The Shoker case also had repercussions on Criminal Code provisions related to conditional sentences and peace bonds because they involve conditions similar to those imposed under probation orders.
    Bill C-30 proposes to amend Criminal Code provisions related to probation, conditional sentencing and peace bonds by clearly establishing that if a court chooses to impose a condition prohibiting alcohol or drug consumption, it can also impose a condition requiring the offender to provide a sample of a bodily substance to ensure that this person has abstained from alcohol or drugs.
    Under the proposed amendments to these three regimes, the court could impose two specific conditions requiring an offender to provide a sample of a bodily substance. First, an offender can be required to provide a sample of a bodily substance at the request of a peace officer or a probation officer, if that person has reasonable grounds to believe that the offender has breached an order requiring them to abstain from using drugs and alcohol.
    In addition, the bill provides that the court can also impose a condition requiring the individual to provide a sample of a bodily substance at regular intervals. This supplementary condition could be appropriate in cases where there is an increased chance that the offender will have difficulty abstaining from drug or alcohol use or when increased monitoring is needed.
    At least seven days must elapse between each sample, but the intervals may vary. Because the probation officer has a direct role in supervising the offender, it is up to the officer to determine the length of the intervals.
    This regime contains another important aspect. It offers the possibility of taking samples of more then one type of bodily substance. This concern was raised when the justice department consulted provincial and territorial justice bureaucrats, specialists, police and probation officers in the wake of the Shoker case. All those consulted indicated that the legislation should confer the authority to take various kinds of samples. Thus, any substance included in the growing list of illegal drugs could be identified. It could also be determined when the drugs were taken and what methods offenders use to avoid detection.
    Following the consultations, we concluded that, to be effective, a sampling system must be flexible enough not only to meet current requirements, but also to add new requirements over time. To that end, the bill gives the government the power to make regulations governing the types of samples and the authorized methods for taking samples, and to make changes as requirements evolve.
    The bill makes it possible for the federal government to confer, by regulation, the authority to take and analyze samples of urine, breath and blood, for example. It may also designate certain types of sampling when the provinces and territories have confirmed their ability in that regard.
    I would also like to point out that the authority to make regulations under Bill C-30 has another important role. In fact, it makes it possible to ensure that provincial and territorial representatives responsible for administering the taking of samples do so in accordance with national standards established by the federal government. Although the provinces and territories may determine their own rules for the operational aspects of the system—designating the persons that may take samples, where and when sampling can occur, as well as the manner for storing and destroying samples—the provincial rules are subject to the federal regulatory framework.
    This serves two specific objectives. First, each administration can manage the system in its own territory. It can decide on the applicable operational characteristics, which may vary from one administration to the next.
    Second, the administrative aspects of the sampling system will not affect the subject's privacy or the samples' integrity. It guarantees that the offenders concerned are treated fairly under this system.

  (1640)  

    The attorney general of the province will thus be able to designate the persons authorized to take blood samples; however, this discretionary power will be limited by the federal regulations. The regulations could give only qualified doctors the authority to take blood samples; however, the attorney general of the province could choose to further limit the types of qualified doctors authorized to take blood samples in the province. This type of approach could be used to determine not only who is authorized to take the samples but also the types of containers and the methods for storing, analyzing and destroying the samples.
    This framework would provide enough flexibility to meet the operational requirements of all 13 provinces and territories while maintaining minimum national standards. In practical terms, this initiative should encourage each administration to collect samples from offenders more frequently, which will result in increased compliance with the prohibition conditions.
    I am pleased that we were able to address this major operational issue for the provinces and territories without compromising the need for national privacy and equity standards.
    During the consultations held with the provinces and territories following the publication of the Shoker decision, all administrations agreed that authority must be granted to take samples not only in the case of probation orders, but also in the case of conditional sentence orders and recognizances to keep the peace. As I already mentioned, Bill C-30 makes it possible to achieve this objective.
    I would like to specify that all provinces and territories are in favour of the sampling regime set out in the bill.
    Before closing, I would like to mention the measures taken by the Attorney General of Canada to guarantee the constitutionality of these changes. Given the numerous factors involved, we are convinced that the proposed changes would survive a charter challenge.
    Consider the following points. First of all, the use of samples collected by police or probation officers would have to be strictly limited to verifying compliance with a court-ordered abstention condition. Second, the results of the analysis could be disclosed to the offender. Third, the probation officer would have to provide the offender with comprehensive written notice of any obligation to provide a sample at regular intervals, including information as to where and when the sample will be taken. Fourth, there must be a provision whereby a sample may be taken only when there are reasonable grounds to believe that the individual has breached the abstention condition. Fifth, anyone who takes part in the taking, handling, storing or destruction of samples would have to obey very specific rules. Sixth, the samples and the results of the analysis would have to be destroyed when the condition expires, unless the analysis is needed as evidence in legal proceedings resulting from a breach.
    In closing, I am proud to say that I believe we have introduced a good bill that deserves the support of all members of this House. It is an effective, appropriate response to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R v. Shoker. It gives police and probation officers the tools they need to ensure that offenders with substance abuse problems take their rehabilitation seriously. It allows courts to impose conditions with the assurance that those conditions can be monitored and enforced. Lastly, this bill has the support of all 13 provinces and territories.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to speak to this important initiative.

  (1645)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the government has finally decided to move ahead with this bill. I noticed that the member who just spoke on the government's behalf talked about the fact that ever since the Supreme Court of Canada's 2006 ruling in Regina v. Shoker—and I am trying to cite it correctly—the courts have been unable to force individuals to provide bodily fluid samples. That is why the Conservative government went ahead with this bill. At the end of his speech, he mentioned that the government acted quickly and efficiently after the Shoker decision. That decision came in 2006 and it is now 2010. The government introduced its bill for the first time in 2009, three years after the Shoker decision.
    Why did the government wait three years to introduce the bill, let it die when it prorogued the House and then wait 191 days before bringing it up again during the current session of the 40th Parliament? Why?

  (1650)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the member for her question. Like me, she is a member of the Standing Committee on Justice. This bill required a lot of thought. We must not forget that the Supreme Court of Canada expressed its opinion on the illegality and told the government to redo its homework.
    Given that we did not want to fall into the same trap—creating a bill that would be challenged again—we had to start by ensuring that everything happened in consultation with the territorial and provincial attorneys general. Then we had to ensure that we were fixing not one problem, but three. We had to maintain public order, which is covered in section 810 of the Criminal Code. In each case, we had to ensure that both the individual and society would be protected. That can take time, but it is better to introduce something complete than to risk another challenge in a few years' time.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the government member whether the bill is complete this time. Are there provisions in this bill to ensure that a sample will be given to the person from whom the sample was taken, so that they can take it to an analyst they trust to verify whether the government or the police properly carried out the analyses?
    When we wanted to be able to force someone to provide an alcohol breath sample when there are reasonable grounds to believe that they are driving while impaired, we made provisions for this. So it is nothing new. Is that provision in Bill C-30?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, when we were studying the clauses regarding being under the influence, one clause was not implemented. This clause asked the following question: if someone is arrested by the police and provides a bodily sample, can they take that same sample and have it analyzed by another chemist? This clause was not implemented.
    In this case, the mechanics of it are completely different. The primary goal of the bill is to allow society—probation officers, police officers or the courts—to ensure that an individual will not continue to consume alcohol. Otherwise, this individual will cost us a fortune. We must absolutely be able to protect this individual from himself through orders that allow for samples to be taken on different days, for example, every seven days, in order to have proper control over the offender and to ensure that he comes back in good shape. That is what we want.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his introduction of what is now Bill C-30.
    I was looking at the Supreme Court of Canada decision made in October 2006 and, as the Liberal member pointed out, it has been over four years now that the government has let this situation deteriorate. The parliamentary secretary just explained that it had to go through some procedures, but a proroguing of the House also delayed matters. The fact is that during all of this time there have been many cases that have passed by us by virtue of the government's delaying.
    Does the member have any accounting of how many missed cases have gone by now because of this delay of over four years?

