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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 045

CONTENTS

Wednesday, June 21, 2006





CANADA

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 141
NUMBER 045
1st SESSION
39th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayers


[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

    As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Kitchener Centre.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

ROV Technology

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to commend the White Rock ROV Chix. This group of enterprising young ladies built a remote operated vehicle to compete in the marine advanced technology competition in Seattle in May. Their hard work and ingenuity paid off as they took first prize in the Pacific Northwest regional competition. The team of Madeleine Gawthrop, Lindsey Gorman, Caroline Dearden, Rebekah Pickard and Jessica O'Sullivan beat eight other teams.
    The Chix now have the honour of representing their region at the world championships being held in Houston, Texas, at the NASA space center. These home-schoolers demonstrated innovation and rugged determination and stand as fine examples to all young Canadians.
    I would also like to congratulate the White Rock Heritage Christian School team of Peter Zielke, Guido Worthman, Kye Seo Hwang and Matthew Stevens for its impressive third place finish.
    All the best to the Chix in Houston. We are rooting for them.

National Aboriginal Day

    Mr. Speaker, National Aboriginal Day is a day that Canadians celebrate the contributions of first nations, Métis and Inuit Canadians.
    Today I would like to recognize the tremendous contributions made by the people of the Kenora riding. I would like to recognize Grand Chief Arnold Gardner for his tireless work on behalf of the Treaty 3 communities. He continues to highlight the obstacles that his people face to achieve equal standing in our community. He is a dedicated and well-respected leader.
    I would also like to recognize Grand Chief Stan Beardy, who represents communities within Treaty 9 that have particular challenges with remoteness. He has fought to have their voices heard in Ottawa and he has persevered to achieve the results for his people.
    I have been fortunate to have their guidance and, as such, I have gained a greater understanding of what we as a nation must strive for: respect, trust and above all equality.
    I represent members of 41 first nations and Métis communities, and I would like to offer my best wishes for their celebrations.

[Translation]

Multina

    Mr. Speaker, today I would like to pay tribute to a large company in the riding of Drummond. Multina specializes in manufacturing seats for recreational vehicles, components for public transit vehicles, and foam and composite products.
    A recent KPMG/Ipsos Reid survey of 250 of Canada's most visible business leaders showed that Multina is among Quebec's most respected businesses.
    In addition, the company received an industry achievement award from the Réseau industriel Drummond for its contribution to the region's economic development.
    Multina is a marvellous example of how dynamic businesses in the Drummond riding can be, and I am proud to have the opportunity to talk about it today.
    Congratulations to the company, its management team and all of its employees on their excellent work.

[English]

National Aboriginal Day

    Mr. Speaker, today we honour 10 years of celebrating National Aboriginal Day in this country and celebrating aboriginal people.
    Yesterday the government announced the appointment of Wendy Grant-John, a special representative for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. That is a positive message to first nations.
    Ms. Grant-John has been a strong voice for aboriginal people and particularly for women. Aboriginal women have made progress in our country, but there is a very long way to go.
    The Government of Canada has a role to play. Aboriginal women are still disproportionately victims of spousal abuse. Far more than many women in other parts of the country, women of all ages in the aboriginal community live below the poverty line.
    They are forced to raise their families in crowded homes and unsafe conditions, often as many as 21 people in one house. They lack even the basics, like safe drinking water.
    Aboriginal people are owed the resources and capacity for women to raise families in safe, healthy environments, and to take their place at the decision making tables. Canada's New Democrats will stand beside aboriginal people in their struggle for equality.

  (1405)  

National Aboriginal Day

    Mr. Speaker, today marks Canada's 10th National Aboriginal Day. From sea to sea, from north to south, many celebrations are underway.
    Right here in the nation's capital, there is a gathering of some 300 first nations, Inuit and Métis, pastors, leaders and community members. The First People's Summit is an assembly of leaders who desire to see the spiritual well-being and the moral integrity of Canada preserved, enhanced and promoted.
    These original and host people are praying for and working quietly with determination to see progress in biblically based reconciliation. Their desire is to see healing and unity in Canada between all people, nations, churches and governments, and to cultivate true peace and prosperity throughout our land.
    Today representatives from first nations, Inuit and Métis communities will sign a historic document entitled the “Covenant of the First Peoples of Canada”.
    Inscribed on the Peace Tower are the words, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”.
    I wish to draw this event to the attention of all members and commend the participants in this historic gathering for their vision and commitment to bring blessing, reconciliation and spiritual renewal to Canada. It is National Aboriginal Day. We have a reason to celebrate.

National Aboriginal Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is the 10th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day, a day when Canadians from sea to sea to sea celebrate the culture and achievements of Canada's aboriginal people: Inuit, first nations and Métis.
    As I look back and see how far Nunavut has come since April 1, 1999, I am so proud of my territory and the people.
    However, it is imperative that the federal government act on the Berger report regarding the Nunavut land claim implementation and the Kelowna accord.
    The federal government must act on the housing crisis facing Inuit as well as health and education issues. By not doing so, Canada fails in its very real obligations to Inuit and puts the honour of the Crown at stake. The failure to act by the federal government fails not only Inuit but all Canadians.
    I wish all Canadians a very happy National Aboriginal Day, a wonderful Canada Day, and a safe and enjoyable summer.

National Aboriginal Day

    Mr. Speaker, aboriginal people have played vital roles in the defence, economic prosperity, and the cultural richness of our nation, both before and after Confederation.
    As fur trade partners aboriginal Canadians helped build Canada's first economic engine in Montreal and helped generate the wealth that led to the establishment of Canada's first bank.
    All Canadians should be proud of their accomplishments and acknowledge how important they remain to the economic, social and cultural well-being of Canada's future.
    Today is June 21, the summer solstice, a day aboriginal people have long celebrated. It is also the 10th anniversary of its official designation as National Aboriginal Day.
    I encourage all Canadians to participate in activities taking place this day from sea to sea to sea in celebration of the important place aboriginal people hold within the fabric of our society and of this land.
    Let us share in the celebration.

[Translation]

Quebec film industry

    Mr. Speaker, in 1996 the federal government created the Canadian Television Fund to provide financial assistance to the television and feature film industry and to support production in Canada and Quebec.
    On the heels of unprecedented growth in the film industry in Quebec within Canada, the federal government slashed the fund. In 2005, it was cut by $37 million despite its recognized importance and effectiveness.
    In light of the fact that its performance has exceeded all expectations, it is vital that Quebec receive its fair share of the funds allocated to the industry. The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women must ensure this and take action to increase the limits on funds available to francophones.
    The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women is meeting with the Quebec coalition today. Let us hope she finds some political courage and takes advantage of this opportunity to take concrete action in line with the federal government's stated policy of openness. To do otherwise would be to show that there is no place for the Quebec film industry in Canada.

  (1410)  

[English]

Member for Edmonton--Mill Woods--Beaumont

    Mr. Speaker, last Saturday night I went to an Oilers game at Rexall Place, something I had done literally hundreds of times over the past 10 years working for the team.
    This night was special though as it was game six of the Stanley Cup finals. I stood beside the Prime Minister and, with a choir of 17,000, sang a spine-tingling version of O Canada.
    The Oilers played the best game I had ever witnessed them play, winning 4-0, and I commented to wife that it was one of the most remarkable nights of my life.
    However, the absolute highlight, the one thing I will always remember, came when we pulled up to the house and I saw my seven year old speck of a daughter jumping up and down for joy in the front window, because her daddy was home. I tucked her and her 10 year old brother into bed, and got to spend about seven more hours with them on Father's Day before climbing on a plane to come back here for the eighth time out of the past nine weeks.
    As parliamentarians we are blessed with the opportunity to represent Canadians and to make decisions that will shape the nation. We all work extremely hard and are able to do so because of the sacrifice of the families we leave back home.
    Today I want to recognize and thank my wife Debi, son Jaden and daughter Jenae, along with the family members of every one of my colleagues on either side of the House.

National Aboriginal Day

    Mr. Speaker, in recognition of National Aboriginal Day I wish to take this opportunity to remind the Conservative government of its moral obligation to the first nations in this country and to uphold the historic Kelowna accord that was reached last fall between our aboriginal people and 14 governments across Canada.
    Unfortunately, this Conservative government and the current Prime Minister have chosen to turn their backs on the first nations by failing to uphold the Kelowna accord.
    The former Prime Minister, the right hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, has taken the unprecedented step of introducing a private member's bill in this House in order to keep hope alive for our aboriginal people. The Kelowna accord is a comprehensive 10 year $5.1 billion plan to achieve a clear set of goals and targets.
    The Conservatives inherited a very healthy fiscal balance sheet from the previous Liberal government. There is simply no excuse in this day and age to deliberately ignore the plight of our aboriginal people.

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, it is June. School is out and it is report card time. It is only fitting then to deliver a report card on the Liberal's first semester in opposition.
    In math, the Liberals get an F for failing to understand that slashing the GST plus tax credits equals $20 billion more in the pockets of Canadians.
    In geography, the Liberals get an F for forgetting where Afghanistan and our courageous troops are.
    In history, the Liberals get an F for repeatedly forgetting their 13 year record of waste, mismanagement and corruption.
    In science, the Liberals get an F for greenhouse gas emissions that are 35% above 1990 levels, not 6% below as the Liberals promised.
    For attendance, the Liberals get an F. Apparently 11 Liberal leadership wannabes and their minions prefer playing hooky to representing their constituents here.
    For attention, the Liberals get another F. It seems Liberal MPs just cannot resist their daytime naps in QP.
    No wonder Canadians keep telling the Liberals to go stand in the corner.

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, today I will be delivering more than 800 postcards to the Prime Minister's Office from the residents of Alberni Valley on Vancouver Island.
    Their message is clear. Logging practices in the Alberni Valley are completely unsustainable and are causing deep concern to loggers, mill workers, environmentalists, first nations and local business. The future of our economy is on the line.
    We are asking the Prime Minister to preserve and strengthen the surplus test on export of raw logs from lands in B.C.
    Approximately 1 million cubic meters of wood provide 790 full time processing jobs. With 2.5 million cubic meters of logs exported last year from private lands in B.C., the federal government allowed approximately 2,000 jobs to disappear. Many communities in my riding are also suffering as truckload after truckload of raw logs is exported.
    That is why I am pleased to support the Save Our Valley Alliance as we work together to ban raw log exports and keep jobs in Canada.

[Translation]

National Aboriginal Day

    Mr. Speaker, on this 10th annual National Aboriginal Day, I would like to draw the attention of the House to a first nations community in New Brunswick, the community of Elsibogtog, which sorely lacks adequate housing.
    In fact, Susan Levi-Peters, Chief of the Elsibogtog Nation, wrote to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians. She asked him for 500 new houses but will receive only five.
    We know that aboriginal housing is not a priority for this government. The funding promised in the Conservative budget is simply an allocation and totals $1 billion less than what would have been invested under the Kelowna accord.
    This is an insult to aboriginal Canadians.

  (1415)  

National Aboriginal Day

    Mr. Speaker, June 21 marks the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and more importantly, National Aboriginal Day.
    I am pleased to remind the House that the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended a National Aboriginal Day in 1995. In 1996, June 21 was declared the first National Aboriginal Day.
    For the past 10 years, we have been celebrating the important contributions made by first nations peoples. For decades, even centuries, we have benefited from their assistance in our everyday lives. June 21 offers an opportunity to acknowledge the exceptional contributions made by the first nations, Inuit and Métis to Quebec and Canadian society.
    Aboriginal nations have a place of honour in our history and the Bloc Québécois would like to emphasize the importance of their contribution to our society.
    Enjoy the festivities, my dear friends.

[English]

National Aboriginal Day

    Mr. Speaker, National Aboriginal Day is the perfect time to underline the key role the aboriginal people and the Aboriginal Pipeline Group must play in any development of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.
    The government must take necessary steps to ensure aboriginal people are fully consulted and included in all aspects of the development and management of the project. Areas such as skilled trades training and post-secondary education will be particularly important to create high value, sustainable employment opportunities for aboriginal peoples.
    Forty percent of the Mackenzie Valley project traverses the Deh Cho lands. Recently they rightly expressed disappointment and frustration with the latest land claim offer made by the federal government.
    Canada must remove impediments from the development process and negotiate in good faith a settlement acceptable to all parties. Regrettably, the Mackenzie Valley project is on hold while industry reassesses its cost projections upward from $7.5 billion.
    We look forward to the day when this project can be implemented and the benefits fully shared with Canada's aboriginal peoples in the north.

Air-India

    Mr. Speaker, today Supreme Court Justice John Major launched the commission of inquiry into the investigation of the bombing of Air-India flight 182.
    This bombing was the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history. The families of the victims have a right to answers about this senseless slaughter. Canada must demonstrate that, as a nation, we have learned from our past mistakes and that we will work to identify terrorist threats before more Canadians become innocent victims.
    The government will leave no stone unturned in the search for justice for the Canadians who have suffered as a result of this terrorist attack. The inquiry reflects the government's commitment to fighting terrorism at home and abroad.
    On behalf of the Conservative government, I welcome to Ottawa today the families of the bombing of Air-India flight 182.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister was on this side of the House, he repeatedly called on our government to respect the will of Parliament. “This is a minority Parliament”, he lectured us. The government must listen to all parties in the House.
    Yesterday, Parliament clearly and forcefully expressed the will of the Canadian people. It wants the Conservative government to honour Canada's commitment to our aboriginal people, as agreed to in the Kelowna accord.
    On this National Aboriginal Day, is the Prime Minister's idea of respect for the will of the House and for our aboriginal people to turn his back on the most significant opportunity for progress in our lifetime?
    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. The government is proceeding with aboriginal people to address their priorities.
     Let us compare 13 weeks of Conservative government action to 13 years of Liberal empty promises. Drinking water standards, the Liberals dodged it, we did it. The Indian residential schools compensation, they delayed it, we did it. A claims offer to the Deh Cho, they ducked it, we did it. The process of matrimonial property, they would not proceed, they ducked it, we did it. That is what we are going to see from the Conservative government.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, that response is totally in keeping with the government's lack of respect for anybody other than itself. It is not the hallmark of its thing.
    The Kelowna agreement was a solemn pledge on behalf of the people of Canada, on behalf of our aboriginal people. It was not a political accord. It was not a partisan electoral issue. It was a response to an enormously important problem in our country. To break this pledge is to dishonour Canada and to add to our first nations peoples sense of betrayal in the country.
    In the absence of the Prime Minister, will the minister please, in the name of all that is just, honour Canada's obligations enunciated in our fully funded aboriginal Kelowna accord?
    Mr. Speaker, let us carry on with the comparison: $300 million for northern housing, they did not, we did; $300 million for off reserve housing, they would not, we did; $500 million for the Mackenzie Valley socio-economic fund, they would not, we did. I could go on.
    The Liberals 13 year record is one that is appalling, shameful and devastating.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I think the minister is hard of hearing.
    The Kelowna accord represented a consensus. The governments representing all political parties in this House signed the accord. All the parties represented, even the Conservatives in the provinces, signed the accord. Furthermore, this accord resulted from a number of consultations, when we listened to the solutions coming from aboriginal Canadians.
    Rhyming off a list like the minister did is not worthy of this House. It is not worthy of a government that is proud to have an aboriginal population that wants respect and support.
    Where is the $5 million we promised to our first nations peoples in this country?
    Mr. Speaker, we do not have any lessons in morality to learn from the Liberals.
    We will take action against aboriginal poverty. We will take steps with regard to the systematic funding needed to improve the quality of life of aboriginals.
    Mr. Speaker, today is National Aboriginal Day. And, yet, this government is providing very little reason for the first nations communities to celebrate.
    While age-old diseases are making a comeback within certain aboriginal communities—I am talking about the cases of tuberculosis in Garden Hill, Manitoba—the consequences of the negative actions by this government are worse than if it had done nothing at all.
    Why did this government renounce the signature of the previous government at the bottom of the Kelowna accord, which allocated $1.3 billion to prevent situations like the comeback of tuberculosis in Garden Hill?
    Mr. Speaker, that is not what the budget says. The budget of this Conservative government indicates that $300 million is earmarked for housing in the North and that $300 million is earmarked for off-reserve housing. The budget also allocates an additional $150,000. That is $1.75 billion in all. That is what we have done.
    Mr. Speaker, if it is a question of $5 billion for aboriginal peoples or $5 billion for the GST, I choose the health of aboriginal peoples.
    The infant mortality rate for native communities is 20% higher than for the rest of the Canadian population. The incidence of type 2 diabetes is three times greater and the suicide rate, in certain communities, is ten times higher than in the rest of Canada.
    The Kelowna accord was a first step towards addressing these problems as it provided $870 million over five years for the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, and a further $445 million to increase the system capacity.
    Can the current government inform us of its concrete alternative solution—?

  (1425)  

    The hon. Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that there are some very serious problems in aboriginal communities. We must take up these challenges and find other solutions ourselves, which requires much financial assistance and additional costs.
    Personally, I support another solution to the problems of aboriginal peoples because the Liberal solutions have been catastrophic for aboriginal health.

Visit by the Prime Minister to Quebec City

    Mr. Speaker, on the eve of Quebec's Fête nationale, the Prime Minister has decided to hold a cabinet meeting in the national capital. We can assume, then, that the Prime Minister accords some importance to this holiday. If Quebeckers have a national holiday, it is because they see Quebec as a nation.
    Since the Prime Minister considers it important to be in Quebec City for the Fête nationale, does this also mean that he recognizes that Quebeckers form a nation?
    Mr. Speaker, it is true that the Prime Minister and the entire cabinet will be in Quebec City on Friday. You have also seen in the newspapers that the Prime Minister will be in Beauce to celebrate the Fête nationale with the people there, who are great federalists and believe in a proud Quebec in a united Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, that is all well and good. I do not dispute that. I have this question for the minister. We recognize, and rightly so, that the Acadians form a nation and the first nations are nations. Both sides of this House recognize that.
    Since we recognize that aboriginal peoples and Acadians form nations, which I support, can the minister clearly tell us whether he recognizes that, by the same token, Quebeckers form a nation?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are focusing on the things that matter to Canadians and Quebeckers living in Quebec. We are focusing on ensuring that the Government of Canada is relevant in Quebec, that federalism works for Quebeckers.
    Our belief is that Quebec is stronger within a united Canada. That is exactly the kind of policies the government has acted on and will act on in the coming months.

[Translation]

Government Policies

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will be in Quebec City for the Fête nationale, but unfortunately, everything Quebeckers hold dear seems unimportant to his government. The Kyoto agreement is a priority for Quebeckers; his government has struck Kyoto from its agenda. His government plans to abolish the gun registry, which 76% of Quebeckers support. Antiscab legislation is a reality in Quebec but not in Ottawa because of his government.
    Given this context, how can the Prime Minister justify telling Quebeckers that his government shares their priorities?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been very clear right from the start. We have concentrated on the five priorities that we talked about in the last election. I am very pleased to say we have made tremendous progress on all fronts. I know that is important not just to Quebeckers but to all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there is more. Other issues that are very important to Quebeckers have received no more than a passing glance from his government.
    Limiting imports of milk by-products is a priority for agricultural producers, but it will never happen because his government does not believe in it. Older workers need help, but the government has not made any POWA announcements. The softwood industry needs loan guarantees urgently, but his government refuses to give them.
    How can the Prime Minister claim to be on the same wavelength as Quebeckers when what is important to them is not important to his government?

