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39th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 105

CONTENTS

Wednesday, June 4, 2008





CANADA

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 142 
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NUMBER 105 
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2nd SESSION 
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39th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayers


[Statements by Members]

  (1405)  

[English]

    It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the pages of the House of Commons.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Samuel de Champlain

    Mr. Speaker, today marks the 395th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's first visit to Ottawa.

[English]

    Morris Bishop wrote in his book Champlain: The Life of Fortitude that on this day in 1613, “he admired the superb fall of the Rideau throwing its waters forward, clear of the cliff, to make a curtain (Rideau). The Indians passed behind the waterfall for amusement, barely wetting themselves. Champlain was captivated by this beautiful spot, where one day was to rise the towered capital of all his realm”.

[Translation]

    It is Champlain who gave us the name for the Rideau Falls and the river of the same name and, indirectly, for Rideau Street and the city wards of Rideau, Rideau-Vanier and Rideau-Rockcliffe.

[English]

    Champlain also inspired the naming of Rideau Hall, the Rideau Centre and the former Rideau Township.

Millennium Excellence Award

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to pay tribute to six outstanding students from my riding who are recipients of the 2008-09 Millennium Excellence Award.
    This program is one of Canada's most prestigious national scholarship initiatives. The Millennium Excellence Award, directed at Canadians preparing to enter college or university for the first time, plays a crucial role in the recognition and encouragement of excellence in the classroom and beyond.
    Congratulations to Melinda Jacobs of Varde Gymnasium, Michelle Bendrich from Leo Hayes High School, and Joanne Delaney, Joshua Clark, Boshen Gao and Bushi Zhang from Fredericton High School. These bright young people have made their families, schools and community proud.

[Translation]

Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville

    Mr. Speaker, last Sunday the mayor of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Claude Benjamin, invited the public to the annual order of merit ceremony, which recognizes the outstanding contribution of Saint-Bruno citizens to their community.
    The following recipients were honoured: Marcelle Gaudette, for her tireless work with the Montarville AFEAS; François Poliquin, for his significant involvement in the Saint-Bruno figure skating club, as well as his dedication to minor hockey; Muriel Martin, for her continuing dedication to the Royal Victoria Hospital Auxiliary, the Club 55 program, the Royal Canadian Legion, St. Michael's Mission and Madeleine House.
    The gold medal of merit—the city of Saint-Bruno's highest honour—was awarded to Dr. Maurice Falardeau for his involvement and leadership in numerous organizations in Saint-Bruno, notably the Minta rally, the social justice committee and a coalition of community organizations.
    He has made an extremely important contribution, earning the recognition and admiration—
    The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

[English]

Elder Abuse

    Mr. Speaker, last November the government released the first report of its National Seniors Council. Importantly, the council chose elder abuse as its first priority.
    Elder abuse can come in the form of neglect and physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse. It can take place at home, in an institutional setting, or in the community. It affects our parents and grandparents, and yet, it often goes unreported. It is for this reason that raising awareness is a crucial component of preventing the abuse and neglect of older adults. In fact, the council recommended that the government “build on the awareness generated by World Elder Abuse Awareness Day”.
    I have been raising this issue since before the council was even established. I have asked the government to support the commitment made under the UN's international plan of action by proclaiming June 15 elder abuse awareness day here in Canada. I have made the request in a statement and a motion in this House, in correspondence, and in a meeting with the minister. Yet another year has passed and the government still has not acted.
    If the government wants the National Seniors Council to be taken seriously, then it has to take its recommendations seriously. With June 15 just a few days away, the time to act is now.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to celebrate Canada's Environment Week and Clean Air Day.
    Every year Environment Week is a call to action to all Canadians to adopt a greener lifestyle.
    Our government supports Environment Week and is committed to ensuring Canada's environmental health standards are among the highest on earth. Our investments under eco-action are a testament to that.
     In the last 12 months our government has taken real action to protect vast amounts of wilderness land in the north. We have invested almost $100 million to help clean up environmental hot spots in the Great Lakes. We have taken action in Lake Simcoe and Lake Winnipeg to stop the spread of blue-green algae.
    Environment Week is also about individuals, communities and organizations working together to preserve and protect our environment by helping to change Canadian attitudes in favour of a greener lifestyle. The protection of our environment is everyone's responsibility.
    I welcome everyone to join me in celebrating Canada's Environment Week and Clean Air Day.

  (1410)  

Earthquake in China

    Mr. Speaker, in the recent earthquake in Sichuan province, thousands of people have perished, been injured and been displaced. Canadians are standing in solidarity with the victims, offering their support to help alleviate the suffering and provide a lifeline of hope.
    Last week I was proud to stand with Dr. Ken Ng, chair of the Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham, as together we launched a campaign to raise funds to help families to rebuild their lives.
    I would like to acknowledge the exceptional efforts of our colleague, the member for Richmond, who is on his way to China now on behalf of the Ice Breaking Care Society and Health Partners International Canada with critical medical supplies for local hospitals.
    This massive heartbreaking disaster will require our continued long term support in helping to rebuild shattered lives.
    We are all connected as part of the human family. I call on the government now to increase Canada's aid to Sichuan province in our long-standing proud tradition of compassion and humanitarian assistance.

[Translation]

Cadman Affair

    Mr. Speaker, this morning, we discovered that the Liberals used a doctored audio tape as the basis for their accusations against the Prime Minister. Scientific analysis conducted by two leading North American audio experts confirmed that the recording used by the Liberal Party is incomplete and had been changed and tampered with before it was released.
    The legal evidence is clear: the recording was altered; specifically, a “fabricated sound bite” was inserted. Why did the Liberals base their accusations on a recording that was falsified?
    The RCMP has found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the Prime Minister or the Conservative Party in the Cadman affair, yet the Liberal Party has kept trying to score political points with this issue. The Liberals should be red-faced over this.
    We deserve answers to a number of questions. Who doctored the tape? When was it doctored? And why was it doctored?

30-Hour Cycling Challenge

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate 23 students from École polyvalente Nicolas-Gatineau, in my riding. On June 5 and 6, 13 girls and 10 boys will be cycling as part of the 18th edition of the 30-hour cycling challenge for the school's senior students.
    This is a huge personal challenge. These young cyclists have worked very hard to get in shape, and they have logged hundreds of kilometres on their bikes to prepare for this activity. I would like to congratulate and thank the organizer, François Allard. This is his last time around the track; he will be retiring from teaching at the end of this school year.
    The Bloc Québécois and I want to congratulate all of these young athletes and wish them a great ride.

[English]

Leadership Campaign Financing

    Mr. Speaker, the deadline has now passed. Yesterday was the last day for the Liberal leader to pay off his leadership race loans, which figure in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, or else face being in violation of Canada's election laws.
    Canadians want to know the truth. Who are the wealthy and powerful elites who lent him the money? Who is really pulling the Liberal leader's strings? Whose puppet is he? When will he come clean with Canadians and tell us how much he really owes?
    By running up such enormous debts and failing to find enough support to pay them off, the Liberal leader is demonstrating that he is a weak leader who cannot be trusted with the nation's finances. How can Canadians trust him to manage their dollars when he cannot even manage his own?
    I call on the Liberal leader to immediately table the agreement he is seeking with Elections Canada, along with his debt repayment plan.
    My constituents want to know, all Canadians want to know, and they want to know today.

[Translation]

Clean Air Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is Clean Air Day, a celebration of environmentally-friendly activities that promote clean air and good health across Canada.
    The three opposition parties worked hard to improve and strengthen the provisions of the Conservative clean air act, but the Conservative Party refused to accept the amendments proposed by the opposition, which, incidentally, holds the majority of seats in this House.
    Canadians deserve to be protected from pollution, but the Conservative government continues to ignore the problem.
    The Conservative government should accept the measures proposed by the opposition and reintroduce the bill as amended in committee.
    Today represents an excellent opportunity to make environmentally-friendly choices and improve air quality. It is high time the government did something.

  (1415)  

[English]

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has been using a false, edited and doctored audiotape of an interview with the Prime Minister to make false criminal accusations.
    According to Tom Owen and Alan Gough, two foremost forensic audio experts, the tape is incomplete, the tape has been doctored, including the insertion of a fabricated soundbite, and the doctoring occurred a number of times.
    In his affidavit before the Ontario Superior Court, Mr. Owen said, “This tape has been edited and doctored to misrepresent the event as it actually occurred”.
    We have said from the beginning that nothing inappropriate happened here. Dona Cadman has said that the Prime Minister's versions of the event are the truth. We have said as well that Chuck Cadman himself said that no inappropriate offer was made.
    The Liberal Party has been caught using a doctored tape to make false criminal accusations against the Prime Minister of this country. It is time for the Liberals to come clean on what they know about the tape.

Member for Halifax

    Mr. Speaker, every so often our lives are touched by someone whose political contribution is so profound and unique, and whose political intentions are so pure and selfless, that we cannot adequately express our gratitude.
    Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to the member for Halifax.
     On behalf of our federal NDP caucus, and especially our federal NDP women's caucus, I want to express our feelings of gratitude, which defy description.
    How do we thank someone for more than 30 years in public life? How do we thank someone who was the first woman ever elected leader of a major political party, who served as the only New Democrat and only woman in the Nova Scotia legislature for four long years, who was the second woman to lead the federal New Democratic Party in Canada, who was a mentor and a role model who broke down the barriers for women everywhere, showed us the way and worked for equality in politics and in every aspect of life?
    She endured criticism with grace and accepted praise with humility. We know her work is not done and her struggle will carry on, we hope on the world stage.
    One thing we know for sure is that she will not just stick to her knitting.

Richard (Steve) Leary

    Mr. Speaker, Captain Richard (Steve) Leary of Brantford was killed yesterday in Afghanistan.
    Captain Leary was the son of Richard and Gail Leary, husband of Rachel and brother of Brandi.
     He was much loved and admired by all who knew him.
    He is described as a very good man, a person who wanted to make a difference and who wanted to make people feel safe.
     He surely succeeded. He died making the people of Afghanistan feel much safer and much freer.
    Allow me to say in Captain Leary's honour and memory what Winston Churchill said in this chamber in 1944 in describing the courage and the heroism of Canada's soldiers: “you did your duty--you were magnificent”.

[Translation]

Bill C-490

    Mr. Speaker, today, June 4, members of the House are invited to vote on the bill introduced by the Bloc Québécois, Bill C-490, at second reading. The bill calls on the government to correct the terrible injustice to seniors who have been cheated by the guaranteed income supplement or GIS program, and improve the lives of those most vulnerable.
    Introduced in December 2007 by my colleague, the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan, this bill has four components: automatic registration; an increase of $110 a month; full retroactivity for seniors entitled to the GIS; and a six-month compassionate measure for seniors who have lost their spouse.
    With this bill, we will really find out if the Conservative members are willing to respond to the appeals of the many seniors' associations that have shown their support.
    Since this is Seniors Month, I urge all members to vote unanimously in favour of Bill C-490. It is a matter of justice and dignity for all seniors in Quebec.

[English]

Conservative Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are watching in disbelief as a desperate PMO is resorting to pitbull tactics to cover up scandals within its own caucus.
    The member for Nepean—Carleton seems to be the Conservative point man to sweep under the carpet 125 instances where Conservative Party candidates received loans for their campaigns in the last election.
    There are 19 Conservative candidates who still have loans outstanding from the last election.
     According to Elections Canada, three Conservatives had donations exceeding the limit of $5,400 per donor.
     Talk about hypocrisy: the Conservatives take the cake on hypocrisy.
     I suggest that the member for Nepean—Carleton ask why the PMO is hanging him out to dry by asking him to support the violations of his Conservative colleagues.

  (1420)  

Leadership Campaign Financing

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader has now missed the deadline to pay off his leadership debts, which means that they are now illegal donations, unless, that is, Elections Canada has provided a special exemption. This raises questions.

[Translation]

    If the Liberal leader is too weak to manage his own finances, how could he possibly manage the country's finances?

[English]

    Second, if he cannot repay these wealthy elites and powerful insiders, who is pulling the Liberal leader's strings?
    Third, how much does he owe these wealthy elites?
    Fourth, who are these wealthy elites and what have they asked for in exchange for their money?
    Fifth, when will they be paid off?
    Today we call on the Liberal leader to table in the House of Commons the special arrangement he is seeking with Elections Canada. If he has nothing to hide, why will he not just table those documents right now?

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, our thoughts are with the thousands of workers who are losing their jobs in Oshawa. Their plight speaks to the real economic challenges facing our country, notably our manufacturing sector. The latest numbers show that in the first quarter of 2008 Canada had the worst-performing economy in the G-7.
    When will the Prime Minister admit that his finance minister's rosy words are wrong and Canada's economy is in trouble? When will the Prime Minister wake up and smell the coffee?
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is of course correct. If we actually look at all of the numbers, the truth of the matter is that in spite of a couple of one time events, the reality is that the Canadian economy continues to create jobs and the Canadian economy continues to see income growth, notwithstanding that there are certain problems we should address.
    Having talked to virtually all of our G-8 leaders last week, I can tell the House that they would love to have an economy like Canada's. It is such a disappointment that all the opposition does is run down our country.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is his Minister of Finance who is bringing this country down.
    The Prime Minister allowed his foreign affairs minister to make gaffe after gaffe before he decided to fire him.
    Will he learn from his mistakes and dismiss his Minister of Finance immediately before he jeopardizes our automobile and manufacturing industries even further?
    Mr. Speaker, the international economic organization said that Canada was going to avoid a recession and that the health of its economy had improved thanks to the actions and tax cuts made by the Minister of Finance.
    Rest assured that no one in the world is calling on the government to impose new taxes on the Canadian economy. That is the opposition leader's idea.

