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41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 052

CONTENTS

Wednesday, February 26, 2014




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 147 
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NUMBER 052 
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2nd SESSION 
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41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayers


[Statement by Members]

  (1405)  

[English]

     It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, last fall, former president Viktor Yanukovych decided to reject an agreement that would bring Ukraine closer to the European Union. Instead, he chose to strengthen ties with Russia.
    Pro-European protests ensued. Since then, the protests have turned into a grassroots uprising against government corruption and totalitarianism. After the president fled, the heroine of the Orange Revolution, Yulia Tymoshenko, was released from custody. It is an initial gesture of openness, but the people of Ukraine will need to remain vigilant during the fragile lead-up to the next presidential election on May 25.
    In the meantime, Canada must ensure that the international community prosecutes those who violate human rights and also that Ukraine is respectfully supported, without interference, during its future democratic steps towards what we hope will be renewed political, social and economic stability. The coming weeks will be critical as Ukraine moves towards holding free elections and restoring regional stability. Canada must offer intelligent support that is designed to protect the Ukrainian people and their democratic institutions.

[English]

Rotary Clubs

    Mr. Speaker, one of the privileges of being a member of Parliament is the opportunity to connect with organizations that aim to improve the world and their local communities.
    This past Sunday was International Rotary Day. The Rotary was founded in Chicago on February 23, 1905, and has grown to 1.2 million members. These professionals, with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, collaborate to inspire a better future for all.
    In 1910, Winnipeg put Rotary on the international map as the first city outside of the United States to establish a rotary club.
     My riding of Elmwood—Transcona is home to two very active clubs: Rotary club of Winnipeg-Transcona, and Rotary Club of Winnipeg East AM. Members of these clubs are extraordinary volunteers, who conduct projects, from helping families in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. The Rotarians of Elmwood—Transcona are selfless, and their contributions are invaluable.
    It gives me great pleasure to celebrate the hard work they do to make our world a better place.

[Translation]

Pink Shirt Day

    Mr. Speaker, I am wearing pink today in honour of Pink Shirt Day to show my support for young Canadians taking action to prevent bullying. Since being elected, I have emphasized the importance of prevention in dealing with cyberbullying.
    Last spring, the Conservatives introduced their only cyberbullying bill. It was a 70-page brick, but only three of those pages dealt with bullying, which is an insult to all victims of that kind of abuse.
    We know that criminalizing bullying will not help the victims. It is time the Conservatives did the right thing to protect our young people, and that means coming up with a national anti-bullying strategy.
    I would like to end on a hopeful note. The fact is that 80% of bullying incidents occur before witnesses. In 57% of the cases where a third person speaks up for the victims, the bully stops bullying within 10 seconds. Please, let us not be silent witnesses. We can help.

[English]

Winter Classic Hockey Tournament

    Mr. Speaker, on February 17, which was Family Day in Ontario, the Applewood Hockey Association and the Streetsville Hockey League hosted their 4th Annual Winter Classic hockey tournament at Chic Murray Arena, in Mississauga.
    Both organizations share deep roots in Mississauga. The Applewood Hockey Association is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and the Streetsville Hockey League has been providing hockey programs since 1946.
    Tyke, Minor Novice, Novice, Atom, Pee Wee, and Minor Midget teams, from both sides, competed on the ice in the frigid cold.
    This event was an excellent opportunity to showcase the outstanding hockey development programs that both organizations have to offer.
    Congratulations to the participants, parents, and the organizing committee, namely Chris Loreto, Wendy and Brian Webster, Neil Painchaud, Stephane Angers, and Mark Zizek, for their work and dedication to the development of hockey in Canada. I truly enjoyed this event.
     It is because of grassroots organizations that Canada continues to lead the world in hockey.

Pink Shirt Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is the seventh annual Pink Shirt Day, an international anti-bullying campaign begun in Nova Scotia when a young man was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.
     Two fellow students began distributing pink shirts to stand up for him and to take a stand against the act of bullying.
    All of us in this House know that everyone in this country has been touched by bullying, and unfortunately far too many people have seen the devastating effects it can have.
    Whether it is at school, in the workplace, or online, bullying is a very serious problem that cannot be tolerated.
    I want to acknowledge the hard work of Joe Killorn, a Pink Shirt Day coordinator on Prince Edward Island, who has done so much to raise awareness and to get communities involved throughout the province.
    I also want to encourage everyone across the country to join our many communities, to show that we can help raise awareness and put a stop to this harmful act of bullying.

  (1410)  

Bruce Power

    Mr. Speaker, Bruce Power is the largest employer in Huron—Bruce, employing over 3,700 full-time staff. It is the largest nuclear power plant in the world, with eight functioning reactors. It is also Canada's largest private–public partnership. In 2013, it sold electricity at a cost of 6¢ per kilowatt hour, versus the provincial average of 8.5¢. That is 30% below the provincial average. It also provides 30% of Ontario's power, making it one of the most efficient and cost-effective means for power generation in the country.
    Through direct and indirect employment, nuclear energy in Canada provides for almost 75,000 full-time jobs.
     I would like to welcome Bruce Power to Ottawa this week for the Canadian Nuclear Association's annual conference and trade show. I hope my colleagues in the House have a chance to visit the Weston Hotel to learn more about this vibrant and reliable industry.
     Keep up the good work at the Bruce so we can keep the lights on.

[Translation]

Angèle Arsenault

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I learned of the death of Angèle Arsenault, the great francophone and Acadian singer from Prince Edward Island.
    Her singing career began in 1963, in Moncton. She quickly became an ambassador for Prince Edward Island's Acadian community. Inspired by Acadia, her album Libre sold over 300,000 copies in 1978. Ms. Arsenault touched the Acadian community not only of Prince Edward Island, but of Acadia as a whole. Her song Grand Pré became a legacy for all Acadians, as it tells the story of the struggles my people have faced.
    I will remember Ms. Arsenault with her round glasses and her big smile, sitting at her piano and singing her catchy tunes, such as De temps en temps moi j'ai les bleus, Moi j'mange and Y'a une étoile pour vous. Like a star herself, Angèle Arsenault shone on Acadia and throughout the French-speaking world. Despite her passing, she continues to shine thanks to the great musical legacy she leaves behind.
    Acadia will miss you, Angèle.

[English]

Search and Rescue Volunteers

    Mr. Speaker, across coastal B.C., thousands of volunteers train hard, sacrifice their own time, and put themselves at risk when someone is missing or in peril. It was September 2012 when the Alberni Valley Rescue Squad was called out when our personal outdoor excursion on Mount Arrowsmith went wrong. Two members of our group were in trouble, and darkness was descending.
    Budget 2014 would provide a volunteer search and rescue tax credit. It would benefit qualifying members of teams, such as the Nanaimo, the Mount Arrowsmith, and the Alberni Valley, as well as the West Coast Inland Search and Rescue Society and the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue squads.
    I want to pay a special tribute to Mark Livingstone. A professional with our MCTS centre in Ucluelet, he was the driving force in establishing Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit 38. Mark's passion was safety of life at sea. The more rough it was, the more likely it would be to find him on the water directing SAR efforts. Tragically, Mark passed away in an industrial accident in 2007.
    I am sure that all members would like to join me in thanking all of our search and rescue volunteers for their selfless service.

Canadian Delegation to Israel

    Mr. Speaker, recently I was honoured to join the Prime Minister on his first official trip to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. I was joined by community leaders from my riding of Winnipeg South Centre for this historic trip. That group included members of our community who lead the Arab–Israeli dialogue and who serve local and Israeli universities, business and community leaders, and leaders who fight anti-Semitism.
     I admire the principles of our Prime Minister to stand with a country that shares our values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. His historic speech in the Knesset has been showcased and valued by many people from my community.
    Being in a Jordanian refugee camp, and at a border crossing from Syria into Jordan when hundreds were fleeing, made me value this government's leadership and Canada's leadership throughout the Middle East.

Canada Post

    Mr. Speaker, I and my colleague from Vancouver East recently hosted a community town hall to hear our constituents' views about Canada Post's plan to end home delivery and double the price of stamps. A standing-room-only crowd attended and expressed unanimous opposition to these misguided moves.
     Our constituents told us that ending home delivery and raising stamp costs hurts seniors and those individuals with mobility challenges. It will damage small businesses and destroy 8,000 well-paying jobs. It eliminates letter carriers, who are the eyes and ears in our communities and who report suspicious activity and emergencies in our neighbourhoods.
    The constituents expressed concern about the superboxes that will increase mail theft and car traffic, create litter, and decrease property values.
     They told us that a strong public post office is good for our economy, good for taxpayers, and good for our communities. They wanted us to ask a question: If every government since 1867 could manage to provide home mail delivery to Canadians, why are the Conservatives incapable of doing so?

  (1415)  

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Telefilm Canada, the sponsors, organizers, and volunteers, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages on another successful movie at the National Arts Centre as the minister showcased the excellent and moving film Gabrielle.
    Our government is proud to sponsor the Canadian film industry and the entire audiovisual production sector. Annually, we invest over $600 million in the audiovisual sector, and on Monday our government signed a new audiovisual co-production treaty with India. This treaty will stimulate foreign investment and create new business opportunities and jobs. The agreement is yet another demonstration of our support for the Canadian audiovisual industry, making Canada an even better place to do business.
    I thank the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages for her strong leadership in supporting our audiovisual industry.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's plan for income splitting will cost the federal budget about $3 billion a year out of a painfully achieved surplus. It is a regressive and inefficient tax expenditure that simply does not benefit a staggering 86% of Canadian families. It also increases income and gender inequality. The CD Howe Institute has confirmed it will do more harm than good.
    While the Conservatives may say they want to create jobs, its plan is a very strong disincentive for the lower-income spouse to work. Sadly, since women in Canada earn, on average, 19% less than men, the lower-income earner will usually be the woman. Conservatives, like the Liberals before them, are increasing inequality.
    New Democrats are committed to all Canadian families, not just the richest among us.

Tim Hortons

    Mr. Speaker, Tim Hortons, the maker of Canada's favourite cup of coffee, says it sees “significant room for growth” in its core Canadian business. Thanks to our low tax plan, Canadians have more money in their pockets for the small pleasures every Canadian enjoys and now they will have 500 more locations to enjoy them in.
    This week, the company announced it expects to add approximately 255 restaurants this year, for a total of 500 locations in Canada and 300 in the United States by 2018, and to “double-double” the good economic news for this Canadian success story, it has reported initial success in the Persian Gulf region and has a road map for adding about 220 locations in that area over the same period.
    Tim Hortons currently has 3,588 restaurants in its Canadian system, 859 in the United States, and 38 in the Gulf region. What a great Canadian success story.

International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the completion of Canada's year as chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and to congratulate our former colleague, Dr. Mario Silva, on his superb work representing our country as chair.
    Dr. Silva stated yesterday:
    The IHRA brings political and social leaders together from around the world to help prevent future human rights abuses through Holocaust education, remembrance, and research. I am proud of Canada's leadership on the world stage...
    The Holocaust is an unparalleled evil in human history. Remembrance and education are critical parts of ensuring these events are never repeated. As well, we must act upon the lessons of the Holocaust in preventing mass atrocity and genocide, and bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to justice.
    In the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness”.

  (1420)  

Afghan Veterans

    Mr. Speaker, the Afghan mission has been the most consequential conflict that Canada's military has faced since the Korean War. It has come at a price. One hundred and fifty-eight brave Canadians have made the ultimate sacrifice combatting the spread of terrorism. This evening, the House will vote on a motion put forth by my colleague, the hon. member for Palliser, calling for a national Afghan memorial.
    I call on all members to stand with the government and seize this opportunity to proudly honour this commitment to recognize the strength and sacrifice of Canada's Afghan veterans and their families, ensuring that they will never be forgotten.

[Translation]

Prime Minister's Office

    Mr. Speaker, a few years ago, before they were corrupted by power, the Conservative members were principled. That was then. Now they are having to defend the free lunches that PMO staffers are getting.
    We are not talking about handing out a carton of milk and an apple to people who have nothing to eat. We are talking about a bunch of privileged people who create scandals and then try to hide the truth. I wonder how they feel when they look in the mirror and realize they have become just like David Dingwall, defending their entitlements. They came to Ottawa saying they wanted to change things, but it is Ottawa that changed them.
    In a single day in June 2012, the one and only Nigel Wright ordered $5,000 worth of pizza on the taxpayers' dime for Conservative employees. There is nothing too good for the working class. While the Conservatives continue to use taxpayers' money like it is their own, the NDP will fight this kind of waste and stand up for Canadians.

[English]

Anti-Bullying Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is national Anti-Bullying Day.
    While bullying has always existed, modern technology gives bullies the ability to humiliate and intimidate their victims in front of the entire world.
    As recent tragedies have shown, cyberbullying has the power to destroy lives and communities. That is why our government has introduced legislation to crack down on cyberbullies and to stand up for victims.
    The protecting Canadians from online crime bill will ensure that children are better protected by making it an offence to distribute intimate images without the consent of the person depicted. We have always been clear that there is a point where bullying goes beyond just words and becomes criminal behaviour.
     Distributing images of a person against his or her will should be a crime, which is why we are acting to strengthen the Criminal Code. We are also acting to modernize the law so that police have the tools they need to better investigate these offences.
    I hope the NDP will begin working with us so we can get the bill to the justice committee and hopefully passed into law as quickly as possible.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, last week the member of Parliament for Nepean—Carleton had an unelected senator, who is deeply involved in the Wright-Duffy Senate expense scandal, headline for him at a fundraiser.
    Is this what the Prime Minister expects of his minister of democratic reform?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the minister of democratic reform is doing an excellent job, including on the fair elections act.
    I note that yesterday the Leader of the Opposition, asking about that act, asserted that 73% of seniors use the voter ID card. That statistic is not true. That is true in residences, but in residences there are multiple other IDs available. Elections Canada will actually, in many cases, move ballot boxes room to room.
    Mr. Speaker, just because the Senate Liberals are still fundraising for their party does not make it okay.
    Deloitte auditors have been unable to explain how confidential information about their findings wound up in the Prime Minister's Office.
    Was it Senator Tkachuk who told the Prime Minister's Office that the Deloitte audit would not make a finding on the question of Mike Duffy's residency?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, the auditors themselves have addressed this question. The auditors themselves have confirmed that the audit was handled with the utmost confidentiality and no rules were broken.
    Mr. Speaker, the question was: what did Senator Tkachuk tell his office? Of course, Deloitte does not know about that. He does.

[Translation]

    New Deloitte documents reveal that last March, Conservative Senator Tkachuk asked the auditor whether Mike Duffy was co-operating with the investigation. The following day, Mike Duffy said that he would no longer co-operate with the investigation.
    What did Senator Tkachuk report to the Prime Minister's Office that led to this change the following day?
    Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP is referring to a letter between the senator, who was chair of the committee at the time, and the auditors. This is a question for the Senate.

[English]

Democratic Reform

    Mr. Speaker, this is not the Conservative's first draft of the unfair elections act. An earlier version was presented to the Conservative caucus and rejected. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, as I said, the leader of the NDP keeps making inaccurate statements about the Elections Act.
    Yesterday, he made inaccurate statements about trying to claim 73% of senators use voter identification cards, and that is not the case. He made the allegation there are no problems with those cards, when in fact problems are identified in one of six cards.
    The government has presented before the House of Commons a comprehensive reform of the Elections Act. We encourage all members to examine it. We encourage the NDP members to actually read the bill and find out what is in it before asking their questions.
    Mr. Speaker, the problem is not people being allowed to vote for the senators, the problem is senators being allowed to vote.

[Translation]

    What changed between the draft rejected by the Conservative caucus and the current bill? What changed the Prime Minister's mind?
    Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the bill before the House of Commons is a comprehensive one.
    I encourage the NDP leader to look at the facts and read this bill, which his party has so far refused to read. There is a debate, and the government and opposition will continue this debate as we work towards comprehensive electoral reform.

[English]

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, economic growth in 2013 was down from the year before, which was down from the year before that, which was down from the year before that. Yet, the government's building Canada infrastructure fund is being cut by 90% this April, with full funding not to be restored until 2019.
    With slowing growth, why is the Prime Minister slashing infrastructure funding now?
    Mr. Speaker, speaking about reading things, last year the government presented to Parliament a new building Canada fund, which actually has a record investment over the past decade, strongly supported by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
    We are very proud to be doing that. That is an important part of our economic plans going forward, and I would encourage the Liberal Party, if it has absolutely nothing to suggest, to at least vote for the positive things that people support.
    Mr. Speaker, it is the worst record since R.B. Bennett. It is no wonder that these guys do not understand that adding one point to our growth is $4 billion to the government's bottom line.
    The mayors of Canada's largest cities are in Ottawa today, just in time to see the PM slash their infrastructure funding.
     How out of touch has the Prime Minister become? With slowing growth and crumbling infrastructure, he thinks that now is the time to slash 90% off an infrastructure program that Canadian communities depend on.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, what is out of touch is the Liberal leader, who thinks that a budget will balance itself.
    His statement betrays his lack of understanding of the economy and his disconnection from the realities of the Canadian middle class. The reality is that this government, coming out of the recession, has the best growth, the best employment record, the best record on taxes and on debt of any major G7 country, and we are determined to continue to do that.
    Mr. Speaker, the only infrastructure these guys seem to have invested in is the lunch delivery infrastructure of the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesdays.