  (1430)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the hon. member lives in a world where she believes that everything is wrong. That is not the case. We have been emphasizing those things that are important to Canadians, and they are important to Quebeckers as well. We have made tremendous progress. The hon. member should celebrate that this coming weekend.

[Translation]

Minister of the Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP moved a motion before the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, calling for the resignation of the Minister of the Environment.
    The government claims that this is a confidence matter. Once again, as in the case of Gwyn Morgan, the Prime Minister is blinded by partisanship. His minister does not understand the need for immediate action. Climate change is an important file that requires immediate attention.
    Why does the Prime Minister want to force an election because of his incompetent minister?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have made it clear that after 13 years of Liberal waste and mismanagement on all fronts, including the environment, this government is focused on accountability on all fronts, particularly on the environment because the environment is something that Canadians care deeply about.
    This government is concerned about the health of Canadians. Canadians have asked us to protect their health. Those are the measures we are taking every single day in government.
    Platitudes, Mr. Speaker. The minister should resign if she is not going to act. That is all there is to it.
    She does not understand climate change, but there is another minister who has been briefed on climate change. The Minister of National Defence has been told by his officials what impact climate change is going to have on the Northwest Passage. Government documents obtained by the NDP say this: “If the current rate of ice thinning continues, the Northwest Passage could be open to more regular navigation by 2015”.
    That is only nine years away. Does the government not realize that climate change impacts not only the environment but also our sovereignty?
    Mr. Speaker, whether the ice melts or does not melt in the north, we will continue to protect our sovereignty. That is why we are investing in the military. That is why we are going to ensure that the air force, army and navy are able to operate through the north and enforce our sovereignty.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, on National Aboriginal Day, the government has once again abandoned aboriginal Canadians. Canada took the lead in developing the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous people. Now, when it is time for the government to support it, the government rejects it.
    Adopting this resolution would be a sign that the government values the rights and the contributions of aboriginal Canadians. Why does the government continue to abandon Canada's first citizens? Why does the government not think that Canada's indigenous people should have the same rights and the same privileges as all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a continuation of Liberal hypocrisy, empty promises and rhetoric. The member knows full well that no previous government of this country has ever supported that draft declaration. She knows full well that it is inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is inconsistent with our Constitution. It is inconsistent with the National Defence Act. It is inconsistent with our treaties. It is inconsistent with all of the policies under which we have negotiated land claims for 100 years. That is Liberal hypocrisy.
    Mr. Speaker, we all know the Conservative government was a huge disappointment to aboriginal Canadians. In fact, it completely left out the Métis.
    Worse yet, there was no mention of the Métis in the throne speech. There was no mention of the Métis by the Indian affairs minister at the aboriginal affairs committee. On top of that, the Conservatives killed the Kelowna accord which had tremendous opportunity for Métis people.
    Perhaps certain advisers to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development have told them the Métis do not exist. Let me say that they do exist and they are proud to be Métis. When will the government start treating Métis as a priority?
    Mr. Speaker, the member knows full well that the budget contains $300 million for off reserve housing for native Canadians.
    I will not stand in the House and take any lectures from the Liberals on aboriginal policy. That is the party of empty promises. That is the party that stood by while aboriginal Canadians drank water contaminated with E. coli. That is the party that stood by while native aboriginal women could not sleep in their own beds because they have no matrimonial property rights.
    For 13 years of shame, the Liberals have been slammed by the Auditor General and Amnesty International. I will not take it.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I called on the hon. member for Labrador.
    Mr. Speaker, this is the most attention a Métis will get from that government.
    It is National Aboriginal Day, a day to celebrate. Yet aboriginal people are crying shame on the Conservatives, shame for killing Kelowna, shame for opposing the UN indigenous race declaration, shame that the Conservatives do not consult with aboriginal people.
    Premier Williams said that the Prime Minister agreed to finance the Lower Churchill hydro project and the Conservatives have not consulted with the aboriginal people in Labrador. Before signing a deal, will the government in its shameful way consult with the Inuit and Métis to resolve outstanding legal issues and ensure all residents of Labrador benefit from this resource?
    Mr. Speaker, I think today we are actually talking about Liberal shame. The former leader of the Liberal Party describes the Liberal record as shameful. One of the current leadership candidates describes it as devastating.
    There is lot of noise and sputtering from the other side of the House, which is the Liberals choking on their own record of shame.
    Mr. Speaker, on June 15 the Minister of Indian Affairs claimed that the procurement strategy for aboriginal business continues to be government policy.
    Perhaps he should speak to his colleague, the Minister of Health, whose communications director said that the health department would not respect this federal policy, in place since 1996.
    Would the Minister of Health please clarify for us whether his department will respect the mandatory set aside program for aboriginal business?
    Mr. Speaker, I think all members of the House realize that I cannot get into any details on procurement, but indeed, as the hon. member no doubt knows, we want to ensure that aboriginal Canadians wherever they live get the best health care from the best sources available with the best health outcomes.
    That is the strategy of this government when it comes to aboriginal health care.

[Translation]

Securities Industry

    Mr. Speaker, more than anything, Quebeckers hate being ripped off. They are very attached to their securities commission, which is rightfully theirs under the Constitution.
    How can the finance minister justify to Quebeckers his plan to bring together the entire securities industry under a single, Canada-wide commission, in Toronto, when this does not fall under his jurisdiction by virtue of the Canadian Constitution?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the issue is as part of our economic federation whether it is in the best interests of Canadians across Canada to have one common securities regulator. The issue is not whether it needs to be a federal regulator or a regulator that is created by the provinces.
    The point of the discussion which we hope to have with the finance ministers and the ministers responsible for securities regulation next week when we meet together is to address that issue in terms of making sense of our economic federation and protecting investors in Canada and having adequate enforcement, whether it is in our best interests to have one common securities regulator.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Constitution is clear: securities are a provincial jurisdiction.
    How can the federal government try to convince Quebeckers that the Quebec securities commission is not working and that control should be centralized in Toronto when, according to the OECD, our existing system is the second best in the world? Could it be that the minister's perception is clouded by his desire to favour Toronto?

[English]

    No, Mr. Speaker. I want to favour Canadians. I want to protect investors who invest in RSPs, who invest in pension plans, who invest directly in the market. There is a significant market in Montreal in the derivatives section that can certainly be accommodated in our discussions.
    As I say, the point is not a provincial jurisdiction point. The point is the best interests of Canadians who need protection in our securities markets.

  (1440)  

[Translation]

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Canada has stated that it is withdrawing its support for the proposed United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, although the international community has been working on this declaration for 20 years. The vote will take place on June 29 in Geneva.
    How can the government explain Canada's about-face when the secretary general of Amnesty International states that it is difficult to imagine that a worse problem could exist with no will to solve it after so many years of work?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's question, but I do not agree with him.
    The proposed wording is incompatible with our Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, various Supreme Court decisions, the National Defence Act and federal policies on aboriginal land claims and self-government.
    We must work with other countries and the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to improve the drafting of such a declaration.
    Mr. Speaker, I invite the minister to reread article 45 of the draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which reads as follows:
    Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations.
    What, then, is the explanation for the radical shift to the right, if it is not Canada's desire to align itself with the United States and Australia, disregarding the tradition of dialogue with and openness to aboriginal peoples that Canada and Quebec have maintained until now?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of some importance. Let us ensure that the public record is clear on this matter.
    The draft declaration has never been supported by any previous government of this country. There is no change of policy in that regard. It is not supported by the Australians. It is not supported by New Zealand.
     It is contrary to or inconsistent with the Canadian charter, with our Constitution Act, the distribution of powers. It is inconsistent with previous decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada and very inconsistent with the National Defence Act and the treaties and policies under which we negotiate treaties.
    This is a draft which requires further work. That work is under way. We support a final text as long as it is improved.

Softwood Lumber

    Mr. Speaker, it has been almost two months since the Prime Minister announced his softwood sellout, but the fallout continues.
    Industry is revolting to save itself. Premiers are feeling betrayed. We are now getting details of a leaked letter from the Bush administration to its lumber lobby confirming that the real goal of the U.S. is to completely hobble the Canadian forestry sector for at least seven years.
    Will the Prime Minister admit today that his grand proclamation in April was akin to erecting a mission accomplished banner on an aircraft carrier before the job was actually done?
    Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber discussions are proceeding extremely well. Provinces are very supportive.
    The so-called letter that is being referred to was an undated, unsigned letter. It has no status whatever in the discussions that are ongoing on softwood lumber.
    I can tell the hon. member that his region, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and the west and B.C. are going to be much better off under this softwood lumber agreement than under any other alternative.
    Mr. Speaker, under this so-called deal, at current softwood lumber prices our producers will face up to 10% duty with an export cap. That is not free trade. That is not fair trade. In fact, it is much worse than the illegal status quo.
     Negotiators have now left the table and there is no plan to comply with NAFTA.
    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing, support our Canadian industry now and guarantee that NAFTA and Canada's sovereignty will be protected if he goes back to the sellout table?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, never has the softwood lumber industry been better and more strongly supported than by this Prime Minister and this government.
    I want to remind the hon. member that no regions would have to accept an export tax of that level. They could opt for a different option and they would be facing a much less severe duty and a much less severe export tax. It would create much greater stability and much more predictability in this industry.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, in Washington last week the Minister of Industry met secretly with the president of Boeing's defence division and with top representatives of Lockheed Martin, a potential bidder on the tactical airlift purchase.
     By meeting with these companies secretly, the minister has opened up our country to legal challenges for years to come. Why was the Prime Minister blind to the fact that these meetings take away the integrity of what must be an open, transparent and competitive process?
    Mr. Speaker, I was in Washington last week and am pretty proud to have had a first meeting with my counterpart. We had discussions about the security partnership and the prosperity partnership.
    Also, I had some meetings with the aerospace industry. Those were very profitable meetings. As is usual for the Minister of Industry, I have to meet my counterparts and also meet industry. I did that at the beginning of this mandate and I am going to follow that to meet the industry stakeholders.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I imagine the industry minister's knees must be sore, what with all the negotiating in Washington.
    In a public relations strategy and, let us be honest, in an attempt to hide the facts, the Minister of Industry secretly met in Washington with directors from Boeing and Lockheed Martin to make us forget the total lack of transparency in the C-17 issue.
    The Conservatives are now getting ready to announce more military procurements. The agreement allegedly proposes that maintenance of the tactical helicopters and aircraft over a 20-year period will be assigned to the industry, but through a competition run by these two U.S. companies.
    In addition to giving up Canada's security and sovereignty, is the Minister of Defence now preparing to leave our procurement policy to the Americans? Is that what he is saying?

[English]

    First of all, Mr. Speaker, any decision taken by this government with respect to defence equipment will be in the interests of the military, will serve the needs of Canada's security and will also provide industry with plentiful benefits. We will always, when we acquire equipment, have it sovereign, under our control, and we will manage the equipment.

Goods and Services Tax

    Mr. Speaker, this government delivered on its promise to reduce the GST from 7% to 6%. After crossing the floor to a party that once campaigned on scrapping the GST, Liberal leadership hopeful and member for Kings—Hants now says he wants to increase the GST.
    Can the finance minister tell this House and leadership candidates opposite why the GST reduction is good for all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I know that July 1 will be a day of mourning for the members of the GST club opposite. That is the day the rest of Canadians will be celebrating the 1% reduction in the GST, which will come into force on July 1. I understand that the bill is passing through the Senate today.
    I thank the members opposite for permitting the budget bill to pass through the House on unanimous consent. It gives me a warm feeling of collegiality at the end of the session.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the United States activated their so-called missile defence shield for the first time. This is another step in this alarming arms race. Canadians are strongly opposed to an arms race in space.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us whether Canada is still refusing to take part in the missile defence shield?
    Does Canada reject the concept of weapons in space?

  (1450)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I can certainly confirm to the hon. member that Canada is in no way, shape or form embarking on any further discussions with the United States of America on ballistic missile defence.
    I can tell her, as she is probably already aware, that the former ambassador of Canada to the United States, Frank McKenna, has urged all members of the Liberal Party and Liberal leadership contenders to take a look at this issue, so perhaps they will pronounce themselves on it in the near future.
    Mr. Speaker, just like Frank McKenna, more and more Liberals now want Canada to join the missile defence madness.
    New Democrats are focused on the World Peace Forum in Vancouver, but the critical question is which side the government is on. Is it for peace or for an escalated arms race? According to the Department of National Defence, the relationship between Canada Command and the U.S. Northern Command will deepen integration. Is the government joining the missile defence program by stealth, just like documents from DND seem to indicate?
    Mr. Speaker, this government is for peace. We are always for peace. We have made no changes to the previous government's policy with respect to ballistic missile defence. There have been no changes. We recently had a Norad agreement, which added maritime surveillance but did not make any other changes, so we are in a status quo.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the last time the Conservatives took office, the International Monetary Fund sounded the alert because the Canada Pension Plan was not viable. Then the Liberal government secured the Canada Pension fund for the next 75 years. Today we are hearing that the Conservatives want to tinker with this plan.
    Will the Minister of Finance really jeopardize the pensions of future generations?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for raising the IMF issue. The report the IMF did with respect to our budget and our efforts on the Canadian economy was quite complimentary last week.
    On the issue he raises with respect to the CPP and the QPP, that is an issue we referenced in the fiscal balance paper that was published with the budget. I am sure the hon. member has read it. It is an issue of intergenerational equity with respect to taxation, which we do intend to discuss with the finance ministers next week when we gather.
    Mr. Speaker, such a vague answer is totally unacceptable when it comes to the security of the pension system of Canadians. The Liberal government fixed that system for 75 years. The rumour is in the Globe and Mail this morning that the government is tinkering with a system that is not broken.
    Will the minister confirm to seniors and near seniors today, not at some future meeting, that he is not going to tinker with a pension system that was resolved for 75 years by the former government?
    What we are not going to do, Mr. Speaker, is what members opposite did when they were the government, and that is to have these surprise surpluses and then interfere in provincial jurisdiction and meddle in provincial jurisdiction with these surprise surpluses that were not authorized by Parliament.
    What we are going to do is look at the issue of intergenerational equity and ask how we can more fairly distribute that surplus over the generations in Canada so that young people are treated more fairly than they were by the members opposite when they were the government.

[Translation]

Public Works and Government Services

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and his parliamentary secretary publicly confirmed the 75:25 distribution of Government of Canada jobs between Ontario and Quebec, in the national capital region. Yesterday, at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, the Conservatives and the New Democratic Party amended a motion so that the 75:25 policy would in future refer to square footage rather than individuals.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us which warehouses, with no jobs, does he intend to transfer to the Quebec side of the national capital region?

  (1455)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the motion was tabled in committee but has not been voted on yet. The policy position of 75:25 is a policy that was put in place by the previous government. It is something that we recognize as important for the region and important for the country, and it is a policy that we are going to honour.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is mistaken because the amendment was voted on and accepted. Since the Minister of Public Works and Government Services is not a member of Parliament and his parliamentary secretary is not present at the cabinet table, can the Prime Minister tell us why his government will advertise for only ten days a call for tenders to relocate the RCMP in the next six months, knowing full well that Minto is the only corporation capable of qualifying?
    Why does his government not wish to obtain the best terms at the best price without lobbyists and while respecting the 75:25 policy?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, on the issue of the former JDS Uniphase building, this government decided to go to a new competitive open process and that is exactly what we have done.
    With regard to the 75:25 policy, unfortunately I cannot educate my colleague in 30 seconds on what the policy is, but I know that he is going to have a briefing very soon from the Department of Public Works. When he gets that briefing, he will understand this policy much better.
    What is interesting is that he is condemning a policy that was put in place by the former Liberal government. It is very interesting. Now that he is on the opposition side, suddenly he has a backbone and is opposed to a policy that he was championing just a few months ago. We are going to get done what the Liberals failed to do, which is what is right and which is the 75:25 policy and good value for taxpayers.

[Translation]

Canada Post Corporation

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is going to Quebec City for Quebec's Fête nationale and this will be a good opportunity for him to give the residents of that city a few explanations.
    Could the minister responsible for the regions of Quebec explain to the citizens of my region why, despite promises from the Conservatives during the election campaign, she did not lift a finger to prevent the closure of the mail sorting centre in Quebec's national capital region?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the people of Quebec City can be very proud of my Conservative colleagues in the House who have expressed this issue to the minister and brought it forward to me. They have worked very hard on this issue and they continue to work very hard to represent the people of Quebec. They have fulfilled their election promise. They have assured this House that there will be no jobs lost and the quality of service will actually be improved. We should be very proud of our Quebec MPs from the Conservative side.

[Translation]

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, the Prime Minister scoffed at his Liberal predecessors for not even being able to get a bridge painted, the Quebec bridge to be exact.
    Does he intend to take advantage of his trip to Quebec City to explain to the people why, five months after his election, his government is still no better at getting the Quebec bridge painted?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would seriously suggest that my colleague should read more newspapers because the bridge is built, it is painted and it is working fine.
    These Conservative members are doing very well in Quebec at representing the people of Quebec and making sure that Quebeckers get what they need.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.
    Do we want a radical fundamentalist takeover in Somalia? Does the Prime Minister need to see images on our front pages of human carnage and children with distended bellies to act? In February, Canadian parliamentarians sent an appeal to the Prime Minister to call an international donors conference for Somalia to organize a rapid reconstruction team.
    After four months of repeated requests and Conservative inaction, what does the Prime Minister have to say to the anguished hundreds of thousands of Somali Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada has proceeded with more than $35.1 million to the World Food Programme, WFP, to countries in East Africa and the Horn that have been affected by drought and food shortages. The hon. member would know that included a $4.5 million commitment to Somalia.
    This government, obviously, remains very concerned, along with all members present, about the drought. We continue to monitor the situation closely and we will continue to figure prominently in the recovery and the support of the people of Somalia.

  (1500)  

Fisheries

    Mr. Speaker, the Fraser River in B.C. represents one of Canada's most sensitive salmon fisheries.
    Recently it has come to light that the previous Liberal government was planning to reduce enforcement on the Fraser River. As we know, Canadians expect our fisheries to be protected against illegal fishing. Canadians will be relieved to know that this government is committed to doing just that.
    Could the fisheries minister tell us what steps he has taken to increase enforcement on the Fraser River?
    Mr. Speaker, the new member is certainly a fast learner. He is right when he says that the former government was going to reduce the number of fisheries officers. He is also right when he says that the fishery needs protection.
    We will be spending $2.4 million, not only to reverse the decision made by the former government, but to add a significant number of extra fisheries officers on the river so we can have a stable fishery this year, which is lauded, by the way, by most of the groups that are looking forward to a good year on the Fraser River.