  (1655)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague has asked an excellent question, but I have absolutely no answer. All we know is that many cases are related to drugs and alcohol. I cited some examples in my speech earlier. We do not have any specific information on cases after October 2006. That information might be available in Juristat, but I do not have it on hand. However, I can try to find out.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to come back to how long it has taken this government to take action on this bill.
    The Conservative member said that the government did not act immediately after Shoker because it had to hold consultations and it wanted to be certain that the bill was legal and constitutional. It took the government three years, from 2006 to 2009, to introduce its bill for the first time.
    I accept that explanation in good faith. However, that does not explain why, after finally introducing the bill, the government waited 62 days, let the bill languish at first reading stage and killed it with prorogation. Prorogation lasted two and a half months. Once the Speech from the Throne was delivered on March 2, 2010, did the government take the first opportunity to reintroduce its bill? No. The government waited 98 days before reintroducing the bill. What is more, instead of immediately moving debate at second reading, the government let this bill languish for 191 days. It was not until today, at the request of the three opposition parties, that the government finally took action. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, I understand the hon. member's question. I would like to point out to her that we introduced a whole series of bills. We have about 20 that are either before the House or the Senate.
    I would also like to point out that, until just recently, there have been many bills, Bill S-10 for example, that will soon come before the House. I worked on this bill for almost a year. But what did the Senate do with it? It arrived in the Senate and they ripped it to shreds. We had to start from square one. Sometimes it is our own fault but, other times, both sides are to blame. What is important is that we present a united front in helping the people of Canada. We will also be helping offenders who will now be monitored and who may be forced to obtain treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction. This may help them become better members of our society.
    Mr. Speaker, I cannot express how pleased I am to finally be speaking about this bill here in the House at second reading. I have been waiting for four years, almost five, for the government to make a move on this issue. Anyone who knows House procedure knows that the government controls its own agenda.
    I can accept the reasons given in the House by the parliamentary secretary to explain why the government waited three years after the Shoker decision to introduce this bill for the first time. However, that explanation became irrelevant once the bill was introduced for the first time.
    As I mentioned during questions and comments, the government introduced its bill in 2009. This bill concerning the R. v. Shoker decision was stalled at first reading for 62 days. The government had 62 days to move debate at second reading, but it did not do so. The Liberals cannot do it. The Bloc cannot do it. The New Democratic Party cannot do it. According to the Standing Orders, only the government can move the motion to begin debate at second reading. But for 62 days in 2009, the government decided not to move debate at second reading.
    And what did the government do? The Prime Minister, in his wisdom, decided to prorogue the House and Parliament. He shut and locked Parliament's doors from December 2009 to the beginning of March 2010. That brought cries of protest from hundreds of thousands of Canadians who were shocked by this undemocratic move by this Conservative Prime Minister.
    I am almost there. The throne speech was read on March 2, 2010. The government could then have reintroduced its bill concerning the Shoker ruling. The NDP asked the following question: how many offenders subject to conditions requiring them to abstain from the consumption of illegal drugs or alcohol are no longer required to comply with these conditions to provide samples of bodily substances as a result of the Shoker ruling? The Conservative parliamentary secretary was unable to answer the question. However, we know that the answer is several thousand.
    The government introduced its bill for the first time in the fall of 2009, but killed it with prorogation. Subsequently, in the new parliamentary session that began in March 2010, instead of introducing the bill right away—to ensure that it would be adopted as quickly as possible and to allow the courts to set conditions requiring offenders to provide samples of bodily substances to determine whether they were complying with conditions to not consume alcohol or illegal drugs—the government waited 90 days after the throne speech before again introducing the same bill. A comparison of Bill C-30 and the bill introduced in the first session of the 40th Parliament, in the fall of 2009, shows that not one word or comma was changed.
    The government waited 90 days before introducing it again. The government introduced the bill on May 31, 2010.

  (1700)  

    The House was sitting. We sat until the end of June. With the consent of the official opposition—the Liberal Party of Canada—, with the consent of the Bloc Québécois and the NDP—the three opposition parties had already indicated that they were in favour of the bill and that they had no problem with it—the government could have done what it is trying to do today. The same day that it introduced its bill, May 31, 2010, it could have moved debate at second reading, as we are doing today, and then, with the unanimous consent of the House, the bill could have been deemed debated and passed at all stages and immediately sent to the other chamber.
    What did the government do instead? People who were convicted of a crime or who were on parole awaiting trial were subject to court-ordered conditions to refrain from consuming alcohol or illegal drugs. What did the Conservative government do to ensure that judges and courts have the legal power to force offenders to provide bodily samples? The government that brags every day about taking care of victims of crime and about combatting crime, what did it do? It waited 191 days before moving debate at second reading. Today is the 192nd day.
    This shows the hypocrisy of the Conservative Party of Canada and the hypocrisy of this Conservative government.

  (1705)  

[English]

    If I seem to be angry, it is because I am angry. The government does not cease in saying that it is tough on crime and that it is the only party that is concerned with victims.
    How did the government show its concern for victims of all of the crimes that have taken place since the Shoker judgment from the Supreme Court of Canada in 2006 until today and the delays that the government submitted this bill to when it knew that the three opposition parties were prepared to accelerate the movement and adoption of this bill through every stage of this House?
    When I was justice critic from January 2007 until January 2008, I personally informed the Conservative government that the Liberals were in favour of this bill and that we would be prepared to accelerate the bill if the government would only bring it forward. Well, the government did not. It only brought it forward in the latter days of 2009. The government knew that the opposition parties were in favour of it, so why did it not move it quickly? Why did it not take advantage of the agreement of all opposition parties to deal with this bill quickly?
    I believe it is because the government is not interested in protecting victims. The government is not interested in seeing that we have effective government. The government is interested only in getting political hay from justice files and in sending out thousands of letters begging for donations because only the Conservatives can protect victims.
    In fact, when one looks at the actual record of the government, the government does everything not to protect victims. Bill C-30 is the perfect case. It spent 191 days at first reading and waited 98 days between the throne speech and actually re-tabling a bill.
    The government is not serious about defending victims because, had it been serious, it would have taken up the offer of the opposition parties to deal with it quickly and this bill would have been the law back in 2009 when the government first tabled it, after waiting almost four years after the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Shoker case.
    We would have had thousands of offenders and defendants who would have been submitted to the obligation to provide bodily samples to ensure they were not in breach of the condition not to consume alcohol or use illicit drugs. But, no, the government wanted to play, as it does with virtually every bill, political politics.
    Another bill with political politics is the faint hope bill. The parliamentary secretary talked about that bill when he was trying to scramble for a reason that his government waited 98 days, 191 days in this session of the 40th Parliament, and 62 days from tabling first reading in the 1st session of the 40th Parliament, and almost 4 years from the Shoker decision before actually tabling the bill for the first time.
    I felt a little sorry for the parliamentary secretary because he seemed to be scrambling to find a reason to justify his government's laxness and lack of seriousness when it comes to protecting victims and ensuring that our justice system is actually effective and ensuring that our law enforcement agencies have the proper tools to keep our communities safe and to keep Canadians safe.