[Translation]

    We are starting to see that the Prime Minister has a habit of not following through on his promises, so let us take a look at what he does do.
    While the mayors of Canada's biggest cities are in Ottawa today, will the Prime Minister explain why he is making cuts to the infrastructure funding our cities so desperately need?
    Mr. Speaker, last year, the government presented an infrastructure plan for the coming decades that totalled $70 billion over ten years. That is a record and it received strong support from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
    It is unfortunate that the Liberal Party opposes that program, but it is strongly supported by the Conservative members.

Democratic Reform

    Mr. Speaker, who is responsible for electoral reform in the Prime Minister's Office?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, under our system of government, cabinet, of course, is collectively responsible for the legislation it presents before the House of Commons. All of us strongly support that legislation, and that legislation is being led very articulately by the Minister of State for Democratic Reform.
    Mr. Speaker, did anyone from the Prime Minister's Office speak with anyone from Conservative Party headquarters about changes to the Elections Act?
    Maybe, Mr. Speaker, they even spoke to Osama bin Laden.
    The leader of the NDP keeps descending into these conspiracy theories. There is a bill before the House of Commons. The government's proposals are clear. Whether the opposition members agree with them or not, they should at least read them, understand them, and we can have a debate.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, The Conservatives want to increase donations by exactly $300.
    How did the Prime Minister arrive at a $300 increase? What is the basis for his decision?
    Mr. Speaker, as you well know, the government has put a limit on private donations. At the same time, if we want to eliminate automatic taxpayer transfers to Canadian political parties, we have to ensure that parties are supported and funded by their own supporters.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, did anybody from the Prime Minister's Office or from the Conservative Party use Conservative donor records to determine that the augmentation should be $300?
    Mr. Speaker, I really do not know how one would do that.
    The bill proposes modest increases in the amount of money people can contribute to political parties and riding associations. We believe these amounts of money are sufficient to allow political parties to finance it themselves while at the same time being in a position where they are not beholden to individual contributors. That is how we selected that particular amount.
    Mr. Speaker, the unfair elections act would ban the use of voter cards and vouching as a form of ID. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have explained and as the Minister of State for Democratic Reform has explained multiple times, a large percentage of voter ID cards contain inaccuracies, one in six. There are 39 other pieces of ID that are allowed that are much more appropriate.
    Vouching, the idea of voting without having ID at all, is obviously problematic. The Neufeld report and others have identified the capacity for fraud that it entails. That is obviously not appropriate, which is why we are making these changes.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has had a day to check on this. Is there any evidence that voter cards or vouching have actually been used to commit voter fraud? Has a single case been investigated or prosecuted?
    The answer, Mr. Speaker, is yes, but in any case, the more disturbing issue is that we actually would not know if that were the case. We do know from the data that is available to us that these forms of voting are subject to the potential of widespread irregularity, which is why Canadians expect us to make sure that voting in this country is always valid.
    Mr. Speaker, the names and addresses on voter cards come directly from the voters' list. If there is a problem, fix that. Do not get away from using that as a way of identifying oneself.
    Seventy-three per cent of seniors living in residences use their Elections Canada voter card as a piece of ID when they vote. Why does the Prime Minister want to make it more difficult for seniors to vote?
    Mr. Speaker, I see that the Leader of the Opposition is now changing his incorrect statistics from yesterday.
    In the case of seniors who live in residences, they can use identification such as an attestation of residence letter of stay, admission form, statement of benefits, or hospital bracelets in the case of hospital care facilities.
    Under the act, not only will Elections Canada frequently establish actual voting booths in these particular residences, it will go room to room to enable people to vote.
    There are all kinds of IDs--
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, voters who use vouching to prove their identity in order to vote have to give their name and address.
    Does the Prime Minister know many fraudsters who give their name and address?
    Mr. Speaker, as I just said, there are 39 pieces of ID that voters can use. Naturally, it is vital that we give everyone the opportunity to vote in order to ensure that the voting is valid.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Section 18 of the unfair elections act says, “The Chief Electoral Officer may provide the public...with information on the following topics only....” There are only five topics listed, none of which is voter fraud. I am sure the Prime Minister understands the meaning of the word “only”.
    Why ban the Chief Electoral Officer from speaking about electoral fraud?
    Once again, Mr. Speaker, in terms of fraud or other violations of the act, what is established here is a fully independent commissioner of elections who would have all of the powers of the law to enable him or her to pursue any necessary investigations. It will be done under the Director of Public Prosecutions, absolutely at arm's-length from the government. Obviously we expect Elections Canada to focus its efforts on the good conduct of elections.

Prime Minister's Office

    Mr. Speaker, old habits being the way they are, today the PMO chief of staff and some of the highest paid employees of the ministers' offices, some earning up to $170,000 a year, just tucked into a big taxpayer-funded free lunch, all in full violation of the rules. Yesterday the President of the Treasury Board tried to blame the PCO bureaucrats, but we know that is just not true. These $67,000 in lunches are part of the PMO disclosure, and the only person who could have approved them is the Prime Minister himself.
    Therefore, to the Prime Minister, what was on today's menu, compliments of taxpayers?
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that since the Liberals, who kind of mainlined their hospitality expenses, were in power, we have actually been able to cut hospitality expenses by the Government of Canada by 48%. We are proud of that number. We are going to continue to respect the taxpayer and do the exact opposite of what they did when they were in power.

  (1440)  

Public Works and Government Services

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives were roundly criticized in a respected defence association report for their abject failure on procurement. Instead of creating thousands of skilled jobs and delivering the planes, ships, and trucks that our troops need, Conservatives have betrayed them.
    Last night, aerospace leaders from the west were in Ottawa begging for a better and faster process. Our troops, our industry, and Canadians are paying the price. Could the minister please tell us the price tag for all of their procurement failures, delays, resets, and cancellations over eight lost years?
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, our government is very proud of the many successful military procurements that we have been able to achieve over the last several years, including new LAVs, heavy-lift aircraft, tactical-lift transporters, main battle tanks, and new heavy artillery.
    The military lived under a decade of darkness under the Liberals prior to us forming government. We are delivering, as a priority, the equipment that our men and women in uniform need to do their jobs, and we will be doing it in a way that is responsible to taxpayers.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, referring to income splitting, two weeks ago the Minister of Finance said: “...I'm not sure that overall, it benefits our society”. Then only yesterday, the Prime Minister said: “...it will be a good policy for Canadian families”.
    Given these radically different opinions, who speaks for the government on fiscal policy, and with the finance minister practically handing out his resumé at the G20, does it no longer matter what he thinks?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, as I said in Stouffville a couple of weeks ago, and as I said during the election campaign, we think income splitting would be an excellent policy for Canadian families, just as it has been an excellent policy for Canadian seniors.
    I know how strongly the Liberal Party opposes income splitting. I know how strongly it opposes it for seniors. I know that it wants to take away that policy for senior citizens. We on this side of the House will never permit that to happen.

Canada Post

    Mr. Speaker, Toronto City Council has passed a resolution demanding that Canada Post maintain home delivery. Still, Conservatives are cutting it with no plan. With proposed mega-boxes in neighbourhoods of 10,000 people per square kilometre, whose lawns? What about the traffic, our kids' safety, and seniors?
    Canada's big city mayors are meeting in Ottawa today. The government should be investing in, not cutting from, our cities. Why are the Conservatives ignoring Toronto?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada Post is facing, in the future, an incredible loss in its revenue as a result of the mail not being utilized as much. People are making their choices, but in order to deal with that, it has put out a five-point plan. One of the points in its plan is that door-to-door service be phased out for the remaining one-third of mail boxes or mail deliveries in Canada. That has been in place for two-thirds of Canadian addresses since the 1980s.
    It has dealt with these matters in the past. I am sure it will continue to deal with these matters in the future.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, our cities need federal support to prosper, but the Conservatives do not seem to realize that. While the mayors of Canada's largest cities are meeting today to talk about the pressing issues affecting our communities, the Conservatives' response is to continue to reduce essential services, leaving the people of Rosemère, Lorraine, Bois-des-Filion, Repentigny and Charlemagne without home mail delivery.
    Why does the government continue to ignore the needs of our municipalities?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let us get one thing straight. We are not stopping the delivery of mail in general. What is happening is that we are converting, or rather, Canada Post is converting one-third—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. Minister of Transport still has the floor.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, the reality is something that they do not want to face, and it is this: already in two-thirds of Canadian households, the mail is not delivered to the door. Over the next five years, Canada Post plans to phase it out in the other one-third of Canadian households.
    Why is it doing that? It is because of something the NDP does not understand. We are trying to make sure the taxpayer is not burdened in the future.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, that was telling.

[Translation]

    If the Conservatives got out of their Ottawa bubble and tried to find affordable housing in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal, they would see that the housing crisis in Canada is very real.
    Housing prices keep going up, just like household debt. Worse still, cuts of over $1.5 billion are expected over the next few years.
    Will the minister review his plans and work with the municipalities to find solutions to the crisis affecting thousands of families?
    Mr. Speaker, the opposition is mistaken. Our government provides assistance and support to Canada's most vulnerable citizens.

[English]

    We are providing support to vulnerable Canadians to the tune of $14.5 billion. What has that resulted in? It has resulted in more than 880,000 individuals and families being supported through things like our renewal investment in affordable housing, as well as our homelessness partnering strategy.
    We are working with our partners. We are providing funding. The taxpayers are doing their job to help vulnerable Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, anyone waiting forever for affordable housing knows that answer is pure nonsense. Infrastructure money is so bogged down in red tape and absurd rules that little money is getting out the door, and there is no dedicated money for public transit either.
    Conservatives are silent on renewing housing agreements and are slowly withdrawing funds. When will the minister drop the red tape and allow local governments to start their work?
    Mr. Speaker, under all of the categories of the new building Canada plan, transit is accepted. That is under all categories.
    Never in Canadian history has a government invested more than our government in public transit. We will continue to do so.

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, Ukraine has been on a pivotal point in its history in this past week, since the Ukrainian parliament ousted Yanukovych and legitimately named Speaker Turchynov as acting president, pending the upcoming elections on May 25.
    We welcome the end of months of violent oppression at the hands of the Yanukovych regime. These developments mark progress on Ukraine's path toward democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.
    Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs please comment on the situation in Ukraine?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has spoken out many times regarding the violence committed by the Yanukovych regime. Last month, we imposed travel bans on those responsible for the violence in Ukraine. Over the past weeks, Canada has provided medical assistance to those in the Maidan. Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that a Canadian delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, along with senior members of the Ukrainian community in Canada, will meet with members of the transitional government and with civil society.
    It was this side of the House that requested a debate this evening to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine. Canadians can count on our government to support the Ukrainian people's aspirations for unity, for freedom, and for democracy.

Prime Minister's Office

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the high spending President of the Treasury Board seemed pretty cavalier about the fact that the Prime Minister's staffers have been charging taxpayers for huge meal bills, in violation of the department's guidelines. That was when we thought the bill was $68,000. Now we find that it is $130,000, and he is still not blushing.
    It cost $7,000 for one pizza party in the Prime Minister's Office. Would they put the chicken brochette platter aside for one minute and tell us why they think it is okay for the Prime Minister's staff to break rules that are in place to protect the taxpayers?
    Mr. Speaker, I find it curious that the opposition members will not even disclose any of their expenses, yet they stand in their places and criticize a government that has cut hospitality expenses by 48%.
    That kind of hypocrisy is not tolerated by taxpayers. We are on the side of the taxpayers. We are not on the side of the tax hiking, carbon hiking people on the other side.

  (1450)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, while staff of the Prime Minister's Office stuff their faces with pizza at the taxpayers' expense, every day over 18,000 children in Quebec have to rely on breakfast clubs so they do not start the day on an empty stomach.
    In his bubble, the President of the Treasury Board thinks that the rules do not apply to the Conservatives and that it is completely normal to spend $130,000 on lunches for the Prime Minister's staff. However, Canadians expect a government that will not throw their money out the window. How many awards do the Conservatives have to get from the pig in a tux before they stop wasting taxpayers' money?
    Mr. Speaker, the members of the NDP caucus do not want to disclose their expenses to the people and taxpayers. However, we do. I can tell you once again that we have cut these costs by 48%. We are therefore on the side of taxpayers, not of the NDP.

Government Advertising

    Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Conservatives thought that no one would notice that they spent $2.5 million to advertise a program that exists only in the Minister of Employment and Social Development's overactive imagination, but people did notice.
    That is why the Conservatives were the big winners at the gala put on by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, an organization that not so long ago was headed by the Minister of Employment and Social Development. What a blow. Are the Conservatives beginning to understand that receiving booby prizes from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation means that their transformation to Liberals is now complete?

[English]

    Those are fighting words, Mr. Speaker.
    Order. The hon. President of the Treasury Board has the floor.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the government is responsible for informing Canadians about the important programs and services available to them. Advertising is an essential way for the government to inform Canadians about important issues.
    The Canada job grant program will help connect Canadians with available jobs, unlike what the Liberals and New Democrats are doing. They voted against this program.

[English]

Government Accountability

    Mr. Speaker, while Canadians are having to chew down on the fact that the Prime Minister charged them $7,000 for a pizza party in his office, it is little wonder that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation came out with its highest pork award today. Guess who the award went to? It went to the Conservatives sitting right across the way, for billions spent advertising a program that does not exist and millions spent on their cronies in the Senate.
    Canadians know New Democrats will defend the taxpayer, but they want to know what happened to the Reformers across the way who spend all their days defending their entitlements.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. We need a little more order during both the question and the answer.
    The hon. President of the Treasury Board is rising to answer, and I hope his colleagues will allow him to answer the question.
    The hon. President of the Treasury Board.
    Mr. Speaker, it is Yuk Yuk's comedy hour in question period.
    Of course, the NDP was quite happy to accept union donations to do the union line on all these issues, and now its members cloak themselves in the taxpayer mantle. It is to laugh.
    However, I can say to hon. members that, of course, we have a responsibility to communicate to Canadians about services that are available—and this Canada job grant is going to be so important to connect Canadians to available jobs—unlike the Liberals and the NDP, who continue to vote against these responsible programs for taxpayers and job creation.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday Canadians learned that my colleague, the member for Mount Royal, was barred from a reception in Israel during the Prime Minister's trip. We can thank the member for York Centre for the shabby treatment of a man who deserves greater respect.
    Today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is heading for Ukraine. However, the Canadian delegation does not include MPs from other parties, even though all parties share the same concerns about Ukraine.
    What message are we sending Ukrainians about multi-party democracy when our government excludes members from other parties?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's decision to send a Canadian delegation to Ukraine is yet another example of Canada's leadership on this issue, but the NDP members wanted to wait and see. They did not want to take sides. In fact, they criticized us for taking sides. The Liberals actually thought this whole thing was a joke. That is why we are sending people there who have been engaged in this issue, who treat it seriously, and they are standing with the Ukrainian people.

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, this is indeed a tragedy, so why are Conservative colleagues laughing?

[Translation]

    According to the United Nations, the largest population—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order.
    The hon. member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville.
    Mr. Speaker, according to the United Nations, the crisis in Syria could create the world's largest refugee population, with the number of refugees expected to reach 4 million by year's end.
    Canada has committed to resettling only 1,300 refugees, and barely 200 of those will be resettled through a government assistance program. Meanwhile, Sweden, a country with one-third of our population, has already welcomed 15,000.
    Why are the Conservatives behaving so pathetically in the face of this humanitarian disaster, and how many of these 1,300 refugees have arrived in Canada? Will the minister give us the exact number or not?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should get his facts straight before rising in the House.
    It is true that Sweden and Germany are welcoming thousands of Syrian refugees but only on a temporary basis. Meanwhile, Canada is once again at the top of the list with its commitment to welcome 1,300 refugees this year. We are following that plan. That is why the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has said that Canada has the most generous refugee system in the world.

Consumer Protection

    Mr. Speaker, March break is coming up, and as usual, oil companies will take the opportunity to hike gas prices.
    In Montreal yesterday, the average gas price was $1.40 per litre. In 2006, when the Conservatives came to power, the average annual price of gas in Montreal was just $1 per litre. Under this Conservative government, the price of gas has risen by 40%.
    My question is simple: will the Conservatives introduce measures to prevent oil company collusion so that consumers will no longer get ripped off at the pump?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to gas prices, our government introduced a bill.