Chinese Canadians

    Mr. Speaker, last Sunday was Father's Day but many Chinese Canadians never knew their fathers because of the racist head tax. Very few of them could celebrate Father's Day because their fathers died waiting for an apology and redress.
    A few minutes ago I welcomed a trainload of very frail seniors who have arrived in Ottawa looking for justice at last, but justice without compensation for families there is no reconciliation. It will not work.
    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing tomorrow and offer compensation to Chinese head tax payers' descendants?
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that tomorrow will be a historic day for the Chinese community and all Canadians. This Prime Minister and the government will fulfill their election promise. An apology will be made in the House and we will be addressing appropriate acknowledgement.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, in October of last year a letter was sent to Joyce Carter, who is a widow of a war veteran in Cape Breton. In the letter the Prime Minister states that a Conservative government would immediately extend the veterans independence programs for all widows of all veterans regardless of the time of death. However, we hear from Veterans Affairs Canada that may not be so.
    I want to give the Prime Minister and the government an opportunity to look at the camera, talk to Joyce Carter through the media and tell her that we will immediately extend the VIP program for all widows of all veterans regardless of the time of death.
    Mr. Speaker, the first thing we want to clarify is that the letter was not written by the Prime Minister.
    In terms of the Department of Veterans Affairs, we will be spending an additional $350 million this year alone, which is $350 million more than the previous government.
    One of the first things I did as minister was to initiate a health care review. The information from that health care review will be the knowledge base that we will use as we move forward to continue to improve services for veterans and their families, and that includes widows.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, last week Canada was missing in action at a UN contact group emergency meeting on the crisis in Somalia, which did not meet about the drought but about the looming civil war.
    The Somali transitional government has 17 ministers and parliamentarians with Canadian passports and hundreds of Somali Canadians are volunteering on the ground. The Conservatives have abandoned them and have missed a chance to show international peace building leadership.
    Civil war and famine are at Somalia's gates. Will the foreign minister at least engage with the UN emergency contact group and the AU peacekeeping mission?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada is, of course, engaged in this process. We called immediately for a ceasefire and we urged all parties to fully respect their obligations under international law, including the full protection for aid workers and their safe and unimpeded access to the needs of the people of Somalia. We have also called for an end to the occupation of a major hospital operated by the Somali Red Crescent Society.
    Canada has been there. We have been involved. We will continue to do so and continue to aid this wartorn country. We will continue to do as much as we can in concert with other international partners.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1505)  

[Translation]

Federal Accountability Act

    It being 1:05 p.m., pursuant to the order made Tuesday, June 20, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions on the motions at the report stage of Bill C-2.
    Call in the members.

[English]

    Before the taking of the vote:
    Mr. Speaker, I think if you were to ask you would find unanimous consent to amend Motion No. 30, which will be voted on in short order. I move:
    That Bill C-2, in Clause 315, be amended by replacing lines 19 to 21 on page 207 with the following:
“provincial government or municipality, or any of their agencies;
(c.1) a band, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act, any”
    Is it agreed that Motion No. 30 be amended as outlined by the hon. President of the Treasury Board?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Amendment agreed to)

    The question is on Motion No. 1.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

    The House divided on Motion No. 1, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 25)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
André
Arthur
Asselin
Bachand
Baird
Barbot
Batters
Bellavance
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Bigras
Blackburn
Blais
Blaney
Bonsant
Bouchard
Boucher
Bourgeois
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Brunelle
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Cardin
Carrie
Carrier
Casson
Chong
Clement
Crête
Cummins
Davidson
Day
DeBellefeuille
Del Mastro
Demers
Deschamps
Devolin
Doyle
Duceppe
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Faille
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Freeman
Galipeau
Gallant
Gaudet
Gauthier
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guay
Guergis
Guimond
Hanger
Harper
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Komarnicki
Kotto
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Laforest
Laframboise
Lake
Lauzon
Lavallée
Lemay
Lemieux
Lessard
Lévesque
Loubier
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
Lussier
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malo
Manning
Mark
Mayes
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Mourani
Nadeau
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
Ouellet
Pallister
Paquette
Paradis
Perron
Petit
Picard
Plamondon
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Roy
Sauvageau
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shipley
Skelton
Smith
Solberg
Sorenson
St-Cyr
St-Hilaire
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Turner
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Vincent
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 174


NAYS

Members

Alghabra
Angus
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barnes
Beaumier
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bevington
Black
Blaikie
Bonin
Boshcoff
Brown (Oakville)
Byrne
Chamberlain
Chan
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coderre
Comartin
Comuzzi
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dosanjh
Easter
Eyking
Folco
Fontana
Fry
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Graham
Guarnieri
Holland
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Keeper
Khan
Lapierre
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
MacAulay
Malhi
Maloney
Marleau
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Merasty
Minna
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Nash
Neville
Owen
Pacetti
Patry
Peterson
Priddy
Proulx
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
Simms
St. Denis
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Valley
Wappel
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Wrzesnewskyj
Zed

Total: -- 116


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 1 carried.
    The next question is on Motion No. 3.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among all parties and I think if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent to apply the results of the vote just taken to the motion now before the House, with Conservatives voting yes.
    Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be voting against the motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my Bloc Québécois colleagues will vote in favour of this motion.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP members vote no to this motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I vote yes.
    (The House divided on Motion No. 3, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 26)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
André
Arthur
Asselin
Bachand
Baird
Barbot
Batters
Bellavance
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Bigras
Blackburn
Blais
Blaney
Bonsant
Bouchard
Boucher
Bourgeois
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Brunelle
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Cardin
Carrie
Carrier
Casson
Chong
Clement
Crête
Cummins
Davidson
Day
DeBellefeuille
Del Mastro
Demers
Deschamps
Devolin
Doyle
Duceppe
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Faille
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Freeman
Galipeau
Gallant
Gaudet
Gauthier
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guay
Guergis
Guimond
Hanger
Harper
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Komarnicki
Kotto
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Laforest
Laframboise
Lake
Lauzon
Lavallée
Lemay
Lemieux
Lessard
Lévesque
Loubier
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
Lussier
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malo
Manning
Mark
Mayes
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Mourani
Nadeau
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
Ouellet
Pallister
Paquette
Paradis
Perron
Petit
Picard
Plamondon
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Roy
Sauvageau
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shipley
Skelton
Smith
Solberg
Sorenson
St-Cyr
St-Hilaire
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Turner
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Vincent
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 174


NAYS

Members

Alghabra
Angus
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barnes
Beaumier
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bevington
Black
Blaikie
Bonin
Boshcoff
Brown (Oakville)
Byrne
Chamberlain
Chan
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coderre
Comartin
Comuzzi
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dosanjh
Easter
Eyking
Folco
Fontana
Fry
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Graham
Guarnieri
Holland
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Keeper
Khan
Lapierre
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
MacAulay
Malhi
Maloney
Marleau
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Merasty
Minna
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Nash
Neville
Owen
Pacetti
Patry
Peterson
Priddy
Proulx
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
Simms
St. Denis
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Valley
Wappel
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Wrzesnewskyj
Zed

Total: -- 116


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 3 carried.
    The next question is on Motion No. 6.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think you would find unanimous consent to apply the results of the vote just taken to the motion now before the House, with Conservatives voting yes to the motion.
    Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be voting against the motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of this motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP are voting no to the motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will vote in favour of this motion.
    The House divided on Motion No. 6, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 27)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
André
Arthur
Asselin
Bachand
Baird
Barbot
Batters
Bellavance
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Bigras
Blackburn
Blais
Blaney
Bonsant
Bouchard
Boucher
Bourgeois
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Brunelle
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Cardin
Carrie
Carrier
Casson
Chong
Clement
Crête
Cummins
Davidson
Day
DeBellefeuille
Del Mastro
Demers
Deschamps
Devolin
Doyle
Duceppe
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Faille
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Freeman
Galipeau
Gallant
Gaudet
Gauthier
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guay
Guergis
Guimond
Hanger
Harper
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Komarnicki
Kotto
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Laforest
Laframboise
Lake
Lauzon
Lavallée
Lemay
Lemieux
Lessard
Lévesque
Loubier
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
Lussier
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malo
Manning
Mark
Mayes
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Mourani
Nadeau
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
Ouellet
Pallister
Paquette
Paradis
Perron
Petit
Picard
Plamondon
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Roy
Sauvageau
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shipley
Skelton
Smith
Solberg
Sorenson
St-Cyr
St-Hilaire
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Turner
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Vincent
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 174


NAYS

Members

Alghabra
Angus
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barnes
Beaumier
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bevington
Black
Blaikie
Bonin
Boshcoff
Brown (Oakville)
Byrne
Chamberlain
Chan
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coderre
Comartin
Comuzzi
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dosanjh
Easter
Eyking
Folco
Fontana
Fry
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Graham
Guarnieri
Holland
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Keeper
Khan
Lapierre
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
MacAulay
Malhi
Maloney
Marleau
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Merasty
Minna
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Nash
Neville
Owen
Pacetti
Patry
Peterson
Priddy
Proulx
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
Simms
St. Denis
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Valley
Wappel
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Wrzesnewskyj
Zed

Total: -- 116


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 6 carried.
     The next question is on Motion No. 14.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think you would find unanimous consent to apply the results of the vote just taken to the motion now before us, with Conservatives voting no to the motion.
    Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be voting in favour of the motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP will vote in favour of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I will vote against the motion.
    (The House divided on Motion No. 14, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 28)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Beaumier
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bevington
Bigras
Black
Blaikie
Blais
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Chamberlain
Chan
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coderre
Comartin
Comuzzi
Crête
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dosanjh
Duceppe
Easter
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Fontana
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Gauthier
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Graham
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond
Holland
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Keeper
Khan
Kotto
Laforest
Laframboise
Lapierre
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Loubier
Lussier
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Marleau
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Merasty
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Ouellet
Owen
Pacetti
Paquette
Patry
Perron
Peterson
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Sauvageau
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
Simms
St-Cyr
St-Hilaire
St. Denis
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Valley
Vincent
Wappel
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Wrzesnewskyj
Zed

Total: -- 165


NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Batters
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clement
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hanger
Harper
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mark
Mayes
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
Pallister
Paradis
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shipley
Skelton
Smith
Solberg
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Turner
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 125


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 14 carried.

[English]

    The next question is on Motion No. 20.
    Mr. Speaker, I think you would find unanimous consent to apply the results of the vote just taken to the motion now before the House, with Conservatives voting no to the motion.
    Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be voting in favour of the motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will vote against the motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP are voting yes to the motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will vote against the motion.
    (The House divided on Motion No. 20, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 29)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
Angus
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barnes
Beaumier
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bevington
Black
Blaikie
Bonin
Boshcoff
Brown (Oakville)
Byrne
Chamberlain
Chan
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coderre
Comartin
Comuzzi
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dosanjh
Easter
Eyking
Folco
Fontana
Fry
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Graham
Guarnieri
Holland
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Keeper
Khan
Lapierre
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
MacAulay
Malhi
Maloney
Marleau
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Merasty
Minna
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Nash
Neville
Owen
Pacetti
Patry
Peterson
Priddy
Proulx
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
Simms
St. Denis
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Valley
Wappel
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Wrzesnewskyj
Zed

Total: -- 116


NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
André
Arthur
Asselin
Bachand
Baird
Barbot
Batters
Bellavance
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Bigras
Blackburn
Blais
Blaney
Bonsant
Bouchard
Boucher
Bourgeois
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Brunelle
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Cardin
Carrie
Carrier
Casson
Chong
Clement
Crête
Cummins
Davidson
Day
DeBellefeuille
Del Mastro
Demers
Deschamps
Devolin
Doyle
Duceppe
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Faille
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Freeman
Galipeau
Gallant
Gaudet
Gauthier
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guay
Guergis
Guimond
Hanger
Harper
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Komarnicki
Kotto
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Laforest
Laframboise
Lake
Lauzon
Lavallée
Lemay
Lemieux
Lessard
Lévesque
Loubier
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
Lussier
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malo
Manning
Mark
Mayes
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Mourani
Nadeau
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
Ouellet
Pallister
Paquette
Paradis
Perron
Petit
Picard
Plamondon
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Roy
Sauvageau
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shipley
Skelton
Smith
Solberg
Sorenson
St-Cyr
St-Hilaire
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Turner
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Vincent
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 174


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 20 lost.

[English]

    The next question is on Motion No. 12.
    Mr. Speaker, I think you would find unanimous consent to apply the results of the vote just taken to the motion now before the House, with Conservatives voting yes to the motion.
    Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be voting against the motion.

  (1525)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will vote against the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP will vote against the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I will vote in favour of the motion.
    (The House divided on Motion No. 12, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 30)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Batters
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clement
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hanger
Harper
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mark
Mayes
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
Pallister
Paradis
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shipley
Skelton
Smith
Solberg
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Turner
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 125


NAYS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Beaumier
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bevington
Bigras
Black
Blaikie
Blais
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Chamberlain
Chan
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coderre
Comartin
Comuzzi
Crête
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dosanjh
Duceppe
Easter
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Fontana
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Gauthier
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Graham
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond
Holland
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Keeper
Khan
Kotto
Laforest
Laframboise
Lapierre
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Loubier
Lussier
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Marleau
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Merasty
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Ouellet
Owen
Pacetti
Paquette
Patry
Perron
Peterson
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Sauvageau
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
Simms
St-Cyr
St-Hilaire
St. Denis
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Valley
Vincent
Wappel
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Wrzesnewskyj
Zed

Total: -- 165


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 12 lost.

[English]

    The next question is on Motion No. 29.
    Mr. Speaker, I think you would find unanimous consent to apply the results of the vote just taken to motion now before the House, with Conservatives voting no to the motion.
    Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be voting in favour of the motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my Bloc Québécois colleagues will vote in favour of Motion No. 29.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP are voting yes to this motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will vote against the motion.
    (The House divided on Motion No. 29, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 31)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Beaumier
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bevington
Bigras
Black
Blaikie
Blais
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Chamberlain
Chan
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coderre
Comartin
Comuzzi
Crête
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dosanjh
Duceppe
Easter
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Fontana
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Gauthier
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Graham
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond
Holland
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Keeper
Khan
Kotto
Laforest
Laframboise
Lapierre
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Loubier
Lussier
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Marleau
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Merasty
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Ouellet
Owen
Pacetti
Paquette
Patry
Perron
Peterson
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Sauvageau
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
Simms
St-Cyr
St-Hilaire
St. Denis
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Valley
Vincent
Wappel
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Wrzesnewskyj
Zed

Total: -- 165


NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Batters
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clement
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hanger
Harper
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mark
Mayes
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
Pallister
Paradis
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shipley
Skelton
Smith
Solberg
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Turner
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 125


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 29 carried.

[English]

    The next question is on Motion No. 30, as amended.
    Mr. Speaker, once more I think you will find unanimous consent of the House to proceed with applying the results of the vote just taken to the motion before the House, Motion No. 30, with Conservative members present voting in favour.
    Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be voting in favour of this motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my Bloc Québécois colleagues will support this motion.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP members will vote in favour of this motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I will vote in favour of this motion.
    (The House divided on Motion No. 30, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 32)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Alghabra
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
André
Angus
Arthur
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Baird
Barbot
Barnes
Batters
Beaumier
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Benoit
Bernier
Bevington
Bezan
Bigras
Black
Blackburn
Blaikie
Blais
Blaney
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bouchard
Boucher
Bourgeois
Breitkreuz
Brown (Oakville)
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Brunelle
Byrne
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Cardin
Carrie
Carrier
Casson
Chamberlain
Chan
Charlton
Chong
Chow
Christopherson
Clement
Coderre
Comartin
Comuzzi
Crête
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cummins
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davidson
Davies
Day
DeBellefeuille
Del Mastro
Demers
Deschamps
Devolin
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dosanjh
Doyle
Duceppe
Dykstra
Easter
Emerson
Epp
Eyking
Faille
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Folco
Fontana
Freeman
Fry
Galipeau
Gallant
Gaudet
Gauthier
Godfrey
Godin
Goldring
Goodale
Goodyear
Gourde
Graham
Grewal
Guarnieri
Guay
Guergis
Guimond
Hanger
Harper
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Holland
Ignatieff
Jaffer
Jean
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Karetak-Lindell
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Keeper
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Komarnicki
Kotto
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Laforest
Laframboise
Lake
Lapierre
Lauzon
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Lemieux
Lessard
Lévesque
Loubier
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
Lussier
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Manning
Mark
Marleau
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
Mayes
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Menzies
Merasty
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Minna
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
Ouellet
Owen
Pacetti
Pallister
Paquette
Paradis
Patry
Perron
Peterson
Petit
Picard
Plamondon
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Priddy
Proulx
Rajotte
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Sauvageau
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schellenberger
Scott
Sgro
Shipley
Siksay
Silva
Simard
Simms
Skelton
Smith
Solberg
Sorenson
St-Cyr
St-Hilaire
St. Denis
Stanton
Steckle
Stoffer
Storseth
Strahl
Stronach
Sweet
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tilson
Toews
Tonks
Trost
Turner
Tweed
Valley
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Vincent
Wallace
Wappel
Warawa
Warkentin
Wasylycia-Leis
Watson
Wilfert
Williams
Wilson
Wrzesnewskyj
Yelich
Zed

Total: -- 290


NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 30 carried as amended.

[English]

     moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in.

[Translation]

    The House has heard the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    An hon. member: On division.

    (Motion agreed to)

[English]

    When shall the bill be read a third time? Later this day, in accordance with the order adopted yesterday.
    Order. I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, government orders will be extended by 24 minutes.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1530)  

[Translation]

Ethics Commissioner

    Pursuant to section 28 of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, it is my duty to present to the House the report of the Ethics Commissioner on an inquiry in relation to the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.

Canadian Forces Housing Agency

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two copies of the 2004-05 annual report of the Canadian Forces Housing Agency.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, during question period the veterans affairs minister said that a letter that I quoted was not signed by the Prime Minister, but I would like clarification for the House and the government that if a letter is signed on behalf of the Prime Minister, does that not still constitute a commitment from the government in terms of the VIP program?
    I am sure that the hon. member would like to get an answer to his question which really is a question. I would suggest he do it tomorrow in question period rather than on a point of order, because I do not think he has raised a point of order, but rather a matter of discussion or debate as to what constitutes an obligation of the government.

Government Response to Petitions

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

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, a report of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group at the Canadian-American Border Trade Alliance Conference: The Canadian-U.S. Border -- A Unified Focus, held in Ottawa, Ontario, on April 30 to May 2, 2006.

Committees of the House

Industry, Science and Technology 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in relation to the challenges facing the Canadian manufacturing sector.

Status of Women  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the seventh report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women on the issue of the division of matrimonial real property rights on reserve lands.
    When married couples divorce in Canada, the division of matrimonial property is determined in accordance with provincial laws. Provincial laws do not apply to the division of real property on reserve lands, however. Because there are no federal provisions in the Indian Act or elsewhere that govern the division of matrimonial real property on reserves, people residing on reserves cannot use the Canadian legal system to resolve such property disputes. The committee heard that this situation, compounded by a lack of housing on reserves, forces many women to leave their reserve communities when their relationships break down.
    In this report the Standing Committee on the Status of Women recommends a process to ensure that the voices of first nations women as well as first nations leaders are heard and respected as the government moves forward to find concrete solutions to this human rights violation.
    I am very pleased to see that the Conservative government is now following the previous program that the Liberal government had put forward.

  (1535)  

Veterans Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs on the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007.