[English]

    The Prime Minister has no credibility about that because he gave his support to the green shift in British Columbia.
     The finance minister told the world not to invest in Ontario, calling the province of Ontario “the last place you will go”. Unfortunately, General Motors took his advice and the workers and their families are paying the price.
     Any finance minister who discourages investment and job growth is not fit to be finance minister. Will the Prime Minister give Ontario some good economic news and fire his finance minister?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, we know that General Motors is experiencing worldwide problems. At the same time, we know that yesterday the Ford Motor Company, with the Minister of Industry, announced some investments in this country.
    The reality is that the fundamentals of the Canadian economy are strong due to the actions of the Minister of Finance, especially his actions in cutting taxes, in cutting taxes early and deep before there was a recession.
    The Leader of the Opposition wants to impose new taxes that would put this economy into recession. That is why he is not fit to be Prime Minister of this country.
    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister declared that Ontario was “the last place” to invest and he does not seem to care that General Motors took him at his word.
    It is not just the 2,600 jobs lost at Oshawa. It is the 12,000 jobs at risk as the cuts move through the supply chain throughout central Canada. Ontario workers need a helping hand, not a cold shoulder. When will the minister stop tearing Ontario down and start helping it to come back?
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure if the hon. member had read the budget, he would have seen the $250 million automotive innovation fund. Some of the people who are losing their jobs in Oshawa and Whitby are my friends and neighbours. This is serious business for us. We are investing in innovation.
     The future of General Motors in Oshawa requires that the car plant get a third product. It is going to have two. Because of innovation, it already has the Impala. Then it will have the Camaro in the fall. We are going to work with the union, with CAW and with General Motors to get that third car in Oshawa.
    Mr. Speaker, the workers in Oshawa are going to have plenty of time to read his budget because they are going to be unemployed. The job losses are right on his doorstep and some of the workers who we are talking about are in his constituency.
    When he returns to Whitby—Oshawa in the summer, will he be telling them the same delusional tales about our Canadian economy? Will he dare to tell them that things are all right?
    Mr. Speaker, I will tell them the same thing the OECD said today in its spring economic outlook, and that is Canada's economy looks good. In fact, Canada's GDP will lead the OECD next year, in 2009. That is what I will tell them.
    I will also tell them that the opposition members do not know anything about the auto sector. They do not obviously know about the beacon project. They do not know about the auto strategy that was developed before. They do not know about the flex line in the car plant in Oshawa. They are ignorant of all that. What they know is how to increase the price of gasoline with a carbon tax. How that is going to help General Motors and its workers in Oshawa.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government indicated that neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister of Public Safety nor the former minister of foreign affairs, the hon. member for Beauce, intend to appear before the parliamentary committee concerning the Julie Couillard affair and the risks to public safety. That shows a serious lack of respect for our democratic institutions.
    What does the Prime Minister have to hide so much that he would compromise his sense of honour? This is unworthy of a head of state.
    Mr. Speaker, I know the opposition wants to have public hearings for partisan reasons. That is their game.
    This government is committed to reviewing the facts in a professional and objective manner and that is what we are going to do.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, witnesses are questioned and cross-examined in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security so that we can get to the truth. Some testimonies could contradict the government's and the Prime Minister's version of the facts.
    Is that why the Prime Minister is ducking the issue? Is he afraid that certain testimony will confirm that he knew about Julie Couillard's shady past for a long time and that he tried to bury the whole affair instead of worry about national security and the truth?
    Mr. Speaker, the minister has stepped down. I am here on a regular basis to answer questions. If the Bloc Québécois has a substantive question, I look forward to it.
    Here is one, Mr. Speaker. Since the Prime Minister refuses to appear before the committee, I will ask him a question in this House, and I would like a straight answer. It is clear that the RCMP, knowing Ms. Couillard's shady past, must have told the Prime Minister about the past relationships of his foreign affairs minister's new flame.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us when the RCMP informed him of Ms. Couillard's shady past?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has made it abundantly clear that he has no intention of starting a practice of asking for inquiries into the backgrounds of private citizens in Canada. That has been his practice in the past and it will not change in the future.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the public can judge the relevance of the questions we are asking here and the sort of response we are getting. I will try another question.
    We are told that the Department of Foreign Affairs is going to conduct its own investigation into the fact that the documents were missing for more than five weeks. By conducting its own investigation, the department is acting as both defendant and prosecutor, and it is difficult to imagine that the department will blame itself.
    When did the former minister of foreign affairs tell the Prime Minister that sensitive documents had gone missing? Was it in mid-April or on the day of the TVA report? How long had the Prime Minister known that important documents had disappeared?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the opposition's questions have already been answered many times. When did the Prime Minister know about the situation? Monday afternoon. When did the minister resign? Monday afternoon. When did the Prime Minister take action? Monday afternoon. Are the documents now in the hands of the government? Yes. Will there be an examination of this matter? Yes, by foreign affairs. Did the government take action? Yes.
    More than any thing else these repetitive questions demonstrate the inability of the opposition to ask questions about anything that actually matters to Canadians.

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, it cannot be very comforting for the workers who have been laid off in Oshawa to hear the Prime Minister stand here and say that it amounts to a couple of one-time events. Let me remind him that we have had 180,000 manufacturing jobs lost under his watch. That does not amount to a one-time event. That amounts to a lack of leadership. Those workers are right now outside that plant in Oshawa demanding answers for themselves, for their families, for their community and for the industry.
    It is time the Prime Minister started providing some answers right here in the House. Why does he not show some leadership and put in place the kind of green economy with jobs for the future, which our country needs?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, I said no such thing. The reality is when jobs are lost, that is an unfortunate thing. However, know what? Inevitably companies have some difficulties. What we want to ensure is that when we lose jobs, this economy creates jobs. Since this government has been in office, since the Minister of Finance has been in this job, over three-quarters of a million jobs, net, have been created in our country.
     We are pursuing an agenda of tax reduction and competitiveness and we are going to continue to pursue it, even if the NDP and all those other guys want to raise taxes.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, he has all sorts of good news for his friends in big oil, but the situation is not nearly as rosy for ordinary Canadians.
    Consumer confidence is at its lowest level in seven years. Families have racked up $1 billion in mortgage debt, but their incomes have not changed since 1980. Food costs are climbing, the price of gas is $1.50 in Dorval and workers are losing their jobs.
    What is the Prime Minister going to do to create green jobs for the workers in the automotive, forestry and manufacturing industries who have lost their jobs? What is he going to do?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, the leader of the New Democratic Party is asking a question about creating a fund for innovation in the auto industry. Budget 2008 provides for such a fund, but the NDP voted against that fund. That is another example. Except for the idea of a carbon tax on all products and services in this country, the opposition has no suggestions to make to improve Canada's economy. That is why we are the government and why we are going to remain the government.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, just a few short years ago, the Prime Minister said in a throne speech:
    No aspect of responsible government is more fundamental than having the trust of citizens....It is time for accountability.
     Those are the words of the government. I think those thoughts are shared by a great many Canadians.
    If it is time for accountability, why would the government be preventing the Prime Minister and the former minister of foreign affairs from appearing before a parliamentary committee that its task is directly to deal with this question?
    Here we go with another kangaroo court, Mr. Speaker. We have had accountability. The minister of foreign affairs has resigned and an investigation is under way.
     What we will not do is what the member asking the question did when he was the NDP premier of Ontario. When he was faced with one of his ministers who breached privacy laws and confidentiality laws, he required her to take a lie detector test. Once she had proven to his satisfaction that she was after all a liar, he was persuaded that she had what it took to stay in his cabinet. No, we will not be doing that.
    Mr. Speaker, everyone knows what I was doing in the past. I suspect that when I was—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I have to have some order.
    The hon. member for Toronto Centre has the floor.
    For all I know, Mr. Speaker, at that time, the minister who just responded was in high school, pulling the wings off butterflies. We have no idea what he was really doing.
    The government is trying to hide behind a libel suit. The government is trying to hide behind a libel chill. The Prime Minister is hiding behind the minister who is now being prompted by all the ministers around him.
     Why will the government not let the Prime Minister of the country appear before a parliamentary committee?
    Order, please. Obviously it is Wednesday, but the government House leader is rising to answer this question and he has been recognized to do so.
    The hon. government House leader has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, some people are all wet on these issues. The one thing I can tell the House is we will not do what he did when he was premier of Ontario and double the debt for which he was responsible.
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the secret documents of the foreign affairs minister, exactly when, how and by whom were they returned to the government?
    Mr. Speaker, we have answered the question many times in the House. The documents in question were returned to the government. The Prime Minister became aware of the matter on Monday of last week. At that point, the resignation of the foreign affairs minister was accepted.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, when the documents were recovered, the Prime Minister should have been informed immediately. If the Prime Minister is telling the truth, there was a serious bungle.
    Why are the people who made such a mistake the same ones who are conducting the investigation?

  (1440)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are quite confident that Foreign Affairs can look into this matter. It is the department that is most responsible for this. It can examine its processes.
     We had a previous occasion where we had very positive recommendations for changes that would improve our processes. That took place in the Privy Council's investigation into the NAFTA affair. We think we will get the same kind of positive results from this.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, in his made-in-Alberta plan, the minister of pollution is refusing to include greenhouse gas reductions made by industries between 1990 and 2005. In choosing 2006 as the reference year, he is giving preferential treatment to rich polluting oil companies and low priority to the manufacturing industry, which reduced its emissions before 2006.
    Rather than pretending that he wants to look to the future, would it not be advisable for the Minister of the Environment to first consider the past?
    Mr. Speaker, greenhouse gas levels are too high. Our mission and our goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—not in the past, but in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, the report of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources on the forest industry, which the industry called fantastic, recommends that greenhouse gas reductions made by this industry since 1990 be taken into account when drafting new regulations. The committee, including Conservative members, adopted this report unanimously.
    Rather than spewing empty rhetoric, should the minister not consult with the committee chair who supported the recommendation?
    Mr. Speaker, we worked very hard with the forestry industry in Quebec and throughout Canada and we have recognized cogeneration in our regulatory plan.
    This is the first plan to regulate the major polluters in Canada. We are taking action that will give real results in Canada.

Regional Development

    Mr. Speaker, over the past few weeks, a number of regional conferences of elected officials, including those of Lanaudière, the national capital and Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, have adopted resolutions denouncing the decision by the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec to eliminate recurring funding for not for profit organizations and they are calling on him to overturn his decision. According to the regional conferences of elected officials, these organizations offer direct services to businesses and generate significant economic spinoffs for the regions of Quebec.
    Will the minister step out of his ideological bubble and overturn his decision, as everyone in Quebec is asking him to?
    Mr. Speaker, if we did what the hon. member is asking, that would mean that in all the regions in Quebec, we would no longer be able to pursue regional economic development and we would no longer be able to support projects for small and medium-sized businesses that create employment and contribute to the diversification of economic activity in the regions.
    We will continue to support the economic agencies, but through one-off projects that have a start, a middle and an end. We will no longer be funding operating costs forever.
    Mr. Speaker, everyone in Quebec is worried about the negative impact of the decision by the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.
    Did the minister consult the Government of Quebec before making his unfortunate decision and did he listen to Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, regional economic development is a shared jurisdiction. The Government of Quebec can very well make its own decisions and we can make ours. If some groups think that continuing to pay the operating costs of not for profit organizations is a good decision, then they can continue to subsidize those organizations. We are still going to help the organizations, but only in one-off projects that have a start, a middle and an end.
    I just got back from Montreal, home of the Montreal Grand Prix. We have allocated a $1.25 million subsidy for a one-off project that will help the Montreal Grand Prix and will draw tourists to Montreal.

[English]

Agriculture

    Mr. Speaker, the UN has called an emergency summit to look at the food crisis and to find solutions to the growing problem but Canada's agriculture minister is not there.
    Sending food aid and working with the WTO to reduce trade barriers is not enough. This crisis worsens every day.
    Solutions need to be found beyond what is already in place and Canada needs to be a leader on this important issue, but the minister is not there. Why not?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's position is being ably led by Alex Himelfarb. Of course, the members opposite would well appreciate his expertise in these areas.
    We are very ably represented at that conference.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, even Robert Mugabe is there. Why is the Canadian minister not there?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think the member just outlined the credibility of the conference when one of the keynote speakers is Robert Mugabe.
    There are a number of other legitimate concerns being raised at that conference.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Gerry Ritz: Maybe members should hold it down a little if they want any kind of answer.
    We have committed a lot of dollars to food aid around the world. We disconnected our food aid so that it is bought locally.
    Canada can claim credit as a leader in the food aid crisis around the world.

Canada-U.S. Relations

    Mr. Speaker, the NAFTA-gate report has a number of serious flaws.
     Americans with access to the diplomatic memo were not called; reporters in the budget lock-up were not called; and The Associated Press that received the memo was not called.
    The government House leader misleads Canadians by pretending that the report clears the Prime Minister's hand-picked people, but if the investigation is so obviously incomplete, how can Canadians accept any of the findings?
    Actually, Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ. It was quite a thorough and complete investigation.
     In fact, I remember that very same member complaining that it was taking too long, that it was being too thorough and that he objected to the fact that the clerk had obtained the services of professionals to assist him in that regard.
    However, I will tell the House what conclusion the hon. member is not talking about. He is not talking about the conclusion in the report that any comments made by the Prime Minister's chief of staff did not reveal any information. There was no evidence that Mr. Brodie disclosed any classified information.
    The hon. member asked a lot of questions, assuming this was true, but once that came out, he never once apologized. He could take the opportunity to do that now.
    Mr. Speaker, it is that response that shows the government has no credibility when it comes to accountability.
    Yesterday, Senator Barack Obama all but secured the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party.
    The Conservative Party has made no secret of its cozy ties and admiration for the Republicans.
    Given that leaks from the government have already interfered in Obama's campaign, could the Prime Minister tell us what else he plans to do as the leader of the Republican farm team?
    Mr. Speaker, I would further add that the hon. member did not accurately report what is in the report. It actually says that the PCO invited three TV news reporters connected with the alleged disclosure to talk to investigators, but CTV News declined on their behalf, so they cannot sit there and say that they were never contacted. They actually refused to cooperate.
    That is not the fault of the government and that is something that he should represent accurately but he does not, the same way that he represented the original accusations inaccurately, the same way that on every single issue they raise as a potential scandal, this government gets cleared and they never once apologize. It is time for them to apologize on all those fronts.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, lately the opposition members have been trashing Canada's economy. Their constant negative outlook is causing Canadians to worry and it is scaring away investors.
    The ignorance of opposition members of Canada's economic strength is disappointing. What is worse is that their warning cries are not based on facts, as the OECD revealed just today.
    Could the Minister of Finance please give this House the state of Canada's economy?
    Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to do so and I thank the member for Chatham-Kent—Essex for his positive approach to our economy, unlike the negative approach toward Canada taken by the Liberals opposite. That negative approach is not shared internationally. The OECD, in its spring economic outlook, after two years of Conservative government, said, “Canada has entered the current period of weakening global growth from an enviable position”.
    It went on to compliment Canada about the relatively healthy state of the economy, including the impulse of tax cuts, Ralph, reducing taxes in Canada and providing stimulus--
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.

  (1450)  

Health

    Mr. Speaker, Dr. Jeanne Besner, chair of the Health Council of Canada, says, “As we reflect on the speed and direction of health care renewal, we find the glass is at best half full”.
    That is the diplomatic way of putting it.
    The straight goods are that the Conservative government has failed working families when it comes to health, failed to live up to its health care commitments and has failed to do anything about home care, aboriginal health, catastrophic drug coverage, health records and primary care. Five million Canadians cannot find a doctor.
    Why have the Conservatives failed to keep their health care promises?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary. This government, in three budgets in a row, increased the transfer payments to the provinces and territories by 6% per year. We have met that commitment. We were the first government to create a national cancer strategy. We were the first government to create a Mental Health Commission. We were the first government working with the international community to work on a vaccine for HIV-AIDS. We were the first government that established patient wait time guarantees with every province and every territory.
    We are acting on behalf of Canadians and we are proud of our record.

Canada Pension Plan

    Mr. Speaker, the government's much touted pension splitting scheme is backfiring badly. A couple in my riding saved $2,000 on their income taxes, but as a result--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain has the floor.
    --had to pay $5,400 more for one spouse's nursing home care. Another will lose her GIS.
    Seniors cannot afford high priced accountants to save them from the government's false advertising, and now they have to pay a penalty if they want to reverse the pension splitting on their tax returns.
    Will the government do the right thing and waive that penalty today for the 2007 tax year? Will it at least do that?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not familiar with that particular case but if the member wants to raise it with me I would be happy to look at it and see how it applies to the particular couple to whom she makes reference.
    Having said that, pension splitting is a major tax reform in Canada. It applies, not only to seniors but to all pensioners. We are hearing about it, all of us, all across Canada of thousands of dollars in tax being saved by older people in Canada who can well use the money, and it is a stimulus to the economy.

Omar Khadr

    Mr. Speaker, every question we ask about Canadian, Omar Khadr, gets the same response about him being treated humanely and receiving welfare visits from foreign affairs officials.
    In fact, the report for those welfare visits indicates that in the opinion of the American officials, Omar Khadr is, “A good kid who is not a radical and is 'salvageable'”.
    Foreign affairs officials say that the tension in Guantanamo will turn Omar Khadr into a radical. Is that the government's intentions?
    Mr. Speaker, Mr. Khadr faces a very serious charge in relation to his being captured in Afghanistan.
    The Government of Canada has sought and will receive assurances that Mr. Khadr is being treated humanely. Department officials have paid several consular visits with Mr. Khadr and will continue to do so.
    Again, any questions regarding whether Canada plans to ask for the release of Omar Khadr are premature and speculative as the legal process and appeals are ongoing.
    Mr. Speaker, Mr. Khadr faces very serious charges is the answer we get from the Conservatives. That is the exact same thing they said about Maher Arar. “The legal process is continuing”, the government said.
    The fact that there is no judge does not seem to be bother them.
    Maybe the new Minister of Foreign Affairs could answer today. Will the new minister continue to ignore the advice of his own foreign affairs department that says that Omar Khadr should be brought back to Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I will repeat again that any questions regarding whether Canada plans to bring Mr. Khadr here is speculative and premature as the legal process and appeals are still going on.
    Again, the legal process and appeals are going on. Therefore, it is very speculative and premature to ask for his return at this time.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, Sacha Bond, a 23-year-old Canadian citizen, is serving a 20-year sentence in a Florida prison. Two requests for transfer have been made to the Minister of Public Safety. He denied the requests, knowing that the young man has mental health problems and requires special care.
    The minister is citing security issues as the reason for denying the transfer. He is very selective when it comes time to help Canadians abroad. The minister seems to have an A list and a B list. Which list is Sacha Bond on?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, there are currently some 300 appeals in my file involving similar cases. I cannot talk specifically about this one. He can appeal if his request was not granted.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Sacha Bond needs medical care that he is not receiving in the Florida penitentiary. He also needs rehabilitation, but the minister refuses to return him to Canada, arguing that he is a threat to Canadians.
    If he were to receive the appropriate care and rehabilitation in Canada, he would be less dangerous than if he remains in a U.S. prison.
    Why has the minister refused to repatriate Sacha Bond? Why is he prepared to ruin this young Canadian's life, instead of bringing him here so he can finally receive the care to which all Canadians are entitled?
    Mr. Speaker, my friend across the way knows very well the trouble I would get into as minister if I started going into the specifics of somebody's particular case. He knows that very well. He should not just raise this for political reasons.
    At any given time there are approximately 2,000 Canadians outside of the country imprisoned. They can appeal to come back to this country. There are about 300 of those appeals in process right now and certainly any individual, including the one my colleague has mentioned, can appeal at any time.