  (1710)  

     Why was the parliamentary secretary scrambling? He was scrambling because the government, and he knows it, is not serious about protecting victims. What it is serious about is using the issue of criminal justice to gain some political advantage and to raise money. Virtually every December, just before the House breaks for the Christmas break, we see the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety trot out for a scrum in front of all of the media and talk about how criminal justice is a number one priority for the government, and if only the opposition was not soft on crime and was not trying to back up and delay their bills, all of that would go through.
    However, when one looks at the actual record, the party that is slowing down and backing up bills is none other than the Conservative Party of Canada, the Conservative government.
    If one looks at the faint hope clause bill, it was actually adopted by the House of Commons in the last session. It was sent to the Senate and the government's unelected, unrepresentative Conservative senators never moved the vote at second reading.
    As I explained right at the beginning, opposition does not control the government's agenda, so opposition members, whether it be in the House or in the Senate, cannot move second reading debate or a vote at second reading. The government has to move it but, guess what? The Prime Minister forgot to tell his senators that the faint hope clause was so important to the Conservative government because it is so concerned about victims. He forgot to tell them because they never moved the vote at second reading in the Senate and only it could move it. Is that not interesting?
    Then, the government prorogued, killing its own bill. There were two and a half months of prorogation. The House resumed with the new session of the 40th Parliament on March 2 with the throne speech. Did the government, at the very first opportunity permitted by the rules and procedures of either the House of Commons or the Senate, re-table its faint hope clause bill? No, it did not. How many days did it wait before it re-tabled--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I would like to ask hon. members to wait till questions and comments for the opportunity to raise issues. This member has the floor at the moment.

  (1715)  

    Madam Speaker, how many days did the government wait before re-tabling its faint hope clause bill in the identical form it was in when the Conservative government killed it with prorogation? It waited 48 days after the throne speech. Then did the minister immediately move second reading debate because this is a bill that is so important to the Conservative government? No, it did not.
    Not the Conservative justice minister, not the Conservative Prime Minister and not one Conservative member of Parliament moved second reading debate. Guess how many days they waited. They waited 98 days. This government and its members, who sit there saying they are tough on crime and are the only ones who care about victims, waited 98 days after waiting 48 days. They are shameless. They are absolutely shameless.
    They have no qualms whatsoever about standing in the House day after day and repeating things they know to be completely untrue. They have no qualms about going to the public and repeating things and saying things that they know to be completely untrue. When they are called on their hypocrisy and their untruths, they never answer them directly, never. This is a government and a party without shame.
    For the Conservatives to say victims matter to them and then play political football with justice bills is shameless. Shame on each and every one of the Conservative members of Parliament. Shame on them. I have yet to hear one of them stand and scold their own government for delaying their own bills. I have yet to hear that. When the Liberals were on the government side, I did hear Liberal members scold their own government. I have yet to hear it from this Conservative bunch of people.
    Liberals are pleased that the government has finally moved second reading debate. Liberals have given their full and unreserved support for this bill. In fact, it is as a result of the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP that the government finally decided to move a motion to deem this bill to have been dealt with and adopted at every stage, a bill that will be consented to unanimously.
    That is because of the opposition parties. Not one Conservative member of Parliament stood up for the victims and told his or her own government that it had to move on this and that what was being done was not right, not one of them.
    Madam Speaker, I have listened for the last 15 to 20 minutes and all we have heard in the House was a rant. There was nothing constructive. The bill, apparently, is supported by the Liberal Party. It is correcting an oversight that is going to allow police to do the kind of work needed to apprehend criminals.
    The member referred to the faint hope clause. It was debated in committee just two weeks ago. Even though the Liberal Party says it wants to get tough on crime, in fact this is what the member said about eliminating the faint hope clause. These are her words. She stated:
    On the issue of repealing the faint hope clause for those...[going forward] Liberals do not support that.
    Liberals do not support getting rid of the faint hope clause.
...but we will abstain from voting in [favour of or against that clause] because we believe there will be a window of opportunity of 15 years in which to correct that particular piece of legislation.
    It is very clear that the Liberal Party and the member are soft on crime. How does she justify doing something like guaranteeing that her party will some day reinstate the faint hope clause? How can she justify that when Canadians overwhelmingly oppose it and want to get rid of the faint hope clause?

  (1720)  

    Madam Speaker, more to the point is the question of how the member can sit there and watch his Conservative colleagues on the justice committee vote against a Liberal amendment. That amendment would have required the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada to notify families of victims of first and second degree murders that the offenders, who are right now in prison, have not used their right to the faint hope clause, to early parole review. It would have required the commissioner to inform them in that same notification of the next date, which under the faint hope clause bill would be five years hence, in order to do exactly what the government says it wants to do with the faint hope clause. That is to alleviate the horror and anxiety that families of victims of murderers have to live with right now, where an offender can apply repeatedly every two years or every year. As soon as he or she is refused, he or she can apply again. Under the faint hope clause it would not allow those applications. It would have to be done at the 15th year, within 180 days, and then if refused, the individual would have to wait five more years.
    The government, with its members, voted against requiring the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada to notify the families that they are going to have five years of peace. Shame on them. That is not putting victims first.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the hon. member, for whom I have the greatest respect.
    Surely she noticed that I asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice a question regarding the fact that the bill does not contain any clauses to specify that, when a sample of bodily fluids is taken, two should be taken and one of them should be given to the person from whom the sample was taken. The law stipulates that the person can provide evidence to the contrary but how can this be done if the person does not have a sample? I would therefore like to know whether the hon. member's party is open to considering this aspect of the law.
    I am astounded that the Conservative government is expecting the people from whom the samples are taken to put all their trust in the machinery of government, when the Conservatives themselves are so suspicious of that machinery. These people are given the theoretical right to dispute the analysis but are not given the means to actually do so. Does the hon. member think that making such an amendment to the bill would improve it?
    Madam Speaker, it is true that this bill does not establish the need to provide a sample to the person from whom the bodily substances were taken. However, I have always thought that, at least in penitentiaries and halfway houses, the entire sample of bodily substances is not usually required for the diagnostic test. Thus, the accused, the inmate or the person subject to the sampling may request that a portion of the sample be sent to a laboratory of his choice, or one that is certified, for example, by the Correctional Service of Canada. This should be carefully examined because we must ensure that procedures are put in place to permit an independent analysis. I hope that the Senate will take a closer look at that.