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, titled “Striking a Blow for Democracy: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution”.
    As a refugee from that era, when I read the November 26, 1956 issue of Hansard it really brought back memories of the country I left.
     The response of Canada was incredibly exemplary. On a per capita basis, Canada took in the highest proportion of the 200,000 Hungarian refugees who fled after the revolution. Canada took in 37,000 people.
    Beyond this, the treatment of the Hungarian refugees also signalled that paradigm shift in the policy of the government in dealing with refugees. We saw examples of that in the African, eastern European, Indochina refugee movements. Clearly, we very much are at the forefront in dealing with refugees.
    The minister of immigration of the day, Jack Pickersgill, is held with great love by all Hungarians for the efforts he put forth in securing their passage here.
    Beyond the revolution itself, it really started to represent the first crack in the iron curtain, seeing the freedoms in the revolutions in eastern Europe, and the coming down of the Berlin wall. It is something that really strikes at the very basic desires of all people, that is, democracy and freedom.
    This will be a year of commemoration and celebration and of giving thanks to Canada by Hungarians and their children for the hospitality Canadians have shown us.
    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions with all parties and I think if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for concurrence in the report.
    Therefore, I move that the third report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration be concurred in.
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member there will not be any problems with that. Certainly, the Hungarian revolution is one of the turning points of the 20th century. I was only about four years old, but I remember at a very early age the first group of refugees who came to Niagara Falls and being informed of those refugees whom Canada welcomed. It certainly was a continuation of Canada's welcoming of refugees to this country.
    It is very significant what took place after the Hungarian revolution as well. That particular incident became an inspiration for all those who were trying to throw off the yoke of communism, whether it was Czechoslovakia a few years later, or the Solidarity movement in Poland, it showed the way, that there were people in eastern Europe who were not prepared to accept their domination by anyone.
    That particular movement became an inspiration, quite frankly, for all who came after that. Those individuals in eastern Europe and indeed freedom-loving people around the world can look to that moment 50 years ago when a group of individuals within Hungary stood up to the oppression that they were suffering.
    Of course a report of that nature would receive unanimous consent and certainly the consent of the Conservative Party.

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague from Burnaby—Douglas who worked very hard on the committee, the New Democratic Party supports this motion.
    I also wish to bring to the attention of the House my gratitude because my own father-in-law is Hungarian. He was born on the Pest side of Budapest. He came to Canada in 1952 ahead of the invasion of Hungary.
    On behalf of my father-in-law, we thank the hon. member and my colleague from Burnaby--Douglas and all members who support this motion.
    Does the hon. member for Kitchener—Waterloo have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this concurrence 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)

Government Operations and Estimates  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.
    The committee has considered the matter of the implementation of accrual based budgeting and appropriations and has agreed to report it. We will be doing a thorough study of this issue in the fall.

[Translation]

Official Languages  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f), the committee discussed the issue involving His Excellency, Mr. Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Organization of la Francophonie.

[English]

Public Accounts  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, two reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. The sixth report is on Chapter 5, Management of Programs for First Nations, of the May 2006 report of the Auditor General of Canada. The seventh report is on Chapter 8, Revenue Canada, Collection of Tax Debts, of the May 2006 report of the Auditor General of Canada.
    The committee is requesting a government response to both reports.

Criminal Code

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Mississauga South for seconding this motion.
    I am placing before the House today a bill which is long overdue. It is not only a pleasure but an honour to introduce a legislative package that seeks to respond to the Supreme Court's 1988 appeal to Parliament to establish a legal framework to replace the system struck down by the Morgentaler decision. Since then, Canada has been the only developed nation in the western hemisphere with absolutely no law governing abortion.
    While the bill would not remove a woman's access to abortion, it would seek to make certain that any decision to terminate a pregnancy be taken prior to the fetus attaining its 20th week of gestation.
    I trust that at some point we will have fulsome debate on this matter in the House and bring our laws to a standard similar to those other countries where the protection of the unborn is given its due status.

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

Income Tax Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Winnipeg North for seconding the introduction of my very first private member's bill.
    It is an act to amend the Income Tax Act to exclude income received by an athlete from a non-profit club, society or association.
    We all know that athletes have difficulties making ends meet while they pursue their athletic goals. Many not for profit clubs, societies and associations try to help out and provide some income for athletes.
    When income is declared by athletes, however, it can jeopardize scholarships and other opportunities amateur athletes can have because it is seen as being paid. The bill would allow up to $8,000 per year received to be tax free and also would be retroactive.
    I look forward to the support of my colleagues in the passage of this important bill.

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

  (1545)  

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act

     She said: Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a private member's bill to have the name of my riding changed so that it includes the historic and vibrant city of Port Moody, which has been dominated by two events: the 1858 gold rush on the Fraser River and the 1886 arrival of the first transcontinental train across Canada.
    I believe it is very important for everyone to see themselves reflected in the names of ridings in the House of Commons. I ask that members support my bill to include the city of Port Moody in the riding of New Westminster—Coquitlam.

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

Canada Elections Act

     She said: Mr. Speaker, I am please to reintroduce the bill which seeks to amend the Canada Elections Act to fully include the dependants of Canadian Forces personnel within the special voting provisions designed to take into consideration their relationship or their relocation away from home communities in the service of their country.
    Currently under the act, members of the armed forces, including reserves, are permitted to have their votes counted in their normal home electoral constituency simply by filling out a special residency form.
    However, their spouses and other dependants who accompany them on their postings have no such choice and must vote in the ridings in which their partners have been posted.
    The purpose of the bill is to remedy this unfairness.

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

Income Tax Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, how many Canadians, prior to choosing a travel destination, even consider travelling to a Canadian destination? The purpose of the bill is to make that decision a much easier one for Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to present a bill to amend the Income Tax Act (travel expenses). This bill provides a maximum deduction of $1,000 from a taxpayer's income in respect of the expenses of purchasing tickets for the taxpayer or members of the taxpayer's family for travel by airplane, train or bus if the travel involves crossing at least three different provincial boundaries.

[English]

    As former chairman of the finance committee, I had the opportunity to travel across Canada and I wondered how many Canadians get to visit all corners of this vast country of ours.
    The bill will have Canadians thinking about choosing travel within Canada first, and second, the bill will promote national unity by allowing Canadians to learn more about their fellow citizens.
    It can only have a positive effect on local economies. With additional money spent during these trips, this private member's bill would be revenue neutral for the finance department.

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

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, following consultations with my colleagues from all political parties, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That, in the opinion of this House, the government should designate August 23 as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
    This day of commemoration is intended to etch the tragedy of the slave trade in our collective memory so that we remember all these human dramas that marked the lives of millions of people around the world.

  (1550)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to advise the member that there has been no unanimous consent. There have been some discussions, but it has not yet gone to all parties. I have made it clear that we are prepared to support this motion if there is also an NDP motion dealing with recognition of Filipino Canadians. There is no unanimous consent and the member is aware of that. We need to have--
    It is clear there is no consent, so the Chair will not put the motion to the House at this moment.

Petitions

Iraq  

    Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I introduce a petition on behalf of almost 1,400 residents from northeastern Ontario.
    The petitioners call upon Parliament to demonstrate its commitment to international law and the treaties to which it is a signatory by making provisions to give refuge to those who refuse to serve in Iraq, a war which many have deemed illegal under international law.

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of Ms. Caylan Ford and Falun Gong practitioners in my constituency and around Calgary.
    The petitioners call upon the Canadian government to urge Chinese authorities to open facilities for international inspection to allow the international committee to investigate the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and to release any or all illegally imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners.

Peace Tax  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce three petitions today.
    The first calls upon the Government of Canada to establish peace tax legislation to recognize the right of conscientious objectors to not pay for the military, but to apply instead that portion of their taxes that would have been used for military purposes toward peaceful non-military purposes within the powers of Parliament.
    There are some 40 pages of signatures, and I hope the Government of Canada will give it consideration.

Afghanistan  

    Mr. Speaker, I seek leave to introduce a petition that calls upon the Canadian government to hold public hearings to gather information, expert advice, and opinions from knowledgeable Canadian and Afghan citizens on how best to use military and other forms of Canadian involvement in Afghanistan for the creation of a stable, democratic and self-sustaining state.
    The petition states further that public hearings be followed by a full debate and vote in Parliament on the extent and nature of Canada's commitment in Afghanistan.

Trade  

    Mr. Speaker, I take pleasure in tabling a petition concerning the proposed Canada-Central America free trade agreement.
    The petitioners call upon Parliament to make public the full text of that proposed agreement to ensure that any trade negotiations between Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua guarantee the primacy of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights over neo-liberal trade laws, and to commit to wide-ranging public consultation and parliamentary debate before any such agreement is adopted.

Canada Post Corporation  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of a number of constituents in and around Fredericton recognizing that the Government of Canada has traditionally supported and enhanced mail delivery in all corners of the country.
    The people of Canada require their mail in a timely and efficient manner wherever they might live. Accessibility issues are particularly important to seniors, sick and shut-ins, and people with disabilities.
    The petitioners call upon the House and the minister responsible for Canada Post to maintain traditional mail delivery and service instead of implementing changes that are causing people to travel long distances from their homes to receive their mail.

  (1555)  

[Translation]

Refugees  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in my own name and that of the hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, the petition “Lives on Hold” signed by nearly 4,000 people. This petition calls on the government to establish a process to facilitate the granting of permanent residence to persons who have been in Canada for more than three years and who are from countries on which Canada has imposed a moratorium on removals.
    Following the events of World Refugee Day yesterday, it is high time that Canada boost its international image and act in a humane manner.

Falun Gong  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition, signed by 200 of my constituents, concerning Falun Gong.

[English]

Refugees  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition.
    The petitioners call upon Parliament to a) welcome a stranger in need and significantly increase the number of refugees that Canada accepts annually; b) lift barriers that prevent refugees from reaching Canada; c) provide international leadership to address the causes that force people from their homes and prevent them from returning; d) reform Canada's refugee and immigration program to ensure that full access to the due process and fundamental justice; e) speed the immigration process while reuniting refugees and their families; and lastly f) take further measures to help newcomers integrate into Canadian society.

Vietnam  

    Mr. Speaker, I am standing on behalf of people who have presented a manifesto on freedom and democracy in Vietnam on April 8, 2006. Some 118 democracy activists in that country signed a petition.
    They are basically asking that Vietnam go from a monolithic one-party non-competitive system where the Vietnamese communist party has its absolute power enshrined in article 4 of the Vietnamese constitution to a pluralistic multi-party system with healthy competition.
    These are people asking for freedom of information and opinion; the freedom to assemble, form associations, political parties, vote and stand for election; the freedom to participate in independent labour unions; and the freedom of religion.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present two petitions. One is presented on behalf of Vietnamese Canadians who are calling on our government to recognize those brave Vietnamese who stood up for freedom and democracy in Vietnam. They ask for the same rights that we are able to have and freedom of expression to join a labour union, freedom of association and religion.
    I would be honoured to present this petition on their behalf today.

Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I have is on behalf of those Canadians who would like to see the elimination of the administration fee, also known as the head tax. They would like to see not just the fact that it has been recently reduced but that it should be eliminated.

Child Care  

    Mr. Speaker, over the past few months the constituents in my riding have expressed serious displeasure with the performance of the new Conservative government. In light of that I have three petitions I would like to present to the House which have been signed by many constituents in my riding of Mississauga--Brampton South.
    The first petition is regarding their desire to see the government honour the national early learning and child care agreements that were signed with all 10 provinces.

Taxation  

    The second petition, Mr. Speaker, asks the government not to cut the GST at the expense of raising the lowest tax bracket from 15% to 15.5 %. Many constituents have expressed time and time again that they cannot comprehend why the government would increase income taxes.

Undocumented Workers  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition asks Parliament to halt the deportation of productive, undocumented workers.

Canada Post Corporation  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the honour of presenting two petitions today. The petitions are on behalf of a number of citizens of Regina, many of whom are in my riding of Palliser.
    In the first petition, the petitioners wish to call to the attention of Parliament the following: public post offices connect communities throughout this vast land, helping us to overcome differences and distances; and public post offices play a key role in our social and economic lives by providing the infrastructure that healthy communities need to thrive and businesses need to grow. They call upon the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to maintain, expand and improve its network of public post offices.

  (1600)  

Refugees  

    Mr. Speaker, in the second petition, also pursuant to Standing Order 36, the petitioners wish to call to the attention of Parliament that Canada is a land of hope for newcomers, and particularly refugees, and that Canadians are proud of our multicultural society.
    They call upon Parliament to welcome the stranger in need, to significantly increase the number of refugees that Canada accepts annually, to lift barriers, to provide international leadership, to reform Canada's refugee and immigration program, to speed the immigration process in reuniting refugees and their families, and to take further measures to help newcomers integrate into Canadian society.

Canadian Heritage   

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of my constituents with respect to beautiful Hatley Park, one of Canada's historic treasures. This petition is signed by 466 people who are opposed to the restriction of free public access to this national historic site by fencing off the grounds and charging admission.
    I am pleased to report, though, that I met with the Minister of National Defence just this week on this matter, and I have his assurance that he will explore funding options with his colleague, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, to prevent the nickel and diming of our residents at a place that is a tremendous source of pride for Victorians.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to present a petition on behalf of the constituents of Victoria, who are insisting that the government honour Canada's commitment to the Kyoto protocol and exceed our Kyoto targets by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050. This petition is spearheaded by the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association, a non-profit coalition of citizens. I add my voice to those of the 122 petitioners.

National Defence  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two more petitions that I am pleased to present on behalf of my constituents.The first is from constituents who strongly voice their opposition to Exercise Trident Fury, held this past May, and who continue to oppose any future exercise. The petitioners therefore ask the government to cancel any future exercise similar to this one.
    The second petition also is in opposition to Exercise Trident Fury. These constituents understand the need to properly train and prepare our military personnel. However, they object to the total flaunting of militarism that constitutes propaganda for war.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the last petition that I present on behalf of my constituents is with respect to the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners. The 349 petitioners are particularly troubled by brutal violations of human rights of Falun Gong practitioners. They ask the government--
    We are supposed to have brief summaries of the petitions. Members are not to engage in long speeches.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Madawaska—Restigouche.

Health   

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is my pleasure to present a petition prepared by the mother of an autistic child in my riding, Madawaska—Restigouche. This petition is signed by many people from my riding and elsewhere in New Brunswick.
    It is high time that children with autism receive the same services as other children across Canada, whether in Alberta or New Brunswick.
    Applied behaviour analysis is a very effective way to help children with autism. It also helps children improve their behaviour, language and social skills. It is therefore important to include this treatment in the Canada Health Act—which is what this petition is asking—so that it can be offered to all children with autism, in every Canadian province.

[English]

Marriage  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to present a petition on behalf of the people of Kitchener--Conestoga in the greater Kitchener-Waterloo area. The petitioners are asking Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures, including invoking section 33 of the charter if necessary, to preserve and protect the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

  (1605)  

Child Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present six more petitions from people in my community of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour who are very concerned about the government's plan, or what they perceive to be a lack of a plan, for child care. They would want me to remind the House that although this session may be coming to a close, the fight for quality, universal, accessible, developmentally based child care will go on.
    Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege today to present a petition with regard to child care. The petitioners from the province of Manitoba, the riding of Churchill, the town of Cranberry Portage, call upon the House of Commons to support an appropriate and adequate national child care program. The petitioners state that the national early learning and child care program and the agreements that were negotiated in good faith are imperative to support families, families with special needs children, child care staff and the country in general. They believe that the $1,200 allowance is not a child care measure.

National Defence  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present three petitions. The first is from residents of the Vancouver area who are very concerned about Canada's role in Afghanistan and call upon the Government of Canada to remove soldiers from Afghanistan immediately.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from residents in the Vancouver and Victoria area who are very concerned about the practices in China against Falun Gong members. They call on the Prime Minister and the Canadian government to take investigative measures around the mass killing and organ harvesting in China and expose what is happening there.

CRTC  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition is from petitioners who wish to have the CRTC decline the application of 9 TV channels that are directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and stop them from being allowed to broadcast here in Canada.
    Unfortunately, the time for presentation of petitions has expired.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am the last person in the House who would like to present petitions today. I ask for unanimous consent to present my position.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Foreign Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues in the House for giving me the time to do this. I have three petitions to present.
    The first one calls on Parliament to hold, as soon as possible, extensive public hearings to gather information, expert advice and opinions from knowledgeable Canadians and Afghan citizens on how to best use our military and other forms of Canadian involvement in Afghanistan for the creation of a stable, democratic and self-sustaining state.

CRTC  

    Mr. Speaker, my second petition calls upon the government to urge the CRTC to decline the application of broadcast public notice from the CRTC proposing 9 TV channels directly controlled by the Chinese government, the Communist Party, and not allow them to be broadcast here in Canada.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, my third petition urges the Prime Minister and the Canadian government and our Parliament to condemn the Chinese Communist government's regime and crimes against the Falun Gong practitioners, to stop mass killings and organ harvesting in China, and to expose what is happening there.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, let me say once again what an admirable and fine job you are doing sitting up there in that big chair. I know that both your parents, and of course your wife and your young son, must be extremely proud of you.
    The following questions will be answered today: Questions Nos. 25, 27, 32 and 35.