[English]

    It is our government that put in place the Fairness at the Pumps Act in order to protect consumers. It was the NDP that did nothing to promote and push that bill forward; but since when is it the NDP's position to have lower prices for consumers? Since when is it the NDP's position?
    The New Democrats have always advocated for carbon taxes, always advocated for higher prices against consumers, and now they pretend to be in favour of consumers when it comes to gas prices. It is ridiculous. It is our government, our party, that has lowered taxes consistently by over $3,000 for every Canadian family. It is we who stand with consumers, never the NDP.
    Mr. Speaker, in my riding, across northern Ontario, and in communities coast to coast to coast, ever increasing gas prices are a top concern for financially squeezed families. The government refuses to act to ensure a competitive marketplace with fair pricing. Gas prices have jumped 20¢ a litre in just the past three years, an 18% hike, while wages just have not kept up.
    When will the Prime Minister finally support the NDP's call for a gas price watchdog?
    Mr. Speaker, through our legislation we have empowered the Competition Bureau in order to protect Canadian consumers, and the Competition Bureau has in fact put in place fines and protected Canadian consumers. We did that. It was not the New Democrats. It was this Prime Minister, this Conservative government, through our legislation that has protected Canadian consumers. It is New Democrats who want to go after consumers and hurt them with carbon taxes and higher taxes across the board.
    It is our government that has lowered taxes, protected consumers, put in place the Fairness at the Pumps Act. It is this Conservative government that protects consumers day in and day out.

  (1500)  

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, this Conservative government, since taking office, has delivered a lot for Canadian municipalities. Thousands of infrastructure projects have received federal funding.
    Can the minister please explain how the government is planning to support recreational infrastructure going forward?

[Translation]

    Amateur sport infrastructure projects are still eligible under the new building Canada fund. We have doubled the funds available for this kind of project through the gas tax.
    Mayors asked us for more flexibility with the gas tax fund, the most generous portion of the plan, and we delivered. With the new building Canada fund, we will support projects to make our economy more competitive, create jobs, and promote long-term growth and prosperity by supporting Canadian municipalities.

[English]

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, two cooks are working side by side for the summer at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers. Like many Islanders working seasonally, they require access to EI. One lives in Hunter River, the other lives less than three kilometres away in the rural community of Rennies Road. Before last week's announced changes, they both qualified for EI. Now just one qualifies and it is not the one from the smaller community.
    They do the same job, but gerrymandering will force one to welfare. This advances the political interest of the minister, but how is it fair?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member should know, the employment insurance system has always been based on different regions, which dictates when people qualify for benefits and for how long they will receive them.
    In every province there was a distinction made between urban and rural areas. In rural P.E.I., for example, the unemployment rate in some areas is twice what it is in Charlottetown. Finally, we have ended that aberration, that fundamental unfairness in the system. Now we have created regions in P.E.I. that recognize the radically different labour market realities between the rural and urban areas.
    Prince Edward Islanders will benefit from these changes.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, we learned this morning that pharmacies might face a shortage of drugs, including Ritalin. Parents and the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec are concerned about the situation.
    The NDP put forward a real solution to address drug shortages by forcing companies to report any upcoming shortages. However, the government stubbornly relies on the goodwill of the industry, while shortages continue to increase.
    Will the minister realize that action is urgently needed?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in fact it was several months ago that I stood with the provinces and territories to announce a pan-Canadian strategy to manage and prevent shortages to reduce their impact.
    It does exactly what the member is suggesting. Companies have to provide advance notices of shortages online, and they also have to include information for physicians on alternative treatments.
    We continue to monitor all of these issues very closely, and we are open to also considering a mandatory approach if necessary.

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, seniors are an integral part of our families, communities, and workforce. Statistics show that 36% of them volunteer their time, and 80% are actively involved in their communities. We on this side of the House, and that side, believe in supporting seniors.
    Could the Minister of State for Seniors update the House on some of the great initiatives for seniors in economic action plan 2014?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague on the Conservative side for that great question.
    We are proud of the support we have seen for seniors in economic action plan 2014. We have seen an 11% increase in funding to the new horizons for seniors program; the renewal of the targeted initiative for older workers program, which assists unemployed older workers reintegrate into the workforce; the creation of the Canadian employers for caregivers action plan to help caregivers participate in the labour market, and the list goes on.
    All Canadians, especially seniors, can be proud of economic action plan 2014.

  (1505)  

[Translation]

Intergovernmental Relations

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's insistence on imposing new rules for the Canada job grant, despite provincial opposition, might hurt Quebec.
    Youth employment centres, which help young people 16 to 35 years old develop their employability, could lose their funding.
    When we know that the unemployment rate for that group is twice as high as for the rest of the population, there is some cause for concern.
    Can the minister guarantee that the reform he is trying to impose will help reduce the youth unemployment rate?

Canada Post

    Mr. Speaker, seniors and people with reduced mobility in Ahuntsic are worried about the government's attitude, since it is doing nothing to prevent the end of door-to-door mail delivery. This is despite the fact that Canada Post has enjoyed surpluses for the past 10 years, except the year when Canada Post locked out its employees.
    Does the government want to give sovereignists more ammunition by abandoning Canada Post, a community-based institution that brings the Canadian identity to every region of Quebec?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that there is a lack of demand at Canada Post. It has had a responsibility since 1981 to be self-sufficient. We know that in the coming years, given the fact that the reduction in mail volume is 25%, it could see a deficit of $1 billion coming. That is serious for Canadian taxpayers. That is why Canada Post is taking action. Its five-point plan, once implemented, would see it self-sufficient again in 2019.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs 

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114 I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding membership of committees of the House. If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the eighth report later this day.

Canada Pension Plan

     She said: Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to introduce a survivor pensioners bill. Widowers and widows deserve justice. The existing application deadline for the Canada pension plan is disqualifying survivors from accessing their late spouses' benefits. That is why I am putting forward new legislation to abolish deadlines that restrict survivor claims to only 11 months. This is a matter of fairness.
    One of my constituents was denied two years' worth of retroactive payments because she missed a deadline while grieving the loss of her husband to cancer. We owe it to grieving Canadians and their late spouses, who have paid into the fund all of their lives, to make this change now.

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

  (1510)  

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, if the House gives it consent, I move that the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House earlier today be concurred in.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: 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)

    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the three parties trying to grasp words to come up with a version of a motion on Venezuela that will satisfy everyone. However, I do not think there is going to be consensus. I am rising to ask for unanimous consent to move the following motion about what is happening in Venezuela. I hope that the rest of the members will agree and that we can move forward.
    I move that the House condemn the brutal, repressive government measures toward peaceful civilian protesters in Venezuela and call on the government to inform President Nicolas Maduro that the people of Canada stand with Venezuelans in their right to peaceful protest; that the Maduro government release all those detained during the protests; and that all government interference with the peaceful protesters should cease immediately; that those people who perpetrated the violence should be brought to justice and bear the full weight of the law; and that in the event the government of Venezuela continues to suppress peaceful protest, the Government of Canada should examine further measures to express its displeasure with these actions.
    I hope that everyone supports this motion as we move forward in order to address the situation in Venezuela.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat disappointed, yet not surprised, that the member for Scarborough—Agincourt has again attempted to proceed this way. Consultations are indeed going on between the parties. The member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, I believe, will be proposing some language that has achieved at least some momentum.
    However, the whole point of the exercise is to have the House of Commons recognize the plight of Venezuelans and the seriousness of the situation in Venezuela, which requires House leaders to speak with one another and to respect one another. If the member does not have that same respect for this place and for the House leaders who do the work on his behalf, his party and all the parties, as my colleague across the way and I are doing, then that is his choice, but to continue to do these types of activities in the House, where he knows full well that unanimous consent can be sought but not achieved without proper consultation, is wrong.
    We will seek language, as is the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, about this very serious issue and will hopefully achieve the kind of consensus that will actually show the people of Venezuela that members of the Canadian Parliament can in fact work together on the seriousness of the crimes being committed in their country.
    Mr. Speaker, for further edification, several drafts are already circulating. Unlike the hon. member for Scarborough—Agincourt, I am optimistic that a consensus can be achieved, and it is important that a consensus be achieved. This is an issue the government cares about deeply in terms of allowing democracy to have a fighting chance in Venezuela. I believe all parties care about that, and for the member for Scarborough—Agincourt to short-circuit a process through which we could otherwise achieve unanimity and consensus is indeed unfortunate. Canada will speak much louder if we do indeed speak with unanimity, which I believe is possible.
    I am going to say at the outset that I understand members have now made representations to the Chair about why unanimous consent has not yet been achieved. It sounds as though these are inter-party negotiations that are best left not on the floor of the House of Commons but among the individual members and the House leaders. They are certainly not points of order.
    Very simply, we have had a request for unanimous consent and the request has been denied. Perhaps optimism will carry through the day and members will be able to come back with something that the members will find unanimous consent on. I am not going to entertain any more interventions on this particular point.
     We are still under the rubric of “motions”. The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie has the floor.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we are all very concerned about the difficult situation in Venezuela right now. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to meet with Venezuelans living in Canada.
    I am proud to move the following motion:

[English]

    That the House express its deep concern at the escalation of violence in Venezuela, convey its condolences to the families of those killed or injured during the ongoing public protest, ask the Government of Canada to urge Venezuelan authorities to proactively de-escalate the conflict and protect the human rights and democratic freedoms of Venezuelan citizens, encourage the Government of Canada to play a leading role in supporting a political dialogue in Venezuela that respects legitimate grievances and differences of opinion, and call for an end to divisive rhetoric and actions that only delay and jeopardize the inclusive political situation that the Venezuelan people deserve.
    I hope this motion will get the unanimous consent of the House.
    Does the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    There is no consent.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I did find it interesting that the House leader of the New Democratic Party stood up on a point of order and talked about consultation, and then a member from his own political party stood up and introduced a motion.
    I want to make reference to this occurrence because in his opening comments on his point of order, the NDP House leader did impute motives of the member for Scarborough—Agincourt. That is, we have to take all members as being honourable members. On two consecutive days, Monday and Tuesday, the member for Scarborough—Agincourt attempted to bring in this issue as an emergency debate and has worked very hard to try to build on a consensus to get this. The New Democrats have been afforded the opportunity to have—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
    I see the hon. member for Scarborough—Agincourt is rising on a point of order. I do hope he recognizes my concern that this is quickly devolving into a debate about perhaps what goes on at a House leaders' meeting and not actually a point of order. However, I will hear him and hope that he gets to a point of order very quickly.
    Mr. Speaker, in reference to what the House leader from the NDP said, he should be the one who questions what happened. It was given 24 hours. They came back and forth. The basic stuff was here. They came back and forth and they even tried to blackmail us if we did not go their way. They are going to present—
    Order.
    It has never been the practice of the Chair to pronounce on things that take place during House leaders' meetings or what goes on in negotiations to try to find unanimous consent. The Chair's job is quite simple: it is to see if unanimous consent exists at this time, and clearly it does not. Perhaps throughout the day or the rest of the week, there will be a different outcome, but at the moment there is clearly no consent, and I will ask hon. members to come to order.
    Presenting petitions, the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst has the floor.

[Translation]

Petitions

VIA Rail  

    Mr. Speaker, I have here a petition signed by several hundred people who are urging the Government of Canada to take any measures necessary to restore VIA Rail's daily round-trip service between Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, via Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi, New Brunswick.

[English]

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I present a petition to the House of Commons from residents and constituents in Sarnia—Lambton concerning the reduction in Canada Post services.

  (1520)  

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, recently the CBC revealed that ultrasounds are being used in Canada to tell the sex of an unborn child so that expectant parents can chose to terminate the pregnancy if the unborn child is a girl.
    The petitioners call upon all members of Parliament to condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to table petitions from citizens of Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Morinville, Wetaskiwin, Fort McMurray, Stony Plain, and Grande Prairie. The petitioners call for the Government of Canada to reverse the cuts to services announced by Canada Post and to look instead for ways to innovate. They are concerned about the cuts to the service, which will hurt seniors and disabled Canadians.

Health  

    Mr. Speaker, my second petition is from Edmontonians calling on the government to fully co-operate with the provinces and territories to negotiate a new health accord by 2014 that improves health care services through stronger federal leadership backed by long-term and stable health care funding.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by a number of people from Cranbrook, British Columbia, calling on the Government of Canada to reverse the cuts to services announced by Canada Post and to look instead for ways to innovate in areas such as postal banking.

Snow Sport Helmets  

    Mr. Speaker, I have to petitions to present. The first one is from over 700 petitioners who say that whereas in the summer of 2008 the Canadian Standards Association published standards for safe recreational snow sport helmets, they therefore call on the Government of Canada to amend the Hazardous Products Act to prohibit the advertising, sale, or importation into Canada of any recreational snow sport helmet that does not meet the standards of the Canadian Standards Association.

Experimental Lakes Area  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from about 70 petitioners who wish the Government of Canada to recognize the importance of the ELA to the Government of Canada's mandate to study, preserve, and protect aquatic ecosystems; reverse its decision to close the ELA research station; and continue to staff and provide financial resources for the ELA at the current level of commitment or at a higher one.

Impaired Driving  

    Mr. Speaker, I stand on behalf of my constituents of South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, who are calling for tougher laws and a new mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted of impaired driving and for redefining the offence of impaired driving causing death as vehicular manslaughter.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present. The first petition asks the Government of Canada to reverse the cuts to services announced by Canada Post and to look instead for ways to innovate in areas such as postal banking.

Genetically Modified Alfalfa  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls upon Parliament to impose a moratorium on the release of genetically modified alfalfa in order to allow a proper review of the impact on farmers in Canada.

Food and Drugs Act  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition calls on the House to amend the Food and Drugs Act to establish mandatory labelling for genetically modified foods.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I present a petition from my constituents on the changes that are happening at Canada Post. I, of course, have made my own views on the subject known by writing an article locally in the Saint Croix Courier. These are nonetheless the opinions of my constituents, and I table them with respect.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, my first petition asks the Government of Canada to ban bulk oil tanker traffic off the north coast of B.C. and say no to the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline.

  (1525)  

Parks Canada  

    Mr. Speaker, my second petition asks the Government of Canada to extend the operating hours of the Rideau Canal and the Trent-Severn Waterway.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition asks the government to maintain and improve postal service to Canadians under the Canada postal service charter.
    They note that the reduction of service means the loss of thousands of good jobs and hurts seniors and people with disabilities.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, the fourth petition calls on the Government of Canada to return the Port of Oshawa back to the citizens of Oshawa through their local city council.

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, the last petition asks the federal government to lift seniors out of poverty by enhancing the pension system, increasing the guaranteed income supplement, and keeping the eligibility for old age security at 65 years and not 67 years.

Impaired Driving  

    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition calling upon Parliament and the government to make a change to the Criminal Code of Canada with respect to drinking and driving. The petitioners wish the charges to be more severe, moving up toward vehicular manslaughter.

[Translation]

Mining Industry  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to present two petitions today. The first is from Saint-Paul-l'Ermite parish in Repentigny and the other from Saints-Simon-et-Jude parish in Charlemagne.
    Reports show that mining companies are problematic. These petitions call for the creation of a legal ombudsman mechanism for responsible mining.
    The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor is ineffective. We need to create a legal ombudsman mechanism that can receive, investigate and assess information and make its findings public so that remedial action can be taken.

[English]

Lyme Disease  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.
    The first is from residents from my own community, from Victoria and surrounding communities in Sidney and some of the Gulf Islands. They ask, and I say this with the greatest of hope, that when Bill C-442, the bill for a national Lyme disease strategy, comes before this House on March 3, that these petitioners' petitions can be realized with passage to second reading and then ultimately into law.

Genetically Modified Organisms  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition deals with the issue of genetically modified organisms. It comes from residents throughout Quebec and the area of St. Catharines, Ontario, who are calling upon the House to label genetically modified organisms since it is quite important to look at these views as we approach Bill C-18.

[Translation]

VIA Rail  

    Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to present a petition calling for the restoration of daily VIA Rail service between Montreal and Halifax via Campbellton and Miramichi, New Brunswick.
    I would like to point out that 24,000 people have signed this petition. This is a very important issue. I would also like to stress that Canadians need an decent rail system and that the east coast should not be isolated.

[English]

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to table petitions from residents from Kapuskasing, Hearst, Val Rita, North Gower, Timmins, and Val-des-Bois, Quebec.
    The petitioners are concerned because the government is axing a key piece of heritage that provides services to Canadians, killing up to 8,000 jobs, eliminating door-to-door delivery, increasing postage rates, reducing postal hours, and pushing for post office closures. In short, the government is increasing costs to Canadians and providing less service. The petitioners are concerned about the impact on seniors and disabled Canadians. There has been no consultation. They ask the government to reverse the cuts and look for ways that innovate.

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions. The first is from concerned Londoners in response to a terrible tragedy in London, Ontario, regarding a family. These petitioners want the Government of Canada, and particularly the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, to make sure that offices are properly staffed so that wait times can be reduced and to ensure that immigration officers consider all factors in regard to an individual's application for status, including humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from concerned Londoners who want the Canada Post plan for reduced services to be rejected by the government. They want the government to ensure that the 6,000 to 8,000 jobs that would be lost are preserved. They want the government to fulfill its promise to protect consumers and to explore other options to update the crown corporation's business plan.