  (1725)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, to my colleague from the Liberal Party, one of the concerns I have had, and I share with her, is the length of time it has taken to get through. I have been making some inquiries as to how many cases were impossible to enforce.
    I am just wondering if the member has had any opportunity to do similar research, because I have not been able to get any indication of that. However, from my own experience in practising law, I would have to think that there are literally hundreds of cases per year, so that we are getting up perhaps to 1,000 to 2,000 cases where our police officers, people who are enforcing probation or parole orders, could not do that effectively.
    I am just wondering if the member agrees with that estimate or if she may have more specific knowledge in that regard.
    Madam Speaker, I do not have specific numbers, unfortunately, and I have not practised criminal law. I am a lawyer, but when I did practise law outside of the House of Commons, I did have a great deal of contact with law enforcement and therefore was fairly familiar with it.
    I believe that the number of cases may actually be more than a couple of hundred a year, if we take in those across Canada and we take the number of people who receive suspended sentences, for instance, or who receive a suspended sentence or have to spend a couple of months or a couple of years in prison and then are released on probation and are submitted to these orders.
    These orders are standard in many cases, that the individual is not to consume alcohol, is not to be found in locations where alcohol is sold, is not to consume drugs.
    Therefore my sense is that we are talking about more than a couple of hundred a year and we could be into the thousands since the government has refused to act in an effective and rapid manner on this.
    I just deplore the fact. I think of the number of victims of the crimes that have been committed and for which the culprit has been found and has been adjudicated in a court of law, has been subject to conditions, and our law enforcement has been unable to enforce those conditions because the government did not act in a rapid manner with this legislation, notwithstanding the fact that the Conservative government knew it had the support of the three opposition parties to move quickly on the bill.
    It is deplorable, and this is a government that will have to answer to anyone who has been victimized since, because law enforcement was unable to enforce conditions placed on an individual by a court, a judge, because the government did not act. It will have to answer to that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we have agreed with many of the bills introduced recently in the House.
    The Minister of Justice is always saying that it is the opposition's fault that his bills take so long to pass. He is lying outright, and this is a case in point. Here is a bill meant to fill a gap identified by the Supreme Court of Canada in October 2006. I believe the Conservatives were in power in October 2006. It took them three years to draft a bill to respond to that Supreme Court ruling, as its title indicates.
    The government introduced an initial bill in October 2009. Then it prorogued Parliament, thereby killing the bill. So the government had to introduce it again. When the House resumed, the government did not introduce the bill right away. There is not one iota of difference between the current Bill C-30 and Bill C-55, which died on the order paper. I did not count the days like my colleague who spoke before me, but the government did not introduce the bill currently before us until May 31, 2010.
    And yet the minister is always complaining that we delay his bills, that the opposition is preventing him from doing his work again. Just 15 minutes ago, he was in front of the cameras blaming the opposition for once again impeding the progress of his bills. This example is concrete proof that his incompetence and idleness are to blame. At his pace, he would have a hard time winning a race with a bunch of snails.
    He introduced his bill on May 31, 2010, and this is the first time he has invited us to debate it in order to refer it to committee. No one can say that the opposition is to blame for the fact that the gap in the Criminal Code identified by the Supreme Court still has not been addressed over four years later.
    This government is also in the habit of blaming judges. Not only does it blame them, but it speaks about them insultingly. I will demonstrate that in just a moment, but first, let us see what the Supreme Court decided.
    The Supreme Court did not decide that a right should be taken away, contrary to what the parliamentary secretary said in his press releases. The court found that this right never existed and that it was important that it be established through legislation, not by police or the courts. It is up to Parliament.
    Clearly, if conditions can be imposed prohibiting offenders from using certain substances, there needs to be some means of monitoring those conditions, even if it is not through testing. That is obvious. It is so obvious that the legislators at the time did not see it and did not provide for the obligation to provide samples.
    That is what the Supreme Court found in 2006. Paragraph 732.1(3)(c), which allows a condition to be imposed that prohibits the use of certain substances, defines a criminal offence. But simply creating an offence does not result in enforcement powers. This is common sense and should have been obvious to the legislators at the time. Even though it is clear that the authority to require samples of a bodily substance and the resulting analyses would help enforce a condition prohibiting the use of certain substances imposed under paragraph 732.1(3)(c), that is not enough to conclude that this authority is implied.

  (1730)  

    That seems to me to be quite a sensible legal ruling. The court made the following suggestion:
    Where Parliament authorizes the collection of bodily samples, it uses clear language and sets out standards and safeguards for collecting these samples.
    The court is saying that things should not be done haphazardly.
    Parliament has not provided a scheme under s. 732.1(3) for collecting bodily samples and such a scheme cannot be judicially enacted.
    The fact that it cannot be judicially enacted is why the government introduced a 16-page bill. The law cannot go messing with people's bodies as it sees fit. There must be assurances that analyses will be carried out medically and correctly. But it is not up to the court to enact that. It is up to Parliament. That is what Parliament was told in 2006. But it was not until 2009 that the Conservatives introduced their first bill. Then they let it die with prorogation. They reintroduced it on May 31, 2010. Then they did not raise the subject again until now. Here we are debating it in December 2010, more than four years after the Supreme Court of Canada's comments.
    This government is in the habit of demonstrating its scorn for the Canadian judicial system in all kinds of ways. I would like to read from the minister's press release about Bill C-30. In the last paragraph on the first page, it says:
    The amendments being introduced today are an effective response to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision that made it impossible for law enforcement officials to fully monitor individuals under court order prohibiting them from using drugs or alcohol.
    That is not what the court did. The court did not make it impossible. It was not provided for in the law. And the court decided that because it was not provided for, it was not the court's job to determine, in 16 pages, how the samples could be taken to ensure their accuracy or that conclusions could be drawn that might deprive people of their freedom.
    We are so proud to be a country that respects rights and freedoms. This is part of how we respect people's freedom. Before putting them in jail on technical evidence, we have to ensure that the evidence is solid.
    The Minister of Justice also began criticizing us for another reason recently. He laughed at us because we do not accept his alternative titles. In this case, I can tell him that we will agree with his title, which is “Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Shoker Act”. Now that is how to objectively describe, without using propaganda, the bill that is currently before us.
    This is one case where he did not fall back into his bad habits. Unfortunately, not all bill titles are like this. The best example is the Minister of Justice's new trick, which involves inserting his campaign propaganda into the legislation. Since he is likely somewhat unsure of the value of the legislation, he starts by spewing his propaganda, which is an insult to the judiciary. One example is Bill C-16, Ending House Arrest for Property and other Serious Crimes by Serious and Violent Offenders.
    Has there ever been a ruling in Canada ordering house arrest for serious and violent offenders? If so, it is contrary to the current legislation, which states: “[if the court] is satisfied that the service of the sentence in the community would not endanger the safety of the community...”
    Thus, the first condition for house arrest is that it does not endanger the safety of the community.