[Text]

Question No. 25--
Ms. Denise Savoie:
     With regard to the 2006 Census of Canada: (a) what are the precise terms and conditions of any contracts between the government and Lockheed Martin Corporation or any of its subsidiaries; (b) will Lockheed Martin Corporation or any of its subsidiaries have access to confidential information collected in the Census from Canadian citizens or Canadian residents; (c) what guarantees, if any, does the government have that absolutely none of the information collected in the 2006 Census will be subject to access by the United States government or any of its agencies through the United States Patriot Act of 2001; and (d) is the government aware of any other private information that the Canadian government and its agencies collect that would be subject to access by the United States government or any of its agencies through the United States Patriot Act of 2001; and, if yes, what specific information?
Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Industry, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, the answer is as follows: a) Statistics Canada has a current contract with Lockheed Martin Canada and subcontractors, IBM Canada and Transcontinental Printing Canada. The contract has three phases. Phase I and II have been completed. Phase III is current. Phase I was for design and planning of the system solution for the 2006 Census ($500,000). Phase II analyzed the results of the 2004 Census Test and the viability of implementing and operating the proposed system solutions for the 2006 Census, $20 million. Phase III is the scale-up, development and testing phase of the 2006 Census Outsourcing Project. Phase III has a time span of approximately 27 months and a cost of $40.5 million.
    The scope of work covered by Phase III of the contract is:
    1. to print questionnaire packages;
    2. to deliver systems (hardware and software) for Statistics Canada employees to operate and support:
a Data Processing Centre to capture, edit and code completed Census questionnaires;
a secure Internet application for respondents to complete and return their Census questionnaire on-line;
a telephone help line and edit follow-up application from Statistics Canada’s call centres
     3. to provide, under the provisions of Statistics Canada’s security policies, assistance as required to Statistics Canada’s system administration and support team;
    4. all processing of completed Census questionnaires (electronic as well as paper) will be conducted exclusively by Statistics Canada personnel in Statistics Canada (STC) facilities. No contractor personnel will ever have access to or be in possession of completed Census questionnaires. No confidential Census responses will ever leave Statistics Canada’s secure facilities.
    b) No. Lockheed Martin Corporation or any of its subsidiaries will never have access to confidential information collected in the Census from Canadian citizens or Canadian residents.
    Census information is, at all times, under the complete care and full control of Statistics Canada employees. The questionnaires and data are handled and processed exclusively by Statistics Canada employees, in Statistics Canada facilities, which are isolated from any external networks. Statistics Canada has taken a number of important safeguards to protect the privacy and confidentiality of Census responses. The contractor developed systems as well as the facilities in which they are housed have been independently assessed by IT security firms, accredited by the Communications Security Establishment, and the process was overseen by a Task Force headed by the former Auditor General of Canada, Mr. Denis Desautels. The report from the Task Force “2006 Census Information Technology Security Verification Task Force Report” summarizes: “We conclude that the data to be gathered during the 2006 Census using the contractor supplied systems will be secure. Based on the work performed and to the best of our knowledge, it would be practically impossible for the contractors involved in the Census project to intentionally or otherwise access Census data. In addition, we can report that the overall security posture for the Census applications and the physical facilities where Census data will be collected and processed has been further strengthened as a result of the three security audits.”
    c) Absolutely none of the information collected in the 2006 Census will be subject to access by the United States government or any of its agencies through the United States Patriot Act of 2001. All census databases, facilities and networks containing confidential data are physically isolated from any networks outside Statistics Canada. Therefore, even if a request were ever to be made by an external authority to any contractor for confidential data, it would be physically impossible for a contractor to comply, given that they are never in possession of census responses.
    d) All data collected by Statistics Canada are not subject to access by the United States government or any of its agencies through the United States Patriot Act of 2001 given that they are never in possession of Statistics Canada data.
Question No. 27--
Ms. Alexa McDonough:
     With respect to Canadian funding of Venezuelan non-governmental organizations: (a) has the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided funds to Súmate, a Venezuelan non-governmental organization, and if it has, what is the total amount of funding in each of the following fiscal years: 2001-2002; 2002-2003; 2003-2004; 2004-2005; and 2005-2006; (b) will CIDA be funding Súmate in the current fiscal year; (c) how many meetings or consultations has it held with Maria Corina Machado and Alejandro Plaz; (d) what is the purpose of funding Súmate; and (e) has the government assessed whether Súmate has achieved the stated goal(s) for CIDA's funds?
Hon. Josée Verner (Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, the answer is as follows: a) Canada supported a project with Súmate in 2005-06; through the Canada Fund for Local initiatives (CFLI) in Venesuela; Canada provided a contribution of CAD$22,000 to a project which had a total budget of CAD$ 55,000.
    b) There is no planned funding for Súmate in 2006-07.
    c) For all organizations receiving CIDA funding there are regular meetings with representatives in the context of follow-up on project activities. Most of these meetings are held with the Canada Fund Coordinator.
    d) In the evaluation of this project, Canada considered Súmate to be an experienced NGO with the capability to promote respect for democracy, particularly a free and fair electoral process in Venezuela. The project goal is to allow Súmate to develop a follow-up and evaluation system to measure democratic principles in Venezuela.
    e) The final report for the project is due July 1, 2006; the assessment on achievement of project results will be done at that time.
Question No. 32--
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis:
     With respect to the calculation by the Department of Finance of the loss of federal revenue from corporations converting to income trust structures: (a) what is the total reduction in federal revenue in foregone corporate income tax as a result of corporations converting to income trusts during the fiscal years 2002-2003, 2003-2004 and 2004-2005; (b) what is the projected loss in federal revenue for the fiscal years 2005-2006 and 2006-2007; and (c) what is the projection of the total reduction in federal revenue from foregone income tax as a consequence of the increase in the dividend tax credit announced by the Minister of Finance on November 23, 2005, to lessen the attraction of income trust conversions?
Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, the answer is as follows: a) It is estimated that federal tax revenues in 2004 were $300 million lower than they would have been if FTEs flow-through entities, which include income trusts and limited partnerships, were structured as corporations. These estimates were based on financial statements of FTEs for 2004 and involved many other parameters that are outlined in the Department of Finance's consultation paper: “Tax and Other Issues Related to Publicly Listed Flow-Through Entities” released on September 8, 2005 (see http://www.fin.gc.ca/toce/2005/toirplf_e.html). Comparable estimates are not available for years prior to 2004 because of the significant data and estimation requirements including the need to review FTE financial statements for prior years. Data and methodology issues are outlined in detail in Section 5 of the consultation paper.
    b) A reliable projection for future years is not available because such an estimate depends on a number of very important factors that are difficult to forecast. The challenges with making projections are outlined in Section 5d) of the consultation paper. These include, among other things, the potential growth of the FTE market and the proportion of FTEs owned by Canadian tax-exempt investors such as pension funds.
    c) Budget 2006 estimates the cost of the enhanced gross up and dividend tax credit for dividends paid by large corporations to be $375 million for 2005-06 and $310 million for 2006-07.
Question No. 35--
Mr. Bill Casey:
     With regard to the Federal Ocean Energy Working Group (FOEWG): (a) which departments, agencies, or Crown corporations have representatives on the FOEWG; (b) how many representatives from the various departments and agencies make up the FOEWG in total; (c) how many times has the FOEWG met since its formation in 2005; (d) which department, agency, or Crown corporation is responsible for the funding and organization of the FOEWG; (e) what is the mandate of the FOEWG; (f) does the FOEWG have an official relationship with similar provincial organizations such as the Alternative Energy & Power Technology Task Force in British Columbia; (g) are there representatives from provincial or territorial governments in the FOEWG and, if so, how many; (h) what is the total amount of funding that has been distributed to the FOEWG to date; and (i) what are the long-term priorities and goals of the FOEWG?
Hon. Gary Lunn (Minister of Natural Resources, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, the answer is as follows: a) The working group’s members are representatives from federal departments and agencies, including laboratories and regional development organizations, whose mandates address ocean or ocean energy whether from an R&D, commercial, policy or environmental perspective.
    Members are: Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, Industry Canada, Natural Resources Canada, National Research Council (Canadian Hydraulics Centre and Institute for Oceans Technology), Western Economic Diversification.
    b) There are currently 38 members on the FOEWG.
    c) FOEWG has met five times since its inception in April 2005.
    d) FOEWG is chaired by Natural Resources Canada, Office of Energy R&D. There is no funding per se attached to the FOEWG; the Working Group relies on in kind value through the time and efforts of its members.
    e) FOEWG’s mandate is to assess through information gathering, the potential contribution of Canadian and international ocean energy technology to the Canadian renewable energy supply; and help create a policy advisory body and technological framework for Canadian renewable energy from oceans.
    f) FOEWG does not have an official relationship with similar provincial organizations such as the B.C. Alternative Energy & Power Task Force. FOEWG’s relationships with the provinces have been through meetings and discussions with governmental representatives such as with Nova Scotia’s Departments of Natural Resources and Energy, New Brunswick’s Department of Energy, and British Columbia’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. This last April, FOEWG organized a meeting between its members and representatives from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to discuss potential collaboration on ocean energy projects; and to present the federal capabilities and interests in ocean energy, whether from a technical perspective or a regulatory and environmental one. FOEWG is planning a similar endeavour with British Columbia in the near future.
    g) FOEWG is only comprised of federal representatives. However, FOEWG anticipates that through the above mentioned and forthcoming collaborative work, federal/provincial sub groups will be formed.
    h) As mentioned above, FOEWG is not a funding program but has been instrumental in securing $250K for two studies in 2005 06 from the Technology and Innovation R&D funds: the first year of a three year resource assessment (last two years un funded as of yet), which would lead to an interactive web based ocean energy atlas similar to the Wind Atlas; and a multidimensional study that includes a technology review, a supply chain analysis and an environmental scan of both the regulatory framework for ocean energy projects and their environmental impacts.
    i) FOEWG’ long term priorities and goals are to:
    --Foster technological development and develop Canadian capacity
    --Coordinate federal S&T efforts and interests in ocean energy
    --Develop synergies and partnerships between federal departments and agencies, and with provincial governments
    --Ensure that projects and initiatives are complementary to avoid duplications or overlaps
    --Increase communication across departments and agencies, and serve as a tool to inform upper management of federal ocean energy activities.

[English]

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

Motions for Papers

    Mr. Speaker, Notice of Motion for the Production of Papers No. P-6, in the name of the hon. member for Malpeque, is acceptable to the government, and the document is tabled immediately.
    That an Order of the House do issue for a copy of the report prepared by the Canadian Transportation Agency and submitted to Transport Canada on March 29, 2005, regarding the transfer or sale of the government grain hopper car fleet to the Farmer Rail Car Coalition.

  (1610)  

    Is it the pleasure of the House that Notice of Motion for the Production of Papers No. P-6 be deemed to have been adopted?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

    Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I ask that all other notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Federal Accountability Act

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre.
    They all said it could not be done. All the experts, all the pundits--
    Excuse me. In order for the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board to split his time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, it will require the consent of the House. Does the House give its consent?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the chamber for its generosity.
    As I was saying, they all said that it could not be done. All the punditry, the experts and the folks around Parliament Hill said that it was too ambitious a task, that it was too big, too strong and too tough, that the Prime Minister's timeframe to have the accountability act passed through the House of Commons before summer was impossible.
    The Prime Minister set that goal after having introduced the accountability act as his first legislative priority. Tonight, with the agreement of the House, that promise will have been kept. Not only could it have been done, it will be done.
    We are talking about the toughest anti-corruption law in Canadian history. It will ban big money and corporate cash from political campaigns. It will protect whistleblowers against bullying. It will end the revolving door between lobbyists and ministers' offices. It will bring into force a director of public prosecutions, who will seek out and prosecute those who defraud Canadian taxpayers. It will ban political patronage with a public appointments commission. It will broaden access to information far beyond what we have ever seen from any previous government, into Crown corporations, foundations and broader and deeper into the federal bureaucracy.
    These are seminal changes in the history of our democracy. In the passage of this law, we are making Canadian history.
    It is important to thank those who have been involved in this process, people from all parties who rolled up their sleeves and put party differences aside in order to support the swift passage of this law.
     I would like to mention some of them, who sat on the special legislative committee responsible for this legislation: the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe; the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine; the member for Vancouver Quadra, whose notable experience in his home province of British Columbia as an ombudsman and a deputy minister brought a wealth of expertise to the committee; the member for York South—Weston, a true gentleman, a learned, former municipal politician, brought plenty of insight to the law; the member for Repentigny and the member for Rivière-du-Nord, deux député du Quebec; and the member for Winnipeg Centre.
    The member for Winnipeg Centre, for example, despite his notorious stubbornness, achieved exactly what he set out to do. He was not willing to move or budge on his objectives and in the end he got pretty much every objective that he sought to achieve. The member is responsible for introducing roughly 20 amendments to broaden access to information. His amendments will take access to information far beyond the scope that had ever been seen before. He also brought in a sweeping amendment that would introduce the public appointments commission, which is intended to ban political patronage. The accomplishments of the member for Winnipeg Centre cannot be forgotten. Despite the fact that he and I disagree on almost every issue, his accomplishments are undeniable.
    I would like to thank the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, who brought a wealth of expertise and experience to the committee and helped us get the job done. The member for Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works, was integral in seeing this passed. The member for Fundy Royal and the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, with their legal backgrounds, were integral in seeing the success of the bill. Finally, I would like to thank the chair of the committee himself, the member for Dufferin—Caledon.
     All of them deserve a big round of applause.
    What has this law effectively changed in our democracy? I would like to expound upon my earlier summary.
     To begin with, it bans big money and ends corporate cash from political campaigns. It will limit to $1,000 the amount of money that any individual can donate to a political campaign and it ends the practice of corporate and union contributions.

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    There was a time when big corporations and powerful interests could buy influence from political campaigns by making tens of thousands of dollars in donations. There was a time when individuals, who were moneyed and powerful, could do the same. Those days are gone. The act would ban that practice and limits political financing to $1,000, which would have the effect of forcing political parties to inspire everyday, middle class Canadians in order to win their donation as opposed to catering to the interests of the moneyed, powerful elite.
    Second, it would bring in ironclad protection for whistleblowers. Those whistleblowers who see wrongdoing in the government would have the legal authority to disclose it to an independent watchdog, who would carry out a fulsome investigation. That investigation would result in a report to this Parliament, so that all eyes would see if wrong has been done. If whistleblowers experience reprisal, if they lose their job, if they are pushed out, if their pay is cut, if they suffer professionally, they would have the ability to go before a panel of independent judges, who would have the ability to restore them to their previous employment and give them all that was taken away.
    These judges would also have the authority to punish those bullies at the political bureaucratic level who have intimidated whistleblowers. From now on, with the passage of this law, bullying a whistleblower will be punishable by two years behind bars, and it becomes a criminal offence under statutory law.
    These are very real steps that have never been taken before by any previous Parliament.
    We will end the revolving door between lobbyists and ministers' offices with this legislation. The Prime Minister went above and above demonstrating that the bill was not about partisanship, when he insisted that the provisions banning people who have worked in ministers' offices from becoming lobbyists for five years would apply also to those people who worked on his transition team.
    Now those people who work on his transition team are Conservatives. They are supporters of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has said that this does not matter. Political allegiance should have no bearing on the law. In order to create a level playing field, the Prime Minister insisted that they, too, be restricted from lobbying for five years while they endured the cooling off period, which all other public office-holders and their staff must endure.
    Finally, if public office-holders, ministers or parliamentary secretaries, meet with lobbyists, the date and time and frequency of those meetings must be published on a public website. That means everyday Canadians would know which moneyed interests had met with political decision makers. If, for example, a large corporation received an apparently unacceptable government subsidy and it was the result of intensive meetings between a minister and that corporation, the public should know that those meetings went on. That is what this bill would do. It would ban political patronage and it would extend access to information to crown corporations and dozens of foundations
    With that, I would like to close with a quote because some have talked about the ups and downs of this committee. As my hockey coach used to say, “It doesn't matter if it was pretty. If the puck is in the net, it's a goal”. This is a goal for all Canadians.
    I conclude with this quote:
    It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague across talked about the bill being a seminal development. I believe there are some good things in the bill, but I disagree with him that it is a seminal development.
     There are good developments and the best is making deputy ministers accountable to Parliament for the administration of their departments. There are some bad developments as well such as all the officers of Parliament. It is basically outsourcing our role as parliamentarians. Parliament is the institution of accountability. We should be keeping the executive to account, not some officer of Parliament.
     Since the government came to power in February, there have been major steps backward. I have witnessed the Prime Minister, despite promises and votes and speeches he made before, appoint chairs of committees. Those chairs are not accountable to Parliament; they are accountable to him.
    In his campaign literature, the Prime Minister promised free votes, except on the throne speech and the budget. That is not the case. It is throne speech, budget and government priorities.
    He talked about patronage, yet the very first thing he did was appoint his co-chairman to the Senate and then the Minister of Public Works.
    The member opposite talked about goals. Would it not be a goal for the government to strengthen Parliament, to give more resources to committees, to make it accountable so it can hold the executive to account?
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has strengthened Parliament. Contrary to the words of my distinguished colleague, he has not appointed chairs to committees. Those chairs are elected by Standing Order. They have always been elected and we have continued in that practice. It is impossible for him to appoint a chair because none of the committees have a majority of Conservatives on them. Therefore, it would have to be through the consent of at least one or two opposition parties to choose a chair.
    Let us get right down to brass tacks here. Members across the way said, only months ago, that this law was so enormous and so consequential that it could not conceivably be passed through the House by summer. Now they say that it was really no big deal. The reality is, it has been a big deal. It is a seminal event in the development of Canadian democracy and it was done because of the commitment of the Prime Minister, even though most experts said it could never be done within this timeframe. I am very proud of that.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of important points I would like to make.
    Before the election, my predecessor, Mr. Broadbent, put forward an ethics package that talked about public appointments and the need to deal with lobbying. I am glad to see this in the bill because there was a lot of malfeasance there. There were contingency fees, people entitled to entitlements, et cetera.
    One of the things we need to take pride in, as he mentioned, is the public appointments process. That is something we laid down as a marker.
    Does my hon. colleague believe our work is finished? There are a couple of areas that I think we still need to move on, such as access to information and more transparency. I would like to get my colleague's feedback as someone who participated each day on the committee on Bill C-2 and knows it fairly well. Are there other areas he believes we can go further?

  (1625)  

    Mr. Speaker, there is no denying the essential role that the member for Ottawa Centre played in the development of this bill. He was regularly at committee and showed tremendous interest in whistleblower protection, a fact which is congruent with the thousands of public servants who live in his constituency. He deserves a lot of credit.
    I believe our work must go on. There is a lot more to do. However, at this point, we should take a moment to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishment that the bill represents. When it was first announced, most people said it would never pass through the House of Commons. Never did anyone outside of the Prime Minister believe that it could pass through the House of Commons before summer. Here we are today, within hours of passing the accountability bill. This is an extraordinary accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for which credit is owed to many members of the House from all sides. It was achieved in a minority Parliament, and we should all be proud of what it has done.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand in the House today and speak to what I feel is one of the most important pieces of legislation that Parliament has seen in many years, which is the federal accountability act.
    Before I begin I want to underscore the comments by my colleague from Nepean—Carleton and thank all the members of the legislative committee that sat and worked so diligently, so hard and so many long hours to ensure the bill was brought before Parliament for approval.
    Again, without referencing all of their constituencies, as my hon. colleague before me just did, let me say a very heartfelt thanks to all the members. It was a pleasure for me to sit on that committee and a real honour for me to interchange ideas and have a dialogue with all my colleagues, many of whom, quite frankly, from time to time I disagreed with, but it never stopped my respect for them and my sincere belief that their desire to see the best bill possible was unqualified.
    I thank them so very much for allowing me the privilege of watching them at work. I have said this in other forums, at media events and talk shows, I honestly believe this is how a minority Parliament should work.
    I think we have proven without a doubt to all Canadians that if the intentions of a minority Parliament are pure and the motivation is sincere it can work to the benefit of all Canadians. I think there is no better example than the legislative committee and this bill that we will be passing in the House within hours to demonstrate to Canadians that minority Parliaments can work on behalf and for the benefit of all Canadians.
    I also want to give sincere thanks and acknowledgment to the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, the member for Nepean—Carleton, for a job well done This was a massive undertaking by anyone's standards. The parliamentary secretary did yeoman work in shepherding the bill from the government's perspective through the legislative process and through the committee.
    Without the member, he who did most of the heavy lifting from the government's side, I do not think that we would have been successful in reaching a satisfactory conclusion with all members of the opposition and all members of the committee.
    I want to talk a little about the bill itself and some of the things that it brings to the benefit of Canadians. My colleague before me spoke very eloquently about many of the benefits that Canadians will receive as a result of the bill's passage.
    The primary purpose of the bill and the essence and the spirit of the bill is to bring more accountability obviously to government. It would allow the public to see into the inner workings of government where they could not see before. I think that transparency is as important, if not more important, than the accountability provisions contained in the bill.
    For too long Canadians have been telling me and, I am sure, parliamentarians of all political stripes that politicians are crooked, that they are doing things behind closed doors, that we do not know what they are doing and that they are probably on benefiting themselves and their friends.
    That is not true. However, until such time as we can provide the transparency to Canadians to allow them to see the inner workings of government and to gain information on how government works, they will continue to have those misconstrued ideas about parliamentarians.
    The reason that Bill C-2 came to light, or the genesis of the bill in fact, which, frankly, was one of the darkest chapters in Canadian parliamentary history, was the sponsorship scandal.
    I have spoken before in this chamber and have said that I do not believe there is any member in this chamber who is a crook, is deceitful or is trying to abuse his or her parliamentary privilege. However, we all know about the sponsorship scandal, which was a sordid chapter in Canadian parliamentary history.