Durham Region Federal Lands  

    Mr. Speaker, I have but one petition, signed by many, to present today.
    It reads in part:
    Whereas the Federal Lands of Ontario's Durham Region encompass Class 1 Ontario Greenbelt farmland and vital watersheds of the Oak Ridges Moraine;
    And whereas the Federal Government has recently announced that the Lands will be used for an airport and economic development but not for agriculture;
    And whereas there is no business case for an airport at Pickering ...
    And whereas ruling out agricultural uses on prime farmland — the land that feeds us — is unacceptable policy in the 21st century;
    We, the undersigned citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled:
    To rescind all plans for an airport and non-agricultural uses on the Federal Lands in Durham Region; and to act, instead, to preserve the watersheds and agricultural land of this irreplaceable natural resource, for the long-term benefit of all Canadians.

  (1530)  

[Translation]

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege today to present a petition that calls on the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to do more for Syrian refugees looking for a country to welcome them.
    We have received hundreds of signatures to present to the House and even more electronic signatures. The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to increase the number of government-sponsored Syrian refugees, provide additional resources to the visa office, grant temporary visas to eligible Syrians, speed up the processing of applications and suspend the return of any Syrians to their country until the situation improves.
    Finally, I would like to congratulate Amnesty International for doing an outstanding job of raising awareness and encouraging action. Bravo to the people of Amnesty International for doing an exemplary job.

[English]

Syria  

    Mr. Speaker, I too have a petition signed by young Canadians who are concerned about the situation in Syria.
    The petitioners are asking the Canadian government to bring more of these people to Canada and to provide resources for them when they arrive.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a petition signed by many residents of York South—Weston. Members on the other side of the House have brought forward similar petitions.
    These petitioners call upon the federal government to reject Canada Post's plan to reduce services and explore other options for updating Canada Post's business plan to better protect consumers, to protect jobs, and to protect an essential public service.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
    The Speaker: 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 Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, I have two items that have been subject to consultation among the various parties, for which I believe if you seek it you will find unanimous consent. This motion is with regard to our concurrence debate scheduled for tomorrow evening. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, during debate tomorrow on the motion to concur in the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, the Chair shall not receive any quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent; at the end of the time remaining for the debate, or when no member rises to speak, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be deemed put and a recorded division be deemed requested.
    Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: 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)


Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Citizenship Act

    (Bill C-425. On the Order: Private Members' Bills:)

Bill C-425, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (honouring the Canadian Armed Forces)
    Mr. Speaker, the second motion relates to Bill C-425, which is a private member's bill that remains outstanding. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, the order for consideration at report stage of Bill C-425, an act to amend the Citizenship Act (honouring the Canadian Armed Forces), standing on the order paper in the name of the member for Calgary Northeast be discharged and the bill withdrawn.
    Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Order discharged and bill withdrawn)


Government Orders

[The Budget]

[English]

The Budget

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance  

    The House resumed from February 25 consideration of the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Kootenay—Columbia.
    As the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, I welcome this opportunity to rise to speak to budget 2014, our government's economic action plan for creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians.
    I certainly encourage all Canadians to take the opportunity to find out how they can benefit from the sound economic leadership provided by the Prime Minister, and our Conservative government, by reading our well-received economic road map. In my remarks today, I intend to highlight those sections of the budget document that are of particular interest to my constituents in the great riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, beginning with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.
    Atomic Energy of Canada, or AECL, is a federal crown corporation that operates Canada's largest nuclear science and technology laboratories. AECL develops innovative applications of nuclear technology, with applications ranging from research and development to waste management and the decommissioning of nuclear facilities.
    AECL continues to be a significant employer in the upper Ottawa Valley, providing well-paying jobs in my riding and throughout Canada. AECL employs approximately 2,000 staff at the Chalk River and Deep River locations, and 3,400 employees company-wide. This is in addition to the thousands of jobs in the nuclear supply chain which help to drive the Canadian economy.
    Economic action plan 2014 proposes to provide $117 million, over two years, for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited to maintain safe and reliable operations at Chalk River Laboratories, secure the supply of medical isotopes, and prepare for the expected transition of the laboratories to a government-owned, contractor-operated model. The Government of Canada has announced that it would move forward with the restructuring of AECL's nuclear laboratories to ensure that its operations are efficient and continue to meet the needs of Canadians.
    While AECL is recognized as a leader in the nuclear power industry, many Canadians are not aware of the significant science, research, and development work that takes place at Chalk River Laboratories. AECL's efforts in environmental mediation and nuclear waste management enable activities that are focused on addressing our government's commitment to a clean and healthy environment for Canadians.
    Its main activities include the management of nuclear waste in a safe, secure, and environmentally sound manner; the retrieval and remediation of stored legacy waste to mitigate environmental risks; the development of technologies for waste processing and storage; and the decommissioning of facilities to remove the risks and liabilities of the facilities.
    AECL has four specific capabilities: nuclear waste management and water treatment, environmental remediation and engineering, the development of nuclear waste management facilities, and facility decommissioning. Additionally, these capabilities can be enhanced through strategic collaborations and engaging AECL's supply chain.
    Here is a quote from the AECL Nuclear Review:
    Concern for the environment, along with public health, security, and safety is a ubiquitous feature of today’s social consciousness. Radiation, as a sometimes feared and often misunderstood harbinger of both the beneficial and harmful consequences of nuclear science and technology, occupies a special niche in that consciousness. On the one hand, high-tech, clean nuclear energy provides the means for sustaining our lifestyles while avoiding millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the environmental consequences of climate change and extreme weather events. On the other hand, the operation of nuclear facilities and storage of the radioactive nuclear fuel waste raises legitimate concerns around the spread of radioactivity in the environment and the perceived detrimental and sometimes multi-generational consequences on people and on the ecosystem. This equation, balancing benefits for people against real or perceived harm to the environment, applies to nearly all nuclear activities, including radiation therapy, nuclear medicine and the production and use of medical and industrial isotopes.

  (1535)  

    The intention of the piece is to highlight some of the science that informs discussion on radiation, the environment, and health. I quoted from the AECL Nuclear Review to point out that attitudes are changing about clean, greenhouse gas-free nuclear power.
    The environmental movement, particularly the more mature individuals in the movement, are recognizing that a green future needs nuclear power.
    Those of us who believe that nuclear energy has a critical role to play to ameliorate the effects of global climate change were encouraged by a recent open letter to environmentalists, signed by such people as Dr. Ken Caldeira, senior scientist, department of global ecology, Carnegie Institution; and Dr. James Hansen, climate scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    These and other like-minded individuals are urging those individuals who are truly concerned about the environment to support the development of safer nuclear energy systems, such as Canada's success story, the CANDU system.
    To quote their open letter to environmentalists:
    No energy system is without downsides. We ask only that energy system decisions be based on facts, and not on emotions and biases that do not apply to 21st century nuclear technology. [...] the time has come for those who take the threat of global warming seriously to embrace the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems as one among several technologies that will be essential to any credible effort to develop an energy system that does not rely on using the atmosphere as a waste dump.
    I have no doubt that the same radical environmentalists who recommended forcing rural Ontario to accept industrial wind turbines and the out-of-control electricity rates that are bankrupting Ontario hydro customers were the same individuals who convinced the Ontario Liberal Party to turn its back on the Canadian nuclear success story.
    The so-called Green Energy Act is forcing people in rural Ontario to have to choose between heating and eating.
     I mention this because one of the architects of the disastrous policy in Toronto is now the principal advisor to the Liberal Party in Ottawa. Gerald Butts, called the “puppeteer” by the media for the way he controls the Liberal leader, would like to introduce a new version of the disastrous national energy policy of the 1980s that is causing electricity bills to skyrocket in Ontario. Worst of all, the cornerstone of an updated Liberal NEP is a carbon tax.
    Ontario needs to cancel its high electricity rate policy. That policy is forcing our manufacturing industry and the jobs that go with it to flee to the American border states that benefit from Ontario Hydro paying them to take power from industrial wind turbines that nobody here wants.
    Liberal economic policy has turned Ontario from being the economic engine of Canada into a have-not province.
    The future is nuclear, for reliable, economic, greenhouse gas-free electricity, brought to us by the 70,000 Canadians that are employed in the Canadian nuclear industry, including the close to 3,000 people employed at the Chalk River Laboratories of AECL.
    As time permits, the other area that I would like to focus on in budget 2014 is our defence procurement strategy.
    Our government's procurement strategy is a perfect fit with Innovation Valley North. Innovation Valley North, in addition to developing synergy between existing Ottawa Valley employers, looks to build on AECL as well as CFB Petawawa to stimulate local employment by creating a local supply chain. As my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke is home to Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, this strategy is of particular importance as our government ensures that our military have the right equipment to do the best job.

  (1540)  

    Our government is implementing the defence procurement strategy to ensure defence procurement generates economic benefits and jobs for Canadians, because our government recognizes the importance of building a stronger and more competitive defence sector that is better able to develop innovative products and solutions, delivery high-value exports, and create high-paying jobs for Canadians.
    The defence procurement strategy has three key objectives, which I will talk about later.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague's comments about atomic energy and how clean a fuel it is.
    However, I wonder if she or the residents of her riding really understand that the fuel that is stored near the Chalk River nuclear facility needs to be managed, and it needs to be managed for 500,000 years.
    What is the economic action plan going to say about managing spent fuel for 500,000 years?

  (1545)  

    Mr. Speaker, the budget does speak directly to strategies for managing spent fuel. There are different types of spent fuel. Only 1% of the nuclear energy in a spent fuel rod has been used. That is why they are developing new ways at Chalk River to store spent fuel rods, not waste, but spent fuel rods, so that in the future, when our supplies of uranium have been depleted, we can take these spent fuel rods and use them again for more energy.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's speech as she tried to attack staff in the Liberal leader's office and imply certain things while accepting no responsibility for the decisions of her own government, in terms of Chalk River and the nuclear energy in this country. Many of the government's decisions have been bad.
    However, I wonder if the member would give her thoughts on some of the consequences of this budget, and previous budgets, on rural Canadians who work in the seasonal industries. I know there are a lot of seasonal workers in her riding.
    In my riding of Malpeque, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, while trying to pad her nest to protect her own interest in her own riding, rather than operating as a regional minister for the benefit of the whole province, used a cookie-cutter approach to cut up the riding. On one side of the road, a person could work 460 hours and draw 29 weeks of EI, while on the other side of the road, another person would have to work 1,120 hours in order to qualify for the same amount of EI.
    Does the member think that is acceptable in rural Canada, for rural development and rural seasonal industries?
    Mr. Speaker, I make no apologies for mentioning the puppeteer for the trust-fund child who leads the Liberal Party of Canada today.
    However, I will talk about former budgets, former budgets the Liberals brought in that resulted in the rust-out of Chalk River Laboratories, which subsequently resulted in a shortage of medical supplies for a couple of years. Because of that, people were denied timely diagnostics.
    We, to the contrary, have provided extra funds to ensure not only that Chalk River Laboratories is running smoothly and providing a stable supply but that we also fixed up the mess the Liberals left after 13 years.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my friend's speech. I was surprised to see, yet again, more money in the budget down the wasteful sinkhole of helping out Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. It has been tens of billions of dollars over the lifetime of that organization. I thought when we got rid of it, we would get rid of having to subsidize it.
    My friend cited Dr. James Hansen, renowned climate scientist, who is now urging environmentalists to accept nuclear power.
    However, that is because he is so dreadfully concerned that the climate crisis is going unaddressed. He specifically refers to the oil sands as “game over for the climate” if we continue to exploit them and he would only be interested in Canada's position on nuclear energy if we had a climate policy.
    We now stand at a point where, according to Environment Canada, we will completely, totally, and utterly miss the target that the Prime Minister chose in 2009 at Copenhagen. We were supposed to go from 737 megatonnes to 609 megatonnes. Instead, by 2020, when the due date falls, we will be at 734 megatonnes—a meagre three-megatonne reduction.
    Does the hon. member not think it is too rich for the Conservative side of this House to invoke Dr. James Hansen on some issues while studiously and resolutely avoiding his advice on others?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has set real goals for cutting pollution, and cutting pollution will ensure a more hospitable atmosphere.
    In terms of environmentalists, environmentalists who are truly concerned about Canada's air, water, and land are recognizing that nuclear energy is a clean, sustainable, and economically advantaged form of producing energy, as opposed to wind turbines and some of the costs involved in the manufacture of solar cells. Far more emissions occur as a consequence of the manufacture of those than are contained in all the emissions that occur when building a nuclear power plant.

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak to economic action plan 2014, a road map to take us forward to a balanced budget in 2015.
    I want to speak specifically to my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, which provides a variety of opportunities for people who live in that region, from mining to tourism to forestry. We have some of the most magnificent areas in the country in Kootenay—Columbia with four national parks that employ great people. It allows tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, to come to our national parks each year to enjoy what I take for granted every day when I am driving through there.
    One of the main things in the budget that is of great benefit to my riding is the new Canada apprenticeship loan program, which would allow up to $100 million in interest-free loans to individuals who are applying for their first red seal apprentice program. It is a great opportunity for up to 26,000 people per year, that we estimate will apply for these types of loans, to allow them to move forward in a growing and demanding field. In all honesty, we do not have enough red seal apprentice programs. I do not know if we can find enough of them, but this is a great start for 26,000 people a year to move forward.
    In communities such as Fort McMurray, my area in southeastern British Columbia of Elk Valley, companies like Teck, Finning, Joy Global, Cummins have a high demand for all of the red seal trades, including welders, heavy duty mechanics, and millwrights, and it is so important that we ensure that our children have the opportunity to get into the trades if they so choose.
    We also recognize that we live in challenging times as well with regard to rural Canada. Many students in apprenticeship programs need to travel long distances to go to school for a particular trade, no matter what the trade is. This budget recognizes as well that they have the opportunity to use some of that funding to ensure that while they are at school they can cover the cost of being away from home. In an ideal world, we would like to have our apprentices trained at home if they so choose, but that is not necessarily the reality in rural British Columbia.
    One thing I am happy to see in the budget is found on page 72, which is the flexibility and innovation in apprenticeship technical training. It refers to it as in-class simulators, e-learning modules, remote learning sites, and video conferencing in place of, or in addition to, traditional in-class training.
    For example, in my riding, in both Cranbrook and Fernie, truck simulators are used to train new employees in the mining industry, to speed up the process in their ability to drive huge 350-tonne haul trucks and larger, which are used not only in my area but also in Fort McMurray and elsewhere in Canada. It is a great opportunity and these are high-paying skilled jobs. Jobs that young Canadians can use, that are in huge demand, and for which we cannot find enough people. I encourage people to go into this line of work if they so choose.
    Another thing I noticed in the budget means a lot to western Canada. It started out as an agreement between British Columbia and Alberta. It was initially called TILMA. It was a trade agreement that came forward with the opportunity for British Columbia and Alberta to break down the barriers between the two provinces, allowing them to trade more freely and utilize their workforces more freely from one province to another. It has now morphed itself into an agreement that now includes Saskatchewan. We now have three of the western provinces, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, morphed into what is called the New West Partnership Trade Agreement. That agreement allows the three provinces to move workforces around unimpeded and allows them to work more collaboratively together.

  (1555)  

    As the minister has explained in the document, it will be similar to what my colleague from Okanagan—Coquihalla brought forward with his private member's bill on the movement of spirits and wine from province to province. There was a barrier before. It prohibited entrepreneurs in that workforce from moving their product, even internally in Canada, from province to province.
     This is a great opportunity for Canadians to work with fewer restrictions from province to province. As we look at initiatives like that within the provinces, it will give great mobility.
    The other thing I am quite happy about is found on page 158 of the budget. It has to do with sustaining Canada's national parks. Four national parks in our great nation lie in my constituency: Yoho National Park, Glacier National Park, Mount Revelstoke National Park, and Kootenay National Park. Among them are some of the oldest in all of Canada and some of the most majestic, with the Rocky Mountains and the Purcells.
    It was very nice to see in the budget that $391.5 million over five years, on a cash basis, will be provided to Parks Canada to improve the highways, bridges, and dams located in our national parks. Specific to my region, it also says, “...as well as paving and other repairs to the section of the Trans-Canada Highway which passes through Glacier National Park in British Columbia”.
    The Trans-Canada Highway is our main gateway from the east coast to the west coast. It was created to allow merchant travel right from Saint John's, Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia. However, a bottleneck has been created. That bottleneck starts at the Alberta-B.C. border. From Winnipeg to the Alberta-B.C. border, the Trans-Canada Highway is twinned, and then all of a sudden it goes down to two lanes, with the same amount of traffic on it. It is creating a bottleneck.
     It is very good to see that this money has been put in there. The federal government has sole responsibility for ensuring that the Trans-Canada Highway is maintained through the national parks of Canada.
    These three national parks, Yoho, Glacier, and Mount Revelstoke, also have the Trans-Canada traversing them, so I am very happy to see that in there. I am looking forward to working with the ministry and with my other colleagues to ensure that it happens.
    There are a few other things that are very good for my riding. They include the new horizons for seniors program, which we have increased funding for. The small grants that are provided each year to seniors programs are huge for senior Canadians across Canada. I am very pleased to see that.
    I am glad to see that we are providing additional funding for the Special Olympics. It is near and dear to my heart. In the business I own, I work quite closely with the Special Olympics. They bring a smile to our faces every time we see them active in our communities. They have such pride in what they want to do.
    Finally, on another note, I am very happy to see in the budget that we have the DNA databank coming forward. It is imperative for those parents who have lost someone. It is imperative that, at the end of the day, we reconnect those who are missing with those who are trying to find them.
    With that, I look forward to any questions that may come.