  (1735)  

    That should go without saying. If we stop detaining violent and dangerous offenders and release them, that will jeopardize public safety. The minister never said that that was happening anywhere in Canada. And if this was the case with one out of the thousands and tens of thousands—if not more; I think that the number of sentences handed down every year in Canada is in the six figures—, there is recourse and it can be taken to the Court of Appeal. The case can be appealed on the basis that the offender is violent and dangerous.
    It is a ruse, a trap to eliminate more cases in which house arrest could be used. The Conservatives do not like house arrest. This happens in almost every country in Europe. It is extremely useful with an offender who has committed a first offence. By imposing some conditions, we can turn them away from crime. We can force them to take courses and support a family, we can impose a curfew, monitor him and impose an addiction treatment if he has a substance abuse problem.
    Keep the person at home. It is a lot less expensive and much more effective than sending him to do time, when he will likely lose his job if he has one, interrupt his studies and meet other criminals who will teach him tricks to commit other crimes. We know that prison is not a very good school. In civilized countries, prison is reserved for truly dangerous people. Here, we are following the model used in the United States, a country with the highest incarceration rate in the world: between 730 and 760 incarcerations per 100,000 inhabitants. Our rate is 120 per 100,000. I do not know how much the Conservatives want to increase that number by, but at 120, we are average. Out of 155 countries, we rank about 50th. Our rate is even higher than that of almost every European country, except one country in the United Kingdom.
    The bill will take this tool away from judges in first offence cases. When I was public safety minister in Quebec, I was told—and this was consistent with my experience after more than 25 years practising criminal law—that up to 90% of people who are brought before the court are brought there only once in their life. It is the other 10% that causes us major problems.
    In any event, we have already said we agree that the Supreme Court was right to shed light on this anomaly. We can prohibit someone from consuming certain substances without giving the court the power to order a technical and scientific verification that the person is complying with these conditions. This is a lot like drinking and driving, a more common crime, and one that is even committed by people who do not have a criminal record or other criminal behaviour.
    When I first started pleading cases, it was quite funny to listen to those cases because police officers had observed, in the accused, the symptoms that the Supreme Court had defined as symptoms of drunkenness in a case in 1926: eyes glazed over, slurred speech, staggering gait. The police would say that the accused was staggering and his speech was slurred and that was how they established whether a person was drunk or not. It was rather ridiculous and that is why we were finally able to get objective evidence with the breathalyzer. There has been a dramatic drop since this objective measure has been in place.

  (1740)  

    In this case, I think this legislation was necessary. Personally, I think six months should have been plenty of time to draft such a bill following the Supreme Court ruling. It should not take three years to do so. The minister, who is supposedly thinking of the potential victims, could have sped things up a little. Fortunately, he has no problem tooting his own horn. He concluded his November 30 news release by saying that the government, “is standing up for victims of crime, and putting the rights of law-abiding citizens ahead of the rights of criminals”.
    I do not know why he said that. It must have been out of habit. In this case, the provision was suggested by the Supreme Court, which he does not like. I do not see how this puts the rights of law-abiding citizens up against the rights of criminals. In any case, nearly all sentences that come with probation orders do in fact include abstinence conditions.
    I do not believe that all of these people are criminals. Indeed, just because someone commits a single offence or has a drug problem at one time in his life does not make him a criminal for the rest of his days. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that if an abstinence condition is imposed because the offender has a drug problem, there should be some scientific way to verify his compliance. If it were obvious—

  (1745)  

    Order. I must interrupt the hon. member.
    It being 5:46 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.
    When debate resumes, the hon. member will have about three minutes left to finish his speech, to be followed by questions and comments.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

[Translation]

National Holocaust Monument Act

     The House resumed from October 27 consideration of the motion that Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument, be read the third time and passed.
    Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to speak about Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument.
    The idea proposed by our Conservative Party colleague is timely. With anti-Semitic incidents tragically on the rise around the world, I believe that it is necessary to understand the reality of the worst example in world history of where religious hatred can lead. Canada already has the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Montreal and the Holocaust Education Centre in Vancouver. This bill proposes that a Holocaust monument be built in the nation's capital. I believe this to be the best way to mark the significance of this event in human history.
    Anne Frank's house is in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. There is a commemorative centre in Budapest, Hungary. There is a Holocaust centre in Cape Town, the capital of South Africa. There is a historical institute that focuses on the Holocaust in London and a memorial in Hyde Park. Vienna, Austria, has the Judenplatz Memorial. Paris has the Mémorial des martyrs de la déportation. There are commemorative monuments in Berlin, Stockholm, Washington and Buenos Aires too. In short, many countries have recognized the importance of commemorating, of recognizing this major event in world history that influenced them. This is a way of recognizing that the Holocaust was the greatest tragedy inflicted on a group of people in human history.
    Bill C-442's whereases are simple and eloquent, especially the first one, which states that, “there is no public monument to honour all of the victims and Canadian survivors of the Holocaust in the National Capital Region”. I just mentioned that there is a monument in Vancouver and another in Montreal, but none here in the capital.
    This is also a way to recognize the survivors—there are still some in Canada—their children and, most importantly and most relevant today, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren and to show how important we feel this is. The children and grandchildren of anyone who was in the same situation as Anne Frank will know that Canada recognizes the importance of this event.
    The whereases sketch a brief history of the Holocaust and its importance to our society. The bill proposes building a monument to commemorate that. The proposed approach is relatively simple. It calls for the creation of a volunteer committee; nobody would be paid. It also calls for the monument to be built within three years. A committee would be responsible for deciding how to build the monument and what it should look like. The space would be provided by the federal government and the monument paid for by public donations.
    There are other countries that, like us, in certain other cities, have their own way of acknowledging the horrors of the Holocaust. In Germany, near Munich, we can still see and touch the reality of the Holocaust by visiting Dachau, one of the concentration camps in the interior of the country. There are a number of other camps in Poland. In France, there is the Oradour-sur-Glane memorial. People who know history know that, in terms of barbaric treatment, the Holocaust was one of the worst examples of everything that happened during World War II.

  (1750)  

    The very act of planning this monument, building it, having it in our capital makes it significant. The idea is so simple that we have to ask why no one thought of it before? It is never too late to do something good.
    Bill C-442 simply proposes a good thing and we support it.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased and honoured today to address Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument. I do appreciate the opportunity to be here and I appreciate the mover. We have been working on this bill for some time.
    The government sought to provide greater transparency and accountability in the establishment of the national holocaust monument by proposing a number of amendments at committee stage. The amendments proposed were also intended to ensure consistency in the roles, responsibilities and policies of the minister responsible for the National Capital Commission, NCC, and the commission itself. I would consider these very important principles, indeed, for any piece of legislation.
    For example, in this particular case, the government presented a motion that would have provided for the minister to direct the council to form a legal entity, which seems to be very obvious on the face of it. This proposed amendment is consistent with the requirement contained in Bill C-442 for the council to adopt bylaws, which of course are a corporate function, which itself suggests the value of a legal framework.
    The intent of this provision was to ensure that the council is properly structured to strengthen its corporate governance and accountability, which of course is the hallmark and pillar-stone of this Conservative government.
    The government also presented a motion providing that the council would oversee the establishment of the monument in consultation with the National Capital Commission with regard to where this particular monument was going to be placed.
    While this motion is not reflected in the present version of the bill, the government anticipates that the commission will be involved in fulfilling the objective of this bill. The NCC, of course, is a federal crown corporation that facilitates and assists in the design and placement of commemorations on federal lands in the national capital region, of which there are many.
    The responsibility actually flows from the National Capital Act, which obligates the NCC, the National Capital Commission, to approve all development projects on federal lands in the region.
    While the NCC acts as a facilitator in the realization of monuments, proponents are responsible for raising funds that cover not only the cost of the design itself but the construction and installation, and also the ongoing maintenance and preservation of the monument for future generations.
    Over the years the commission has overseen the installation of a number of monuments in the national capital region, as I mentioned, with strong participation by individuals and associations that have supported these initiatives in the past, as well as this particular initiative. We have no doubt there will be many.
    As amended by the standing committee and further modified to reflect the Speaker's ruling, Bill C-442 proposes that the minister responsible for the National Capital Act would oversee the planning and the design of the monument in co-operation with a newly created council. The minister would be responsible for the construction of the monument in the national capital region and, of course, for the ongoing maintenance of the monument.
    Further, the national holocaust monument development council would be created through Bill C-442. The council would spearhead a fundraising campaign for the cost of constructing the monument.
    I must acknowledge that councils with dedicated mandates are not usually created in federal statutes; however, there is nothing objectionable to the government or, for that matter, common law to this proposal in principle.
    Although not specified in the present version of this bill, the government would expect that the funds raised by the council would sufficiently cover not only the construction costs of the monument itself but also the costs of planning, design, installation and maintenance of the monument.
    With the level of interest displayed by various organizations and individuals in Canada, I am confident that this initiative will generate adequate financial resources, in fact, I would suggest more than adequate financial resources, that can be applied in all aspects of the realization of the monument and its long-term preservation, which is so important to future generations of Canadians.