  (1630)  

    I think it is evident to Canadians that because of the sponsorship scandal and the fact that Justice Gomery was able to uncover all these illegal and illicit manoeuvres by people in positions of trust and power, we needed to do something as a Parliament to ensure those types of actions never occurred again.
    While I firmly believe that all members of this chamber would never attempt anything like we saw in the sponsorship saga, I believe we need to put in controls, provisions and processes to give confidence to Canadians that this type of action will never happen again, which is exactly what the federal accountability act would do.
    Is it perfect legislation? Certainly not. I do not know if there has ever been any perfect legislation that has been designed, drafted and passed by Parliament, but it goes a long way to assuring Canadians that the type of actions and the type of corruption that we saw unfold during the sponsorship hearings will not happen again.
    Controls are now in place to prevent that from happening again. Thanks to the good work of all members of this chamber who had the sincere motivation to ensure this bill prevented that type of abuse, Canadians can now rest assured that the bill, when passed, will take care of business in terms of providing the true accountability to all Canadians that they deserve.
    I want to point out a couple of things that other members in this chamber have been speaking to because, frankly, I believe they have been giving a bit of a misinterpretation of what the bill does and does not do. I have two points in particular.
    The first point has to do with registration fees for conventions for political parties. We have heard on many occasions members of the Liberal Party say that the provisions in the bill target the Liberal Party to prevent them in their efforts to hold a successful leadership campaign.
    I will admit that there are provisions in the bill that state that convention fees should be considered contributions or donations. However, only the costs of the convention that are over and above the costs associated with the convention should be considered a donation. In other words, if the registration fee for delegates to attend any political party's convention was $1,000 but the costs associated with putting on that convention were, hypothetically, $300, then the $700 over and above the hard cost of the convention would be considered a donation. That is the way it should be and the way it has to be. If the cost of conducting the convention was only $300 but the political party received $1,000 in registration fees, clearly the $700 difference would be a donation and should be considered a donation.
    What we are hearing from the opposition is that the provisions are punitive and that the Liberal Party is being unfairly targeted. However, the way to get away from that is to merely set the registration fee to cover the hard cost of the convention. If a $1,000 registration fee were set by the Liberal Party and if the hard costs of that convention were $1,000, there would be no contribution or donation incurred by the individual. I believe what they have been saying has been a bit of a fallacy and I wanted to correct the record because we are not targeting the Liberals. These rules would apply to all political parties.
    For those people who have said that we have not given the bill enough time and enough due diligence, I would point out that a motion carried in committee was that we would sit the entire summer if that is what it took to pass the bill. The reason we are here today and the reason the bill will be assured of passage tonight is not because of any movement from the Conservative Party of Canada to rush the bill through Parliament. It was the free choice of committee members.

  (1635)  

    Today will be an historic day for all Canadians and it is a day Canadians should be applauding. We finally have a true accountability act for the benefit of all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it was very interesting to listen to my hon. colleague from Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre.
    I would like to ask him two questions. The first question concerns the fact that the Conservatives and the NDP voted against an amendment to establish the minimum age required to legally contribute to a political party. This amendment was proposed by the Liberals, with the support of members from the Bloc Québécois.
    In Quebec, at the provincial level, for nearly 30 years, the Election Act has set out that a person must have reached the age of majority, 18 years, in order to make a financial contribution to a political party.
    I proposed an amendment myself. Nevertheless, the Conservatives and the NDP raised quite a fuss about a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada who had accepted legal donations from youth under 18 years of age. The Conservatives said it was unacceptable and that it never should have happened, even though it was legal. The candidate returned the donations. I myself tabled an amendment to establish the minimum age as 18, and the Conservatives voted against that amendment.
    I would like to ask my hon. colleague how he can reconcile his party's position when they say it is unacceptable and inappropriate to accept legal donations from young people under 18 and that the candidate should not have accepted the donations, with that same party's position when it voted against the amendment that would have established the minimum age to make a donation to a federal political party as 18 years.
    Will he explain to Canadians and Quebeckers how he can reconcile those two positions? Or is this simply partisan politics?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that my colleague is talking about partisan politics because she is a past master at performing the art of partisanship at committee.
     In terms of all committees, ours was no different. Some clauses were supported by some members in some parties while other clauses were supported by other members. We win some and we lose some. In the particular instance to which the hon. member has referred, a number of amendments came forth at committee that purported to deal with the underage donation. Some were forwarded by the Liberal Party and some by the NDP. If I recall correctly, I believe the Liberals voted against the NDP amendment and the NDP voted against the Liberal amendment.
    She talked about the position of the Conservative Party in that we found it reprehensible that one of the leadership candidates for the Liberal Party accepted donations from children. I agree. It is reprehensible but not because of the children making donations. In this particular case, 11-year-old twins gave $5,400 each, apparently of their own free will and out of their own bank accounts, to a leadership candidate.
    I would defy the member opposite to find one Canadian who truly believes that those two 11-year-olds gave money out of their own bank accounts. What probably happened was that the parents gave money through their children, which is a violation and that is why it is reprehensible. It is reprehensible to have a third party donation and, more than that, it is illegal.
    Hon. Marlene Jennings: Explain why you voted against the amendment.
    Mr. Tom Lukiwski: Obviously the member does not want to hear those words because one of her own members, a leadership candidate, has done this, but that is why the Conservative Party took the stance we did. It is reprehensible and every Canadian I know will agree with that, with respect.

  (1640)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask the House for unanimous consent to split my time with my hon. colleague from Mississauga South.
    Is there unanimous consent for the member to split his time?
    Some hon. member: Agreed.
     I am delighted to stand today, Mr. Speaker and colleagues from all parties, to address Bill C-2 at third reading.
    First of all, as I said in our leading speech when the bill was first debated, we generally support the accountability act. In fact, in most areas of Bill C-2, it adds to and builds on a number of major issues that have been promoted by the Liberal government over the last 10 years. Of course, one of these was the most dramatic change in political financing in Canadian history, which was former Bill C-24 which passed and came into effect over two and a half years ago. Bill C-2 builds on it further and that is a good thing. We have to be careful in that area that we do not go too far and inhibit the free speech of Canadians, but generally that is certainly a continuation of something that the former Liberal government brought into effect.
    The bill is also a continuation around the powers of independent officers of Parliament, such as the independent Ethics Commissioner brought in by the previous Liberal government who has served, I might say, with distinction.
    The lobbyist registration rules are being tightened up in this bill and that is a good thing. I will speak in a moment of how they could be even better. That is something that progressed steadily over the last 10 years under the previous government. The bill also extends the powers of the Auditor General which I think all in the House believe is a good thing. We are very much in favour of the direction in which this bill is going.
    I thank the member for Nepean--Carleton and the member for Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre for their remarks in support of the members of the committee, myself included, but I think it is important for all members of the House to understand something that the hon. member for Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre stressed. It is that members of the House are honourable, that public servants in Canada are honourable and that we need the requisite support of Canadians in believing that to have our democracy really work in a healthy way and not simply be looked at in a cynical way. I simply quote from Justice Gomery's first report, his fact finding report. He said at page 3:
    Canadians should not forget that the vast majority of our public officials and politicians do their work honestly, diligently and effectively, and emerge from this inquiry free of any blame.
    I do not say that to try to avoid the responsibility of the government at the time, of which I was a part, but I say it so that we keep this in balance and in perspective and that we do not sully our own reputations as public servants and politicians from all parties who, in the words of Mr. Justice Gomery, are honest, diligent and effective in their work. That is what we need to stress to Canadians, even while we find wrong, we admit fault and we put in new mechanisms to ensure that it will not happen again.
    When we say that on this side of the House we support the general aims of the accountability act, it is a qualified support. We recognize that accountability is a work in progress. It has been going on for a long time. Often we hit bumps in the road. We learn some things; we do things better. I think there are many good steps forward in the bill. There are some things still to be done or things that could be corrected and we will be working to continually improve it, even while we support the bill.
    Let me mention Motions Nos. 1, 3 and 6 which were passed this afternoon which relate to the autonomy and independence of the House of Commons and members of Parliament. We received testimony from the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel at the Bill C-2 legislative committee that there were a number of difficulties with the way the bill was drafted.
    The most serious difficulty was one that was unconstitutional. That was the part of the bill that called for secret votes to approve officers of Parliament. As a committee we took that as being unconstitutional and inappropriate and we agreed to remove that. That was an excellent collaborative response to an extremely important bit of advice from the Law Clerk.

  (1645)  

    There were other aspects that the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel expressed concerns about, not because they are unconstitutional, but because they were against the traditional autonomy and independence of the legislative branch from the judiciary and the executive branch. Of course the three branches of government in our country under our Constitution which adopts the British parliamentary system are immensely important to the strength of our democracy. While the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel said that it was possible for Parliament to counteract that or give away some of that autonomy, he felt it might weaken the strength of Parliament over time with respect to its independence and autonomy.
     Motions Nos. 1, 3 and 6 were passed today quite constitutionally, but went against that advice. That is something members of the House on all sides will have to watch very carefully as we go forward to make sure that we are not eroding those essential three autonomous independent pillars of our democracy.
    I would also like to comment briefly on the open government act. Over a year ago, a House of Commons committee invited the Information Commissioner to come up with recommendations for reform of the system after 23 years of experience with the Access to Information Act. The reforms are with respect to some of the basic principles of access to information.
    One is that public information is owned by the public and should be accessible by the public. Another one is that exemptions carrying on from that should be limited. In the basic principles he brought forward in the open government act, not only should it be accessible and only have a few exemptions, but those exemptions should have to be discretionary and should have to pass an injury test, that even though they may be within the exceptions in the act, they do not cause injury to the person who might be protected, whether it is a private citizen, a commercial entity or another government. Even if there were injury, there would be a public interest override which is immensely important.
    Those were in the open government act recommended by the Information Commissioner last fall. They were reviewed, debated and endorsed by the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. Then the Conservative Party, which was in opposition at the time, put that in black and white in its election platform, that the whole open government act would be included in the accountability act as the first act of a new Parliament if the Conservative Party formed government, but it has not included that. That is work for all of us to do to ensure in the fall when we further consider access to information that those important principles are enhanced.
    The third area I would like to talk to briefly is the addition of new agencies of government to provide for greater accountability. I have no doubt these are well meaning but they do have the danger of adding new levels of bureaucracy and process to a system which needs air, needs light and needs to be fair. I think we all agree that the size of government is something we should be reducing and making more effective rather than simply adding to it to deal with another problem. Three of these areas deal with immensely important issues but there are institutions of government that could have taken on those mandates.
     I speak first of all of the reprisal tribunal. That is fine but we do have the Canadian Industrial Relations Board which could have been asked to take on that role.
    With respect to the nominations committee, there is very good legislation in the bill now which we support, but that could have been done by the Public Service Commission.
    With respect to the director of public prosecutions, this country has one of the finest prosecution services federally and provincially than anywhere else in the world. To my knowledge, there has never been a suggestion, certainly in the modern history of Canada, that our federal prosecution service is not acting impartially within that special independent role of the Attorney General. The director of public prosecutions as a new entity is really not necessary. We could have improved the transparency around directions for an Attorney General and Minister of Justice but a new process was not necessary. That was certainly the way we looked at it.

  (1650)  

    I thank members on all sides of the House for their work at committee. It was a noble purpose, this bill. There were many things that were appropriate to begin with. There were many that could be strengthened and were strengthened by collaboration in committee. There are some aspects that still need to be addressed as this work in progress works to the benefit of all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for Vancouver Quadra for taking the lead on this piece of legislation on behalf of the official opposition.
    The committee has gone through a very unusual situation in that it was a legislative committee. It heard an enormous number of witnesses. From those witnesses came the widely held opinion that the process was too hasty, that it was a little sloppy, that a lot of details were not covered. Many of the witnesses who wanted to reappear to give more fulsome input into some of these important areas were not given that opportunity. When those things happen, when things are rushed, mistakes are made and things get sloppy.
    This bill is probably one which we will have to revisit often to fix some of the deficiencies within it.
    We say prayers in the morning that we make good laws and wise decisions. It appears that this is a law that is moving in the right direction, and we support many aspects of it, but I am not sure that it was given the kind of diligent study that the House of Commons should have given it.
     I would ask the hon. member if he would comment on those allegations.
    Mr. Speaker, certainly this is a difficult balance. This is an immensely complicated bill with many clauses affecting many other pieces of legislation.
     I must say that many of us had some real misgivings with the speed with which it was travelling through the process and the time that was limited for certain witnesses. I can quote two in particular, but many made similar observations, and without passing judgment on them I think they speak for themselves. I will just quote their observations.
    One is Arthur Kroeger who is the dean of the bureaucratic core, having been deputy minister in a number of very senior portfolios over the years. He certainly expressed the opinion that the complexity and length of this bill should be given very careful consideration and that all the time that could possibly be used should be used to avoid any unintended consequences given the bill's complexity.
    The other key person who commented on this is Ken Rubin, who is perhaps, outside of information commissioners themselves, one of the most knowledgeable people on freedom of information issues in our country. He felt the same thing, that he did not have enough time. He thought that the access provisions needed much more work and improvement.
    They are people who are speaking from an independent point of view. We should all take note of their concerns as we diligently go forward to ensure that this act, if it is not as good as it can possibly be now, becomes so.

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of my colleague from Vancouver Quadra and I congratulate him on his able performance at the special legislative committee on Bill C-2. He led a team of four Liberal members of Parliament and gave us some wise counsel and leadership, and I would like to thank him for that. However, I do have a couple of questions.
    He was asked by our colleague from Mississauga South about the pace at which the committee dealt with Bill C-2. The Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons made the point that people had said that the bill could not get through the House before the summer recess. It has been done and this is a great achievement.
    I do not wish to speak to whether or not Bill C-2 is a good bill in its actual state. What I do wish to ask the member is did the committee allow a fulsome presentation on the part of the witnesses who are experts who came before the committee?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my very dear colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine for her participation in the committee and her strong support for our team.
    We certainly heard from many witnesses that they were frustrated by the short period of time that they had to participate in the committee's deliberations and give evidence. We heard from some as well who would have liked to return and have been asked to return but who did not have the chance.
    When we weigh these things out, we have to be careful as parliamentarians to always do two things: first, ensure that we move things along as quickly as possible, particularly issues that deal with fundamental principles, as this act does; and second, ensure we do not--
    Please accept my apologies.
    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, the Environment; the hon. member for Madawaska—Restigouche, Supply Management.
    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-2 is intended to address principles that all Canadians and all parliamentarians share and that is a wish for openness, transparency and accountability in our government institutions. Bill C-2 has made some progress in this regard, but at the same time, there has been a fair bit of hyperbole about how far it goes and how effective it will be.
    We heard some suggestion from the previous speaker that there was some haste in dealing with this bill at committee stage and that some mistakes have been made. As the legislation continues after third reading, some serious questions will need to be addressed and this House may have to address them itself.
    Just to give the House an idea of how open and transparent the government wants to be on this, I would like to read into the record the entire speech of the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board leading off the debate at report stage yesterday. He said:
    
    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the occasion to speak to these motions. I think most members of the House will agree that these amendments are largely technical in nature and fix the minor problems that the committee was not able to address.
    
    I would invite any comments and questions from members across the way but I do not see these as being particularly controversial.
    He had 10 minutes to speak at report stage and that was his entire speech. He had an opportunity to advise all hon. members, who were going to be asked to vote on important motions to amend the bill, as to the rationale for seven motions that were put forward by the President of Treasury Board just 12 hours earlier. We did not see those motions until the morning of the debate. This shows maybe a symptom of the wish for the government to have and to engage all parliamentarians on the importance of Bill C-2.
    In the parliamentary secretary's speech he characterized people who donate money to candidates or political parties as big money and big corporate cash. To characterize those who participate and who support the democratic political process as somehow being a bad thing is quite unfortunate.
    When Bill C-24 passed in this place with the support of all parties, the limits to donations were set at $5,000 for an individual and $1,000 for a corporation or a union. Is there anybody who honestly believes that someone who makes contributions at these levels has significant influence on the government? Of course not. They were fair and reasonable limits.
    This bill says that a small businessman will not be allowed to make a contribution through his company to a local candidate who has worked hard for industrial or regional development or for improvements in the economic climate that will affect that individual's business or industry. Suddenly, anybody who is involved in a corporation is somehow supposed to be a bad person.
    The parliamentary secretary also said that because of influence peddling somehow Bill C-2 would clean up the process. There may be some unintended consequences here. I would like to give the House an example.
    For a member of Parliament such as myself to run in an election my spending limit is somewhere around $80,000. About 60% of this can be received through the Canada Elections Office, but half of it has to go to the party. This means I will have to raise $56,000 to run an average campaign to get to the over 50,000 homes in my riding. This is about $1 a home, not an exorbitant amount of money. Now I am going to have to raise $56,000, but I cannot get more than $1,000 from any one person.

  (1700)  

    We know some people are prepared to support the democratic process, but all the government has really done is force members of Parliament to get larger numbers of individual donors for this process. It is not enhancing the democratic process in terms of providing information to Canadians about the platforms of one's party, about a member's contribution as a past MP or what a person can do for new candidates.
    This is not over. There are no transitional provisions in this with regard to the effectiveness or effective date of the changed limits on political donations. The way it sits right now the in force date would be basically the date of proclamation after royal assent. It means that it would be effective, theoretically, for the calendar year 2006.
    The Chief Electoral Officer has indicated that should this bill pass in this form at all stages, including the Senate, and receive royal assent, in order for him to enforce the act he will have to go back and force people to get back some of the money they donated under the former law. This is a big problem. I can speak quite a bit more about it, but I just raise it. This is one issue that will have to come up.
    Everybody who talked about it in committee was basically saying that the only way one can effectively control this matter and do it in a way which is the least disruptive to Canadians is to have the effective date of the change of the levels of political donations to be January 1 of the coming year. That way there will be no confusion or disruption to the overall process in a taxation year.
    If one is going to be truthful and plain in disclosing what this bill really does, the parliamentary secretary maybe missed a couple of points. He said that this is a seminal event with the hyperbole about how all of these wonderful things are going to happen. He talked about whistleblowers and that the government is going to do this and that. That is not in this bill.
    The creation of the Public Service Integrity Officer, the fact that there are reprisals as defined, the fact that there is a process, the fact that the anonymity is going to be protected, and the fact that there are all kinds of remedies available are in Bill C-11. Bill C-11 was passed in the last Parliament and received royal assent last November. If the government were absolutely committed to transparency and openness and an ethical approach to governing, Bill C-11 would have been proclaimed and there would be a law in force in Canada.
    We could have that position filled. We could have had that kind of protection for employees already, but the government still has not done it. Why? There is one reason and it is totally political. Basically, the government wants to say that Bill C-2 is the bill that does this and somehow take credit for what parliamentarians worked on for three years.
    When Bill C-2 becomes law in Canada, it will also enact Bill C-11 because Bill C-2 in fact makes some consequential amendments to Bill C-11. It tidies it up in a few areas which allows the government to say it has done this. It has not done it. The parliamentary secretary in fact misled the House as to what Bill C-2 does.
    Then there is the Lobbyist Registration Act. After all of the foofaraw about people on the transition team not being able to be registered lobbyists for five years, what did the government do? It turned around and made amendments at report stage at the very last moment that established certain criteria, when the commissioner for lobbying has all kinds of latitude to make exceptions to the rules. With all of those problems, the government said it was going to tighten up on the lobbyists. Then it loosened it up.
    What about the public appointments commission? Does everyone know what the bill says about the public appointments commission? The bill originally said:
    
    The Governor in Council may establish a Public Appointments Commission consisting of a chairperson and not more than four other members.
    That is all the bills says. It says it “may”. It did not say it “will”.
    The opposition worked very hard and got the criteria put in with the details of what the commission will be able to do to bring transparency into the appointments process. What did the Prime Minister say immediately after it passed in committee? He said that he did not care because he would not appoint a commissioner and then we would not have anything.