[Translation]

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' zeal is making us lose face on the world scene. A number of congresses are being held in Quebec City as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations, but some participants are unable to attend because they do not have visas.
    For the International Eucharistic Congress, believe it or not, which starts in 10 days, hundreds of people were denied visas or are still waiting for a response. We are talking about priests and lay persons recommended by the religious authorities in their countries, not nasty terrorists.
    How does the government explain this zeal?
    Mr. Speaker, under the law, it is impossible to guarantee that the visa applications for all the delegates will be approved, because each application must be evaluated individually. That said, I have asked my officials to process the applications quickly and fairly.
    Mr. Speaker, apparently, her department has had the list of delegates for the International Eucharistic Congress for two years. I have more examples.
    How does she explain the fact that the Guinean president of the Conseil international des organisations de jeunes de la Francophonie, an international francophone youth organization, was denied a visa for the general assembly, which started yesterday?
    Yet another example: the Conférence internationale sur le vieillissement dans les sociétés francophones, on the theme of healthy aging, is starting today without a dozen or so of its participants. Why is that? This is a disgrace.
    Mr. Speaker, the member knows very well that our primary responsibility as a government is to provide protection and security for the people who are already here. To do so, we must evaluate visa applications individually. As you and the hon. member know, we cannot discuss the reasons why the visas were denied.

[English]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the B.C. government for passing a cap and trade law last week to complement its groundbreaking carbon tax.
    On March 12 the Prime Minister was quoted as saying that his “national plan and British Columbia's plan complement each other”.
    If the Prime Minister still agrees with himself, why does he allow his environment minister to deride the cap and trade agreement between Ontario and Quebec as being a rogue initiative?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to taxes, let me be very clear. Gordon Campbell can be trusted, unlike the Liberals across the aisle.
    Let us look at what the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has said about taxes on fuel:
    Any government or political party promoting a new or increased fuel/carbon tax--regardless of the justification--will appear extremely insensitive to consumers and small business owners at this time...small businesses are counting on governments to...Place a moratorium on any discussions or implementation of additional fuel or carbon taxes.
    Why does the Liberal Party not listen to small business in this country?
    Mr. Speaker, right now there are about five million cars and trucks on Canada's roads built before 1995 that do not meet tougher environmental standards. These cars and trucks produce about 19 times the pollution and smog of current vehicles.
    As we celebrate Clean Air Day, Canadians want to do their part to help clean the air we breathe and reduce smog.
    Can the Minister of the Environment tell the House what plans he has to help Canadians get these old clunkers off the road?
    Mr. Speaker, many Canadians, including the Canadian auto workers and others, have pushed for years for a national scrappage program.
    Earlier today, I was pleased to be joined by the Clean Air Foundation and the Automotive Recyclers of Canada to announce a four year initiative designed to scrap high polluting vehicles. These vehicles pollute and contribute to smog and air pollution some 19 times more than new cars today. We are going to be able to get some 200,000 additional cars off the road.
    This will lead to cleaner air for Canadians to breathe. We made commitments to get tough on polluters. We are helping Canadians get the job done.

[Translation]

Copyright

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry keeps delaying the introduction of the Copyright Act. Canada's international reputation has been tarnished because Canada gives in to American lobbyists' arm-twisting when it comes to trade. We also know that the government is participating in secret talks in Geneva to treat children with iPods like criminal members of international counterfeiting rings.
    Why does the minister want to turn millions of ordinary Canadians into criminals?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member simply has all of his facts wrong. The key issue on copyright is, of course, striking the appropriate balance; a balance between, on the one hand, consumers and, on the other hand, creators. Attempts by the previous Liberal government to do so, not surprisingly, have failed.
    The bill will be introduced when the Minister of Canadian Heritage and I believe that the appropriate balance has been struck. I would encourage my friend to try to be constructive and patient.
    Mr. Speaker, if this were the analog age, he would be sounding like a broken record. We cannot have balance unless we have had consultations. This minister has been led around by the nose by the U.S. lobbyists and he has ignored the Canadian input.
    What we are having in these negotiations in Geneva right now is the mandatory snooping of individual Internet use, the attempt to personally seize computers at the border to search and seize, and the use of lawsuits against individuals.
    The difference is, though, average citizens that he is trying to criminalize can vote while the U.S. ambassador cannot. Does he think he is going to get away with this without consultations?
    Mr. Speaker, there is a fair bit of shrill rhetoric in there.
    The government will deal with the balancing of the rights of consumers, on the one hand, and creators, on the other. It is a difficult job. It is well in hand. The bill will be introduced in due course. In the meantime, if the NDP wishes to lead its members along by their own noses, it can do so.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, we need to know more about the apology to be made to survivors of residential schools taking place one week from today. This will be a significant day for all Canadians.
    Have arrangements been made to have the aboriginal leadership and elders on the floor of the House to receive this apology?
    Will aboriginal organizations be consulted on the content?
    Will leaders of all parties have an opportunity to make a statement?
    Because of the fiduciary relationship between aboriginal people and the Crown, will the Governor General be included?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, in the throne speech, the government has promised, and the Prime Minister will be making, an apology, a meaningful and respectful apology, to first nations. Some of them have been waiting for generations.
    That was in the throne speech. It was passed. It will be done on June 11. Details are being discussed with survivors and with national aboriginal organizations. An announcement is due shortly.

Organized Sports

    Mr. Speaker, a recent Statistics Canada study found that under the former Liberal government, children's participation in organized sports activities declined. Our government believes that an active lifestyle is important for the health of all Canadians, especially children.
    Could the Minister of Health update the House on what actions our government has taken to get kids more active?
    Mr. Speaker, the government does recognize that we must improve on the record of the previous government for sure. That is why we invested and recreated ParticipACTION. That is why we increased Sport Canada's annual participation budget by $5 million to encourage young girls and aboriginal youth to be more active. That is why we introduced, through budget 2006, the new children's fitness tax credit.
    We are acting. Our predecessors did nothing, but we are ensuring that our kids remain active.

[Translation]

Afghanistan

[Tribute]
    Order, please. Following discussions with representatives of all parties in the House, I invite hon. members to rise and observe a moment of silence in memory of the Canadian soldier who was killed recently in Afghanistan.
    [A moment of silence observed]

[English]

Presence in Gallery

    I also have an announcement to make to the House.
    Gordon Slater began as Dominion Carillonneur in 1977 and has become, not only the voice of the Peace Tower but an integral part of Parliament's daily routine.
    Over the last three decades, his daily carillon concerts have been a tangible, enduring and delightful expression of his love of Canada and its history, and his passion for music.
    I know that he has on occasion felt somewhat ignored by his audience, but I would like him to know that his music has been greatly appreciated and that his unique talents will be missed when he leaves the Hill at the end of June.
    I invite all honourable members to recognize the presence in the gallery of Mr. Gordon Slater, the Dominion Carillonneur.

[Translation]

    Mr. Slater, congratulations on your well-deserved retirement. On behalf of all members, I thank you for your devoted service to the Parliament of Canada.

[English]

    Congratulations and thank you, Gordon Slater.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Criminal Code

    The House resumed from May 28 consideration of the motion that Bill C-393, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (punishment and hearing), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Order, please. It being 3:10 p.m., pursuant to order made Tuesday, June 3, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-393, under private member's business.

[Translation]

    Call in the members.

  (1515)  

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

(Division No. 123)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Bell (North Vancouver)
Benoit
Bezan
Blackburn
Bonin
Boshcoff
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Comuzzi
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dhaliwal
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Eyking
Fast
Finley
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guarnieri
Guergis
Hanger
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Hubbard
Ignatieff
Jaffer
Jean
Kadis
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malhi
Manning
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Mayes
McTeague
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Neville
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
Paradis
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Rae
Rajotte
Reid
Richardson
Ritz
Scheer
Schellenberger
Sgro
Shipley
Simard
Skelton
Smith
Solberg
Sorenson
Stanton
Steckle
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Szabo
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tilson
Toews
Tonks
Trost
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Verner
Volpe
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Wilfert
Williams
Yelich
Zed

Total: -- 140

NAYS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Bélanger
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blais
Bonsant
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhalla
Dryden
Faille
Folco
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Godfrey
Godin
Gravel
Guimond
Holland
Jennings
Julian
Karetak-Lindell
Keeper
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Lussier
Malo
Maloney
Marston
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McDonough
McGuinty
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Minna
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Nash
Ouellet
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Perron
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scott
Siksay
Silva
St-Cyr
St. Amand
Stoffer
Stronach
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thi Lac
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Turner
Valley
Vincent
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilson

Total: -- 116

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

    Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

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

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, in the recording of the vote that was just taken, the clerk referred to me as the member for Palliser rather than as Mr. Bezan. I would like to make sure that I am noted as voting in favour of this bill.
    We will double-check and if there is any error in name calling, I am sure the record will be corrected to show it was the hon. member, because of course he was caught on film.

  (1520)  

Climate Change Accountability Act

     The House resumed from May 29 consideration of Bill C-377, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, June 3, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions on the motions at report stage of Bill C-377 under private members' business.
    The question is on Motion No. 1.

  (1525)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 124)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Bélanger
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blaikie
Blais
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dryden
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Gravel
Guarnieri
Guimond
Hall Findlay
Holland
Hubbard
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Karygiannis
Keeper
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Lussier
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Perron
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Rae
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
St-Cyr
St. Amand
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thi Lac
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Turner
Valley
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Zed

Total: -- 148

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Benoit
Bezan
Blackburn
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Comuzzi
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hanger
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mayes
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
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
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 115

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 1 carried.

[English]

    The next question is on Motion No. 2.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I know it is highly unusual, but I think if you were to seek it, and with the approval of the sponsor of this legislation, you might find unanimous consent from the members in the chamber to apply the results of the vote just taken to the next three amendments and the concurrence motion on Bill C-377.
    Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    (The House divided on Motion No. 2, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 125)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Bélanger
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blaikie
Blais
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dryden
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Gravel
Guarnieri
Guimond
Hall Findlay
Holland
Hubbard
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Karygiannis
Keeper
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Lussier
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Perron
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Rae
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
St-Cyr
St. Amand
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thi Lac
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Turner
Valley
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Zed

Total: -- 148

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Benoit
Bezan
Blackburn
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Comuzzi
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hanger
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mayes
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
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
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 115

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. The next question is on Motion No. 3.
    (The House divided on Motion No. 3, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 126)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Bélanger
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blaikie
Blais
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dryden
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Gravel
Guarnieri
Guimond
Hall Findlay
Holland
Hubbard
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Karygiannis
Keeper
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Lussier
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Perron
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Rae
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
St-Cyr
St. Amand
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thi Lac
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Turner
Valley
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Zed

Total: -- 148

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Benoit
Bezan
Blackburn
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Comuzzi
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hanger
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mayes
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
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
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 115

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. The next question is on Motion No. 4.
    (The House divided on Motion No. 4, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 127)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Bélanger
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blaikie
Blais
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dryden
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Gravel
Guarnieri
Guimond
Hall Findlay
Holland
Hubbard
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Karygiannis
Keeper
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Lussier
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Perron
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Rae
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
St-Cyr
St. Amand
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thi Lac
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Turner
Valley
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Zed

Total: -- 148

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Benoit
Bezan
Blackburn
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Comuzzi
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hanger
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mayes
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
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
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 115

PAIRED

Nil

     I declare Motion No. 4 carried.
     (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 128)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Bélanger
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blaikie
Blais
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dryden
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Gravel
Guarnieri
Guimond
Hall Findlay
Holland
Hubbard
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Karygiannis
Keeper
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Lussier
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Perron
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Rae
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
St-Cyr
St. Amand
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thi Lac
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Turner
Valley
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Zed

Total: -- 148

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Benoit
Bezan
Blackburn
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Comuzzi
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hanger
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mayes
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
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
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 115

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[Translation]

    Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion, the nays have it.
     And five or more members having risen:

  (1535)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 129)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Bélanger
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blaikie
Blais
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dryden
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Gravel
Guarnieri
Guimond
Hall Findlay
Holland
Hubbard
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Karygiannis
Keeper
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Lussier
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Perron
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Rae
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
St-Cyr
St. Amand
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thi Lac
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Turner
Valley
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Zed

Total: -- 148

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Arthur
Baird
Benoit
Bezan
Blackburn
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Comuzzi
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hanger
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mayes
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
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
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 116

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)

Old Age Security Act

    The House resumed from June 2 consideration of the motion that Bill C-490, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (application for supplement, retroactive payments and other amendments), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to order made Tuesday, June 3, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of C-490 under private members' business.

  (1545)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 130)

YEAS

Members

Alghabra
André
Angus
Arthur
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bagnell
Bains
Barbot
Barnes
Bélanger
Bell (Vancouver Island North)
Bell (North Vancouver)
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blaikie
Blais
Bonin
Bonsant
Boshcoff
Bourgeois
Brown (Oakville)
Brunelle
Byrne
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Cuzner
Davies
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dryden
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Freeman
Fry
Gaudet
Godfrey
Godin
Goodale
Gravel
Guarnieri
Guimond
Hall Findlay
Holland
Hubbard
Ignatieff
Jennings
Julian
Kadis
Karetak-Lindell
Karygiannis
Keeper
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
Lee
Lemay
Lessard
Lévesque
Lussier
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloney
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Matthews
McCallum
McDonough
McGuinty
McTeague
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Nash
Neville
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Perron
Picard
Plamondon
Priddy
Proulx
Rae
Ratansi
Redman
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Roy
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simard
St-Cyr
St. Amand
Steckle
Stoffer
Stronach
Szabo
Telegdi
Temelkovski
Thi Lac
Thibault (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Thibault (West Nova)
Tonks
Turner
Valley
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wilson
Zed

Total: -- 149

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Albrecht
Allen
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Baird
Benoit
Bezan
Blackburn
Boucher
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Comuzzi
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Doyle
Dykstra
Emerson
Epp
Fast
Fitzpatrick
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hanger
Harris
Harvey
Hawn
Hearn
Hiebert
Hill
Hinton
Jaffer
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Khan
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lukiwski
Lunn
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Manning
Mayes
Merrifield
Miller
Mills
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
Obhrai
Oda
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
Tweed
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Williams
Yelich

Total: -- 115

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. Consequently, this bill is referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

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


Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

National Defence 

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 109 of the House of Commons and on behalf of the Government of Canada I have the pleasure to table, in both official languages, the government's response to the recommendations contained in the second report of the Standing Committee on National Defence, entitled “Procurement and Associated Processes”.
    I thank the member for Lethbridge and the entire committee for their hard work on this report.

Environment and Sustainable Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in relation to Bill C-474, National Sustainable Development Act. A reprint of the bill has been ordered.