  (1755)  

    The bill also requires the council to submit an annual report on its activities to the minister and to the appropriate committee of the House. This provision will help to ensure that Canadians are informed of the measures taken in realization of this monument, which would be their expectation.
    The bill further provides that once the monument has been installed, it must be legally transferred to the NCC. With this clause, Canadians will be certainly afforded a permanent public symbol that honours the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust.
    I would like to once again underscore the importance of the bill to the government and to the people of Canada, and I have heard clearly this message. The Holocaust resulted in the unimaginable genocide of approximately six million European Jews. This was just during the second world war. Given the magnitude of these atrocities, it is absolutely crucial that we pay tribute to this crime, its victims and their families, no matter where they are.
    This historic initiative is indeed one which the government holds in high esteem as we remember and remind ourselves that such atrocities should never happen again and that we should never forget.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to third reading of Bill C-442, an act to establish a national Holocaust monument. I am very pleased to speak to the bill because approximately two years ago I introduced the same bill myself. It is a very important bill.
    Part of the bill's preamble reads:
    Whereas the establishment of a national monument shall forever remind Canadians of one of the darkest chapters in human history and of the dangers of state-sanctioned hatred and anti-Semitism;
    And whereas a national monument shall act as a tool to help future generations learn about the root causes of the Holocaust and its consequences in order to help prevent future acts of genocide;
    As I said at the outset, this is not a new bill. In fact, during the last hour of debate on Bill C-442, the member for Abbotsford said:
    This is a long overdue bill. It was introduced by my Conservative colleague, the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park, and I strongly support this new initiative to recognize the Holocaust.
    I want to reiterate that Bill C-442 is almost identical to a bill first introduced by my former colleague, the member for Thornhill, Susan Kadis. That bill, known as Bill C-547 died when the last election was called. Therefore, I reintroduced it as Bill C-238 on December 1, 2008.
    I was also concerned to see the sponsor of the bill, the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park, use his last opportunity to speak to the bill to argue why the Conservatives deserved credit for their actions. This is not an issue of who supports a community more than others or who likes monuments better than others. This is an important non-partisan issue that all members of the House should support and should be supported by all Canadians.
    This is about how a country acknowledges the history of a genocide that had a profound impact on many of its citizens and of people in all corners of the world. This is a bill that, in creating a monument, remembers not only the victims of the Holocaust but its survivors. It is a bill to honour those who fought on our behalf. It is a bill to ensure that future generations do not forget.
    My colleagues and I in the Liberal Party are fully supportive of a bill to establish a national Holocaust monument in the national capital region that is built on public land with a plan, design, construction and ongoing maintenance funded by the Government of Canada. This intention is at the core of my bill, Bill C-238, and was at the core of Bill C-442 when it received the unanimous consent of the House at second reading.
    In committee members opposite, despite the unanimous support for the principle of public funding, amended the bill to take away the concept of public lands and funding for the development and maintenance of the monument. I was listening to part of the speech by the member opposite and I am not sure if he was speaking to the amended bill or the bill as it is today.
    Amendments were put forward by members opposite for every clause of the bill, which gutted the spirit of it. It was a bill with amendments that, on one hand, giveth and, on the other hand, taketh away. Fortunately, my colleague, the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence, challenged the amendments and the Speaker subsequently ruled that they were out of order and ordered that the original version of the bill, which is what we are debating today, be presented.

  (1800)  

    I want to reiterate that it is a publicly funded bill on public land, design and construction, given in memory of those who survived and those who were victims of the Holocaust and honoured by all Canadians.
    Ultimately, some might suggest we did not even need a bill, that the government might have gone ahead and done this itself, with the minister instructing the National Capital Commission to erect the monument with existing funds.
    I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, Dachau and Majdanek this past year. It was a profound experience. It reiterated to me the importance of monuments, symbols, obviously of a very different nature there. It reiterated the importance to me of having a tangible remembrance of what took place. The enormity of the tragedy is difficult to comprehend. The Holocaust was quite singular why biology determines the fate of individuals.
    It is important that all parties support the bill, that it receive unanimous approval. It will be a national monument that as the preamble says “shall forever remind Canadians of one of the darkest chapters in human history and of the dangers of state-sanctioned hatred and anti-Semitism”.

  (1805)  

    Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to have an opportunity to speak to Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument. I think all parties in the House were very interested to see this bill move forward, in different ways of course. Through the debate that took place in committee, we have now come up with the final version of this bill.
    This bill is very important because it speaks to the need for a public monument to honour the victims and survivors of the immense tragedy of the Holocaust that came out of the second world war. It speaks to the conclusion of the second world war; to the role Canada played in the victory over the Axis to ensure that the Holocaust came to an end and that it would not occur again in that area of the world; to the tremendous blotch on human history; and to those very unfortunate people who, with their whole race, did not in any way deserve this.
    We now have a bill that will put forward a monument, but one might ask why we had some degree of debate in committee about it.
     I think the government recognized the importance of this, but as with recognizing the importance, there is also the understanding that responsibility goes with setting up a monument. I felt that the government worked very hard to take away the public responsibility to create the monument. However, certainly within committee, we worked very hard to keep the Government of Canada's role in developing, designing and commissioning this monument as an important role. We can see this in the bill as it stands now, “The minister, in cooperation with the Council”, which he will establish, “shall oversee the planning and designing of the Monument...”.
    The minister will ultimately be responsible for the design and planning of the monument. The minister will work with a council that he will select from very worthy citizens, I am sure, who will come forward to serve on this council.
     The minister, in the end, will be responsible for ensuring that the design and planning of this monument are appropriate for Canada and for the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. That is something that still remains in the bill, but it was something that was the subject of much debate in committee.
     I think the bill stands well as it is and will give a monument over time that the public can take pride in. It will be Canada's monument to the Holocaust and to the survivors. I think that is a very important distinction that we have to keep within this bill.
    The terms of the bill are such now that I am very confident that the council that will be constructed to do the fundraising will be successful so that the bill will move forward. The minister can ensure that as well. He has the capacity to increase the funding to make sure this project moves ahead in good fashion. Also, the minister is ultimately responsible to ensure that sufficient funds are available through the council before the monument is commissioned.