  (1705)  

    The bill does absolutely nothing for the public appointments process. We will be reverting to Treasury Board guidelines, which have been updated in the last Parliament and have served us very well in providing for that.
    Finally, with regard to the Access to Information Act, the bill is a failure in improving the accessibility of Canadians to information on their government. The Information Commissioner himself said that. I know all hon. members will want to look for other opportunities to ensure that important acts, such as the Access to Information Act, get the necessary amendments to make us truly open, transparent and accountable.

  (1710)  

    Mr. Speaker, it seems that the comments of the hon. member indicate that he will vote against the accountability act. All the member has done is rail against the act.
    I cannot help but compare the member's comments to the comments of his colleague from Vancouver Quadra. His colleague was cogent. He colleague understood that this was a major step forward in restoring accountability in government. His colleague also understood that further improvements could be made in the future.
    All I hear from that member is complaint after complaint. It sounds as though he is against accountability.
    The member mentioned in his reference that mistakes had been made. I do not know where he gets that. I certainly understand that each of the four parties in the House had an opportunity to submit amendments. Some of the amendments were supported and some were not. That is the political process.
    However, I do not know where the member gets it, that somehow the process has failed. I sense from the members of the House that there is a consensus that Bill C-2 needs to move forward. Canadians are demanding it. We have come from 13 years of corruption and the undermining of the ethical framework of government.
    Is the member going to support the legislation when it is voted on later tonight?
    Mr. Speaker, the member does not know anything about the act. He certainly does not know anything about what has happened in the House because there is no vote tonight.
    I might as well use the rest of time maybe to carry on with some other comments. The member for Vancouver Quadra spoke, he mentioned the haste in witness testimony from Mr. Arthur Kroeger and Mr. Ken Rubin. We have to take the bill at its face. The intent of the bill is good, but it has some problems.
    I know that in committee the NDP and the government voted the same way throughout the whole process. Then the Conservative chair of the committee turned around and voted with the government. Every amendment, which tried to be put through in the committee, even setting the age of 18 as being the lowest age at which someone can make a political contribution, was opposed by the government.
    When the member wants to suggest that somehow I have a problem with the act, I do not. I want the bill to pass because that is the only way I can get my Bill C-11 in action. Then we can get protection for public servants who are in jeopardy of reprisal if they bring allegations of wrongdoing to the proper attention. That was one of the most important elements. It was done in Bill C-11. It was not done in Bill C-2.
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member for Mississauga South heard the scuttlebutt from other members of the committee, such as the esteemed member for York South—Weston, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, the member for Vancouver Quadra and myself, who all served on the Liberal side of the committee studying Bill C-2. I am sure he heard the story of how the government proceeded with sections of the act relating to the Auditor General's provenance over aboriginal groups, first nations and aboriginal peoples and the first nations that are self-governing.
    I am sure the member was told that the government determined and described that the follow the money principle of the government over there, which means taxpayers of Canada want to know what is done with their money with respect to aboriginals and first nations. I am also sure the member was told how offensive that was to aboriginals and first nations and to this side. This side brought forward the amendment that got the government's claw off the first nations and aboriginals funds, which are theirs.
     What are the member's comments on that?

  (1715)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member has expressed it very well.
    The opposition has limited tools with which to work, but with the little it had, it achieved a number of important amendments to the bill. However, there is more to do on Bill C-2 and related issues. The Liberal Party is very much supportive of openness, transparency and accountability in government, but we also have to make good laws and wise decisions.
    This law is not as good as we could have had it, had the government cooperated more fully with the opposition to ensure that all the work was done properly. In this case, it was not.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak for what I believe is the last time about Bill C-2. We have discussed Bill C-2 frequently, at length and in detail, and we have analyzed it from every angle. Today, we have before us the final version with the amendments made at third reading.
    With the permission of this House, before I speak directly about Bill C-2, I will talk about its origins and what brought us to this point today, when we are discussing Bill C-2 at third reading. What prompted this bill?
    We could talk at length—and we have—about the sponsorship scandal. A few years ago, thanks to the invaluable work of the Auditor General, people became aware that, unfortunately, some people had misappropriated taxpayers' money to try to buy the hearts and minds of Quebeckers. I am not talking about the majority of public servants, but certain people. Today, justice is taking its course.
    At the time, the Liberal government made a token effort to correct these deficiencies, for which it was itself responsible, having created the culture of entitlement. At that point, three interesting and important tools were put in place. First, there was the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons and Bill C-24, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act (political financing). There was also Bill C-11, the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
    Earlier the hon. member for Mississauga South indicated how important Bill C-2 is. It is a step in the right direction. It reaffirms existing rules, but does not reinvent the wheel.
    In its legislative framework, this bill includes previous important legislation such as Bill C-11, the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. For roughly a year this bill was put on ice. It had gone through all the legislative steps and in short order could have protected public servants who witness wrongdoings. This was delayed strictly for political reasons and that is sad. We could have enacted Bill C-11 as soon as the Conservative government took office. This would have provided a safety net, perhaps imperfect, but a safety net nonetheless that public servants did not have until now. This was delayed and that is sad.
    What were the Conservatives trying to achieve when they introduced Bill C-2? One of their objectives was to restore public trust in politicians and in Parliament. We believe this objective will be met.
    However, when the Liberals introduced the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons—they may not have been the right ones to do so—their objective was to restore public trust in politicians and Parliament. When the Liberals introduced Bill C-24, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act (political financing), it was to restore public trust in politicians and Parliament. When the Liberals introduced Bill C-11, the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, it was to restore public trust in politicians and Parliament.
    When other provincial legislatures introduced similar measures, it was to restore trust. When other countries introduced similar legislation, it was also to restore trust. When we look at whether this objective has been met where similar legislation has been introduced, we come to the unfortunate conclusion that no, it has not. In countries where legislative measures on ethics and transparency like this exist, there is still a large gap between the will of the politicians and public trust in them.

  (1720)  

    It is my hope that this bill will somewhat correct this perception. However, much more will have to be done to that end. In fact, the government also will have to do a great deal more to correct this perception.
    When the sponsorship scandal broke out, the Auditor General stated that all the rules had been broken. That means that there were rules, that they were in place but that the Liberal government decided to circumvent them.
    The Conservative government is proposing new rules. Will it respect them? Therein lies the problem. A plethora of rules can be put in place but without the tools or the political will to ensure compliance, the message that we wish to give to the public—the desire to address the problem and restore trust—will be lost. At the first infringement by the Conservative government of its own law, trust will be further undermined and it will become even more difficult to regain it.
    Earlier I referred to a private members' bill tabled by the member for Simcoe North, if my memory serves me well. This bill called for government investment in an Ontario waterway in order to revitalize tourism and so forth.
    The member who tabled this bill owns the main hotel located in this tourist area and he is asking for the government to invest in his tourist industry. It seems that he is not covered by Bill C-2. That is what we were told. In fact, it seems that he is complying with the bill because it refers to ministers and parliamentary secretaries.
    We have often seen people bending the rules. The government must ask its members to respect the letter and the spirit of the law, which states that they must have no real or perceived conflicts of interest. It is important for ministers and parliamentary secretaries to respect this law. Moreover government members of Parliament must also abide by it and ensure that their conduct does not give rise to a real or perceived conflict of interest.
    I opened the door for my colleague—I believe he is the new member for Simcoe North—by suggesting he check with the President of the Treasury Board to see if he was respecting the spirit of the law. If he did check with the ethics counsellor, and if his bill does not place him in a conflict of interest, then the Bloc Québécois is prepared to re-evaluate its position. We are not accusing the member of a conflict of interest. We are just saying that it bothers us to see this kind of bill introduced just as the Conservative government introduced its bill on transparency and accountability.
    I think I have shown pretty clearly why the Conservative government introduced the first bill of the 39th Parliament, Bill C-2: for political reasons, among other things, and for honourable reasons too, I hope.
    Bill C-2 was discussed in special committee, in legislative committee, actually. Thanks are in order with respect to the legislative committee. I would like to thank all of my colleagues from all parties who contributed to improving Bill C-2 in committee. At times, there was some political posturing from the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP. Not all members were necessarily on the same wavelength. Some sharp remarks were made.
    We all knew there was some jockeying for political position during committee meetings. Once the work was done though, I am sure that we all recognized our collaborators' efforts and qualities. I really wanted to emphasize that. Finally, I must highlight my colleague for Rivière-du-Nord's contribution. She was there during the committee's long working hours.

  (1725)  

    I would also like to mention the work done by two people in particular. It is sad, because I am going to forget other people, but I want to mention Annie Desnoyers and Dominic Labrie. They are thorough, hard-working Bloc Québécois staff, and they supported us—and put up with us—throughout the review of Bill C-2.
    Now I would like to talk more specifically about Bill C-2. The Bloc is in favour of the bill, as you know from our presentations and our support for the amendments. It is important to remember that ethics were central to the most recent election campaign, when the Liberals were thrown out of power, especially in Quebec. We took part in the Gomery commission, which produced a number of recommendations that must now be implemented and are included in part in Bill C-2. Not all of the recommendations are reflected in the bill. Notably missing are the ones concerning the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
    An hon. member: It had to be improved.
    Mr. Benoît Sauvageau: We improved it during the 40 hours a week we sat in committee.
    I would like to talk about what the Bloc Québécois gained. The Bloc is happy to see that some of its proposals were incorporated into Bill C-2. The bill was flawed. We worked to make it better, and we made some progress. All the parties can congratulate themselves on that. The Bloc's gains include the requirement that Elections Canada appoint returning officers on merit. My colleague from Québec, our whip, had already introduced a bill on merit appointments of returning officers, something we managed to obtain in this bill.
    Initially, the bill said that the Chief Electoral Officer could appoint the returning officers in our ridings. We amended this proposal, stating that the Chief Electoral Officer could choose or appoint them, but only after a competition based on merit. We think that the worst situation was where the governor in council appointed his buddies as returning officers. This is rather strange in a modern democracy. But requiring the Chief Electoral Officer to appoint returning officers on merit, after a competition—something he had been requesting for a long time—will make for greater impartiality during elections, and this is one notable gain for the Bloc Québécois in Bill C-2.
    Independence of the lobbyists registry is another gain. We will have a lobbyists registry with an independent commissioner. That way, they cannot divert the focus by appointing people who are in complicity with the government. Political party financing legislation is another major gain. The Conservatives told us, kindly and candidly, that they wanted to use as a model the Quebec political party financing legislation, which was introduced by the Parti Québécois in 1977, if my memory serves me correctly. Some 30 years later, the federal government says it wants to use it as a model. This is a fine victory for the Bloc and a fine victory for Quebec.
    An hon. member: And for democracy.
    Mr. Benoît Sauvageau: And for democracy, indeed.
    The powers of the Auditor General have been strengthened. Since the sponsorship scandal, everyone is aware of the reputation and respect that the Auditor General enjoys. Bill C-2 strengthens her powers by giving her oversight over a greater number of crown corporations and agencies where the federal government invests money.
    The Bloc Québécois is pleased to see that some of its proposals have been retained. I am referring to the secret ballot in particular. In Bill C-2, everyone would have been appointed by secret ballot. It is normal for the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House to be elected by secret ballot. It is a parliamentary tradition. However, appointing everyone by secret ballot would diminish the independence of every independent officer of the House, and the current process for appointing independent officers—

  (1730)  

    I am sorry to have to interrupt the hon. member.

[English]

    It is now 5:30 p.m. and we will proceed to the consideration of private members' business.
    The hon. member for Repentigny will have seven minutes left in his speech when the House resumes debate on Bill C-2.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Income Tax Act

    The hon. government House leader is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order concerning Bill C-253, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (deductibility of RESP contributions) standing in the name of the member for Pickering—Ajax--Uxbridge. While the intent of the bill is to alleviate the tax burden for individuals who contribute to registered education savings plans, it is my submission that Bill C-253 contains specific provisions that would effectively increase the amount of tax payable by the taxpayer.
    If I am correct, the bill should have been preceded by the adoption of a ways and means motion and is therefore improperly before the House.
    Two of the amendments proposed in the bill are amendments to section 146.1 of the Income Tax Act, which sets out RESP payments that are to be included in computing a taxpayer's income for a taxation year.
     Subclause 2(5) of the bill would add a paragraph (c) to subsection 146.1(7.1) that would require refunds of payments made in respect of any contribution paid by a taxpayer to be included in computing a taxpayer income per taxation year. Subclause 2(6) of the bill would repeal subsection 146.1(7.2) of the Income Tax Act, which excludes certain amounts received under RESPs as income for a taxation year.
    Taken together with paragraph 56(1)(q) of the Income Tax Act, which identifies amounts to be included as taxable income under section 3 of the act, these amendments would effectively increase the amount of tax payable by the taxpayer.
    Citation 980 of the sixth edition of Beauchesne's states:
    A Ways and Means motion is a necessary preliminary to the imposition of a new tax, the continuation of an expiring tax, an increase in the rate of an existing tax, or an extension of the incidence of a tax so as to include persons not already [tax] payers.
    In other words, any measure that would have the effect of increasing the tax burden on an individual should be first preceded by a ways and means motion.

[Translation]

    Although the general purpose of these bills is to reduce the tax burden on individuals, this legislation should not evade the requirements of a ways and means motion.

[English]

    The 21st edition of Erskine May states at page 730:
    To escape the rules of financial procedure, a scheme for the alleviation of taxation must not include any incidental increase of the burden upon any taxpayer, however indirect or relatively insignificant that increase may be.
    I therefore submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that Bill C-253 is improperly before the House, and if you agree, I ask that the bill be stricken from the order paper.
    The hon. member for Pickering—Scarborough East.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for getting the name of my riding right and also for preceding the Chair in pre-empting his comments as to the receivability of the bill.
    I have had perhaps as much experience as any member in the House on private members' business. When a bill is presented, it must satisfy two tests, such that your own legislative counsel has been involved with this, Mr. Speaker. Number one is the constitutionality of the bill, on which clearly the bill qualified, and number two, of course, is to ensure that the legislation itself does not require a royal recommendation.
    Based on this and the ruling that you made in respect to May 31, 2006, I am going to read this into the record:
    Where it seems likely that a bill may need a royal recommendation, the member who has requested to have it drafted will be informed of that fact by the legislative counsel responsible for drafting the bill. A table officer will also send a letter to advise the member that the bill may require a royal recommendation.
    Should the member decide to proceed with the bill and select it for inclusion....
    Members may then make submissions regarding the royal recommendation and, if necessary, the Chair will return with a definitive ruling later in the legislative process.
    Mr. Speaker, you said:
    There are a number of bills on the order of precedence which cause the Chair some concern. At first glance, certain provisions of these bills raise questions about the need for a royal recommendation.
    I will not exhaust the list, but they are limited to Bill C-292, Bill C-257, Bill C-293, Bill C-286, Bill C-269, Bill C-284, Bill C-278, Bill C-295, Bill C-303 and Bill C-279.
     Nowhere in that have the table officers or the legislative counsel been concerned about this bill inviting a question of royal recommendation. What the bill in fact does is provide ample opportunity to reduce for most people the burden of student loans. As a result of that, it is faithful to the existing Income Tax Act.
     I point out that if there is any question with respect to taxation, it is already contained within the Income Tax Act as it relates to a withdrawal by a subscriber or a refund in payments; it is subject to a 20% penalty in addition to the regular tax payable. This proposed legislation does nothing to change that and therefore does not invite a question of a royal recommendation.
    What is important is precedents, Mr. Speaker, not only by your ruling very recently, but if the hon. member wishes to go back to October 16, 1995, I would ask the hon. member to listen to this very carefully. When Bill S-9 came before the House it was ruled by you, Mr. Speaker, on that date that the bill did not appropriate tax revenue but rather exempted or reduced taxes otherwise payable. I will read this into the record:
    The parliamentary secretary to the government House leader noted in his intervention that Bill S-9 is not a bill for appropriating any part of the public revenue or for any tax or impost and therefore does not require a royal recommendation. There will be no expenditure of public funds--
    Which of course is contemplated in this bill.
--though money already collected from Canadian citizens pursuant to the tax laws of Canada may be refunded.
    As the parliamentary secretary pointed out, the repayment of tax revenues already received is not an appropriation of public money.
    Mr. Speaker, I turn your attention to Marleau and Montpetit, at page 711, under the financial procedures section:
    A royal recommendation not only fixes the allowable charge, but also its objects, purposes, conditions and qualifications. An amendment which either increases the amount of an appropriation, or extends its objects, purposes, conditions and qualifications is inadmissible on the grounds that it infringes on the Crown’s financial initiative. However, a royal recommendation is not required for an amendment whose effect is to reduce taxes otherwise payable.
    Given that ruling by your Chair and your more recent ruling, Mr. Speaker, with respect to the bills that caused difficulty, and notwithstanding the opinion of the House leader of the Conservative Party, who has referred to this not only to myself but seems to have done it with the hon. member for Bourassa last week on his bill with respect to Kyoto, i seems to be a tried and true measure to try to avoid important legislation that can be derived from private members' business.
    I would suspect that given previous rulings and the wisdom of your legislative counsel, Mr. Speaker, the bill is very much in order, and I do wish to proceed, with your help, in getting the bill on its way to help students in this country.

  (1735)  

    Mr. Speaker, last Friday we had a similar situation on Bill C-288, in which the government House leader rose and made argument with regard to the necessity for a royal recommendation. Today we have another intervention by the government House leader laying out some arguments on Bill C-253, which will be debated shortly.
    In both cases, the Speaker, in his earlier statement, identified for the House and flagged 10 of the 30 bills on the order of precedence as likely requiring royal recommendation. That provides an opportunity for members who are in that situation to determine whether there is a way to remedy that requirement, whether it be at committee stage or at report stage, to ultimately get a royal recommendation, which is one of the reasons that the Speaker also indicated that he would not make a final determination until the point at which a vote on third reading will be called.
    Under the circumstances, where the government House leader is dealing with bills that have not been flagged already, pursuant to the procedure that has been outlined by the Speaker's office, I would appreciate it if direction could be given and that there can be assurances that should the Speaker's office find that there was some error with regard to the flagging that should have been done but was not done, that the members would be appropriately notified of the basis for that, and that members of the House be given an opportunity to make further representations with regard to the argument that has been made by the government House leader once we can see the details of the arguments that have been made.

  (1740)  

    Mr. Speaker, first, I apologize to the mover of the bill. The name of his riding is in fact Pickering--Scarborough East. I just want to correct the record on that.
     I think I have made it very clear, and I am sure the blues will back me up on this, that this is not a question of royal recommendation. It is the need for a ways and means motion. It is on that basis that I intervened.
     Most of the comments were directed with respect to royal recommendations but I made it very clear that the bill needed a ways and means motion to proceed and that therefore it should be struck on that basis.
    Mr. Speaker, it is very clear where the hon. member is going. If he had taken the time to read the bill, as the legislative counsel has done, I want to make it abundantly clear to him that the tax payable is negated by the initial tax credit.
    Mr. Speaker, your legislative counsel looked at this and examined all of the concerns, whether it be a ways and means or whether it be a question of royal recommendation. I merely wanted to point out to the hon. member and to the Chair above all that I am governed by the wisdom of the Chair and I stand by the wisdom of the chair, which is why the bill is in fact receivable. I would like to proceed with debate.
    The Speaker has already indicated that a definite ruling on the procedural admissibility of this bill will be made before the question is put at third reading.