[Translation]

Telefilm Canada Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, it is a great privilege for me to introduce a bill to change the programs of Telefilm Canada in order for that organization to recognize the distinct nature of the Quebec film industry, which is different from its Canadian counterpart in its maturity, level of development, content and style.
    Having recognized that Quebeckers form a nation, the time has come for this House to acknowledge that we have a national culture and therefore a national film industry. Words must be put into action.

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

[English]

Criminal Code

     She said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present this bill, which is an amendment to the Criminal Code regarding animal cruelty. This bill really intends to remedy the deficiencies seen in Bill S-203, which was recently before this House. The people who are working out there on behalf of animal rights and the humane treatment of animals have wanted this for some time. I am pleased to present it today.

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

  (1550)  

[Translation]

Parliament of Canada Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to introduce Bill S-224.

[English]

    It is my pleasure to speak in support of this bill, which is beautiful in its simplicity, to compel the government to fill Senate vacancies that are hindering the representation of many provinces, including my own. A second part of the bill indicates that the Prime Minister shall call byelections in the order in which the seats of the House become vacant, so that no party may play checkerboard politics with the representation of people whose ridings are not represented by a member.
    I do hope the House will see, in a non-partisan way, that this is a wonderful bill to modernize and regularize the representation of all people in all ridings, in both Houses, for all of Canada.

    (Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

National Hunger Awareness Day

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That, in the opinion of this House, tomorrow, June 5, be recognized as National Hunger Awareness Day and that this House applaud the efforts of all those working to reduce hunger among children, youth and families across Canada.
    Does the hon. member for Brampton—Springdale have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    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)

Committees of the House

Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan  

    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among all parties and I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That, in relation to its order of reference of April 8, 2008, 13 members of the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan be authorized to travel to New York City and Washington, D.C., during the summer of 2008 and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

Darfur  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition today collected from involved and committed young people from across Canada, led by the Dawson College based advocacy group Canadians for Action in Darfur. I had occasion to meet with some of these students. I was inspired by their passion for the people of Darfur and for the role that Canada can play, in concert with the international community, to stop the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur.
    Indeed, as the petitioners note, more than 400,000 have died, 2.5 million have been displaced and over 4 million are on a life support system, in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.
     As the genocide enters its sixth year, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to engage itself with the international community and do whatever is necessary to put an end to this genocide by attrition.

Unborn Victims of Crime  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from a number of constituents in my riding who wish to support the private member's bill of the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park to enact legislation that would recognize unborn children as separate victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of an offence against their mothers, allowing two charges to be laid against the offender instead of just one.

  (1555)  

[Translation]

The Quebec Nation and Bill 101  

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a petition containing 125 signatures. These Quebeckers are calling on the Government of Canada to demonstrate that it respects the Quebec nation and Bill 101.

[English]

Darfur  

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my constituents and British Columbians, it is my honour to present a second petition on the crisis in Darfur.
    I am proud of the students of Seaquam Secondary School, who have now gathered more than 1,500 signatures calling for the government to show more commitment to ending this conflict. Grace Wilson, president of Seaquam's Solutions Society, reminds us that since the last petition was presented, thousands more civilians have been murdered or displaced. Even children have become the target of bombing. Until we take a stand, these killings will continue.
    I would also like to extend special thanks to Aman Basra, the society's next president. I wish them all much success in the future. I ask the government to take appropriate action to help in Darfur.

Garden City Lands  

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the House to land in Richmond that is commonly known as Garden City Lands. A number of the residents of Richmond bring this to the government's attention. They suggest that if the British Columbia Agricultural Land Commission refuses to allow that land to be drawn from the agricultural land reserve, the Government of Canada restore its ownership of the Garden City Lands for its program needs within the ALR to serve the people of Richmond and Canada as urban agriculture and for ecology uses.

Darfur  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present to the House today.
    The first petition is very similar to previous petitions that have been presented here this afternoon in relation to Darfur. The petitioners draw the attention of the Government of Canada toward the grave situation in Darfur and encourage the government to consider all measures it can take to help ease that situation and the suffering there. In particular, the petitioners urge the government to work with other members of the international community, especially China, to do what they can.
    I would also like to point out that one of my constituents, Janine Powell, was instrumental in organizing and managing the petition process in Simcoe North. I congratulate her for her efforts in this regard.

Great Lakes  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from a number of constituents in my riding who have a considerable interest in the problems with water levels in the Great Lakes, particularly the upper Great Lakes. The petitioners point out their concern about the continued erosion of water levels around the upper lakes and the kind of trouble this is going to create for shoreline landowners as well as the economy. I present this petition in order for the government to take a close look at it.

Jordan's Principle  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of concerned Canadians from Calgary, Alberta, Akwesasne, Ontario, and Cornwall, Ontario. The petitioners recognize that health care for Canadian children should be universal. They recognize that first nations children residing on reserve do not have the same access to health care services that all other Canadian children do. They recognize that critical health services continue to be delayed and denied to first nations children as a result of interdepartmental and interjurisdictional conflicts.
    The petitioners therefore call upon the Government of Canada to address this ongoing travesty of justice and adopt Jordan's principle, which would ensure that health services would be provided to all Canadian children.

Unborn Victims of Crime  

    Mr. Speaker, support for Bill C-484 continues to grow and is expressed right across the country. These petitioners come from: St. John's; Regina; Lambton; Gander; Dauphin, Manitoba; Dartmouth; Sudbury; Barrhead; Saskatoon; Golden; and a place called St. Alban's, which I had not even heard of. The petitioners are universal in their support right across the country. They urge the Government of Canada to support Bill C-484, a bill that would provide for a separate offence in the event that an unborn child is injured or killed during an attack on its pregnant mother.
    These petitioners recognize that it is a severe and serious offence to force upon a pregnant woman the death or injury of her unborn child. It is a violation of her right to protect and give life to that child she wants.

  (1600)  

Income Trusts  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present another income trust broken promise petition on behalf of residents in my riding of Mississauga South.
    The petitioners want to remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts, but he broke that promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax, which permanently wiped out over $25 billion of the hard-earned retirement savings of over two million Canadians, particularly seniors.
    The petitioners therefore call upon the government, first, to admit that the decision to tax income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions; second, to apologize to those who were unfairly harmed by the broken promise; and finally, to repeal the punitive 31.5% tax on income trusts.

Questions on the Order Paper

    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Andrew Scheer): Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Motions for Papers

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Andrew Scheer): Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Emergency Debate

Kearl Oil Sands  

[S. O. 52]
    Mr. Speaker, I am proposing an emergency debate for this evening on Imperial Oil's Kearl oil sands development in the Alberta tar sands.
    The reason and pertinence of this motion today is that the government twice at the Federal Court had to order Imperial Oil to produce the greenhouse gas emissions that are proposed by this $8 billion tar sands project, which is the equivalent of 800,000 cars on the road worth of pollution.
    The proponents, in this case Imperial Oil and Exxon, its parent company, have not given any statements as to the amount of greenhouse gases that will be emitted from the project, which is required by law. It was ordered by the Federal Court once, it was appealed and the appeal was turned down.
    The decision is now on the Prime Minister's desk. He will have until tomorrow to fast-track this project, thereby circumventing our own federal laws. This project is of a scope and scale that it will have an impact on the environment for Canadians. The request is for this evening because the decision will be taken, at a minimum, by tomorrow by the cabinet. This is a cabinet directive that is being proposed.
    An $8 billion project with 800,000 cars worth of pollution needs to be governed by the House and given transparency. We ask for leniency from the Chair to seek this emergency debate this evening.
    I understand the hon. member gave notice yesterday but I believe it was received too late for yesterday's routine proceedings. However, I was under the impression he was going to raise this yesterday. In any event, I will take this under advisement. I believe the Speaker will return shortly to give a ruling on this. I thank the member for his submission.
    Before I call for orders of the day, I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, government orders will be extended by 35 minutes.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2008

     The House resumed from June 3 consideration of the motion that Bill C-50, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 26, 2008 and to enact provisions to preserve the fiscal plan set out in that budget, be read the third time and passed, and of the motion that this question be now put.
    When we last visited this topic, the hon. member for Yukon had two minutes remaining in his allotted time.
    Mr. Speaker, in the short time I have remaining I want to once again emphasize a couple of points that the government could move on, whether in the budget or through supplementary estimates. Some of the points are very small and it has the authority to do it but I implore them to because it is critical for people's lives.
    The first point concerns Northern Native Broadcasting, an ongoing broadcaster in my riding. Its fiscal year ended April 1 and it has had to lay off the entire television division of six people who have not received their paycheques. If everyone in Ottawa, in the House and everywhere else had not received their paycheques since April 1, they would be a little upset. I would ask the Minister of Canadian Heritage to please solve that.
    The second point is that today is decision day for the 140,000 people of Burma in the refugee camps in Thailand. Rice prices have gone up three times, leaving a $1 million shortfall. Canada has funded this for 10 years with 14 other countries. The system is going to collapse because they only have half the amount of needed food and there will be chaos. The people will be cut back to rice from six or seven commodities. The prime minister of Burma, who is in exile, and all sorts of NGOs have been imploring the Minister of International Cooperation and the Prime Minister to solve this critical problem.
    Another item, which I brought forward recently, is related to why it takes three months to receive a military pension and only one month for the RCMP pension. A pensioner brought this issue to me this week.
    We also would like the government to reinstate money for polio. It is inconceivable that it cut money for polio.
    We also want it to re-establish the oil monitoring agency, which we had established previously, at this time of oil price increases.
    We also want it to reinstate the GST rebate, which is hurting my riding with regard to tourism and to--

  (1605)  

    Order, please. I must stop the hon. member there and move to questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Mississauga South.
    Mr. Speaker, I heard the member's main speech and was quite interested in his concerns about the economic outlook in the budget.
    As we know, in the second year it was getting to the point where there was very little latitude for any unforeseen circumstances, and that continues to be the case. Recent reports are that the economy has negative growth. It is one of those issues that deals with people's jobs and their ability to pay bills, et cetera.
    I wonder if the member can provide the House with his view on the importance of fiscal management and the need for strong fiscal management at this time of fiscal pressure.
    Mr. Speaker, that is a concern. It led off question period today as ostensibly the number one concern of Canadians. Thousands of Canadians have been losing their jobs in the manufacturing sector.
    Since the present government came in, much to the shock of Conservatives across the country who have been calling their own members to task, it has been the largest spending government in history. It has spent so much that it has pushed the government very close to a deficit. The previous government had a $3 million contingency fund and always made sure that when things came up, like SARS and the various emergencies that always come up such as this, there was room to move. However, it seems that the present government does not even have the will to move.
    The Prime Minister basically said today, to paraphrase him, that these things happen. That is not a very good answer to those families that cannot feed their children and cannot pay their rent, and the thousands of people who are unemployed. To hear that there is not even an attempt to help them at this time is very sad.
    We need to put in things like the increases we put in for research; for the program for green manufacturing that would have created all sorts of jobs for exporting; and for the manufacturing equipment to make companies more efficient so they use less oil and energy, which, of course, was visionary because that was our plan even before oil and gas prices went up. Had that plan been in place for modern, efficient, competitive and green factories, they would have been much more economical and less likely to close because they would have been using less energy.
    As well, getting rid of the millennium student fund, some of the research funds that were so critical in their first term and even the cutbacks in literacy, which we fought and mostly got reinstated, affect productivity and the ability to keep companies open when we get under pressure like this.

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, the other issue that was raised yesterday in debate was the substantial concern about the new EI enterprise that is going to be established, instead of the current situation where there is an EI notional fund and the moneys are included, both revenue and expenses from employment insurance, in the consolidated revenue fund.
    One of the concerns that I had, and I do not know if the member shares it, is that this new enterprise will only have an initial surplus of some $2 billion. As members know, the current rules prescribe that there should be sufficient reserve or surplus within the fund to allow for two cycles. I think it is $10 billion or $12 billion. That means that the EI fund could come under risk if we were to enter a sustained recession.
    I wonder if the member also shares a concern about this new EI enterprise which seems to be underfunded, maybe for the wrong reasons.
    Mr. Speaker, yes, I definitely share that concern as well. The purpose of this fund is to have it during the ups and downs in the economy, which happened to be doing very well in recent years. However, all of a sudden we have this downturn that could cause a huge number of people having to apply to this fund. There certainly should be sufficient latitude in that fund to deal with those types of contingencies.
    I went to the briefing on Bill C-50, the finance bill, and there were a couple more esoteric points I had related to this fund and also to the changes to the Bank of Canada financing. What I am worried about is taking the investment ability and distancing it into this agency from the Government of Canada.
    We have had a crisis lately related to asset backed funds. If we take the investments at more arm's length from government, how do we know what these investments might be in? How do we have government control? We, of course, want safe investments and socially acceptable investments with these funds.
    It is the same with the Bank of Canada. Some provisions in this bill, which I am not sure have been talked about in the debate at all, that would increase the latitude and the mechanisms the Bank of Canada has in investing the money that it happens to have at a particular time.
     I do not have a problem with modernizing the investment procedures to fit modern instruments, et cetera, but in this time, when we have had some great crises, in fact we have had a committee hearing specifically on this crisis of failures in certain types of assets, I think we should give particular concern to watching the latitude or the distancing of government investments. We need to keep that very close at hand and ensure, as people always expect, these are safe investments. People do not expect the government to be making huge profits but they do expect it to be investing in things that will never lose their money.
     I think those are two important items that, as these things are implemented in the future, we should keep very careful watch of. I know members of the various opposition parties will be watching these items.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to come off a question that was just posed by the member for Mississauga South over a concern that I had with regard to this legislation.
     I know the leader of the New Democratic Party addressed the CLC just recently and spoke, as well, at a couple of other public functions about how the Liberals and the Conservatives only spent five minutes on the EI legislation and the establishment of this crown corporation. He was indignant and disgusted that they were in cahoots with each other and only put in five minutes.
    The member totally ignored the fact that my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour put forward a Liberal motion to the human resources committee that we would study this. We put almost four weeks into this and we were hoping to table the report tomorrow. With total disregard for the work that was put in by the human resources committee, he tried to lead organized labour and Canadians to believe that this was some covert operation by the Liberals and the Conservatives.
    Does the member find that sort of discredits the party and calls into question its sincerity in its opposition to this bill?