  (1810)  

    Therefore the responsibility will lie with the minister to make this happen. I think that is something that is a very important difference from what the government wanted to do with its amendments. The end result of this is very much in speaking to the principles that the originator of the bill put forward.
    I want to thank that member for his work in doing that. His presentation at committee was excellent and was part of how the committee came to grips with making this happen.
    My father was a veteran of the second world war. He was in the European theatre for five years, engaged in supporting the bomber groups that ultimately were the ones that pounded the aggressor into the ground, we might say. The burden of doing that, which the Canadian army and air force had to take on to end the terrible conflict in Europe, is a burden that all those people carried throughout the rest of their lives.
    I think of the construction of this holocaust monument and the importance it has to the Canadian public and to all those brave Canadians who took on that burden, and with that burden perhaps to many of them came the knowledge that out of this they wanted peace, they wanted a settlement of war, they wanted to stop that kind of conflict and to put an end to that kind of human behaviour in this world.
    To me, this is a very appropriate time to construct a monument to this immense tragedy of humankind and to cast a light on the hope that can come from the end of this type of conflict, the hope that can come for all mankind.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak today to Bill C-442. I am very happy with the resolution of the bill thus far, although there have been some hiccups along the way. The last time I heard debate in this House on this particular bill, it was quite acrimonious, as I recall, but things seem to have calmed down.
    At the outset, I want to give thanks to the Conservative MP for Edmonton—Sherwood Park. He is the sponsor of the bill and, having done this before, I know there is an awful lot of work involved in getting a bill like this together. I recognize that the original impetus for this started elsewhere, but he carried the ball and took it this far, through what we saw during the last go-round here. It is surprising that we are all still standing after the battles involving this bill.
    In the beginning, we have Ms. Laura Grossman from Toronto, I believe, but who is a student here in Ottawa. She is actually the originator of the idea. She evidently went to her member of Parliament, who was in the cabinet of the government two or three years ago, and got him onside, and then of course he got the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park onside, because he was unable to introduce private members' bills.
    There is a great amount of thanks and gratitude owed to Ms. Grossman, because she is a younger person and is going to carry on the fights long after we are gone. She is a full-time student at the University of Ottawa, a fourth year honours student in public administration with a minor in Jewish studies, and she has been working on this idea now for at least two years, maybe three years now. Congratulations to her for at least recognizing something that no one else did. This memorial probably should have been built many years ago, and it took a young person to recognize the need, to think it through and to push the idea through her member of Parliament and on to another member of Parliament. We should all wish that more young people would be inspired to take on projects like that and drive ideas like that forward.
    It has been mentioned by others here that Canada is the only allied nation without a Holocaust monument in its national capital, which also came as a bit of a surprise to me. The former member for Winnipeg North, in her speech to this bill on December 8, 2009, which goes to show how long we have been debating this bill, gave us a list of other memorials that exist around the world. She had indicated that there is a Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. There is the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. I think we have all heard of Anne Frank. We certainly studied Anne Frank when we were in public school. There is the Auschwitz Jewish Centre in Poland, the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service, the Beth Shalom Holocaust centre in England, the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest, the Cape Town Holocaust Centre in South Africa, the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance, the Forest of the Martyrs in Jerusalem, the Ghetto Fighters' House museum in Israel and the Holocaust project in Detroit. There are many other monuments to the Holocaust.
    This is not a lengthy bill but there are some interesting provisions, and I think there was some confusion out there about the provisions of the bill. I had the privilege and pleasure of travelling to Israel. I am due for another visit, because it was in December of 1986, 24 years ago now. It was a very inspiring visit that I made there. I was there only a week.

  (1815)  

    I was amazed to see the progress made by Israel in turning deserts into productive lands and cultivating crops in the middle of the desert.
    We had the privilege of visiting a kibbutz. We went to the Ein Gedi Spa, where I had my first sulphur and mud baths. I would recommend those to anybody who goes to Israel. Visiting Israel was a very inspiring experience, albeit 24 years ago.
    With respect to the provisions Bill C-442, we are dealing now with the amended version. The bill is an act to establish a national holocaust monument. The preamble reads:
    Whereas there is no public monument to honour all of the victims and Canadian survivors of the Holocaust in the National Capital Region;
    Whereas Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe led to the murder of six million men, women and children;
     Whereas the Nazis sought to eliminate vulnerable groups such as disabled persons, the Roma and homosexuals in their bid to establish the hegemony of the Aryan race;
     Whereas it is important to ensure that the Holocaust continues to have a permanent place in our nation’s consciousness and memory;
    Whereas we have an obligation to honour the memory of Holocaust victims as part of our collective resolve to never forget;
    I might remind members that the number of victims is diminishing every year as they age. It continues:
     Whereas the establishment of a national monument shall forever remind Canadians of one of the darkest chapters in human history and of the dangers of state-sanctioned hatred and anti-Semitism;
     And whereas a national monument shall act as a tool to help future generations learn about the root causes of the Holocaust and its consequences in order to help prevent future acts of genocide;
    The bill then goes on to describe how the monument would be structured and how it would be set up. What was contemplated by the member who sponsored the bill was that we were to set up a development council established by the minister under clause 4 and directed as such by the minister to form a legal entity in order to properly manage the functions and ensure good governance and accountability of said council.
    The idea is to involve people in the community, not only in the organization by forming the committee, but also to do fundraising, as I understand it, to help build the monument. Within one year after the coming into force of the act, the minister is to establish a council to be referred to as the national Holocaust monument development council, composed of not more than five members. The minister is to hold an open application process whereby members of the public who possess a strong interest in, connection to or familiarity with the Holocaust must apply to the minister to become a council member.
    In reading these provisions, all of this sounds very reasonable. How could anybody have any fight with these provisions? Yet we have seen that happen.
    The members of the council are not allowed to be paid any remuneration for acting as council members. The minister is also supposed to:
(a) oversee the planning and design of the Monument;
(b) choose a suitable area of public land in the National Capital Region for the Monument to be located; and
(c) hold public consultations and take into account the recommendations of the public when making any decision under paragraph (a) or (b).
    That, too, is an absolutely reasonable requirement.
    The minister shall be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the monument and the council shall spearhead a fundraising campaign to support the costs, planning, designing, constructing, installing and maintaining the monument and any other costs incurred by the council.
    I have a question about that. There seems to be a conflict here because it said that the council should be spearheading the fundraising campaign, but then, further on, it indicates that the minister has the option. There is nothing to prevent the minister from contributing funds for the costs of exactly the same things, planning—

  (1820)  

    Order, please. I must interrupt the hon. member. His time has run out.
    For his right reply, the hon. member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park.
    Madam Speaker, I thank hon. members from all parties for their support for the bill and for underlying the importance and need for a Holocaust monument in the nation's capital. I specifically thank the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca for his work in the transportation committee. I also thank the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for his guidance and his support on the bill. As I mentioned before, he brought the idea to me.
    I also thank Laura Grosman for her work and dedication to the bill. She has been working on the bill for a long time with some different formations from different members. When she and the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs came to me, we sat down and discussed the bill and truly appealed to me. I felt that it was something the nation's capital needed. I again thank Laura for her dedication to the bill. I also thank a number of organizations that came forward to give their guidance and support, the Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith and a number of other organizations that supported us in getting the bill to this point.
    This public monument would honour all victims of the Holocaust and the Canadian survivors, survivors like Anna Heilman who I had the opportunity to sit down and speak to about the proposed monument and the importance that she placed on this and how important it would be for us to pass the bill and have such a monument in the nation's capital.
    It would honour the Canadian soldiers who fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice because of the atrocities that were taking place.
    When I went to Israel last year, I learned more about the Holocaust and the effect that it had on the Jewish people and on all those who were affected, and it made me feel stronger about this initiative and the importance of Parliament passing a bill for a monument in the nation's capital.
    This monument would be a testament to the Canadian commitment and resolve to never forget and to always stand up for justice, human rights and equality for all.
    Once again, I thank all the members who have spoken to the bill and who have supported it. I would be grateful and hope that we can pass the bill tonight.