  (1600)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague and friend for his remarks.
    In the September 2013 Speech from the Throne, the government promised to improve railway safety. The mayor of Lac-Mégantic was even in attendance. However, there is no mention of railway safety in the budget. There is no funding for inspections.
    Why has the government not decided to invest in railway safety, when it knows that this is a major issue for people in Sherbrooke, the Eastern Townships and all regions of Canada where derailments are more and more frequent?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would kindly refer the member to the building Canada fund, which will now provide funding for short-line rail across Canada. It will allow us to improve the rail lines. It will be a great benefit for all communities to access the building Canada fund for those specific reasons.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to get the member's comments regarding the tourism industry.
    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce pointed out in its annual report that at one time, Canada had the seventh largest industry in terms of being a tourism destination. Now it has slipped to number 18. If we were to canvass economists, stakeholders, tourism groups, and so forth, they would tell us that tourism is a phenomenal industry. It creates literally tens of thousands of important jobs. Whether they are full-time career jobs or part-time student jobs, they are critical to our economy.
     Why does the member believe we have seen such a dramatic drop in Canada's standing in the tourism file over the last few years ? What has the government done to try to improve tourism? All signs indicate that dropping from seventh to 18th in the world is the wrong way. Something is going wrong. What does he believe is going wrong?
    Mr. Speaker, from the perspective of the Kootenay—Columbia riding, which boasts some of the greatest tourism opportunities in all of Canada, with four national parks, skiing opportunities, and countless golf courses, we have found that when companies promote themselves well through the opportunities our government has provided for promotion from sea to sea to sea, people come to the riding and spend their money in the riding. Tourism, which is part of the backbone of my constituency, is doing very well. It is because of our actions that we are allowing people to come from other countries to enjoy what we have in Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague specifically about National Defence's procurement strategy.
    In this budget, why has the government decided to defer the $3 billion earmarked for various Canadian Forces procurement projects?

  (1605)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our armed forces are dealt with very well. I am proud that my son serves in the armed forces, and I am very proud of the fact that he served overseas as well.
    We have provided some of the best equipment for our soldiers to ensure that when they go overseas to protect our rights as Canadians, we have taken care of them. We will continue to ensure that this happens.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by saying that I will be sharing my time with the member for Nickel Belt.
    I am pleased to rise in the House to speak on behalf of the people of Gatineau. I had the pleasure of spending the entire week last week consulting people in my riding in order to determine if the government's budget addressed their concerns.
    My remarks will touch on three key points. I will begin with some general observations. I will then talk more specifically about the economic situation in my riding, Gatineau. Then, if I have time—10 minutes is not very long—I will talk about the Department of Justice, since I am the justice critic for the official opposition, the NDP.
    I want to make a general observation. When I was a little girl, my mother and father taught us how to budget. However, we did not do things the same way they are done here. My father asked us what was important to us, what we liked and how much money we had saved up. Then, he told us how we could spend that money. It was not a piecemeal approach, as it always seems to be here. I am always shocked to see that.
    We start with a real brick, what I call the government's sentimental picture, which allows the Conservatives to go around and give the impression that they are taking care of the things that the real world is concerned about.
    The government runs advertising that is sometimes empty but nice to look at. On television, during the Olympics, it looked good and gave the impression that the government was doing something.
    First there is the budget. Then there is the budget bill, which people have more difficulty understanding and which I often call the pièce de résistance. It comes from the Conservative government, which as usual introduces an omnibus bill that changes tons of legislation.
    There are also the main estimates, which will be tabled at a given time. Technically, they should more or less fit with the budget speech and flesh it out. The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights will study them next week.
    I think the supplementary estimates are like getting to the end of the year and realizing there is not enough money because of poor budgeting. Adjustments are made, which takes more money.
    What fascinates me about the parliamentary process in this magnificent Canadian building is how everything is done piecemeal. It is sometimes very difficult to link it all together. That is what I tried to do.
    I will now speak briefly about the economic situation in the riding of Gatineau and the greater national capital region.
    I was absolutely flabbergasted this morning to read an article by James Bagnall in The Ottawa Citizen that basically confirmed what I was saying. Some said I was a prophet of doom, since the cuts in the region were now done.
    I will read a few excerpts from the article I read this morning.

[English]

    The National Capital Region will trail nearly all of Canada’s largest cities in economic growth this year...according to a forecast published Wednesday [not by the NDP but] by the Conference Board of Canada.
    The Ottawa independent think tank said the region continues to suffer from the unexpectedly deep pruning of public servants—a sector that accounts for 30 per cent of its economic activity.

[Translation]

    I say this because it is important. People in the region are often almost embarrassed to talk about the economic driver of the national capital region. It goes without saying, because the Parliament of Canada is located in the national capital region. It is our own public service, the service to the public, all the departments that help and serve the public.

  (1610)  

[English]

    The number of jobs in public administration fell nearly nine per cent in 2013

[Translation]

    That is huge.

[English]

    The number of jobs in public administration fell nearly nine per cent in 2013—the “fastest rate on record”—and the Conference Board expects a further, albeit small drop this year.

[Translation]

    I have said many times that we must not think that there will be an end to the pain in the greater national capital region this year. Today, I read some Twitter posts, including those of the brilliant President of the Treasury Board, where he threatened the Federal Superannuates National Association by saying that the association should negotiate and resolve any differences or else the government would impose new conditions on the organization by passing legislation. This ties in a bit with the trend of hitting the heart of the greater national capital region's economy.
    The government is not content to merely go after our public service and the people who put their hearts and souls into providing services with far fewer staff members than before, particularly since the public service has still not completely recovered from the cuts the Liberals made in the 1990s. The government is going after the people it let go after they provided years of good and faithful services to Canadians and the federal government. It is telling them that the conditions it agreed upon with them no longer apply because it wants to change the rules.
    That is like calling someone up to tell them that you are changing the contract you signed with them because you changed your mind. That is not usually done. It is completely indecent. I have a feeling that the Federal Superannuates National Association will have something to say to the minister about this.
    These are things that I heard when I was in my riding last week. I met with hundreds of people—I am not just pulling that figure out of the air—and they shared with me their vision for the economy and their opinion of the federal budget that was tabled the previous week. When I listen to my Conservative colleagues speak about the budget in the House, I get the impression that they are living on a different planet from the one inhabited by our hard-working constituents who do not often get a break. The ministers and Conservative backbenchers talk about 165 budget cuts, but no one in my riding told me that they feel richer since the Conservatives took office, and they certainly do not feel richer after having seen this budget.
    According to the Conference Board of Canada, if the cuts are not too serious, there may be some economic growth, but this is not a very rosy picture of my region. That is a point I wanted to make since, ironically, the article was published this morning.
    I looked carefully at the budget, and some sections interested me much more than others, because they affected Canadians in their everyday lives. For example, the budget talks about investing in families. In my riding, a group called Logement'Occupe is working very hard to ensure affordable housing. This group went through a near-crisis because it did not know whether it was going to be eligible for the HPS program.
    Many community organizations provide incredible services that we could not even afford as a society. Without them, the country would be bankrupt big time. We already have a deficit. Imagine If we had to pay for what all those community organizations do for our people. It would be overwhelming.
    The Conservatives may be able to live well knowing that children go hungry and people have no roof over their heads, but I think this is a deplorable failure for a society. There are various needs.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord.
    There is not much in the budget for justice. The government added a few extra judges here and there—way to go—but some existing positions have not been filled yet. I wonder how serious the government is. When it fleshes out the budget plan, the government should think about the basic needs for home care and caregivers. It must address these needs.

  (1615)  

    I will elaborate on that some other time. Those were some of my thoughts on the 400 or so pages of nothing that I read last week.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member is correct when she points out that the Liberals cut $25 billion in transfers in the 1990s and that the cuts caused the provinces a great deal of difficulty in providing the services that fell within their jurisdiction. However, the member is equally making a mistake by not acknowledging the fact that under the new Conservative government, transfers to the provinces are at record highs. In fact, we will balance the budget in a way that does not affect those transfer payments in a very difficult economic environment. We are also investing huge, history-making sums in infrastructure.
    Why is the member against the infrastructure investments when everyone else is in favour of them?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will start by talking about transfers.
    In my opinion, claiming that there has not been a reduction in transfers to the provinces is also part of the Conservatives' dream. Freezing transfers while health care costs continue to rise obviously puts pressure on provincial budgets. However, the Conservative government brags that it has not reduced the transfer amounts. These repercussions are very real.
    As for infrastructure spending, my colleague from Toronto, who is sitting to my right, is doing a fantastic job of making the government aware of the overwhelming infrastructure needs.
    Furthermore, the day after the budget was tabled, the mayor of the City of Gatineau said that, for his city, the budget was disappointing on a number of counts, including in terms of infrastructure. The mayors of major cities had high expectations. If you walk around Gatineau, it is obvious that the infrastructure needs are enormous.
    I do not believe that the government is doing enough. I think that it can do much better and that the government's funding for infrastructure will not solve the problems and address the enormous infrastructure deficit.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, during the early 1990s, I was part of the Manitoba legislature when health care was a hot issue of debate. The concern back in the early 1990s, at least in Manitoba, was that there were financial arrangements that saw tax point shifts favouring outright cash donations or equalization coming from Ottawa.
    What the Chrétien government did was to establish a base and commitment for cash transfers. That is something that was of absolutely critical importance for anyone who believed in a national health care system. I was there. I was a part of that debate inside the Manitoba legislature.
    We need to then fast forward. The record high health care dollars that are going into the system today are because of a health care agreement that was achieved by Paul Martin. We have more health care dollars than ever before because of that agreement. That agreement expires this year.
    Would the member not, at the very least, acknowledge that it is critically important for all Canadians that the government takes this issue seriously, and that it meet and negotiate another health care agreement that would continue to show a strong federal presence in health care? This is something that I believe all Canadians want.

  (1620)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the questions are so short. They could be the topic of an entire dissertation.
    As for the 1990s cuts to health and education—what are called social transfers—if we talk to the Canadian provinces, they will say that they never recovered from them.
    In the 1990s, the Liberals, under their minister of finance at the time, balanced their budget because lower interest rates helped them and because they slashed transfers to the provinces. Once again, this was done at the expense of Canadians, and it involved the most crucial services, like health and education.
    Now I am being told by a Liberal MP that health and education are important issues to the Liberals, when they blithely made cuts to them in the 1990s. I always find that a bit disingenuous, but we are used to it and we live with it.
    Do we need a serious agreement to fix the situation? There must be no going through the motions or band-aid solutions, as in the 10-year agreement, which did not necessarily address wait times, contrary to expectations at the time. This is urgent. Health is the priority for Canadians.

[English]

Board of Internal Economy

    Order, please. Before we resume debate, I have the honour to inform the House that Mr. LeBlanc, the member for the electoral district of Beauséjour, has been appointed a member of the Board of Internal Economy in the place of Ms. Foote, the member for the electoral district of Random—Burin—St. George's. This is for the purposes and under the provisions of section 50 of the Parliament of Canada Act.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord has the floor. He will have 10 minutes for his speech, followed by questions and comments.

The Budget

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.
    Mr. Speaker, you know how much we members of Parliament like to talk. We just want to make sure that we can say everything we have to say in our allotted time.
    In this case, I have 10 minutes to talk about the budget. This budget is quite a brick, despite the fact that it has no substance, especially for my region of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. For two and a half years, I have been the proud representative of the riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, whose electoral boundaries will change in 2015. Of course, if you are from that region, whether you are from Saguenay or Lac-Saint-Jean, you are very proud of the region. We are a close-knit community. What affects the people at the far end of Lac-Saint-Jean also affects the people in the Lower Saguenay.
    As I said, the people in my region—ordinary citizens, journalists who analyzed the budget, interest groups, community groups and some workers' groups—all had their eyes on the Conservatives' 2014 federal budget. Unfortunately, the consensus is that this budget is just treading water. In fact, it is practically an optional budget since it has nothing new.
    The reality is that my region, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, is a resource-rich region. In some sectors, seasonal work is very important. I am referring to forestry, for example. My region is also a major aluminum producer. Economic activity is floundering right now because of the market price for aluminum. Projects to develop, renovate and upgrade aluminum-related infrastructure are all being delayed. Investments in construction, labour and maintenance are being pushed back. These investments would allow business to go further, expand and take a share of the market.
    I am not here to explain what economic growth is. My colleagues already know what it is. Unfortunately, we are facing this problem. We talked about it in my region in January. Analysts in my region said that economic growth in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean would not be very strong in 2014. When growth is weak there is less chance that new jobs will be created for those looking for work in their field, because the economy is flat.
    I talked about the aluminum sector, but it is not the only sector floundering right now. Forestry is an economic sector that employs a huge number of people, or at least it used to. My region still has not recovered from the forestry crisis it went through. I know that the government entered into the softwood lumber agreement with the United States. That agreement allows a certain volume of our Canadian wood, our wood from my region, to be sold. However, ultimately it is not enough.
    People in forestry were expecting a lot from the federal budget. I am not talking about little announcements here and there that end up not changing much of anything. They might protect some of what we have, which is good, but a government has to be visionary. It has to think of everyone.
    I have stood up a number of times in the House to decry the Conservative government's tactics, which I consider to be partisan. I think that some Conservative ridings are favoured at the expense of others. I have often said that I believe that my region is being abandoned by the government.
    The 2014 federal budget would have been a great opportunity to prove me wrong. Unfortunately, it actually confirmed my fears that the Conservative government has abandoned our region. Part of my region is even represented by a Conservative minister, and the people I represent are seriously disappointed. When they talk to me about that minister, who is supposed to represent our region within his government, they say that the reverse is true. He represents the government, the Conservative Party, and does not listen to the people.
    Consider the example of the employment insurance reform. It is not working and instead is having a terrible impact on the economy of my region, which is a resource-rich region.

  (1625)  

    Canada's rural areas, whose industries may not be in demand right now, are suffering. All of my colleagues who represent such ridings can confirm this.
    The unemployment rate is rising. Over the past few months, employment insurance has been getting harder and harder to access. People want to leave their seasonal jobs, even though they really love those jobs. For some people, it has been more like a career, since they have been working in those industries for 30 years. However, this does not necessarily concern sectors like forestry. I am talking more about areas that are suffering indirect consequences.
    For instance, I spoke to a man from Chicoutimi who has operated a business in the construction industry for 35 years. He repairs roofs. He employs a large team, but unfortunately, he is afraid of losing his employees who have 10, 15 or 20 years of experience in his business. In the past, he had no problem guaranteeing his employees enough hours, and his employees were never harassed by Service Canada.
    I am not blaming Service Canada officials. My office is located right above theirs, and I have an excellent relationship with them. I am aware, however, that in the public service, people receive orders from their superiors, who in turn are simply obeying the deputy ministers and ministers, who are doing the Prime Minister's bidding. Basically, I am not blaming public servants; the situation reflects this government's lack of openness.
    Our economy in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean needs certain things. There are certain things the government could do or could continue to do in the forestry sector. For example, funding the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest in Mashteuiatsh, which is in the riding of the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, was a good initiative by the federal government, and I do not often say that. Unfortunately, the government is going to completely cut federal funding. The model forest helped us find innovative ways to revitalize forest products. Unfortunately it is being abandoned.
    Earlier I mentioned that we needed to be visionaries in how we see things. We cannot be micromanaging things, especially at the federal level. We need to adopt some macro-economic approaches. In the forestry sector, we know that we cut wood that is sent elsewhere for secondary and tertiary processing. Then we buy the products back. We get all the finished products. We have the necessary expertise here in Canada to have a great secondary and tertiary processing production chain and to stimulate our domestic economy. For that to happen, the government needs to help the small players.
    The government needs to provide financial assistance. That means not cutting the budget for the model forest in Mashteuiatsh as of April 1. The model forest has financial partners all over the region. Financial assistance for a project has repercussions on businesses all over the region and in the forest sector. These are changes that will have a huge impact.
    Mayors in my riding also told me that they were disappointed with the lack of assistance through the building Canada fund. There is a lot of recycled money. We know that small municipalities are being strangled. I am not talking about big municipalities that have a significant budget because of the gas tax, but small municipalities. I am thinking about municipalities with 500 residents. We are not talking about a lot of money, when they have a hard time providing basic services to residents. I am talking about water services, sewage treatment and decent roads for drivers. Small municipalities obviously cannot do it all. We cannot tell them to choose one priority for the next four years and wait for the rest. That is not how it works, because in the meantime the basic services are falling into disrepair.
    I would have liked to have some help for our small municipalities that need to update their waste water treatment plants. In my beautiful region, there are a number of these municipalities that currently do not have financial resources and are discharging their waste water into the Saguenay Fjord—therefore into the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. The park is co-managed by the provincial and federal governments and so the federal government does have a role to play.
    I have a lot to say. Unfortunately, my time is up and so I await your questions.