  (1615)  

    Mr. Speaker, being a positive type of guy, I would like to speak to the positive efforts that the Liberals have made in this Parliament in the seven years that I have been here relating to employment insurance. They have looked at all sorts of different adjustments for it. They have made improvements to it, such as things that would help the most vulnerable and help people get training. In particular, the member's colleague, the other Cape Bretoner, has an excellent bill on how to improve EI. It is in relation to people who are ill and are unable to return to the workforce.
     I will not speak of the other parties, but I commend all the people in the Liberal Party who have done so much to improve this fund and to carefully watch--
    Resuming debate. The hon. member for Vancouver Centre.
    Mr. Speaker, in speaking to the bill today I want to highlight not only what my concerns are about some of the things contained in Bill C-50, but actually about some of the things that should be and are not.
    I want to begin, for instance, with the millennium scholarship fund, the cancelling of the fund, and the current redistribution of the money to students.
    On the surface, this seems like a very good thing, but the point is it was not made stable. The millennium scholarship fund had been there for 10 years. This new fund is now there for who knows how long. The Canadian Alliance of Students Associations said that part of the budget for students lacked any sort of long term vision. Putting in little bits and pieces that may sound good on the surface on a one shot deal quite often is of great concern, when we think that the issues of productivity and competitiveness in this country will have to do with skills and training, and an educated labour force.
    The fact also that the fund will now be distributed mainly as an income-based fund and not a need-based fund makes a big difference. We cannot expect this party to understand that difference, I understand, but when we look at the millennium scholarship fund, it used to be based on cost of living, tuition, cost of books and was based on student resources and need regardless of income.
    The Education Policy Institute in Quebec noted that this seemingly simple shift in language could create a loss to Quebec students of over $80 million a year since the Quebec system is based on need.
    Here we have a system again that had been changed. I do not know why, but the government did not give much thought to what the consequences would be. We now have a province that is going to have a problem with its own students having the ability to access the funds.
    The new student fund also seeks to increase the number of students who will get the grants that the millennium scholarship fund used to bring forward. However, we now find that this could create larger numbers of students getting perhaps $2,000 instead of $3,000, and for a student a thousand dollars less a year is a lot of money.
    The other thing is that this has been taken away from the arm's length body that used to manage the millennium scholarship fund and it has gone now directly to HRSD to be looked at, and we have seen what happens when programs go directly under HRSD. The summer student program fiasco last year had the government scrambling to do damage control and it did. However, again, it was short term, one year, damage control.
    This year, we see the same thing happening. I am getting letters and I am getting calls from many NGOs who cannot get students this year, never mind the fact that students are being deprived of the ability to have that apprenticeship experience in their field of studies. Once again, we see this kind of one shot deal, this kind of shiny object in the window that happens for a year but does not have any substance to it that can actually achieve a long term objective of having more students accessing education.
    The MSF is only one example of how the government is very good at playing with language which is designed to fool the people. It is the old Harris trick. The problem is that citizens actually get hurt in the end.
    We need to remember that the strengthened plan for students' access to post-secondary education brought forward in the Liberal fiscal plan of 2005 and the fiscal update brought in by the then finance minister was hastily tanked by the NDP who love to speak about students and its wish to help students. In its rush to get to the polls to gain a couple more seats, in spite of the fact that it had been asked to wait until February or until a budget came forward that would actually cement in place some of the excellent policies that were coming forward with the then Liberal government, such as a national housing strategy, a national child care program, the Kelowna accord, and all of those would have been enshrined in the budget, the NDP put at risk and eventually allowed the cancellation of some extraordinary programs. One of them was for students, as we can see.
    Now we have proposed legislative changes, for instance, in the bill to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. It is buried in a budget implementation bill. I put it to the House that this is a way of bypassing due process that would have allowed real input by the Canadian public, by trade unions, by trade councils, by business communities, and all of these stakeholders and players. We would have been able to look at where we need to go as we are poised on the brink of 2011, a year in which we are told we are going to be dependent for 100% of our net labour force on immigration.

  (1620)  

    Everyone knew this was coming. The last Liberal government, over the course of two years, had begun to plan with the provinces on how to deal with this and what the essential costs of changing the system would be, so that we could deal with the need for a labour force, at the same time remembering that immigration is far more than merely a tool for accessing a labour force.
    However, we had put in an effective strategy. We had talked to the provinces. A plan was in the works. The then immigration minister had put in $700 million to help with integration, to help with retention of people in areas and helping to deal with cutting down the long waiting list, which as we hear is the reason why the bill was hastily pushed into a budget implementation bill without due process. All of those things were there. They were in the works. What happened to that? What happened to the $700 million.
    The minister is putting in $60 million. Great. We used to have $700 million targeted. What happened to the other $640 million? Where did it go? These are questions that we really need to ask.
    If the government really cared about the issue of labour force, if it really wanted to look at how immigration in Canada could actually be preparing Canada for the 21st century, then we would have done it the right way. The Conservatives would have been able to bring this forward as an appropriate bill under the appropriate minister. They would have been able to let the bill go to the citizenship and immigration committee. There would have been the usual travelling of the committee, getting input, getting information from all of the players, so that we could have had a substantive bill that would have been a vision implementation, building for perhaps the next 20 years in terms of a solid way of looking at immigration and refugees in this country.
    However, that was not done. What we now have instead is this little fly-by-night thing, an edge through, put in with the right words and put into a sort of trap in which it is left in a confidence motion in the budget, so that nobody really has any input, but with the threat that if we do not pass this, then we will bring down the government.
    This is a sort of cheesy kind of flouting of the democratic process that actually bothers some of us across the aisle because it really is not about something substantive. It is really just about cheap political tricks.
    I want to speak a little bit about why the government did not go through the process. Why did it not do the proper consultation? One of the things we see is that the minister would now be the only person, the point of entry and the point of exit into the system.
    The department will be the only place people can go if they seek to come here as immigrants to this country. Everyone used to know what the rules were. They applied according to the rules and then they went through a process. There were appeals built into the process. That is now gone. There is one judge and one jury, and that happens to be the minister, who will decide who will get in, with no accountability.
    Again, we see, and this is a problem surfacing every day in the House, a lack of accountability of the government for the things that it intends to do, a lack of process and structure that would allow the Conservatives to explain to Canadians what they are doing and why they are doing it, and then to be accountable for whether it worked or it did not work. That has gone.
    What we see now are some problems that will create issues. Suddenly we bring in labour market immigrants. They come in and they are unable to have access to jobs because it is not just getting into the country that allows a person access to a job. There are many barriers in the way and there is nothing put in place to deal with those barriers.
    This is what I felt was very interesting. Currently, we have about 500,000 internationally trained workers in this country who are unemployed or underemployed with regard to work in this country. It is not because no one cares.
    In 2004 I was given the job by the then prime minister to set up an immediate medium and long term plan to deal with the internationally trained workers, not only the people who were here and who could not get jobs, but the people who would come into the country in the future.
    We recognize that there were a number of barriers. It was not a one shot deal. People walk in and what happens? They get a 1-800 number to call, which is the government's answer to an internationally trained worker. Give people a 1-800 number, call the government, and what will it do?
    The point is, it cannot do anything because it is multi-jurisdictional. When we set it up, and we did set up a long term plan for this in 2004, we put money into the top priority, which was getting internationally trained physicians to work in this country because we realized that was a crisis situation at the time. In 2005 enough money was put in to deal with the other issues, and what were the issues?

  (1625)  

    First and foremost, the government cannot make someone have a job. One must become accredited and have one's papers assessed. This is a provincial jurisdiction. One has to work with the provinces. One has to be able to work with the credentialing bodies under provincial legislation. Do those bodies believe that the person has the right skills, has the right education to be able to do the work according to Canadian standards? These are questions only credentialing bodies can answer, so one has to work with the credentialling bodies.
    Second, in some sectors language is a huge issue. If someone does not have an enhanced or an expanded access to language and an understanding of the depth of language, like a physician or a nurse or a social worker, they cannot actually deal with the Canadian population in English or in French. Language training was a huge problem and our government put forward $20 million a year under the minister to give access to that kind of enhanced language training.
    What is happening to that? Where is that money? Is it happening?
    The third problem that we found was that immigrants came to this country and they went to three cities: Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The jobs were not there, yet the immigrants stayed there. They could not get the jobs and we tried to get them into other provinces, working with the provinces as we did. We tried to get them into rural areas where they would leave at the end of a year, and so retention became a problem. The former Liberal immigration minister had put in a substantial amount of money to deal with the problem of retaining people in areas where they were needed.
    Finally, there is the issue of apprenticeship. Some people who come to Canada may have the on-paper training, but they do not have the Canadian experience. In our plan, that the Liberals tabled, we were going to give them apprenticeship training, help them to work in areas where they could get the kind of Canadian experience that they needed.
    This was not a simple thing. It was a complex plan. It took us a year to set up and we began to roll the plan out, and I am asking this question. What is the minister going to achieve by allowing internationally trained workers to come into this country without a plan that was an extremely costly plan when we put it forward?
     It was the beginning of a five year plan. Without that plan in place, people would just be left, as I said earlier on, calling a 1-800 number and nothing would be solved at all, because this is not something that the federal government can do alone.
    My question is this. Where is our plan that we tabled and where is the money that we had put in, in the first two years to implement that plan? We do not know where it is. Therefore, we have again this sort of sleight of hand, of bringing in what sounds like a choice piece of legislation or amendments into an act which does not really deal with the problem at all and which is done by stealth, putting it into the wrong bill.
    Not only that, we talked about the labour force, which we all know is an issue that we need to deal with. However, how could the minister bypass the provinces that have a provincial nominee program, and that have been involved in deciding what they need in their diverse areas for their workforce? That has not been done. Suddenly, the federal government has taken it all over and there has been no consultation with the provinces and no ability to work with the provinces.
    All the work that had been done by the Liberal government has been thrown out the window and we are starting from scratch with no plan and no money.
    At the same time, immigration is not only about the labour force. Many of us who have come to this country over the last 300 years came here not merely to find work but to find freedom, to find opportunity, and to build a nation. Immigration is about nation-building and when all we do is set it up to be something that is an in and out scheme to get workers in and nothing more, we do not take into consideration that if people are going to put roots down, grow families and build a nation, they are going to need a family class. They are going to need to be able to bring their families and have a vision for this country, and truly belong.
    None of that has been taken into consideration in this immigration amendment that we see.
    I said that I would talk about the things that concern me. Those are some of the things that concern me, but I also want to talk about the things that are absolutely not present and that should have been done.
    We know that productivity and competitiveness is a huge problem right now in this country. There is no vision for this. We see manufacturing jobs being lost. There was an opportunity here. The government had three budgets in 2006, 2007 and 2008 to set down a plan for productivity and competitiveness, for the forestry sector a real plan, an action plan, not merely words that have not really resulted in any change at all.

  (1630)  

    Workers in the automobile and manufacturing sectors are losing their jobs. Not a single idea has been put forward. There was an opportunity to do it in the budget. The opportunity was lost.
    The Minister of Health stood in the House and said he was concerned about the rising epidemic of obesity in the country. In fact, the minister then said that the government had put forward a $5 million plan. The $5 million came out of the money that the Liberal government had allocated to deal with community participation.
    In a $140 million budget, $5 million was taken out of it for ParticipAction. ParticipAction, as devised by the government, is a television ad and that is it. We found out that the reason young people were not participating, even though there was community program money for them to play sport, was they needed places to play. It is called sports infrastructure, like gyms, having coaches helping children to learn to play a sport that would result in better physical activity and better health for the children.
    None of that was put in the budget. Our Liberal government had in place an infrastructure fund specifically for community sport infrastructure. Where is that money? Where did it go? A $5 million TV advertising program does not even hope to touch that.
    Talking about immigration and the international trade worker initiative, we read in the newspapers that more and more Canadians are having less and less access to health care. We all know the Canadian Medical Association and other bodies have studied this. They tell us the reason people are being denied access to health care is the lack of health human resources such as doctors, nurses and lab technicians.
    The government had a huge opportunity to deal with the health human resource crisis, with the lack of physicians. In 2005 our government had allocated money to bring in 1,000 new family practitioners. What happened to that money? Where did it go? What happened to the 1,000 new family practitioners? What happened to that plan? No wonder there is no access almost three years later and things are going downhill. It is about opportunities missed.
    Government is about a vision for a nation, not just little one-shot, one-off deals where the government thinks it can fool the people of Canada. The people of Canada are too smart to be fooled. They see the results of a lack of a plan and vision. This is what we are talking about, opportunities missed, opportunities lost on the ability to build a nation, to look to the future, to protect jobs, to find new creative and innovative ways of bringing Canada into the 21st century and to compete in a global marketplace. None of those things have been in any of these budgets. In this budget there was a hope something would to deal with some of these issues, but was nothing.
    We talk about all the little pieces of programs here. Government is about vision and looking to the future. With only 32 million people in our country, we do not have the ability to compete in numbers with Asia, China, India and other populous countries, countries with large populations like Europe and even the United States to the south of us. Even if we double our population by some magic figure in 10 years time, we will still be a small country, so we need to have the best, brightest and most trained workers.
    We have to foster innovation and creativity in the country so companies want to come here because they can get good workers and people who think outside the box. It should be about looking at ways to deal with energy, the environment and creating a Canada that can stand tall in the world.
    In 2004 we were number one in the world. We had taken a country that was almost a developing country with a huge $43 billion deficit, with no jobs, with people losing their mortgages and we built it with a vision, not just with one-shot deals, into a nation that was holding its head high above the world. We had nine balanced budgets and a huge surplus. We are now looking at a deficit and the possibility of a recession. Jobs are being lost. This is what happened in two years under the Conservative government and that is because it has no plan, no vision and it does not even understand what our country is about.

  (1635)  

Request for Emergency Debate

Speaker's Ruling—Kearl Oil Sands  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    Before moving on to questions and comments, I want to go back to deal with the request for an emergency debate tonight on the subject of the Kearl Oil Sands development.
    After some consultations with the Speaker, it has been determined that this request does not meet the Standing Orders requirement for an emergency debate.
    I thank the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, but it does not meet the Standing Orders at this time.
    Before moving on, it is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House of the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Don Valley East, Manufacturing Industry; the hon. member for Laval, Justice.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence.

Budget Implementation Act, 2008

[Government Orders]
     The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-50, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 26, 2008 and to enact provisions to preserve the fiscal plan set out in that budget, be read the third time and passed, and of the motion that this question be now put.
    Mr. Speaker, I think you like I and so many of the young people who are watching this debate cannot help but have been impressed by the eloquence and the precision of the member for Vancouver Centre in elucidating the main elements of the budget bill.
    She said that the bill had to be considered as a vision statement and therefore had to be judged accordingly and that all the items enumerated in the bill deserved close scrutiny. They deserve close scrutiny in the context of what the bill hopes to accomplish for all of us and for all the young people, who are here today and out there in TV land, in terms of the kind of programs that would be in place for all of us.
    I was the minister of immigration and I worked closely with the member for Vancouver Centre, who was also a minister. She raised some absolutely important questions with respect to one central issue. Where did the Conservatives put the money that the previous government allocated to programs to bring life to the vision? What did they do with the $700 million designed to make the system efficient? What did they do with the $88 million designed to integrate people in terms of their credentials earned abroad? What did they do with the $1.3 billion designed to integrate and retain people whose talents were obtained in other parts of the world and brought to Canada to build a nation of which everyone could be proud? What did they do with the opportunity that was presented by my colleague and the government of which she was a part? What has the Conservative government done with the vision for Canada that seemed to be so promising and yet today seems to be begging for direction, for leadership and for attention?
    Could the member give us a few more moments of her thoughtful insight in to the way the country could develop, should develop and the way it is being abandoned?
    Democracy is a great thing and Canadians have a government that they do not deserve. There is an election coming up. Could the member give us the opportunity to see what we missed—

  (1640)  

    Order, please. I will stop the hon. member there.
    The hon. member for Vancouver East.
    Mr. Speaker, that was an extraordinarily important question.
    The question of transparency and accountability is at stake here. We have to ask ourselves some questions. What happened to the plan? Where did the money that was set aside to deal with something go? What happened to it? Was it moved? What was it spent on? We deserve answers, but we have not had any. We have been asking these questions for three years. It is the government that ran on the issue of accountability. Accountability means we have to be accountable for what we do.
    What is the evaluation? What occurred when the government did this in 2006? What are the results? Did it result in any difference? Were there any changes? What are the objectives? These are clear questions.
    My profession was based on evidence. Was an objective set to achieve such and such a thing? Evidence based analysis has to be done on how to get where we want to go, and then we check to see whether we got there. Were the results achieved? That is accountability. That has not occurred here. Where is the money? Where is the plan? What happened to all of it?
    How can we let people into the country without giving them the tools they need to get a job? We already have 500,000 immigrants who trained somewhere else, but they cannot work in Canada. Are we going to increase the number of people who cannot work here to one million? They will come to Canada, but they will be unable to work.
    Those are the questions we have to ask when we see the shallow kind of budgets that we are given by the Conservative government, a one shot deal.
    We only have to read the books out there, which state the original objectives of the government ought to be: win an election, look moderate, fool the people with shiny objects. When the Conservatives get a majority government, then they can do what they want, which is to dismantle the federation, get rid of any vision and leave people to their own devices.
    Government is not about that. To be in government means using the tools of government to help citizens live better lives, to give them opportunities. Governance is about that.
    Mr. Speaker, I was very interested to hear the remarks of the hon. member for Vancouver Centre. It is interesting to hear a rehashing of the program of the Liberal government. It is something that I was critical of in my day, and I could be today as well. However, that is not where I want to go with this question.
    The member was rightly critical of the direction of the Conservative government on issues of immigration. She went through a number of them. She has been supported by the former minister in his question a moment ago.
    The Liberals say that there are no answers to the questions they raise, that there is no program from the Conservatives, that there is no money, that the money dedicated to important programming under their plan has somehow disappeared, but they have no plan. Yet, when push comes to shove, the Liberals are not prepared to hold the government accountable for not having a plan, for not having any money for these things, for not having any programs. Yet the moment when accountability, which is the job of the official opposition, comes to the fore, they disappear and do not vote to bring down the government.
    If immigration is so important to the Liberals, why do they refuse to hold the Conservative government accountable for all these missteps, for this lack of progress and for this terrible bill before the House of Commons?
    Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. If people believe a government is on the wrong track, if they believe the vision is not there and if they believe the decisions being made are not good ones and do not wish that government to remain, then new government should be brought in to do the right things.
    It is not about what NDP members did in the last session, when they brought down a government in such undue haste that they undid all the things they said they wanted. It is not about hastily calling an election. It is about a strategy to ensure there is going to be success. On this side of the House, we think that is a government with no vision, with no plan, with no ability to move the country forward at a time when it is on the brink to be the most competitive nation in the world, given such a small number of people.
    It is not about the cheap shots of saying “let's quickly call an election” without thinking of the consequences. One has to have a plan that will succeed. What is the point of having a plan of action if it is only about an empty shell, a piece of political rhetoric, which does not achieve the objective that we want?
    We will achieve our objective in our time.