  (1825)  

    The time provided for debate has expired. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

     (Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.)

    Madam Speaker, I wanted to ask if we may see the clock at 6:30 p.m.
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): Does the hon. member have unanimous consent of the House to see the clock at 6:30?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS

[Adjournment Proceedings]
    A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

[English]

Government Spending 

    Madam Speaker, Canadians are frustrated by the government's reckless, wasteful spending. There is a long list of waste and mismanagement, money that could have been used for seniors, for health care and for home care.
    On October 27, I raised one of the items on that list, the $2.2 billion a year increase on professional and special services by the Conservative government since 2005-06. That is an average increase of 9.4% a year on consultants, contractors and temporary workers. The answer I received from the Minister of Finance was unsatisfactory.
    Since first coming to power in 2006, the Conservatives have increased spending on management consultants by $355 million, an astounding 165% increase over the previous Liberal government.
    We do not need the finance minister of our country spending $122,000 of hard-earned taxpayer money on sole sourced contracts to write him a speech, a speech that any number of his dedicated, competent public servants within his own department could have written. That contract was awarded to a personal acquaintance of the finance minister, a Michael Harris speech writer. That $122,000 could have paid for other things, such as the salaries of several nurses, for example.
    How about the two VIA Rail press releases that cost taxpayers $3,400 to draft and post online? That is another connected Conservative consultant.
    It is quite astounding when we look at some of the waste and mismanagement of the government. It certainly frustrates Canadians, and I know it certainly frustrates me, at a time when we are being forced to cut back and at a time when more people are unemployed, when we have record unemployment and when we have a record number of seniors living in poverty. As I said today, 25% more seniors are living in poverty. It is astounding. Students are facing rising debts and families are having to make tough choices.
     The choice the Conservative government is making is to spend frivolously borrowed taxpayer dollars. It is spending “like it is Christmas”, which is a quote from an hon. member of the Conservative Party and a member of Parliament. For many families, however, Christmas is a lot more frugal and a lot more painful this year. Frugality is something the Conservatives may want to adopt as they move forward.
    I will now get back to the list of waste I mentioned earlier. It is not just the shocking increases in consultants on which the Conservatives are wasting money. It will cost $30 million to replace the census with an inaccurate and voluntary version. The government spent a record $130 million last year in advertising, which is more than all the beer companies in Canada combined spent on advertising.
    If we drive around the city in all the different communities, we would see many ads. There has been a $10 million increase in Conservative ministers' offices since 2007. I could go on and on. My point is that the government is wasting a lot of very hard-earned taxpayer dollars. When will it wise up and start spending--

  (1830)  

    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.
    Madam Speaker, I, too, am very frustrated but for perhaps a different reason.
    I would have thought that the Liberal member would have taken some time to talk to her Liberal colleagues about the devastating record of the old Liberal government in terms of, and I will quote her term, “wasting taxpayers' hard-earned money”. As the member knows, the former Liberal government was a government that redefined wasteful and beyond questionable spending.
    The previous Liberal government showed no respect whatsoever for taxpayers' money. It treated their money like its own and it treated taxpayers' wallets like their piggy bank to fund their costly schemes.
    The former Liberal government was the party of the infamous HRDC boondoggle, the party of the shocking sponsorship scandal. Donations of $5,000 went to leadership candidates from 8-year-olds. A former Prime Minister shamefully avoided Canadian labour laws and paying Canadian taxes by registering his fleet under a foreign flag, and much more.
    I note the sponsorship scandal was so shocking in the level of waste, mismanagement and corruption that even Liberals admitted their collective shame and blame.
    In the words of former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, “There is a collective responsibility in cabinet that I think we all have to accept, and I certainly have to accept my share of that blame”.
    Even the member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl has admitted her shame, and I quote from a Toronto Star article: “The member from St. John's South--Mount Pearl agreed the scandal has hurt the party”.
    Shamefully, the Liberal Party has not found it necessary to apologize to Canadians for their betrayal of taxpayers' money, or worse, even bother to pay taxpayers back.
    While the public accounts for 2009-10 showed that Canadian taxpayers recovered $233,180 last year from the Liberal sponsorship scandal, unfortunately millions in outstanding money is still owed to Canadians by the Liberal Party.
    Where are those millions of taxpayers' dollars? Why has the member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl not taken a leadership role in her party to ensure that those millions are paid back?
    I expect members will be willing to act as a witness, and I would be happy to write the member a receipt, if she were to give a cheque to me this evening to start making amends. I may even see the President of the Treasury Board this evening and will register it with him straight away.
    Why has the member not demanded of her leader that the Liberal Party, so hurt by the shameful legacy of the shocking sponsorship scandal, respect taxpayers and pay back the money owed to them? Maybe the member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl has lost faith in her leader to do the right thing, as do more and more Canadians.
    No wonder news media is reporting today that more and more Liberals are even now demanding the Liberal leader be fired. A report today states:
--the Angus Reid survey, conducted for the Toronto Star, will be dispiriting...[the Liberal leader] inspired lukewarm levels of support among those who identified as supporters of his party. Of those who voted Liberal in the 2008 election, only 38 per cent said the current leader should remain in his job, while 46 per cent said the party should replace [him].

  (1835)  

    Madam Speaker, it is unfortunate that my hon. colleague did not address some of the concerns that we have been raising on wasteful government spending. Some of this money we cannot get back. This is about the billion dollar spending on the G8 and G20 summits. This is about money that is going to be spent on fighter jets, when we have not even gone to tender.
    Let me talk a bit about other spending.
    The parliamentary secretary mentioned the public accounts. In reviewing the public accounts, and I have read them thoroughly, I was astonished to find that above Treasury Board guidelines, the finance minister overspent in his office alone. If we look at the public accounts, we will see that the finance minister overspent his budget by $430,000.
     How can my hon. colleague speak about other issues, when he knows the kind of waste that is going on within his own government?
    Madam Speaker, I am actually quite surprised that that hon. member would once again raise the issue of money that we cannot get back. I believe I referred earlier to $40 million minus the $233,000-some. That is still a devastatingly large amount of taxpayers' money that no one has chosen to give back.
    That hon. member stands in this House and suggests that we, in ministers' offices, are not following Treasury Board guidelines, when in fact all ministers in this government do follow Treasury Board guidelines.
     In fact, spending in ministerial offices has dropped 11.4%. That is a record that this government is proud of. In fact, we pay our debts. We encourage those opposition members to pay back Canadian taxpayers what they owe our taxpayers.
    The hon. member for Labrador is not present to raise the matter for which adjournment notice has been given. Accordingly, the notice is deemed withdrawn.

[Translation]

    The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 6:39 p.m.)
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