  (1630)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this budget deals with virtually all the challenges, one way or another, that we face as Canadians. There is money for students, there is a job creation program, and there is money for infrastructure; and it is the infrastructure that I would like to talk about.
    The day after the budget was announced, more details came out about the building Canada fund and the fact that it was the largest sum of money invested in Canadian infrastructure in Canadian history. In this fund, there are different components. Contrary to what this member and other members have implied, the municipalities were thrilled with this budget, in particular the gas tax transfer, which is going straight from Ottawa to the municipalities. It is permanent and indexed. Why is the member against such as a great program?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there is a minor misunderstanding. I never said that I was against the return of the gas tax. In my speech, I specifically said that, unfortunately, that was not enough.
    Let us look at an actual example. Perhaps the municipalities and mayors in his riding see things differently. I will talk about a real example in my riding of Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, a small village of 500 people.
    With the return of the gas tax for four years—it is supposed to be in effect for four years—my riding will receive $500,000 from the federal government to cover all the basic needs of a small municipality. I have already mentioned waterworks, roads and waste water treatment.
    Unfortunately, Sainte-Rose-du-Nord is one of the municipalities that discharges its waste water into the fjord. A waste water treatment plant in Sainte-Rose would cost $5 million. Can someone explain to me how a small municipality, even with each party providing one third of funding, can afford a $5 million waste water treatment plant with $500,000 over four years? It cannot be done.
    I have just shown that the member opposite is wrong.

  (1635)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the issue of Canada Post. Canada Post provides a multitude of services to small businesses, and we all know that small businesses contribute immensely to our economy, in particular contributions to the middle class and beyond. One of the decisions that it has made is to—
    Order. The hon. member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, today we are debating the budget. Canada Post is an arm's length crown corporation. The budget is quite separate from Canada Post. I wonder if the member could keep his comments to the debate at hand, which is the budget.
    I thank the hon. member for his intervention. While I recognize budget matters cover a fairly broad spread of various issues that come before the House, I am not certain that the particular question that is in front of the House concerns the specifics relating to Canada Post.
    I will let the hon. member for Winnipeg North finish his question. I am sure he might have something in there about the budget.
    Absolutely, Mr. Speaker, the budget has a serious impact on small businesses. Canada Post is a crown corporation, which is associated with the Government of Canada. The impact of the decisions made by Canada Post, which the government has affirmed, is going to be a negative impact on small businesses all across Canada. It is definitely a relevant question. The impact is going to be felt in different ways. One impact is going to be on jobs, whether it is the jobs of letter carriers or manufacturers of paper products. I have heard from individuals in Quebec and Manitoba related to both of those types of jobs.
    My question to the member is this. Does he share the opinion that there will be a negative impact on the economy due to the increases in cost of postal services?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that is a good question, especially considering the fact that a budget is a matter of priority.
    I expect the federal government to put the best conditions on the table so that our small, medium and large businesses have the best conditions for doing business in Canada. Obviously, that includes a Canadian postal service. Unfortunately, that service will become more deficient than it was before. With the changes the Conservatives are making, Canada Post will be crippled.
    I am referring to the small businesses that will be affected by the changes being made to Canada Post, including the Saguenay chamber of commerce. I fully support the Saguenay chamber of commerce, which is currently holding consultations in the three boroughs of Saguenay, and even in the Lower Saguenay, to see whether the budget meets our small business owners' expectations or not.
    In the preliminary meetings that I had with these representatives, they told me that things did not look very promising so far. The changes being made to Canada Post will certainly be included in their recommendations. We will likely have to go back to what we had before, when we had a very strong postal system.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a great opportunity to get up and speak on the budget.
    I am very pleased to split my time with my hon. friend from Kildonan—St. Paul, a hard-working MP who does tremendous work on ending human trafficking.
    I would like to address my comments specifically to three major imperatives that this budget helps to address, not only from the standpoint of the Canadian economy but also New Brunswick and eastern Canada as well.
    The first imperative is the opportunity in the resource sector, which is especially important for New Brunswick. However, I also want to stress the importance of dealing with some pending issues in the resource sector, specifically in the forestry industry. This is a major issue now impacting Quebec and southern Ontario, and fairly soon New Brunswick and the rest of eastern Canada as well.
    The second imperative concerns the infrastructure for supporting our businesses, especially our small businesses and communities. I would like to talk a little about the imperatives from an infrastructure standpoint of assets, as well as the most important asset, which is developing our people to fill the jobs that we are going to need in the future.
    The third imperative is reducing the challenges and costs to small business with respect to our regulatory burden.
    First, on some of the major investments in the forestry sector, I was very pleased to see us continue with our investment in the forestry industry's transformation, which is very important. It leverages what we have done in the past with respect to the pulp and paper green transformation fund, a fund that has helped a lot of our pulp mills not only improve their processes but also decrease their environmental footprint.
    It is great that the forestry industry has such innovation, especially in some cases in new Brunswick with the innovation there in some of our hardwood products. However, it is important to stress that we need this industry and we need the trees to help it, which is why I was so pleased to see an investment of $18 million to proactively combat the spruce budworm.
    If we look back to the 1970s, about 30 years ago in Atlantic Canada and northern Maine, somewhere in the order of 50 million hectares was impacted by the spruce budworm, which has a cyclical pattern and is now coming back. It has come down through Quebec. It is near the New Brunswick border, and in some cases in northern New Brunswick at this point in time.
    There is almost 7.2 million hectares of forest land in the province of New Brunswick and almost half of that, 3.1 million hectares, is susceptible to the spruce budworm. The challenge is that the spruce budworm could devastate the industry because the trees it infects become unusable. Therefore, we are looking at getting in at the front end and investing in a program to help disrupt the mating patterns of the spruce budworm, which will allow us to target specific spraying in the areas that will need it when the pest arrives.
    It is interesting to look back at what it cost to have the last spraying program, not to ignore the fact that they used fenitrothion back then, a chemical not approved by Health Canada today. In the absence of a proactive strategy, it is estimated that we would probably go through eight to ten years of spraying, costing somewhere in the order of $400 million to $600 million. A spraying program that large is not something that provinces and governments could undertake, not to mention that a lot of the planes we used for the spraying program a number of years ago are no longer available. Therefore, this is an important aspect to make sure that we continue not only to help our businesses innovate but also to have the forest products there for them.
    The third aspect is the opportunity in the resource sector. Given new Brunswick's financial situation, it will be pursuing some resource-based industries, and, as everyone is quite aware, the energy east pipeline.

  (1640)  

    This is a significant investment that is potentially coming to New Brunswick. When the announcement was made for the pipeline, which would carry 1.1 million barrels a day, not only was the oil important but also the initial investment that Irving was talking about, an extra $400 million to $500 million for a terminal, as well as the employment it would create. Those are great spinoffs for us. The $28 million the budget proposes for the NEB to review these projects is very important.
    As far as creating the infrastructure is concerned, I am very pleased with the budget. We see tremendous opportunities in Canada. Here I would just give the example of persons with disabilities. There are about 800,000 people out there with disabilities who would love to work but probably have no place to work at this point in time. This is a huge untapped potential for the Canadian economy. Therefore, the $200 million in the budget for the labour market development agreements to develop that resource is tremendous for us.
    In addition, the $1.5 billion Canada first research excellence fund and the accelerator and incubator funds are going to be important for small businesses to innovate and generate new ideas so that we can create employment. As many members from Atlantic Canada would know, especially in New Brunswick, about 90% of our businesses have less than 10 employees. There is a very entrepreneurial spirit. Therefore, that type of investment continues to be very important for us.
    The other items I would like to talk about are broadband, and the long-term infrastructure plan, specifically the gas tax, which would be made more flexible to allow communities to invest for the long-term, allowing them to plan and count on those dollars.
    The last piece I would like to talk about is reducing the burden for small and medium-size business. As I indicated, a number of these small businesses are very much alive and well in New Brunswick. Reducing red tape in the CRA and the 800,000 remittances that small businesses have to submit, and having an impact on almost 50,000 of these businesses via the budget, will be of real help. I say this because at the end of the day, many of them do not have people devoted to paperwork. They do not have the resources to devote to those types of things. It is very important that this save them money to actually invest in other parts of their business.
    I would also like to talk about internal trade. Recently in a state of the province address, the Premier of New Brunswick commented on internal trade. He thought that our signing the CETA deal was actually easier than our dealing with internal trade within Canada. I think he is absolutely right, and so we need to continue to work co-operatively with the provinces on that.
    My third point is about tax simplification. I was very pleased to see the minister talk in the budget about introducing legislation that would simplify the tax system from the standpoint of all of the unlegislated tax measures out there that governments have not implemented. It would be shameless self-promotion for me to say that some of that was based on Bill C-549, my private member's bill. I am very pleased that the minister put that in the budget for us to address.
    Before I close, I would point out that we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our volunteer community. There are a couple of things I would like to point out here that I think are very important. There is the tax credit for search and rescue people. Here I would note the tremendous group at the York Sunbury Ground Search and Rescue, which I know the member for Fredericton is very knowledgeable about. There is also Tobique Ground Search and Rescue in my riding. They have done a tremendous amount of work and a lot of volunteering to keep our communities going.
    I would be remiss not to point out our recreational fisheries conservation partnership, which has allowed a lot of our conservation groups, including the Miramichi Salmon Association and other organizations, to undertake very important work on the river system in order to preserve and improve fish habitat.
    The budget has created and dealt with three imperatives: the opportunities in New Brunswick, how to set out infrastructure in terms of people and assets to make those opportunities happen, and how to get out of the way so that small businesses can actually get their work done.

  (1645)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member talked about infrastructure, and there is no doubt we are in crisis after six or seven years of Conservative government. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities evaluates that crisis in infrastructure development at about $170 billion. There is no doubt there is huge economic fallout from that.
    It means a lower quality of life for Canadians right across the country. It also means bridges with cracks that cannot be used anymore, like the Champlain Bridge. There is a whole range of places across the country, like New Westminster, for example, where the railway bridge, which needs to be replaced and has needed to be replaced for years, is not being replaced. There is a $170 billion deficit, and we have a government that very cynically put forward a budget and, wait for this, the sum total of the infrastructure funding provided for this upcoming fiscal year is $200 million. That means that, when we look at the overall scope of needs, the government is spending money on its pet projects rather than spending money where it counts: developing infrastructure and contributing to economic well-being.
    My question is simple. When we see the tragedy of the Champlain Bridge and the impact on the greater Montreal area, when we see the railway bridge in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia is not being replaced, and when we see Conservatives wanting to withhold all that infrastructure funding to make some announcements during the election campaign, but only providing $200 million in the next fiscal year, how can the member support that cynical approach to budgeting, which leaves Canadians across the country far short?

  (1650)  

    Mr. Speaker, actually the infrastructure program is $53 billion, with a long-term gas tax commitment to the communities in the budget. Also the bridge work is part of the building Canada fund, and also the minister of transport and infrastructure has actually had those negotiations in place with the provinces to actually see this money flowing.
    When I talk in my riding, municipalities are very pleased with aspects of these commitments that have been made: the long-term predictability of the funds they are going to get, and the usage of them, not to mention the flexibility of the funds. The other side of it is the commitment to a disaster infrastructure fund, which is going to be key for communities like Hartland and Perth-Andover, a couple of my communities that were impacted by flooding.
    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce published a report. At the beginning of the report there is a letter signed by Perrin Beatty, a fairly prominent Canadian who served in cabinet for both Brian Mulroney and Joe Clark. I would like the member to provide comment on a quote from this letter:
    Canada is struggling to stay competitive. In fact, our country's ability to remain a leader among nations is stagnating. For the second consecutive year, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada 14th in global economic competitiveness—down two places from 2011 and sliding five places since 2009.
    I wonder if the member would want to provide comment on what Mr. Beatty had to say in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce report.
    Mr. Speaker, obviously we have wealth that is growing. The OECD said we were the second best place to do business in the world, so that is obviously a ranking that has come up. Do we have to invest in innovation and other things to make us more productive? Absolutely, we do.
    What I find very compelling is that we put this money into these research type activities, including in the automotive sector and others. We put in a $1.5 billion Canada first research excellence fund; we put accelerators and incubator funds in place; and the member votes against everything. We are not going to come back if the member keeps voting against everything.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in this House today to speak about this budget.
     I want to speak about my wonderful riding of Kildonan—St. Paul because a lot of these things in the budget really impact, in a very positive way, upon my riding.
    I know in this House we have heard a lot of talk about all of Canada, because we know that Canada is in the best possible position of any country in the world. People are working. Jobs are being created. There is money to improve infrastructure, health care transfers, and the social transfers. We are in a place where people can live, grow, prosper, and feel secure that, in this country, their families will be able to live a very good life. I know that all depends, too, upon the people themselves, whether or not they have taken the time to hone their skills and do their due diligence for their families. That is the other variable.
    However, this government has produced a budget over the last eight years that has really impacted in a very positive way upon the economy in our country.
    At one point, over the last decade, we have gone through a recession and our country stood firm and tall in terms of maintaining a stable economy.
    Looking at the global picture, in my province of Manitoba, there has just been a growth in the transfers to the province of Manitoba. It is almost $3.4 billion in 2014-15. That is a whopping 24% increase from the previous Liberal government.
    I know the member on the other side of the House has said, several times, that there is a shortage of this and a shortage of that. He needs to look at the world situation. Canada, now, is best-positioned under this government to grow and prosper, and it has done very well.
    The building Canada plan, a $53-billion investment in predictable infrastructure funding for the next 10 years, is the largest and longest federal investment in job-creating infrastructure in Canadian history.
    Now, as members know, the job of opposition members is to criticize everything that goes on in the country, especially criticizing those who are in government. That is their job. I appreciate that.
    However, those same members enjoy, in this country, a very stable life in which they, their families, and their children have job opportunities and opportunities for improvements in their communities.
    Even though I appreciate that it is their job to criticize, when we look at the whole picture, not only globally but here in Canada, as I said, we are positioned very well.
     I know the member for Winnipeg North is a member from Manitoba and I know that, of course, it is the member's job to criticize, as I said.
    However, Manitoba is in a very good position, now, because of the transfers that are going forward. For Manitoba, the total major transfers will total almost $3 billion or $4 billion in the years 2014 and 2015.
     I want to expand on that a bit because the major transfers impact on a lot of things. There is almost $1.8 billion through equalization. That is an increase of $149 million, almost 9%, since 2005-06 under the former Liberal government; so today, Manitoba has a lot more benefits and a lot more opportunities than it did under the former government.

  (1655)  

    Let us talk about the Canada health transfer. Almost $1.2 billion through the Canada health transfer is an increase of $371 million, or 47%—almost 50%—since 2005-06 under the former Liberal government. I am speaking about this because I have heard today, over and over again from members opposite, about how things are going badly; but in actual fact, we have a lot to be grateful for and a lot to work with.
    I also want to talk about the Canada social transfer. There is $453 million through that transfer, which is an increase of $120 million, or almost 36%, since 2005-06 under the former Liberal government. Things have improved a lot since that time.
    Having said that, as we look at other things that impact on my riding of Kildonan—St. Paul, in Manitoba, and on Manitobans, there are many other things that have put people back to work and that have helped families put money directly into their pockets from tax savings. For instance, the launch of the Canada job grant was no small thing. Canadians need education and skills training to get in-demand jobs, so launching the Canada job grant was extremely helpful for people in all of our communities, not only in Manitoba but all across the country.
    What about the Canada apprentice loan? I was a teacher for 23 years. I know there are a lot of students who wanted to go into the trades, but there was nothing for them. Now, under our government, they would have the Canada apprentice loan, which would provide apprentices in Red Seal trades access to over $100 million in interest free loans every year. The fact that these would be interest free loans means so much to these students and apprentices.
    What about small business? The previous member talked in his speech about the red tape and all the things that have to happen for small business. Our government has cut 800,000 payroll remittances for approximately 50,000 businesses. Small business is the search engine of our country. It is the mom and pop shops that are creative. They grow and create business, and it is very exciting to see them make a living with their own creativity. Our government wanted to help them, and that was a great help for them.
    We talk about research and innovation. I have to say that, going through nine years of university, the research that was involved in that was very important. Research and innovation are what start new businesses and initiatives. We would commit over $1.5 billion over the next decade for research in universities through the Canada first research excellence fund.
    It is not only dealing with the very practical things. It is also dealing with the research and innovative things that Canadians are so famous for, such as supporting families. We have given many tax breaks for families. There is over $3,000 in the pockets of every family right now because of the tax relief for families. In addition to that, many families adopt children, and we have expanded the tax relief for families adopting a child.
    We have also expanded the tax relief for health related services and done very practical things, like capping wholesale wireless rates to make service more affordable. All of these are the kinds of things that people do not talk about a great deal, but they impact on their families at home every single day.
    I am very proud to be able to speak in favour of this budget, not because I am on this side of the House but because it works. It would make lives better for everyday Canadians like us. Standing up for the victims of crime has also been a part of that.