  (1645)  

    Mr. Speaker, in the 2006 election one of the promises made by the government had to do with guaranteed wait times. That seemed to fall by the wayside. There has been a lot of hemming and hawing, yet the Conservatives continue to take credit. Even today in question period, the Minister of Health made a statement about “we delivered on wait times”.
    Could the member advise Canadians what the real situation is in terms of health care wait times for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, as a physician, I can say that wait times was a priority for us. We did move in our government to look at bringing forward, within about two years, 1,000 new family practitioners.
    Five million Canadians do not have family doctors. This is the heart of health care access. If people cannot see a physician, they cannot have access into the system. The government has been repeatedly told that health human resources is a huge issue and it is a problem that must be resolved.
    We had that in our wait times initiative. In 2004 we had agreements with the provinces of bringing in health human resource changes, of bringing in the physicians, the nurses, the technicians and the technologists who would allow access to the system to occur. Again, I asked a question on what happened to that plan and the money that was set aside for it.
    When the Minister of Health stands up and says that the government has been doing something, it is like his argument—
    Order, please. I advise hon. members that we are now entering the portion of the debate where the speeches will be 10 minutes with 5 minutes of questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River.
    Mr. Speaker, I will have to compress my long and witty speech into 10 minutes now.
    We are debating the budget implementation bill, Bill C-50. It is a bill that would implement the recent budget, but it also has some other legislation piggybacking it in a way that, for the most part, the official opposition objects to, and I will explain why.
    Taking a broader look at the economy, there has been a lot of talk about whether the economy is doing well or not. I am actually a bit more positive about the economy. To be sure, there is a huge difficulty involving manufacturing. In central Canada it has severely impacted a number of localities and there may be more impacts. Generally across the country, however, the country is making jobs.
     I took a look at the economic data for the area I represent in the greater Toronto area and Ontario and the statistics are pretty good. For the last month that we looked at, employment was up; the participation rate in employment was up; the unemployment rate was down; the number of social assistance cases in the greater Toronto area was down; inflation is down; the prime rate is 5.75%; commodity demand, all up. For a buyer that is not so good. For a seller, and generally Canada is a seller of commodities all around the world, those prices are up. There are a lot of good things to say about the economy.
     I am not a doom and gloom type speaker at this point in time, but I will say that at this time of low interest rates and low inflation, it is absolutely the best time for the government to be showing leadership in investment and reinvestment in our economic sector, particularly the manufacturing sector. I am not seeing any leadership at all with respect to this particular issue.
    The bill has provisions governing capital cost allowance. This is an incentive for business generally to reinvest in plant and equipment, but there is no leadership being shown by the government. There is no focus being brought to bear. It is simply scattering the crumbs across the barnyard and saying, “Here. Fend for yourself”.
     I accept that our business does well when our entrepreneurs, our business leaders and our workers get together, focus themselves and bring about those good economic investments and impacts. However, there has hardly ever been a time in this country when the Government of Canada did not show leadership in this envelope. All of our major economic activity centres today bear the thumbprint of government leadership at some point in our history, whether it is transportation, or communications, or pharmaceuticals, or electronics, or technology, or research. All of these economic activity areas have had specific government leadership in the past that have made them successful and what they are today, and I do not see that leadership now.
    The second thing I want to talk about in this bill is the Canada employment insurance financing board provisions.
    I have heard in this debate, incessantly, the New Democratic Party trying to tell us here and Canadians that somehow our governments have been whacking away the money that has been contributed into the EI fund by workers and employers. I point out that the fund is not owned by, but was contributed to by, employees and employers. In fact, employers have put in a slightly greater share of that money. That fund is there; it is intact.
     I am very disappointed to hear the New Democratic Party incessantly suggest to Canadians that somebody somewhere in government has stolen this money, so I thought I would look at the Public Accounts of Canada just to check. I am just one MP. There are 300 or so of us here. The taxpayer allows us to spend all this money on printing every year so that we can see the Public Accounts of Canada. There are three volumes. I thought I would go back nine years to 1999.

  (1650)  

    Where is the fund? How much money is in it? Does it exist? Did somebody steal it? How was it managed? Those who are interested can go to page 4.19, the Public Accounts of Canada, Volume I, 1999 and there it is with a surplus shown in the prior year, 1998, 10 years ago, of $13 billion and change. In 1999 it is $20 billion and change. I looked at the notes to the financial statements just to make sure it was the way it looked. There is was. It even talks about the Government of Canada paying interest into the fund at 90% of the T-bill offering rate. Every year the government under the watchful eye of the Auditor General of Canada accumulates the money in this account. It is a conceptual account but it is real. The government pays interest every year on the EI account as it accumulates. That was 1999.
    I thought maybe it had changed in the interim years. I looked at 2005 and there it is, the same fund, alive and well, moving up to $48.5 billion with the same interest being paid every year. It shows the interest being paid. It shows the money being paid out in premiums and the money being paid out in employment programs. There are revenues and expenses to the program and a balance of $48.5 billion.
    Then I went to last year. The NDP members have been talking about this. I thought, they have to be misleading us; this is not correct. There it is again, the EI fund. The surplus has moved from $50 billion to $54 billion with all that interest being paid every year. The interest paid in 2007 was $1.9 billion. The Government of Canada, the taxpayers of Canada, have allocated $1.9 billion to be added to this fund.
    I am saying to the House that members can simply not accept the NDP members' statements at face value. They are weak on facts. It is misleading. There it is for everybody to see. That again is in chapter 4 of the Public Accounts of Canada, in case anyone wants to look at those.
    I still say that this is the perfect time for the Government of Canada to be investing in employment programming, training and in manufacturing, to be leading in that for the benefit of Canadians.
    The next thing I want to address is the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act sections. I am one who believes these provisions should not have been piggybacked on the budget implementation bill. There are four sections. There are a couple of legislative tweaks which I will not go into because they are fairly technical, but the ones that have caught the most attention have to do with the desire of the government to give the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration the legal ability to issue what are called instructions. I have served in the House for 20 years and I have never seen anything called an instruction. It does not exist. What is an instruction? Is it a letter? Is it a phone call? is it a communication? Is it an email? Is it a text message? We do not know but the government, with the collaboration of the department, wants to use a new statutory instrument called an instruction.
    I have only one minute left. The time has gone far too quickly, so I will cut to the chase here and say that the government has chosen a very poor form. It is not a statutory instrument. It is not a regulation. It is not pre-published. It is not reviewed by any of the committees of the House as a regulation and it is not consulted on before it is done. It is a huge variance from the rule of law, a huge variance almost to the point of impinging on what is called the pretended power of dispensation which is part of our early parliamentary and constitutional law. The government is at huge risk in using this instrument, and so is Parliament and so are Canadians. I certainly oppose those sections of the bill.

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to compliment my colleague on fulfilling what he indicated he would do and that is to speak with wit and wisdom. I want to touch on a couple of things so that he can continue to complete his thoughts. I am glad that he pointed out that the NDP, that never-ending disseminator of poo, has been unveiled for what it really is. I compliment him on pointing out just what the EI fund does and how it is accumulated.
    I have been here with him for many years and I share his concern about the fact that this is a most opportune moment, given the economic climate, to make investments in those areas that render both short term and long term benefits in the research and development area. Specifically, I think he mentioned the pharmaceutical sector, the aerospace and auto sectors, and of course the transportation sector. All of them are absent from the budget.
    He touched on something else as well. He went from the substance to the process. The process is there are changes to the way we govern that are encouraged by this bill and which should never see the light of day in a parliamentary environment. I wonder if he will take whatever is left of his time to illustrate that matter further and to do it with the kind of expertise that he has on parliamentary process.

  (1700)  

    Mr. Speaker, at the end of the member's comments, he referenced the parliamentary procedures involved here. I take such strong objection to the use of “instruction” in this bill, I would almost stop at nothing to nuke it. I will also say that in another bill, Bill C-10, which passed late last year, there was another device called a “direction” which the government could give. This had to do with directions involving the production of Canadian films under the Income Tax Act.
    With this whole business of finding these little directions and instructions, what is next, a phone call, or a message, or a letter? What other device is the government going to invent so that the rule of law scrutiny of the regulatory process is avoided? This is a very unfortunate step and the record ought to show that very clearly.
    Mr. Speaker, the member is an expert in parliamentary process and I want him to speak in stronger terms about the government's sneaking immigration issues into the budget implementation bill. This is an affront to democracy. What is a budget? The money that is needed to run the country. Are we going to be able to stop that? The country has to run. So, if the government wants to make a policy change that is unacceptable to most Canadians, the government sneaks it into a bill where the people have to vote to run the country. This is unheard of. It is unparliamentary. There were no excessive details in the budget, just a very veiled reference in the budget. Then the budget implementation bill came out. To me that is just not kosher.
    I know the member takes great pride in process and I would like him to comment on that further.
    Mr. Speaker, arguably, the process being used here is insidious. First of all, the government is burying this new concept called an “instruction” in a budget implementation bill. It is burying it in this bill. Second, if this provision is implemented, the instruction is going to be something maybe on a piece of paper sent out overnight. We do not know. This provision will give the minister authority to bury the instruction.
    It is true that the bill says the instruction will be published in the Canada Gazette, and that is pretty public, but that happens after the event, not before, not even simultaneous with. The government is burying the proposed new procedure, which is unprecedented, in a budget implementation bill and then it has invented this cutesy little instruction which is going to be flown by night courier to immigration posts wherever immigration applications are being processed. No wonder immigration applicants are a little nervous right now. No wonder they are fearful that the government has a hidden agenda. These devices, these concoctions developed in this bill do not say what they really are or what they are really intended to do.
    When we in this House have to look at the actions taken under these new provisions after the fact, we have to try to infer why Parliament gave this authority in the first place and what it is being used for. There actually is no mechanism because under the bill, once an instruction has gone, that is the end of the story. That is not a very good way to run a country. That is not the rule of law.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on the budget, Bill C-50.
    When I became a member of Parliament in 1993, the new Liberal government inherited, to be quite frank, a fiscal mess. The expenses exceeded the revenues of the government by some $42 billion in that year ending in March 1994.
    It is a situation that members will know. The accumulated deficits of the country had built up to some $500 billion, actually peaking at about $524 billion. It was untenable. We were basically compared to third world countries in terms of our fiscal health.
    As debt increases, the cost of borrowing increases and that means that the ability to meet the needs of Canadian citizens is put under pressure and services have to be cut. It was very important and, for the Liberal Party, our first priority was to get our fiscal house in order.
    That took some pain. Canadians will remember that there were very significant cuts, not only to the operations of government but cuts in programs, important programs that Canadians needed, but there were some cuts. Everybody had to bear that burden. It was a tough decision to make but governing is about making tough decisions.
    Finally, in 1997 we had whittled down that $42 billion deficit and finally balanced the budget. Throughout the 13 years, it was a tough governing period but we continued to pay down debt, to restore the level of services and, in fact, start increasing the level of services provided to Canadians, to the point that when the 2006 election came around, there was fiscal room to meet the need of paying down debt, to meet the need of providing additional services and programs to Canadians, particularly looking at areas of health care and the needs of seniors, of our aboriginal and first nations people, some very important areas, areas of poverty and areas to do with children.
    Those were important programs and those were the kinds of things in which we were investing in.
    However, just like people who have a house with a mortgage, Canadians expect to continue to make regular payments on that mortgage and save interest.
    I can recall when some 40% of every dollar collected by the government in taxes was used to pay down the cost of borrowing money to finance the excess of spending over revenues of the government.
    When this budget came out, it made me reflect on where we were back in 1993 after almost nine years of the Brian Mulroney government, where not one year was a balanced budget. Every year, year after year there were deficits. The debt was being built up and Canadians let the Conservatives know how they felt about the fiscal mismanagement in that election in 1993. They reduced that party from a majority government to only two seats in the House of Commons.
    That is how significant this matter is in terms of how Canadians feel about whether or not a government can be a good fiscal manager, because if we do not take care of the finances of the nation, we do not take care of the people of the nation.
    We saw in the budget that there was, as a result of inheriting the fiscal position that we had, a good, healthy position, that the government enjoyed a $13 billion surplus in its first year. It has gone down a little in terms of the projections, but what concerns me is that two major decisions were taken by the government and they were on the same item. It was the cut to the GST.

  (1705)  

    Providing Canadians with tax relief is always important when it is earned, but we must remember that there is a difference between giving someone something once and giving to people year after year the same amount.
    If we take some $5 billion to $6 billion a year for a one percentage cut in the GST and then we do a second cut, all of a sudden, $10 billion to $12 billion of the annual surplus that we were enjoying to be able to pay down debt and to invest in Canadians, is gone. In two years out, looking from that budget, the surplus projected by the government will be less than $2 billion.
    All of the hard work was to establish the security that we need to deal with fiscal challenges that are unforeseen. A prudent government says that we should not play with a zero balance in our bank account. We need to keep some savings there. We need to ensure there is a bit of latitude to deal with the ebbs and flows of the economy.
    Now we are facing situations where it appears that we have already had one quarter where we had a decline in growth. It appears that Canada may very well go into a recession.
    We have seen it, particularly in terms of the manufacturing sector. Jobs are being lost and people are becoming concerned. The confidence level in the government is dropping and it is all because of economic certainty or uncertainty. People care about their jobs and they care about paying for that next bill.
    The government had better be there to take care of those needs because we do not know how protracted an economic downturn may be. We do not know what will happen in the U.S. but we do know that we are inextricably linked to their economy.
    When we take over $10 billion out of the financial flexibility that a government has, we have no flexibility and no latitude to deal with the unexpected.
    The government has not used prudence in its forecast. It has not used a contingency fund to provide for the eventuality of a thing like a SARS epidemic, which cost a very large amount of money.
    I wanted to make that point only from the standpoint that it appears that we have come from a period of the last Conservative government that was in power up to 1993, passing off a $42 billion annual deficit, spending $42 billion more than it took in.
    We came back with financial health under the Liberals and now the curve is going down again. It appears that we are going back to being at risk of going into deficit yet again. This is of concern to Canadians and it should be of concern to all parliamentarians.
    The other matter I would like to briefly talk about is an item in the last budget called the tax-free savings account. My first reaction as a chartered accountant was that this was another administrative burden, a tax gimmick, that sounds good but that will not translate or deliver what it seems to be.
    The Conservatives say that this tax-free account will allow people to put $5,000 a year into the account and anything they earn on that, whether it is interest income or dividend income or whatever, they will not have to pay tax. It will be a tax-free account. That sounds really terrific, $5,000 tax free. However, that $5,000 is not tax free because that is tax paid money. A person has to earn the money and have $5,000 of tax paid money to put into the account.
    However, because this program has special conditions attached to it, every Canadian who wants to participate in the program will need to open a new bank account. The banks, however, will not do this for nothing. They will charge service charges on a monthly basis. If people want to do a transaction, such as buy stock, commissions are involved. It will be the same for term deposits. Does anyone think these agencies, whether it is an investment house or the bank itself, will provide all these services for nothing? That is not the case.
    I just took a very simplistic example. Let us look at a basic savings account where someone was able to invest through the bank in a $5,000 term deposit that earned 5%, much more generous than we could earn today, but as an example, 5%.