[Translation]

    Since today's debate is on the second reading of the bill, the matter can proceed.

[English]

    The House will now proceed to the debate on private members' business.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank you for allowing that and being consistent in your ruling. I realize this will not be an easy bill but behind the bill comes the challenges, not only for the Department of Finance but, I suspect, for the entire economy.
    Bill C-253 is an act to amend the Income Tax Act which will deal with the amendment to the Income Tax Act to allow contributions to registered education savings plans to be tax deductible. It would come as a surprise to many Canadians it currently is not the situation.
    Is it any wonder today that students face the kind of debt situation that they are now seeing at a time when manufacturers and others around the world are demanding that Canada do better in order to provide a more skilled workforce and more vibrant economy to meet the challenges of a modernizing economy against a highly competitive world.
    The bill provides a regulatory regime similar to that of RRSPs and it also has built in penalties and guidelines to prevent the RESP from being used as a tax shelter, as some will indicate, instead of its sole purpose of generating funds to be used to pay education costs.
    I would like to speak about the rationale of this bill. Nothing is more important for the future prosperity of our great nation than having a highly educated workforce. However, the reality is that contrasted against the backdrop, with soaring tuition costs at universities and colleges, these are creating concern that post-secondary education may soon only become the purview of the wealthy.
    This, in my view and I think in the view of most Canadians, indeed the constituents in my riding and ridings across Canada, is simply unacceptable as it would place Canada at a considerable economic disadvantage, both domestically and in the international marketplace.
    It is very clear that it is not just students who know this and businesses. I would like to refer to some of the comments that were made today coming out of the industry committee's report which it tabled earlier today. It reflects on how manufacturers are responding to this.
    According to a survey conducted by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters in 2003, more than 40% of manufacturers say that skill shortages are seriously constraining their ability to improve business performance and grow. About 17% of those surveyed indicated that skill shortages pose a major constraint on their ability to develop and commercialize new products. Finally, slightly more than 25% report that a lack of skilled and experienced personnel is a challenge that will fundamentally change the nature of their business over the next five to ten years.
    It is clear that Canada must do more to motivate younger people and to provide Canadians with an opportunity where they can best meet that. We can talk about assistance for students who are at the very low end of the economic scale, through no fault of their own, who can get access to higher education to better themselves. We can talk about wealthy students for whom any education anywhere they want to go is no object.
    We are dealing with a fairly large middle class in this country with a hodge-podge of programs that simply cannot make the grade. Many of them choose not to go to university or college, or to get a diploma, a certificate or a degree. As a result of that, the singular loss of an 18 or 19 year old and his or her r ability to get access to higher education is not just a loss for that individual but it is indeed a loss for our country. Our ability to attract investments and, most important, yes, for the finance department and the bean counters to generate revenue for the next 30 or 40 years, we want to look at it from a selfish point of view.
    As I said earlier, this issue is not confined. It is simply a question of whether the finance department thinks it is a good idea or a bad idea and whether it is concerned about the loss of revenue. If we are going to navel gaze and look at today, I suggest that if we cannot plan 10 years from now and give our students an opportunity to get access to higher education and allow universities to bring people in to pay the kind of resources, to pay for the kind of personnel and to pay for the kind of expertise that will make our universities and colleges and our certificate granting institutions the best in the country, then this country will fail the next generation.
    In the absence of a hodge-podge of programs that exist, this bill simply provides the best step forward with resources that are already available to all Canadians who pay taxes and who may want to direct to a loved one, a family member or their sons and daughters the opportunity to gain access to a better job through access to higher education.
    To contrast the difficulty we currently have, 27% of Canadian families have an RESP to help pay for their children's education. One major reason for this relatively low percentage is the financial burden placed on families to maintain an RESP.

  (1745)  

    Regardless of the long term benefit, RESP contributions require after tax monthly family income. Some families are simply unable to afford the minimum monthly contribution, usually $100.
     Making contributions tax deductible, as the bill proposes, offers families incentives and financial assistance to create and manage an RESP. In addition, making contributions tax deductible not only provides a means to help address educational costs, it will impact on lessening post-graduation debt which often is a debilitating financial drain on the graduate.
    There is no doubt that the need for higher learning cannot be gainsaid. According to Statistics Canada, in today's labour market two out of three jobs require more than a high school education. Post-secondary graduates, according to the same institution, have a high employment rate, are less vulnerable to economic downturns and they receive higher incomes which, for the Department of Finance, which I am sure is listening today, also means generating more revenue.
    I want to talk about measures for preventing the RESP from being a tax shelter. It has been raised by my hon. colleagues and I am sure others that this might somehow see itself as a shelter. Let me read into the record what the bill would do.
    When contributions to an RESP are withdrawn either by the subscriber or the beneficiary, this is referred to as a “refund of payments”. Payments of investment income made out of an RESP to a student beneficiary are referred to as “education assistance payments”, EAPs. Payments of investment income made out of the RESP to the subscriber, in the event that a student does not, or is unable to, attend the post-secondary education are referred to as “accumulated income payments”.
    At present, and this is a point that I made to the hon. House leader, EAPs and AIPs are taxed under section 146.1(7) and (7.1) of the Income Tax Act, but a refund of payments is not taxable under section 146.1 since contributions are made from after tax income.
    The bill inserts a refund of payments into one section, 146.1, and repeals 146 (7.2) which would l make a refund taxable when withdrawn. After Bill C-253, the EAPs and AIPs will continue to be taxable when withdrawn.
     To ensure that the RESP is not used as a tax deferral vehicle, the AIPs are subject to part X.5 penalty tax under section 204.94 of the Income Tax Act. If the AIP is withdrawn by a subscriber in the event that the child does not attend the educational institution, the accumulated income payment will be subjected to a 20% tax in addition to the regular tax payable.
    There is a lot here as to whether or not one can reasonably conclude this would be a tax deferral. In fact, it is an opportunity with some fairly strict guidelines and a substantial firewall.
    The high cost of education, and again I will use Statistics Canada as a source, average undergraduate degrees almost doubled, from $2,023 in 1993-94 to $4,000 in 2003-04 and is expected to hit nearly $8,000 by 2012.
    Increases in tuition fees are partly responsible for increases in student debt. The average amount owed to student loan programs by university graduates increased 76% between 1990 and 2000.
    One-third of students who left before graduating in 2002 did so for financial reasons. That is the gap. That tells us exactly what is occurring right now because young people, students cannot make the grade. This financial barrier, notwithstanding all the programs that are there, federal and provincial, simply does not meet the test of ensuring that those who want an education and who have the means of obtaining a higher education cannot do it because there are financial impediments. It is important for us to understand this.
    It is projected that by 2010 a four year degree could cost in excess of $100,000, in residence. In 2002, with only 50% of children under 19 having an average of $8,600 put aside for them by their parents for their entire education, this represents a significant savings shortfall. According to Statistics Canada, parents who expected their child to receive grants for post-secondary education based on financial need saved significantly less.
    The interesting part of this is that almost one-third of all children who are 19 had parents who expected them to receive such assistance even though it is likely that many will not. With respect to saving for a child's education by others, grandparents and other relatives, few actually do so.

  (1750)  

    Under the existing program, notwithstanding the generosity of the 20% top up, in 2002 only 14% of children had savings plans established by persons other than parents.
    Where does that leave us? It leaves us with a large question on student debt. These loads are rising. According to Statistics Canada, bachelor graduates in 2000, with student loans owed on average 76% more than their 1990 counterparts after adjusting for inflation. A similar increase in student debt over the same period was found for college graduates. I can go over the list of people. Only one out of five graduates, who owed money, was debt free two years after graduation. On average, of graduates still owing money, only 25% of their debt had been repaid.
    We have talked a bit about the question of royal prerogative, and I will not debate that point. It was made abundantly clear by yourself, Mr. Speaker, that this matter was never signalled or flagged for that reason. What it does is it responds effectively to a number of foreign organizations that are concerned about the current status of education.
    My province of Ontario has decided to lift the freeze on tuition fees. Students are going to find it very difficult, earning $8 or $9 an hour, to earn enough money to pay a $7,000 or $8,000 tuition base for five credits per year over four years, and that is if they are lucky enough to find a job for a three month period. They may have to live in residence and have other incidental costs. Notwithstanding the government's budget, which allocated a small credit for books, there will be a substantial shortfall.
    Others have suggested that we need to do more, and that includes the Governor of the Bank of Canada. At Humber College on March 30, 2005, David Dodge suggested that we needed a system of incentives for continuous learning and upgrading of skills and an infrastructure that delivers the training. This has always been important, but as I mentioned earlier, it will be particularly important in the next two decades as the labour force growth in Canada slows.
    We are on the precipice of a significant and dramatic change in our demographics, and this is clear. Right now about one in eight Canadians is aged 65 years or older and therefore drawing a pension. By 2026, in 20 short years or less, this ratio will be one in five.
    We have a challenge ahead of ourselves and it must be met with a robust attempt by Parliament and, I hope, the government. I suspect it will not support this, if not for the fact that it is concerned about the short term loss of expenditure.
    The Governor of the Bank of Canada went on to say, “The first step to improving skills is to build an excellent infrastructure for early childhood development, feeding into a school system that effectively teaches basic skills”. He went on to point out that Canada's concerns must be founded on three global trends: technological change, globalization and demographic shifts.
    Contrast this with what manufacturers are saying and with the heavy debts that students are currently incurring, it appears to me, and I think to most reasonable onlookers, that the existing situation is not tenable.
    To ask our students to take on a burden and to ask government to cover the costs of those burdens in terms of loans, when an existing facility exists right now through the income tax system, seems to me, and I think to most reasonable people, an opportunity not for the government to go out and spend money, but to review the programs it has and channel much of that effort toward depriving itself of a bit of revenue in order to achieve a long term objective. If we look at where we are going with this legislation, it provides us with ample opportunity to ensure that Canadians have what many others around the world seem to get.
    Long before manufacturers decide to hop on a plane and make their future investments in China, or in Brazil or in India, because of the quality and level of education, it is incumbent for our future programs, for the prosperity that we have in this nation, that we at least give students a fighting chance. In the absence of no existing programs in our country to address the fundamental needs of so many students with a large level of debt, this is an important step toward ensuring that Canada has a vital, vibrant skilled workforce. To do that, let us give Canadians and their families the tools to do it. Let us support the bill.

  (1755)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the member's speech. He is very passionate about this issue. I can tell he cares a great deal about our students, and that is important.
    The member seems to indicate in the absence of programs. The RESP program already exists and there are incentives in the it. In fact, we have seen this program grow by sevenfold since 1997, so people are using it.
    In its budget, the government provided significantly more availability to student loans. It has provided tax credits, invested in infrastructure at universities, and we are moving toward assisting the provinces in other ways.
    While I appreciate the motivations of the bill, I question whether it is useful in any way.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Peterborough for complimenting Liberal initiatives, but I suspect that if the hon. member looks at 1998, 27% take-up is insufficient. That means that 73% of students cannot or do not have the capacity to use the existing RESP system. It has been condemned by students. It has been condemned by the Fraser Institute. He should speak to students in his riding. Whether it is Sir Sandford Fleming College or Trent University, students, like my nephew or others who I know, say there are tremendous impediments in the possibility of going those universities or colleges to get the kinds of degrees and education they need.
    If the hon. member took a bit more time to look at the way in which the income programs work, it is not based merely on the income of parents or whomever. The needs test is much more prohibitive. As a result of that, students are not only winding up in debt, but one-third of the students right now cannot finish their education because they cannot afford to continue, notwithstanding available programs.
    The Liberal Party may have built the base, but it is now time for Parliament to go one step further to meet the challenges of a globalized economy. Fisher Gauge in his riding is looking for skilled workers and cannot find them. People, with meagre salaries, cannot afford to pay tuition for four or five years. It should be obvious to the hon. member, and in particular to his riding, why the bill is necessary.
    Ask the middle class people in his riding what they think about this, those who pay taxes, if they could direct a portion of that to give their young kids an opportunity to higher education.

  (1800)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. friend's remarks. In a previous life, I sold RESPs. I have never heard anybody condemn the RESP program. Would people like more to be done? Absolutely they would.
    However, I would like to ask three maybe slightly technical questions. I may have missed it in his earlier remarks. Is the hon. member suggesting we retain the Canada education savings grant, as well as making contributions tax deductible? Are we talking about tax deductibility on a limit of $2,000 that currently qualifies for the CESG or on $4,000 that is allowed to be put in every year? Has the hon. member costed out what this would cost, in terms of revenue to the government?
    Mr. Speaker, I compliment the hon. member for Edmonton Centre on his questions.
     The hon. member will know that the current RESP system provides an incentive of up to 20%. Our government proposed 30% and 35%, which passed just before the last federal election. This is to help students who have a much more difficult time of getting in the system. It provides plentiful opportunity for some students to take advantage of this.
    However, I want to underline this for the hon. member. The contributions that people make and the incentive that the government gives only comes after they have paid their taxes. This in fact is a deduction from their taxes. Hard-pressed families, who are trying to make ends meet and who want the young ones to do very well, will have an opportunity to do so.
    An average family making $45,000, $55,000 a year, paying $10,000 income taxes, may be able to take a portion of that, up to $18,000, although it is not likely they will do that, and over a period of time up to $42,000. It is similar to the system under RRSPs. They can achieve that goal simply by continuing their job. If they pay taxes, they can direct some of those taxes as a tax credit to do something that is not just good for themselves and good for their families, but ostensibly for the well-being sustainability of our future economy.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to bill, sponsored by the hon. member for Pickering—Scarborough East. I want to applaud his concern and his actions with respect to affordable education.
     It is important and I agree with his comments about our need to ensure we continue to have a very strong knowledge based workforce and affordable education. I only wish the member had been as passionate back when his government sharply cut back funding for post-secondary education and started us down the path of high tuition and increasing student debt. Here we are today. We need to examine the provisions of this suggestion and whether this is the right way to go.
    The bill proposes major changes to provide a more favourable tax treatment to registered education savings plans, RESPs. More specific, the bill would make RESP contributions deductible, in addition to very low taxation of the growth of the RESP on the other end. It would increase limits on contributions as well to the same level as those applying to RRSPs. We have looked at these measures very carefully. The goal is the same, to have affordable post-secondary education and the lowest possible student debt.
    The examinations suggest that these measures are really not the best policy direction at this time, given the assistance that is already in place for this purpose. In fact, there really is no evidence, and the member did not bring forth any evidence, to suggest that existing measures in support of post-secondary education savings are inadequate. In fact, he pointed out that nearly one-third of Canadian parents already were accessing the RESP for the benefit of their children. I think most parents find that very adequate.
    I want to explain how the current RESP regime works for Canadians watching this debate. It already provides considerable assistance to parents and grandparents to save for their children and grandchildren's post-secondary education.
    Currently, up to $4,000 can be contributed annually to RESPs for each beneficiary. I did not hear the member explain why ordinary families could, under any circumstances, contribute more than $4,000 a year. That is a lot of money to almost every family in the country. The amount of $4,000 can be contributed each year, to a lifetime maximum of $42,000 per beneficiary.
    These contributions are not deductible, but there is no tax payable when the contributions are withdrawn for the beneficiary's post-secondary education.
    The amounts invested in RESPs grow tax free. As a result, the assets grow much faster than if they had been saved outside an RESP. When the investment is taken out, it is taxed in the student's hands rather than the contributor's hands. This means that savings in an RESP results not only in deferral of tax on the investment income, but when the income is taxed, it will be taxed almost always at a very low rate, since full time students generally pay little or, more common, no income tax.
    In addition to this generous tax treatment, the government provides the Canada Education Savings Grant, which is an additional contribution by the taxpayers of Canada to each and every RESP. It makes registered education savings plans even more attractive. Under this grant, the government provides 20% of the grant up to $2,000 of contributions for a child under the age of 18. That grant is annual. There is a lifetime maximum grant of $7,200.

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    In addition, to help promote more saving by low and middle income families, this grant on the first $500 of savings is 40% for families with incomes below $36,000 and 30% for families with incomes between $36,000 and about $73,000. This gives extra incentive to the broad base of Canadian families for savings in an RESP.
    This grant grows tax free within the education savings plan. It is not lost. Even if a family for some reason cannot contribute in a particular year, there is flexibility so that families can catch up on missed contributions but still receive the yearly grant.
    Taking into account the tax deferral, the Canada education savings grant and the fact that most students pay little or no tax, saving in an RESP often earns a higher rate of return than saving for retirement in an RRSP.
    This tax assistance for education savings plans costs the Government of Canada about $130 million a year in forgone revenue and about half of that amount to the provinces. In addition to the $130 million in forgone revenue, over $440 million is provided for the grants that I spoke about. That was in the year 2005. The federal government already provides over $570 million per year in savings assistance for post-secondary education just through this program alone. There are many other programs as well. There is over half a billion dollars already in this plan.
    This bill proposes to make contributions to RESPs tax deductible in the future. The contributions would be taxed in the hands of the contributor when they are withdrawn rather than be tax free to the contributor as is currently the case. The Canada education savings grant would still provide the grants on the first $2,000 in contributions. The contribution limits would be raised to be the same as RRSPs. Under this bill contributions could be up to 18% of earned income or up to $18,000 in 2006.
    There are three main concerns with this proposal and I would like to go through each of them. First, there is really no evidence that the current plan is not working well for Canadians. If one reads the bill, one would be tempted to believe that the existing plan is not very generous and that Canadian parents are not saving enough for their children's post-secondary education. It is quite the contrary.
    With the current education savings plan's limit, saving $2,000 annually in a child's RESP means that almost $75,000 could be available for that child's post-secondary education by age 18. About $95,000 would be available if a parent contributed the current $4,000 limit annually until the $42,000 lifetime limit was reached. That is a considerable amount of money for each child's education.
    To put things in perspective, this is more than the annual cost of a typical undergraduate program today, including tuition, books and living expenses for someone studying away from home. Right now the cost is about $18,000 a year, or $72,000 for a four year program. This means that existing RESP limits are adequate and do not need to be raised.
    Are parents saving for their children's post-secondary education? I am happy to confirm to members of the House that contributions to RESPs have tripled since 1998. In 2005 the total contributions to RESPs were roughly $2.4 billion. In fact, total assets held in RESPs have skyrocketed to seven times their value nine years ago. It is very clear that the RESP regime is working.
    It is also a concern that parents and grandparents on pension or investment income would no longer be able to make a contribution.

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    In addition, there are the technical problems that I talked about. Someone who has only one child can save as much as someone with five children. Someone with more children cannot save any more under this plan.
    We need to continue with the measures that governments have brought in and that we brought in in the last budget to assist students. There are problems with the member's proposal and I have outlined them. I would ask my colleagues in the House to consider very carefully following the government's lead in not supporting this bill.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise here today as deputy finance critic for the Bloc Québécois and as a young critic.
    Generally speaking, the Bloc Québécois is in favour of reducing the tax burden on the middle class. It is therefore not against the idea that taxpayers who make contributions to an educational savings plan should receive a tax break.
    In my short speech, I will identify a few flaws in the bill; however, we believe that the proposed measure is nonetheless very commendable. The flaws will have to be fixed, however, and clarifications about the bill must be provided before we can confirm o