  (1700)  

    I could go through many examples. I will try to do that as I answer the questions.
    I have to congratulate the people on this side of the House and the Prime Minister for the great work on this budget.
    Mr. Speaker, I paid close attention to what my colleague had to contribute to this debate.
    I am afraid that in my riding, small businesses are not as enthusiastic about this budget, particularly chambers of commerce. For example, the elimination of the tax credit for hiring is something they were fundamentally looking for. Unfortunately, the riding of Pontiac is one of the ridings in Quebec that has the toughest time when it comes to jobs. The people in my riding are quite discouraged that this budget does not do enough to stimulate jobs, particularly in rural areas like the Pontiac.
    Another factor is how this budget has attacked public servants in my riding and in the ridings around Ottawa. I wonder what my hon. colleague would say to them.

  (1705)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw a few things to the member's attention that might be helpful in his riding. For instance, the launching of the job-matching service in this budget is important when we talk about creating jobs.
    The member opposite said that the chambers of commerce and organizations like that were not happy. My chamber of commerce is happy with the budget. There are initiatives such as a job-matching service, where Canadians looking for work can get that work, because there is a simple way of finding those jobs, or increasing paid internships for young Canadians by investing $55 million to create paid internships for recent graduates. This is all part of what the chamber of commerce really appreciates. Those are initiatives that my chamber of commerce has said are excellent.
    Perhaps if the member would put out the information, it would be helpful to those chambers of commerce and would help them build their job base within his riding.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like the member to expand on the infrastructure program as well as on how our home province of Manitoba benefits from transfers from Ottawa and why a Conservative government is great for the entire country.
    Mr. Speaker, I would be glad to give those kinds of examples.
    Before the members on this side of the House and our government got into office, the gas tax transfers were shaky. They are now permanent and indexed so that municipalities across this great country can benefit. Why? It is because they are predictable. Large amounts go not only to the larger communities but to the smaller communities as well. In Manitoba, and in my riding of Kildonan—St. Paul, the municipalities are grateful for that. They can predict what will happen in the next year and can invest that money from the gas tax transfers in that. That was a huge investment in infrastructure in Canada.
    On top of that, there has been a large amount of money put into infrastructure, such as the $53 billion to make sure that roads, bridges, and infrastructure are in good repair.
    When we look at other countries, there are many that cannot afford even the basics for infrastructure, whereas in this country, because of the permanent gas tax transfers and the monies that have been put into infrastructure, we can enjoy an expansion of infrastructure in all of our ridings.

[Translation]

    Before I recognize the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan, I must inform the House that there are five minutes left for the business of supply.
    The hon. member for Alfred-Pellan.

  (1710)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the Conservatives' 2014 budget for the remaining five minutes.
    We now have 300,000 more unemployed workers than we had before the recession, and the Conservative government is just marking time with the budget it tabled. While thousands of families struggle to make ends meet, the Conservatives are playing petty politics and postponing the major announcements until next year, an election year, as everyone knows.
    Let us start with the environment. Wetlands are very important to many aspects of our environment. They serve as a natural filtration system for water, provide exceptional wildlife habitat and offer a better quality of life for Canadians. The federal government has a responsibility to protect our wetlands. Unfortunately, the 2014 federal budget does not contain a single measure to protect wetlands. Ducks Unlimited Canada had the following to say about this unreasonable situation:
    The policies and actions of the federal government, implemented through a variety of federal agencies, have significant impacts on Canada’s landscapes and the environment.
    In recent federal budgets...no significant new money has been earmarked for conservation activities.
    It is disturbing how unimportant the Conservatives seem to think our environment is. There is no mention of it in budget 2014, let alone of climate change. Everyone knows that the government's record on this issue is poor. It dropped the Kyoto protocol and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. It cut funding for Canada's Experimental Lakes Area and gave tax breaks to big oil companies. These are just a few examples of the government's lack of leadership on climate change adaptation.
    The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has been sounding the alarm about this for some time now:
    Canada's infrastructure deficit is significant, and the ongoing impact of climate change is expected to increase this deficit by shortening asset-replacement cycles.
    Climate-change adaptation could save Canadians billions of dollars, and position our economy to provide solutions for a challenge that will soon face communities around the world.
    Unfortunately, there was no mention of climate change in the Conservatives' budget.
    Next I would like to talk about infrastructure. On February 13, the Conservatives finally revealed the details of the 10-year building Canada fund, which was one of the biggest promises in the 2013 budget. However, the spending laid out for the first five years of the program adds up to $5.8 billion less than infrastructure spending for 2013-14.
    The Conservatives have made several announcements about the new building Canada fund since tabling budget 2013, but they have been unable to release the promised funds. Municipalities are now worried that they will have to just forget about this summer's construction season. Moreover, the delays are costing our communities thousands of jobs.
    Laval was promised over $31 million for a multi-use sports and culture complex in 2009. The Conservatives made a very big deal about that announcement. Later, the government quietly withdrew from the project, sticking Quebec and the municipalities with the bill. Laval is not the only city this happened to.
    The federal government is now refusing to fund sports infrastructure projects through the building Canada fund even though the municipalities are in desperate need of that money. Why were the municipalities not consulted about this?
    The drastic cuts affect a great many areas. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time to speak to each of them. However, there will be an impact on seniors, the Canada job grant—which is extremely serious—and youth unemployment. There are 1.3 million unemployed Canadians, yet the budget contains no meaningful measures to address the issue. In January 2014, the unemployment rate was 5.7% in Laval. It was 7.5% in Quebec. These cuts will also have an impact on arts, culture and railway safety. In Laval, the trains travel through Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Duvernay and Saint-François, right through our communities. That concerns people.
    Since I do not have much time left and I need to cut my speech short, I would simply like to say that I am extremely disappointed to see that the Conservatives have shifted the focus of the HPS and did not increase its envelope. International co-operation is at a standstill.
    To conclude, the NDP is proposing simple, practical, meaningful solutions that would provide some relief to families, such as capping ATM fees, cracking down on payday lenders, reining in credit card interest rates and bringing back the eco-energy home retrofit tax credit.
    Canadians deserve better. They do not deserve a government that is just marking time, as the Conservatives are doing. In 2015, voters will have the opportunity to choose the NDP, who will fight for a fairer, greener, more prosperous country.

  (1715)  

    It being 5:15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of Ways and Means Motion No. 6.

[English]

     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): Call in the members.

  (1755)  

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

(Division No. 66)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Falk
Fantino
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
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
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Norlock
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Young (Oakville)
Zimmer

Total: -- 148

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Fortin
Freeland
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Giguère
Godin
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Jones
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 128

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business ]

[Translation]

Afghan Veterans Monument

    The House resumed from February 12 consideration of the motion.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion No. 448 under private members' business, in the name of the hon. member for Palliser.

  (1805)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 67)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Welland)
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Andrews
Angus
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bateman
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benoit
Benskin
Bergen
Bernier
Bevington
Bezan
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Blaney
Block
Boivin
Borg
Boughen
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brosseau
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Byrne
Calandra
Cannan
Carmichael
Caron
Carrie
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Chisu
Chong
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Clarke
Cleary
Clement
Comartin
Côté
Crockatt
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Daniel
Davidson
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dreeshen
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Falk
Fantino
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Fortin
Freeland
Freeman
Fry
Galipeau
Gallant
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Giguère
Glover
Godin
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Gravelle
Grewal
Groguhé
Harper
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
James
Jones
Julian
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kellway
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Lauzon
Laverdière
Lebel
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leslie
Leung
Liu
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McLeod
Menegakis
Michaud
Miller
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Norlock
Nunez-Melo
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Pacetti
Papillon
Paradis
Patry
Payne
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Poilievre
Preston
Quach
Rafferty
Raitt
Rajotte
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Rousseau
Saganash
Saxton
Scarpaleggia
Schellenberger
Scott
Seeback
Sellah
Sgro
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sitsabaiesan
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
St-Denis
Stewart
Storseth
Strahl
Sullivan
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toone
Tremblay
Trost
Trottier
Trudeau
Truppe
Turmel
Uppal
Valcourt
Valeriote
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Young (Oakville)
Zimmer

Total: -- 276

NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

CBC and Public Service Disclosure and Transparency Act

     The House resumed from February 13 consideration of Bill C-461, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (disclosure of information), as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No.1.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motions at report stage of Bill C-461 under private members' business.

  (1810)  

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

(Division No. 68)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Chong
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Fortin
Freeland
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Giguère
Godin
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Jones
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 130

NAYS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Falk
Fantino
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
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
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Norlock
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Young (Oakville)
Zimmer

Total: -- 145

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 1 defeated. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 2-4 and 6-8 defeated.

[Translation]

    The next question is on Motion No. 5.

  (1820)  

[English]

    (The House divided on Motion No. 5, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 69)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Anders
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Chong
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Del Mastro
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Fortin
Freeland
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Giguère
Godin
Goldring
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Jones
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Trost
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote
Williamson

Total: -- 135

NAYS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Falk
Fantino
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Glover
Goguen
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
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
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Norlock
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trottier
Truppe
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Wallace
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Wong
Young (Oakville)
Zimmer

Total: -- 138

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 5 defeated.
    The hon. member for Edmonton—St. Albert is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, as Motions Nos. 1 to 8 have all failed, the bill in its current form bears no resemblance to the original Bill C-461 and represents neither public service disclosure nor transparency as the now misnomer title would suggest. Accordingly, the sponsor of the bill does not move concurrence.

Sponsor's Refusal to Move Concurrence--Speaker's Ruling 

    The House now seems faced with what seems to be an unprecedented situation. Since the two hours of debate prescribed for report stage and third reading have concluded and the report stage motions have been disposed of, all questions necessary to dispose of the bill should now be put immediately to the House, pursuant to Standing Order 98(4).
    However, the sponsor of the bill, the hon. member for Edmonton—St. Albert, has indicated that he does not wish to move the motion to concur in the bill as amended at report stage. Members will recall that pursuant to Standing Order 94, the Speaker may make all arrangements necessary to ensure the orderly conduct of private members' business.
    Accordingly, I rule that the order for concurrence at report stage of Bill C-461, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (disclosure of information), be discharged and the bill be dropped from the order paper.

    (Order discharged and bill withdrawn)

  (1825)  

An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act (duty to examine)

    The House resumed from February 14 consideration of the motion that Bill C-481, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act (duty to examine), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-481 under private members' business.

  (1830)  

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

(Division No. 70)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Fortin
Freeland
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Giguère
Godin
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Jones
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 128

NAYS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Falk
Fantino
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
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
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Norlock
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Young (Oakville)
Zimmer

Total: -- 148

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.

Support for Volunteer Firefighters Act

    The House resumed from February 25 consideration of the motion that Bill C-504, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (volunteer firefighters), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-504.

  (1840)  

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

(Division No. 71)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bellavance
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brosseau
Caron
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Fortin
Freeman
Garrison
Genest
Giguère
Godin
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Kellway
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Rousseau
Saganash
Scott
Sellah
Sitsabaiesan
Stewart
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel

Total: -- 97

NAYS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Andrews
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Bateman
Bélanger
Bennett
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Byrne
Calandra
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Casey
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Cuzner
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dion
Dreeshen
Dubourg
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Easter
Eyking
Falk
Fantino
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Freeland
Fry
Galipeau
Gallant
Garneau
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
Hsu
James
Jones
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lamoureux
Lauzon
Lebel
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Murray
Norlock
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Pacetti
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Regan
Reid
Rempel
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Scarpaleggia
Schellenberger
Seeback
Sgro
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
St-Denis
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Trottier
Trudeau
Truppe
Uppal
Valcourt
Valeriote
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Young (Oakville)
Zimmer

Total: -- 177

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.
    It being 6:40 p.m. the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

[Translation]

Protecting Taxpayers and Revoking Pensions of Convicted Politicians Act

    The House resumed from December 10, 2013, consideration of the motion that Bill C-518, An Act to amend the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act (withdrawal allowance), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving us the quiet we need in the House to make a few comments about this bill, since it is a private member's bill and therefore no period for questions and answers is provided. It is too bad, because I would have liked to ask some questions. I will ask some during my speech and hope that they will be heard. Perhaps I will get some answers later.
    This bill is rather odd. As we are entering a second hour of discussion on this bill, allow me to quickly put it into context again and provide another overview of the bill introduced by our colleague from New Brunswick Southwest, for those who are following us on CPAC or on other media.
    Let us first look at the title: Bill C-518, An Act to amend the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act (withdrawal allowance). If I were a regular citizen seeing this at home, I would immediately think, “Finally, they are going to get rid of pensions for overpaid MPs”. However, that is not at all what this bill is about. That is why I want to set the record straight.
    Bill C-518 revokes or would revoke the privilege of a retirement pension or compensation allowance for former members of the Senate or House of Commons who are convicted of an offence under an act of Parliament. The parliamentarian must have been indicted for an offence with a maximum punishment of imprisonment for not less than two years. The offence must have been committed, in whole or in part, while the person was an MP or senator.
    That is more or less the idea behind this bill, which, I must say, comes at a curious time. Obviously, I can tell you right away that there is little chance that we will not vote in favour of this bill, because otherwise we would practically be saying that we are against virtue. However, while I would not say that drafting a bill that asks members of the House to obey the law is worthless, it does raise quite a few questions.
    Among other things, it is amusing to see a bill come from the Conservatives that in some way deals with issues of ethics and honesty. In fact, the bill involves revoking pensions that are to be paid to elected officials should there be a serious omission or should they commit a serious crime that breaches a federal law.
    Allow me to say that if the substantive principles of this bill make sense, the approach is somewhat suspicious, just like the timing of the bill's introduction. We might also wonder why this bill is so relevant now. From what I understand with my meagre experience of a few years as a parliamentarian, MPs usually table a private member's bill to solve a problem, fix a legislative loophole or clarify a particular local issue. The question here is: what situation is this bill trying to fix?
    I will take the opposite approach. It seems entirely clear to me that the vast majority of MPs in the House, regardless of their political affiliation, are here for good reasons, despite their different perspectives on various bills and the direction our society should take. The vast majority of MPs serve quite honestly, to the best of their abilities and with an ultimate goal, which is to serve their constituents to the best of their knowledge and to the best of their convictions. Therefore, what is the purpose of this bill?

  (1845)  

    I get the feeling that this exercise is not about diversion or camouflage, but rather about image, in order to send the message that some Conservative members—and certainly the member for New Brunswick Southwest—want to address the scandals in the House of Commons, the government and the Senate.
    I cannot help but recognize that most of the scandals we have been talking about for many weeks now do not involve my party. Still, I find the current juxtaposition of this bill rather strange.
    I read the entire bill; it is only two pages long. I am by no means suggesting that a two-page bill is irrelevant. That is not what I am suggesting. However, it seems to me that someone who really cared about this issue would want to take the time to look much deeper.
    For instance, Nova Scotia has a very similar bill. However, it is much more comprehensive than Bill C-518, which is being proposed today. I have to wonder if the sponsor really wants to solve a problem that he considers important, which it may very well be, as the misappropriation of funds has become increasingly common in recent weeks. I will not dwell on these cases now, but perhaps I will give a couple of examples before the end of my speech.
    If one really cared about this matter, it would only make sense to consult the case law, to consult similar legislation that exists in other countries and to consult the provinces. I just used the word “consult” three times, and I suspect I just created something. I am not quite sure what to call it; it is not quite an oxymoron. Let us just say that the word “consult” and the word “Conservative” do not flow together naturally for me.
    I will give a very specific example. I would like to remind members that I will be voting in favour of this bill because we cannot be against virtue. If an MP or Senator has committed the acts warranting the penalties set out in Bill C-518—the loss of retiring allowances and other compensation—why is it that in Nova Scotia, for example, a minimum five-year sentence is required as compared to two years in the case of this bill?
    Once again, it is probably to give the impression that this government is tough on crime and that it is going to take a hard line. I would like everyone to draw their own conclusions about that.
    What seems to be missing in this bill, and leaves me quite perplexed, is that this income is not always the income of just that one person. I will explain. We are revoking the retirement income of an MP or senator, without including in the bill possible exceptions for the people who depend on this income.
    For example, if the parliamentarian's child support payments are based directly on his or her income, a judge could review the support payments because the MP's or the senator's income has changed.
    This means that this tough-on-crime bill for someone who commits fraud significantly affects more than just the person who committed the fraud. I have a serious problem with that.
    The second problem I have with this bill is that it reminds me of something we have seen in many bills.