  (1710)  

    If someone was earning $35,000 a year, making 5% on $5,000 would actually save the person $61 in tax on the interest earned. The person's taxes would go up. If the person made $70,000 a year, the person's savings on the same amount would be $88. If the person made $100,000, it would be $108. Those examples are to illustrate that the higher the level of income the more a person can benefit from this instrument.
    I believe the instrument missed the target because it skews the benefits to those who have money, not providing a savings opportunity and a tax savings opportunity to Canadians who really could use the help.
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member to continue his comments on the general fiscal mismanagement of the government, which is so surprising to Conservatives across the country.
    We have a government that talks about reducing the deficit so Canadians pay less interest and talks about reducing the national debt, and then it pushes us to the verge of going into deficit.
    It is not as though there were not crises such as this in the past. The Liberal government faced a number of crises but it had the contingency fund, a surplus, to deal with each crisis.
    The Conservative government has been Canada's largest spender. Conservatives across the country cannot believe that they have the largest spending government in Canadian history which has put the country in jeopardy.
    Furthermore, after the Liberal government had the largest tax cut in Canadian history of $100 million, the Conservative government actually increased income taxes. We all remember that from our income tax form. It took the government two years to get it back down to where the Liberals had it before the Conservatives came to power.
    This total inconsistency in values and actions has put the government in this position of jeopardy. Canadian families that rely on manufacturing jobs are now in a position of jeopardy because there is no room to manoeuvre. I would like the member to comment on that because I know it is very important in his constituency.

  (1715)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right. I think this economic situation will be with us for some time. I think it will be with us for the rest of this calendar year because history has shown that as the economy gains momentum there will be some consequences.
    We have had some job reductions and a net job loss. We understand that in some of the provinces where they are heavy in resources, they will continue to flourish and do extremely well. We have record high prices for petroleum and oil, which means there will be a lot of revenue and a lot of wealth in resource provinces.
    However, we need to realize that 60% of our economy is in Ontario and Quebec. Those two provinces, which represent two-thirds of the population of the country, are the two provinces being hit very hard by the fiscal pressure.
    I would indicate that this is not the time to be an alarmist. This is the time to be responsible. Fiscal responsibility needs to be the hallmark.
    I think that whichever party forms the next government will be the party that demonstrates fiscal responsibility on behalf of the best interests of Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I have sat here and listened to an hour of this tirade. We will not continue to sit here and listen to the opposition bash the economic engines of our country.
    Alberta represents 16% of the manufacturing jobs in Ontario and 1% of the net wealth of Ontario comes directly from the oil fields and the hard-working men and women in the oil fields of Alberta.
    My question for the member is very simple and it is in three parts. First, will he vote with the government on the budget implementation bill? Second, will he and his colleagues stick with what apparently they believe and vote against our budget implementation bill? Third, will they, as they have traditionally done, not show up for work and abstain, as they have done over the last six months?
    Mr. Speaker, if we want to talk about bashing, we just need to think of the most significant example. It really is embarrassing for all Canadians to have a finance minister who not only would bash a province, but his own province, and tell prospective investors not to invest in that province--

  (1720)  

    You are contributing to the unemployment numbers, Paul, by not voting.
    When I hear those members trying to shout me down, Mr. Speaker, I know I am on the right track.
    It would be the first time.
     Those members really are the most disrespectful people I have seen in a long time. If they do not respect a member's right to speak in the House, and if they want to yell me down, that is okay. I can take it. I am a big boy.
    However, I can tell members that I was very concerned when the finance minister of the Government of Canada told prospective investors that if they wanted to make money not to invest in Ontario. His admonition to investors has paid off. It is not happening in Ontario. Another 1,000 jobs were lost in the automobile sector.
    I have a feeling that we know what is coming next in Ontario. It is going to be tough times and it is going to be because of the Conservative Party of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my constituents of Brampton—Springdale and also in my capacity as the social development critic, I rise today to speak about the budget implementation bill, which has wide-ranging ramifications for the vulnerable in our society.
     I rise today to speak on behalf of vulnerable people: those who are homeless, those living in affordable housing projects, the single mothers, those in the aboriginal community, and many newcomers to Canada.
    When people look at Canada, they see our nation and country as a symbol of hope. We are a symbol of hope for many nations throughout the world. When we look at our country, we realize that the hallmarks of equality, acceptance, tolerance and respect are the very champions which have allowed us as a nation to become that symbol.
    When we speak of the budget implementation bill, it is unfortunate that the agenda of the government has come forward. We realize in reading this budget implementation bill that the most vulnerable in our society, those who perhaps need government most, have been ignored. They have actually fallen off the agenda and the priority list of the Prime Minister and the Conservative government.
    There have been absolutely no investments in terms of social justice in this particular implementation bill. There have been no new investments in affordable housing projects, the health care sector, the homeless or aboriginal people, so many of the people who live in my constituency of Brampton—Springdale.
    Let us look at what has been attached to Bill C-50, the budget implementation bill, and has been brought forward through the back door. Canada has always been a world leader in developing immigration policy. When we talk about our nation being a symbol of hope, we realize that we are a country in which so many people from so many different parts of the world live in harmony.
    Our country has always been a pioneer in an open and transparent process, which has invited people like my parents to come to Canada in the 1970s. We are proud of this heritage in our country and also proud of our reputation of having a fair and humane immigration system.
    However, it is unfortunate that the new reforms being proposed by the Conservative government, in particular the amendments that have been made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, are going to threaten our international reputation and threaten our nation's status as a symbol of hope.
    It is these amendments being put forward by the Conservative government that are going to give the minister the unprecedented power of selection. The minister will be able to pick and choose the number of immigrants who come to Canada, the type of immigrants who come to Canada, and the category of immigrants who come to our country. The bill is also going to give the minister the ability to restrict the right of failed overseas refugee applicants to bring forward appeals.
    What is even more disturbing is the fact that these changes are being brought forward through the back door without consultation with many of the people that this bill and these amendments are trying to help. They are being brought forward without the consultation of community groups and advocacy organizations. These issues are being brought forward in a secretive manner with a hidden agenda.
    The government is desperately trying to paint these changes as improvements. I have travelled across the country and have met with constituents in my riding of Brampton—Springdale and with many Canadians, immigration and advocacy organizations and Canadians from particular ethnic groups. I can say firsthand that they are deeply worried and frustrated by the fact that the government has shut the door on them and refuses to listen.
    The government paints a picture of how we need to reduce our country's backlog of 900,000 immigrants who want to come to Canada. However, it is very clear when one reads the fine print and the details of these proposed changes that all of the amendments and changes being brought forward are going to be effective starting on the date they are brought forward and will not have any impact or effect on reducing the backlog in this country.
    As for the amendments that are being brought forward, there is a state of reluctance and frustration out there among the community groups and organizations. They do not really know what they should do or how they could get involved in the process. What we see is a government that wants to centralize powers in the hands of one individual, allowing that one person, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to pick and choose and perhaps insert politics and a bias into her decision making process.

  (1725)  

    It is this discretion, which we hope will not turn into discrimination, that is going to be at the minister's fingertips. We all know that in the 1900s our nation's immigration policies were at times discriminatory, exclusionary and even racist, which impacted many community groups across the country. As a nation, we have come so far. Our nation is a symbol of hope. I would hope that we will never ever go back.
    We need to ensure, in this time of surplus and prosperity in our nation, that the government realizes that effective and efficient changes need to be made to the system. We must actually provide investments to ensure that there are additional officers placed at some of the busiest consulates and embassies throughout the world. That is what will make sure that we actually start to reduce the backlog of immigrants.
    Our nation must realize that when we invite these individuals into our country they are coming here with their hopes, dreams and aspirations. However, upon coming to Canada, they very quickly find that their degrees and their qualifications are not recognized. They cannot be accredited. They are not allowed to enter Canada's workforce for lack of experience.
     We must ensure that government surpluses are invested in programs for foreign credentials recognition. We must ensure that when we invite the best and brightest into Canada they have an opportunity to succeed and achieve their dreams. There is absolutely no reason why investments of this nature cannot be made.
    Again, perhaps the greatest shortcoming of this bill, the budget implementation act, is a disregard for the most vulnerable of our nation. I can speak on behalf of those who live in affordable housing projects and those who are homeless in this country. We need only take a look at the statistics to realize that in this time of economic prosperity there are over 1.5 million Canadian households with a core housing need. They are spending over 30% of their income on home rental.
    Having a roof over one's head is a basic fundamental human right. All of us as Canadians have to ensure that everyone in our country has a roof over his or her head and is in secure housing. It is a matter of dignity. It is a matter of pride. This budget has failed to address this crisis we have, a crisis that really knows no boundaries and has no barriers in this nation.
    The fact that the government has thrown the issues of social justice off its agenda and off its priority list is really an insult to the many families and individuals who live without the basic means of survival. More than half of social housing applicants spend more than 50% of their income on housing. It is a tremendous burden for those who are in a low income bracket, which is a growing segment in our communities. That includes seniors, single parent families and immigrants.
    We need only take a look at the waiting lists, even in an area like mine. In Brampton alone, there are approximately 30,000 people on a wait list to get into an affordable housing project. There is a wait list of over 21 years for some of these individuals.
    There are regions like Peel, which has started a program called “Home in Peel Affordable Ownership Program”, which is going to provide some assistance, given the increase in population, the housing shortage and the market increases. Owning a home is no longer affordable for many Canadians across the country. We need the government to show some action. We need the government to show some leadership to ensure that these vulnerable people in our society have that chance and that opportunity.
    When we take a look at national housing across the country, we see three major programs: the homelessness partnership initiative, the housing program, and the residential rehabilitation assistance program. All three are major federal programs that have provided resources and support for many of these community organizations in order to help the vulnerable in society. All three of these programs are due to expire at the end of this fiscal year. These groups and organizations are crying out, but what has the government done? Absolutely nothing.
    Whether it is on child care, health care, affordable housing or dealing with immigrants in this country, we have realized that social justice has fallen off the map. We need action. We need leadership. We need a government that is going to care about the vulnerable in our society.

  (1730)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the hon. member. She listed some of the things of concern to her. She says that she is the critic for social justice, I think, in her caucus, but I am not sure.
    As an example, I was pleased last month to stand on a stage with the Assembly of First Nations and announce the market housing fund, for example, something it has been asking for, for a long time. It was this government that actually brought that in and announced it with the AFN. It was a pleasure. We announced hundreds of millions of dollars for housing both on and off reserve, both in the north and in the south.
    We also announced increased funding for shelters for aboriginal women, victims of violence, including money for five new shelters, because we realized there was a need for that. So, we have moved to fill that need.
    She says there is nothing for aboriginal people, or aboriginal women I think she said, but that was a gap that we inherited. That is just one specific thing as an example.
    She mentioned the immigration issue at length. There are dozens of organizations representing immigrants across the country that have come out in support of the amendments in this bill. Who are not in support are the lawyers. The lawyers loved the status quo, and the reason is because there are almost a million people in the queue.
    This is the Liberal answer to the problem: create a system that leads to 800,000 or 900,000 people in the queue, all of whom must be processed and most of whom will not get a chance to come to Canada. That is not fair to the immigrants. Worse yet, it means that most of them will end up hiring an immigration lawyer and paying big bucks to get into a queue that will never get them Canada.
     We want to make sure people come to Canada. That is the whole reason for the changes. That is why immigrants themselves say these are good changes.
    Finally, she says all these things are wrong with the bill, that it is a travesty, that it is an awful thing, that the Government of Canada has lost its way and everything, and she says she speaks on behalf of these people.
    However, her actions speak so loudly that we cannot hear her words because she will not stand in her place and vote on this bill, mark my words, and we will all be watching as will her people back home who will be saying, “Boy, you feel passionately about this. You feel strongly about this. I expect you to be there, if you feel like that, in the House of Commons to vote against it”. However, she--
    I am sure the minister, as a former deputy speaker, will realize that I need to share the time with the member who had the floor.
    The hon. member for Brampton—Springdale.
    Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of talk from that side and, again, no action.
    If the minister actually takes a look at previous records, I actually did stand in this House and did vote against this very immigration proposal and amendments that are being made.
    I do not know which Canadians the minister has been speaking to about these changes, but he should definitely come out to my constituency, and he is invited. In Brampton—Springdale, which has one of the highest ethnic demographics in the country, I can tell members that people are extremely fearful. They are frustrated and they are upset with the fact that these changes and these amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are being brought forward through the back door, without any type of consultation.
     Ethnic communities and Canadians across this country no longer want to be used to score cheap political points. They need to have a system which is fair, which is effective, which is efficient, and which is going to ensure that when they submit an application to come to Canada it is going to be given the due diligence that it deserves, it is going to be processed in a timely fashion, and that when they do come here, there are going to be opportunities for them, there are going to be resources for them.
     One only needs to talk to some of the most vulnerable in our society to realize that they feel ignored by the government. The government has a responsibility to provide that leadership and to show some action on behalf of all Canadians in this country, not just its voter bank.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this debate this afternoon.
    I, like a majority of Canadians, when I get up every morning and I read the newspaper I see what is going on. I have certainly come to the conclusion that this country is very much headed in the wrong direction.
    It is my view, it is my vision, that the only way this country is going to work is with a strong central government speaking for every region, every province, and every person who lives in this country. That is not what we are seeing right now. We are basically seen as a phrase from another prime minister. This government is basically not even a head waiter. I would call it an ATM or a butler to the other provinces in Canada.
    What we have is ill-conceived tax cuts. We have the highest spending government of any government ever elected in this country. We seem to have a lack of direction, a lack of leadership, and it would appear to me that we have lost our way.
    This is said because it has happened in a short period of time. We all know, as Canadians, that we went through a very rough time, beginning in 1993. When the Conservatives were kicked out of office in that year, we all know that the annual deficit was $45 billion. We know that interest rates hovered around 11%. We know that unemployment was over 10%. We know that the debt to GDP ratio was 73%.
    Decisions had to be made both monetary and fiscal. These were not easy decisions. These were decisions that took a lot of leadership, but these were decisions that were done. They were done by a strong central government.
    As a result, we had 10 consecutive surpluses. There was a $100 billion tax cut. The debt to GDP ratio decreased to somewhere in the vicinity of 37% and all Canadians in the House, all Canadians in every province, and all Canadians in every region have every reason to be very proud.
    However, if we do not pay attention to history, history will repeat itself and that is what I think is going on right now. Last week, Statistics Canada reported that in the first quarter we are back into negative growth after a long period of time. Every day we pick up the paper there are more job losses. We have a finance minister who is in a full frontal attack on the province of Ontario, stating that that province is the last place in the world where anyone should invest.
    Confidence is such an important matter. It drives business. If there is no consumer confidence, consumers will not spend. If there is no business confidence, businesses will not invest. It is so important.
    If the finance minister of this country does not have confidence in the province of Ontario, how do we expect General Motors to have any confidence? How do we expect any other business to have any confidence in this particular province?
    When I looked at the budget, I was hoping to see initiatives that would be indicative of a strong central government, such as the productivity agenda, innovation, and the need, and I will admit there is some work being attempted on this, of a national securities regulator.
    We want to see smart tax decreases, ones that encourage investment and savings. We would like to see something in affordable housing. We would like to see something that would try to eliminate or at least attempt to eliminate the interprovincial trade barriers that we see across Canada. We would like to see something in early childhood education, skills training, post-secondary education, research, especially research done by our important post-secondary institutions, and climate change. We would like to see something on Canada-U.S. relations.
    To speak of Canada-U.S. relations, the worst that we have seen is the Conservative Party interjecting itself into the Democratic nomination process about a month ago, leaking information to the press about one of the candidates, Barack Obama. I just shudder to think if Mr. Obama becomes the president of the United States, what that will do to the relationship between Canada and the United States.