  (1850)  

    This bill establishes penalties for the person who commits the crime. We have seen this hundreds of times in other Conservative bills. Perhaps I am exaggerating a bit and getting carried away. However, this bill does nothing to prevent these situations.
    Although we cannot be against virtue and we will be supporting this bill, it seems to me that it is designed solely to make a good impression and is an inappropriate solution.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will pick up on the member's ending remarks concerning public relations.
    One of the things I have found to be very topical, whether it is provincial politics or federal politics, is the issue of pensions.
    I have had the opportunity to sit on different types of committees over the years to deal with the matter of pensions, on issues such as who should be entitled to a pension, what type of pension it might be, and so forth. In fact, as an MLA, I was involved in discussions as to how we could replace the pension program that we had in 1988. I can say that people are very much concerned about the pensions that politicians receive. We want aspiring politicians, and we recognize that they often sacrifice a great deal in order to have the privilege and opportunity to represent someone. However, there are always questions.
    I have had the opportunity to have many discussions with political candidates in the past. One of the questions they often have is with respect to benefits, annual pay, and so forth. These are issues that one would expect to come up for anyone seeking elected office.
    On the other hand, from the constituents' perspective, we find there is a certain caring attitude, of wanting to see fairness within the system.
    I have seen a lot of change in the ways in which pensions have come into being. As I pointed out, back in 1988 when I was first elected, we had a pension program. It was something in the nature that one had to be successful in three consecutive elections, or to have been elected, I think it was for eight years, though I could be a bit out on that. However, then one would be able to receive a pension virtually immediately.
    Some members of the public felt that was not an appropriate type of program for elected officials at the provincial level. There was a great deal of debate, and we ultimately formed a committee. That committee was made up of a group of interesting stakeholders. One of them, I believe, was Mr. Northcott, who is with Winnipeg Harvest. There was representation from management and union. What happened ultimately is that we lost the pension program in favour of matching RRSP contributions.
    In the late 1990s, 2001, and 2002, there was a change. MLAs would make contributions, the government would match those contributions, and that would go into an RRSP.
    When Gary Doer became the premier of Manitoba, he recognized there was a need to go back to government pensions, as opposed to matching RRSPs. That is ultimately what ended up happening.
    Again, I have had the opportunity to listen in to some areas, and in other areas to get engaged, in terms of what sort of pension programming and benefits that MLAs should be entitled to.
    One of the things I found to be important throughout the whole process was the need to provide assurances to the public that there is a proper way to deal with the benefits that MLAs receive. That is why I was quite pleased that the provincial Liberal Party was involved in terms of how we come up with the pay, benefits, and pension-related issues. Ultimately, pensions were then reformed in the province of Manitoba.

  (1855)  

    I say that because I have had the opportunity, through the leadership of the leader of the Liberal Party, to become engaged with the procedures and House affairs committee. There has been a lot of discussion there about benefits of members of Parliament, the Board of Internal Economy, and to a certain degree there are issues relating to pay.
    One of the suggestions, from the perspective of the Liberal Party of Canada, is that we need to look at ways we can have more independence in terms of the setting of pensions and the salaries of members of Parliament. That was incorporated in our report. I must say it was a minority report; it did not receive the support from all parties. However, if we look at what our constituents would want, it is in the best interest of the House to see that independence in the setting of salaries for politicians. I suspect it will only be a question of time before that will be the case in Ottawa.
    With Bill C-518, I understand what the member is proposing: Should an individual be denied a pension if they have been held criminally responsible? If we were to try to get a better understanding of the details of what the member is suggesting, I would be most interested in hearing that and having that dialogue.
    However, my primary concern is dealing with the bigger issue of pensions. That is the reason I started my comments by talking about the idea of independence and how pensions are best set. From a personal perspective, I do not know if I would qualify for a member of Parliament pension. I believe it is six years, but I am not a hundred per cent sure of that.
    With regard to members of Parliament or members of legislative assemblies throughout out country, I suspect that the primary reason they become engaged in politics is not necessarily to receive a pension. I like to believe that individuals who take an interest in politics, first and foremost get involved because they want to serve. I think that is of critical importance.
    Individuals approach me, especially nowadays, and at least every other week I talk to someone who could be interested in becoming engaged in politics. Being able to share with them about the compensation and so forth is important. There is no doubt about that. However, their real interest is in being able to serve the community in which they live, whether it is a smaller neighbourhood or the broader country. That is admirable.
    The bottom line is that we have to respect that and to recognize there is a need for some form of compensation. As to what kind of compensation and to what degree, I would like to see that brought into the realm of independence in terms of how that compensation would be determined.
    With regard to the bill specifically, I look forward to hearing more debate.

  (1900)  

[Translation]

    The bill would revoke the privilege of a retirement pension or compensation allowance for former members of the Senate or House of Commons who are convicted of an offence under an act of Parliament that is punishable by a minimum of two years in prison. These types of sentences of two years or more mostly involve federal offences covered by the Criminal Code.
    Once the bill is passed, MPs or senators who have been found guilty of such an offence would be reimbursed their pension contributions plus interest, which is consistent with other applicable legislation.
    The NDP supports this bill because we believe that any bill that strengthens parliamentary ethics is a step in the right direction. However, it is clear that this bill is really just a Conservative charade to make us believe that they are not responsible for the Senate scandal and that they champion ethics.
    In reality, the Prime Minister—a man who appointed people like Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin to taxpayer-funded positions—is using this bill to try to make us believe that he has at least a vestige of ethics. Canadians know better and they will not forget this government's schemes.
    Liberal Party senators, those who are part of the non-Liberal caucus or rather independent Liberal senators with no caucus or something of that sort, should not get too excited yet. Canadians have not forgotten that they had no issues with Mac Harb even after he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar, nor have they forgotten that the Liberals paid their deficit by drawing on workers' employment insurance contributions. Above all, nobody, particularly nobody in Quebec, has forgotten the sponsorship scandal. Quebeckers are fed up, and in case anyone is wondering, it is not because the Montreal Canadiens are winning the Stanley Cup. It is because Quebeckers believe in their motto “Je me souviens” or “I remember”.
    In short, although the bill is a step in the right direction, it is just a front and does not address the serious ethical problems caused by both the Conservative and Liberal parties. No legislation can do that. The problem is these parties' culture of entitlement. They think that they deserve to be in power no matter what they do and that they eventually will be again one day. They think they are entitled to their entitlements. That is an unhealthy way of thinking. The NDP is now giving Canadians a healthy option that works for them. The NDP knows that it is a privilege to represent Canadians, not a given right. The NDP works for Canadians, not for the lobbies.
    I am also proud to mention that the bill is basically copied from a bill introduced by the NDP government of Nova Scotia that received royal assent on May 10, 2013.
    I am pleased that the members opposite are finally using one of our ideas to draft ethics-related legislation. Perhaps they are starting to see the light, unless they are merely acting like a co-worker who steals other people's lunches and then puts a note on the fridge the next day warning people to stop stealing others' lunches. Given the government's history, I tend to think the latter is true.
    Let us now come back to the subject at hand. Clearly, the purpose of the bill is to show that the Conservative Party is angry about the ethical lapses of its senators, who were all personally appointed by the Prime Minister.

  (1905)  

    The same is true for the Liberals, who magically made their senators disappear overnight and who will surely make them reappear when they need them.
    In fact, the party of the Mac Harbs and Raymond Lavignes still plays political games, assuming that Canadians are naive, when they are not. Canadians see through their games and, with each passing day, more and more Canadians come to trust the NDP. The only solution to the ethical problems of parliamentarians is to elect an NDP government and to abolish the Senate.
    Even the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, formerly run by the member for New Brunswick Southwest, believes that the lack of ethics in the House comes from the blue and the red parties. Let me quote what Director Gregory Thomas said:
    Canadians have just witnessed the spectacle of convicted fraudster, former Liberal Senator and MP Raymond Lavigne, collecting his $67,000 annual pension while sitting in jail for filing false Senate expense claims.

    We now have a former Liberal MP and Senator and a former Conservative Senator each facing criminal charges relating to their official duties, with more Senators under criminal investigation.

    Clearly, Senators and MPs need tougher anti-corruption penalties to combat the temptations politicians face.
    This quote, which could not be clearer, perfectly summarizes the constant and systemic ethical breaches of successive Liberal and Conservative governments for the past 20 years, from the sponsorship scandal to the current Senate scandal.
    This bill is a step in the right direction. That is why we in the NDP will support the bill at second reading. However, we cannot legislate the culture or the ethics of a party. That is the problem with this government and the third party.
    That is why we must send a message that Canadians need a government that respects them and that will work in their best interests rather than its own interests. In 2015, that is the government Canadians will have by voting for the NDP.

  (1910)  

[English]

    Resuming debate with his five-minute right of reply, the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest.
    Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of points I would like to make in concluding this second hour of debate.
    I appreciate some of the comments I heard from the other side, I believe referring to the bill as virtuous, which I suppose is good news, but at the same time questioning some of the motivations behind it. I am not going to respond to those. I am just happy to have support for this bill.
    There are some amendments to this bill that I believe are necessary, which I referenced in the first hour of debate. As one hon. member noted, in the original draft of the bill I did suggest in drafting it that the penalties be invoked for any crime where the maximum penalty is two or more years. Upon reflection and consultation, as I stated some weeks ago, I felt that the threshold should be increased to five-year indictable crimes, elevating it to charges that would include, for example, breach of trust, theft, serious charges, because the consequences are serious for members of Parliament.
    As well, this bill as drafted is very much in line with the law that exists currently in Nova Scotia. My bill was tabled on June 3, 2013, and would apply to any convictions after that date if it is passed here and in the other place, and ultimately receives royal assent. However, should it be successful and move on to committee, here is really the test that committee members should consider when weighing the merits of this bill. It is what I call the Lavigne test case. Senator Lavigne was convicted of fraud and breach of trust, yet he resigned from his position as a senator before he could be ejected, thereby keeping his parliamentary pension.
    He was convicted of these crimes, which, as I said, have a threshold. The maximum is five or more years. However, he was only sentenced to six months. That really is the type of scoundrel we are trying to capture with this legislation: individuals who are convicted of serious crimes. It should not matter the amount of time spent in prison, but rather the crimes that people are convicted of in a court of law. That is the request I put to the committee for consideration as they look at possible amendments to this bill, beyond the ones I am suggesting. How would it work in practice with respect to an individual who has already gone through it? How do we ensure, going forward, that we do not see that kind of abuse again? I remember when Senator Lavigne was able to resign and keep his pension.
    On that note, I will highlight what the law currently states. Currently, on the books for both the House of Commons and the other place, the Senate, if a member is convicted of a serious crime, he or she is to be evicted, and when that happens, that member loses his or her pension. The loophole, the out, is that he or she can resign before being ejected and in doing so can hold onto his or her pension. I believe we should close that loophole. If a member of either House is found to be guilty, their pension should be revoked automatically and that loophole should not exist.
    I look forward to the committee's review and recommendations if we are successful going forward, as well as further consultation on this bill.

  (1915)  

     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): I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

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

    Pursuant to an order made on Monday, February, 24, 2014, the House will now resolve itself into committee of the whole to consider Motion No. 8 under government business. I do now leave the chair for the House to go into committee of the whole.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Ukraine

     (House in committee of the whole on Government Business No. 8, Mr. Barry Devolin in the chair)

Hon. Chris Alexander (for the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons)  
     moved:
    That this Committee take note of the evolving situation in Ukraine.
    Order. Before we begin this evening's debate, I would like to remind hon. members of how the proceedings will unfold.
     Each member speaking will be allotted 10 minutes for debate, followed by 10 minutes for questions and comments. Members may divide their time with another member.
     The debate will end after four hours or when no member rises to speak. Pursuant to an order adopted Monday, February 24, 2014, the Chair will receive no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent.
    We will now begin tonight's take note debate accordingly.
    Mr. Chair, many of us in the House and across Canada have been thinking about Ukraine in recent days and weeks as violence, unfortunately, has swept across the Maidan, Kiev's Independence Square, and across other parts of the country, taking the lives of too many innocent people.
    I would like to start by recapping the role the Canadian government has tried to play in this crisis from the outset. It is one of leadership and based on a principled stand in favour of the aspirations of the Ukrainian people, including freedom for the Ukrainian people; a return to democracy; obviously full protection of human rights, which were being trampled all too often in recent days and weeks; and further commitment to develop the rule of law in that country, which is still emerging from the Soviet legacy that distorted its institutions so badly, and which so richly deserves a brighter future based on a market economy, on integration with Europe, and in line with the aspirations of the people.
    This crisis has been some time in coming. Back in November there was very forceful diplomacy under way to bring about an historic agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. It was an association agreement. It seemed to have wide, popular support in Ukraine. It certainly had been devised based on long and deep consultations throughout the member states of the European Union.
    Then suddenly on November 21, that prospect was gone. There were immediate protests and then through the month of December. Violence started in January. Canada was alongside the Ukrainian people every step of the way, with many in the House, and certainly our leadership on the government side, making public statements regularly. I do not know how many statements were made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but it was certainly a large number, urging that the association agreement be embraced by the government. When that did not happen, we urged restraint and that no further steps be taken back from what we and the Ukrainians take to be their economic destiny. Then when the violence began, we focused on using our voice and joining it with those of like-minded partners and allies around the world to make sure that the violence stopped.
    The violence did not stop. By late January, we found ourselves in the position of having to take an unprecedented step regarding Ukraine, putting in place a travel ban on those members of the Yanukovych regime who had been responsible at that time for limited but very serious violence. The deaths then numbered around a dozen.
    Then we came to the month of February and the violence got worse. Dozens of people, close to 100, well over 80, were confirmed to have been killed. This threat was during the spectacle of the Sochi Olympics, which had certain Soviet aspects and certainly a salute to Soviet history, a somewhat airbrushed Soviet history, in the opening ceremonies. The Sochi Olympics held the splendour, the grandeur, the triumph of our athletes, whom we are all very proud of.
    Only a few hundred miles away, this tragedy was unfolding in the streets of Kiev. We were caught in that paradox, obviously deeply concerned by the fact that those courageous protestors who had chosen to put their lives on the line in the centre of Kiev might face brute force from their own government on a very large scale, including from the army.
    Last week we took the difficult but necessary decision to announce that sanctions would be imposed on those members of the regime who were perpetrating the violence, bringing this unnecessary suffering onto the Ukrainian people, literally holding their dreams and aspirations hostage.

  (1920)  

    However, as members know, events have moved extremely quickly. The day, or two days after, those sanctions were announced suddenly the opposition was in control of Kiev; suddenly the Verkhovna Rada had taken a decision to impeach the president; suddenly the president was on the run. Suddenly there was a new acting president, an acting prime minister, and now there is a list of new ministers that is to be confirmed by democratic process by the democratically elected representatives of Ukraine. As well, a number of other demands of the opposition were met in fairly short order.
    Just to be clear, the sanctions we announced remain a tool that is available to Canada. The legislation that we need to undertake sanctions is there. The decisions by the Governor in Council that would be necessary to enact the sanctions are available and could be enacted very soon. However, we have not imposed the sanctions because the Yanukovych regime, thankfully, is no more, and we hope that all of those people responsible for the violence will no longer feature in the regime and we will not have to take these steps to punish the regime in this way.
     We are watching the situation closely. We are consulting with our allies, and as members know, Canada will continue to stand on principle in all matters relating to Ukraine. Several of our colleagues are en route tonight, led by the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, who will be welcomed very warmly by the opposition, some of whom are forming a new government, and by the Ukrainian people who heard the voice of Canada standing with them through these weeks of violence and uncertainty.
    What is the larger issue that is facing us in Ukraine? This is one of the great countries of Europe, with 44 million people, the second-largest country in Europe to emerge from the former Soviet Union. Canada was the first country to recognize its independence in 1991. Our relationship is that close. Canada, not Poland, was the first country, and I was there and can prove it. The relationship between our countries is so deep that we have followed Ukraine's development every step of the way. We have sent observers to elections. We have trained public servants. We have been involved in Ukraine's form of justice institutions. However, what has really been happening over those 23-odd years since 1991?

  (1925)  

[Translation]

    It is like a pendulum swinging in the lives of Ukrainians. There was a period of great enthusiasm and great democratic excitement in the early 1990s, followed by a period, not dictatorial in its purest sense, but of dictatorial behaviour, under a regime that was increasingly autocratic. It relied on the influence of oligarchs, shady individuals, often in Russia and Ukraine, with significant means. They were not accountable to the people and had no respect for the rule of law, but they were running the country.
    Then, in 2004, the Orange Revolution set this autocratic system aside for a while, before president Yanukovych took power and began the process all over again. He strengthened his power and settled into an increasingly repressive system.

[English]

    The real choice for Ukraine is this: Does it want to be Poland? Can it be? Will it be given the opportunity to be a Poland, a country moving forward in Europe, a country benefiting from free enterprise, from investment from around the world, and from the talent of its citizens? Or does it want to be Belarus, a country that is very much under the influence of another part of Europe, a country whose standard of living has declined, not risen, and a country whose opportunities are few and the future not bright because of the autocracy that continues to prevail there?
    We are very clear about what side we are on. The Ukrainian people have been clear this weekend about which side they are on. I hope that all members of the House in tonight's debate will do everything in their power to show that Canada is united in supporting freedom and progress for the Ukrainian people.

[Translation]