  (1735)  

    The reason why we are not seeing that is because these are so-called provincial jurisdictions. It is not our business. It is not our concern. Again, that disturbs me. I find it troubling and we have to question where this thinking comes from, who is developing this agenda, whose vision is it? When I talk to people from every part of Canada, that does not seem to be their thinking. We are a large geographical country with a relatively small population. People are looking for a strong central government with a pan-Canadian vision speaking for every person in every region of this country.
    Where is this vision coming from? Who is developing it? I would suggest it is coming directly from the Prime Minister and maybe to a lesser extent from the Minister of Finance. He set his vision out a year or two before he was elected prime minister in this so-called firewall letter. He urged and pleaded with the then premier of Alberta to get out of medicare, get out of the income tax system that we have in the Canada, and get out of the use of the RCMP. He said to put a firewall or a moat around the province and go on its own without Canada.
    The people I talk to from Alberta do not associate themselves with that vision. I do not associate myself with that vision. Most people in this House, I would suggest, do not associate with that vision or that agenda for Canada. People are looking for a strong central government and they do not see that at all.
    One of the biggest issues facing Canadians right now is the need for action on climate change. We waited for the government for the last two and a half years. There has been nothing. It views it as a communications issue, not a real issue. We had the spectacle of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec coming together to their great credit and coming forward with a plan. Of course, we know what happened. Once that plan was announced, it was attacked by the federal Minister of the Environment.
    They would not have had to do that if the Government of Canada took this seriously and did something, but that is not happening. Then, of course, we have the fight between the Minister of the Environment and the premiers of Quebec and Ontario. That will go on for quite a while I would assume and, of course, nothing is going to happen certainly from a pan-Canadian basis on the whole issue of climate change.
    As one member of Parliament speaking in my little corner here, I find it disturbing. I find it troubling. I come back to the situation which I find a troubling spectacle with the Minister of Finance attacking the families, the workers, and the companies that live, work and invest in the province of Ontario.
    Again, it is destroying confidence. I find it troubling that no other Conservative members of Parliament from the province of Ontario will get up and disassociate themselves with those remarks. They just clap when the Minister of Finance makes these statements. I am over here just shaking my head because I do not know how long this is going to go on. I am deeply concerned as to the further erosion of confidence from the remarks made by the Minister of Finance. I do hope they stop soon.
    I want to add my words to the debate. I believe the government is going in the wrong direction. It is on the wrong path. It has lost its way. When we look back at history, this was not the vision of previous Conservative governments. It was not the vision and agenda of Sir John A. Macdonald. It certainly was not the vision and agenda of Brian Mulroney. It was not the vision and agenda of Joe Clark and I believe Canadians understand that.

  (1740)  

    Mr. Speaker, I did want a chance to participate in this debate and appreciate very much the chance to do so in the 10 minutes available to me. Given your position in the chair, perhaps you will understand that the theme of my remarks is based upon the words of the epistle of St. James to Oshawans. In that epistle, he said, “If I was an investor, the last place I would invest is in the province of Ontario”.
    In commenting on this text, it seems to me it is very important for us to keep coming back to the Minister of Finance and reminding him of these words, reminding him how damaging they are and how damaging it is to have a Minister of Finance launching an invective and an attack on a single province, which happens to be the heart of our manufacturing sector in Canada.
    I am very proud to associate myself with the remarks of my colleagues from Scarborough and my good friend, the member for Charlottetown. The vision of Canada and of the federal government, which has been expressed by the member for Charlottetown, is a vision I share entirely.
    We need to have a federal government that is capable of exercising leadership. We need to have a federal government that is capable of providing Canadians with a sense of hope and with a sense of opportunity. Instead we find a federal government with a very narrow view of its jurisdiction, with a very restrictive view of, first, what any government can do and, second, in particular what the federal government can do. I want to make it very clear that I reject that vision of the country and I think the majority of Canadians also reject it and do not want to see it.
    However, we come back to these words. Why would a Minister of Finance say such a thing? Why would a federal minister, from Oshawa, say to his own people, to his own constituents, that the last place he would do business as an investor is in the province of Ontario?
    Mr. Gary Goodyear: Because he was honest.
    Hon. Bob Rae: A colleague across the way says, “Because he is honest”, so it was not a mistake. I heard the heckle and I am picking up on the heckle and saying that is what the Conservatives actually believe. The member for Cambridge is only endorsing those comments.
    Cambridge is a key element in the manufacturing sector of Ontario and he has associated himself now with this epistle from St. James to the Oshawans, saying that the last place to invest is the province of Ontario.
    I want to indicate to the members of the House what would happen if this were said about virtually any other part of the country, if a prime minister or a first minister said that about the province of New Brunswick, or the province of Newfoundland, or the province of Quebec, or any other province.

[Translation]

    If that had been said about the province of Quebec, if the Minister of Finance had said that Quebec was the last place he would invest, there would have been an open and not-so-quiet revolution in Quebec. It would not have been a quiet revolution, but a real revolution, because people would not have accepted that.

  (1745)  

[English]

    On behalf of the people of Canada who live in Ontario, we do not accept being singled out by the Minister of Finance for opprobrium and attack and we do not accept that we are somehow second class citizens. For the Liberal Party, our Canada includes Ontario and Ontarians, and that is what we believe. We believe in that economy.
    With the increase in the value of the dollar having gone up 50% in the last three or four years, with the impact of higher oil prices and higher energy prices, of course competitiveness has been affected in the province of Ontario. Much of our exports and our manufacturing has had the benefit of a truly competitive economy and now we are in a more difficult position.
    This is not the moment for meanspirited partisan attacks. This is not the moment for the Minister of Finance, because the government of Ontario happens to be a Liberal government, which defeated the government of which he was a member, to suddenly turn around and attack not only that government, but attack the people of the province and the business climate of the province and hold out to foreign investors the idea that Ontario is a place where business should not be done. It is shameful.
    Let me remind the House once again of the words of the epistle of St. James to the Oshawans, “If I was an investor, the last place I would invest is the province of Ontario”. It is shameful.
    I can assure members opposite that those words will not be forgotten. Those words will not be lost in the course of a parliamentary debate, because those words were spoken aloud by the Minister of Finance in a deliberate way.
    Mr. Gary Goodyear: We care about Ontario. We have to make decisions.
    Hon. Bob Rae: Judging from the heckling from the member for Cambridge, they were made in a way that is shared by members opposite.
    When we look at the conditions being faced in our manufacturing sector—
    Mr. Gary Goodyear: We were worried. The last time you were in charge of Ontario something bad happened.
    Hon. Bob Rae: I have livened them up. They are awake. They are alive, even at ten to six in the afternoon.
    In a very direct way for members opposite, they will never get anywhere by running down the neighbourhood. They will never get anywhere by running down the place where they live. They will never get anywhere by running down the people who work hard.
    I am proud to say that all of Canada is a good place to invest. I am proud to say that every province is a good place to invest. I will always say that whether I am in opposition or whether I am in government. Canada is the best place to live. Canada is the best place to invest. Canada is the best place to bring up children. Canada is the best place to be. Every province can claim the same thing.
    We will never succeed as Canadians if we have the attitude that somehow when we get into office it simply becomes a chance for us to make partisan hay each and every day. That is what we see in the House of Commons every day. It is a sad thing.
    I read the farewell speeches of the former member of Ottawa Centre, Ed Broadbent, and my predecessor, Bill Graham, who was the member for Toronto Centre. Both of them commented at the end of their time that they could not believe the lack of civility in the House of Commons and the way, from their experience, it had gone down.
    I do not want to wait until I leave to make those remarks. If somebody asked me what the big difference between what life was like in the old days when I was first here and today, I would say it is the absolutely barbaric way in which debate takes place in the House of Commons. It is not a reasonable exchange. Every time someone asks a question, all the Conservatives say is the equivalent of “Your granny wears army boots”. That is the thoughtful response we get from the government each and every day, each and every step of the way.
    We on this side have a principled difference with the government. We do not agree with its vision. We do not agree with its direction. We do not agree with its policies. We have a principled division, but that does not require us each and every day to simply refuse to answer questions or refuse to deal with the nature of the House.
    I was on television today with a member of the Conservative Party who said the reason the Prime Minister would not appear before a committee was because he knew it would be a circus. What is he saying about Parliament? Parliament is a place where we are supposed to do the public business. Our committees are supposed to be the place where we do the public business. It is a sad commentary that this is what has happened to the institution which we are supposed to revere.

  (1750)  

    I disagree strongly with the comments that were made by the Minister of Finance because they are harmful to my province and to my country. I believe he should stand up and correct the record. I believe he should say that he may have differences from time to time with other governments, but he should never say that this is a bad place to invest or a bad place to do business.
    We need to have that capacity as a public place in Parliament where we recognize that each and every one of us has limits to what we can and should say about other places and other members.
    When I see the government in action, I see a government that is consumed by a partisan interest. It is a government that, in a sense, is still an opposition party that has suddenly found itself in government.
    The Conservatives do not think like a government. They do not act like a government. They act like a group of people who have temporarily taken over the government and who cannot resist taking partisan, nasty, brutal shots at everything that gets in their way, whether it is a provincial premier or a mayor they do not like, or a member of the opposition they do not like. Whatever it is, they throw the ball and their heads to see how they respond.
    Some of us who have been around can handle it and we will deal with it. However, we will continue to deal with it in a way that speaks profoundly to the need for us to share the great values we have as Canadians, the great values we see going forward and the great need for us to have a federal government that has the capacity to serve the interests of the entire country.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to what the hon. foreign affairs critic had to say.
    He talked about the nobility of this place and the need to restore the demeanour of which all Canadians can be proud. I know he is like that, personally, because today during question period, for example, when pressed a little, he said that the members opposite spent their spare time pulling wings off butterflies. He is a noble man. He would not stoop to gutter politics. He would not say something out of line. He keeps the debate very highbrow so the people in Rosedale will understand it, even today, during question period.
    Let me interpret for people watching. When he says he wants a government with enough capacity to give direction, what he means is he wants a big, big government. We know what that means. Look out for the taxes, because the taxes will go up. He says he wants to make a difference with the federal government. The interpretation is he wants to intrude in provincial jurisdiction. We should keep our eyes open.
    There is a reason that support for separation in Quebec is at the lowest in our lifetime. Why? Because the government on this side of the House believes in respecting provincial jurisdiction. On that side of the House, they do not.
    To get back to James, whom he quoted. There is a quotation from another book of James that he will remember. It starts with “Consider it all joy...when you encounter various trials”. If the Liberals were ever in power, we would have a pervasive carbon tax that would hit low income people the worst. We are talking about a leader who says that if we have a problem in Afghanistan, the way to solve it is to invade Pakistan. That will get things smoking for us.
    If we want to encounter various trials, if we want to look for trouble, look to the—

  (1755)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will try to focus on one aspect of the comments of the member opposite, because it is a real difference of opinion.
    I spent 15 years in the provincial jurisdiction. I know pretty well what a provincial jurisdiction is all about. The key challenges we face in our country are areas where both the federal government and the province have to learn how to cooperate and work together.
    Is the question of urban transportation a municipal issue, a provincial issue or a federal issue? It is all three. It requires the cooperation of all three levels of government. There are no watertight compartments. There are no firewalls between municipalities, provinces and the federal government.
    The key challenge of governance today in Canada, and this is a real difference that we have with the Conservative Party because it has this very narrow, locked-in view of what the responsibility of one level of government is and of another and never the twain shall meet, and that is a ludicrous—
    It's called the constitution.
    It is not called the constitution. It is a ludicrous proposition. If we had that idea, we never would have had unemployment insurance and then employment insurance. We never would have had health insurance and health care and a national health care program. We would have had none of these programs. We never would have had Central Mortgage and House. We never would have had any of the institutions that have made a real difference in the lives of families.
    Yes, I believe there is a role for the federal government in terms of providing leadership. I believe there is a role for provinces and for municipalities. The key challenge in the future of our country is how to make sure these governments can work effectively together. If they are captured and ensnared by the philosophy or the ideology of the Conservative Party of Canada, the condition of all the people in the country will deteriorate for sure. That is why I am so strongly opposed to it.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member used the term “principled position”. How is it that there is any principle involved when in Bill C-50 there is the theft of $54 billion of workers' money that they will need if they become unemployed? We know that Ontario is in trouble. We talked about that earlier. A lot of the unemployed manufacturing workers and their families will need this fund, yet this bill only puts aside $2 billion to set up a crown corporation.
    How could there be a principled position when 92% of Liberal members refuse to vote on this issue? Tell me.
    Mr. Speaker, if we were to treat employment insurance as real insurance, what would that mean? It would mean that the workers who have the highest rate of unemployment would have to pay the highest premiums and that the industries that have the highest rate of unemployment would have to pay the highest premiums. It would be a complete disaster for working families across the country.
    I do not know why the New Democratic Party and indeed many of my friends in the labour movement continue to persist in this notion that somehow the answer for everything is to get back to the idea of employment insurance being real insurance. They are not serving the interests of working families when they do that, because they do not understand that the experience ratings that would apply would absolutely clobber working families.
    Ironically, it is the New Democratic Party that has contributed to one of the most inane aspects of Bill C-50, which is the creation of this crown corporation. The NDP members got their wish and they will come to regret it.

  (1800)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, on Monday, thanks to the opposition, the House had the opportunity to debate two specific aspects of Bill C-50, namely immigration and the creation of an employment insurance financing board, or parts 6 and 7 of the bill. I had the opportunity to speak about these subjects in the House on Monday. Today I will be challenging the bill in its entirety. I will bring up various points.
    Bill C-50 deals with the implementation of the intentions the government laid out in its 2008 budget speech, a speech that I criticized then, on April 9, for reasons that I would like to restate today.
    Although the budget speech included some timid measures, it had nothing to offer in terms of redistribution of wealth and government management of the common good.
    The bill's preamble concerns me a great deal because it talks only about global economic uncertainty when there is real uncertainty in all regions—mine in particular—about economic development; we know that. And the government should be concerned.
    What has the government done in this time? I am sure everyone will recall that it created this trust fund, which, at the time, was linked to the budget. We managed to stop it, after some citizens demonstrated their dissatisfaction.
    Although the trust fund, totalling a billion dollars over two years, was removed from the budget, the government did not really address the crises currently facing our communities. The agricultural and forestry sectors are in crisis. Of course, there is also a crisis facing non-profit organizations, which saw their funding suddenly slashed by the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.
    Although he says he will space it out over two years, we all know what this means in Rimouski, for example, and in eastern Quebec for all non-profit organizations in the marine sector. We have a research centre. We are the hub of marine technology, and this will have a major impact. In that sense, the government has set us back. I will never accept this kind of thing.
    The government created a savings account, known as a TFSA, and would have us believe that they have reinvented the wheel. In reality, it will not help modest to middle income earners. It will only help those who are already well off.
    Speaking of the less fortunate and of the poor—and I will probably wrap it up here—I want to say once more that the government had an opportunity with this budget to help our seniors and to bolster the guaranteed income supplement. Instead, it put $10 billion towards the debt and decided that only the first $3,500 earned by seniors who choose to work would not affect their benefits.
    The government should have accepted motion M-383, which I moved and which was adopted by a majority in this House. It would have allowed seniors to not be penalized had they wanted to work up to 15 hours per week at the average wage in their province of residence. This would have been a significant gesture that would have helped seniors currently living below the poverty line and who, obviously, want to work. I am not suggesting that all seniors should go back to work. Far be it for me to suggest that.
     However, there were some relatively easy and practical ways to help our seniors and other disadvantaged groups, as well as to fight poverty. Instead, the government cut corporate taxes for companies that are already making obscene profits, such as banks and oil companies.
    I see no sign, in the government's vocabulary or ideology, of the will to concern itself with the common good and the redistribution of wealth. They are focused solely on looking after companies that are already doing very well. Their tax cuts will not help those who have little or no income—

  (1805)  

    Order, please. It being 6:05 p.m. the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.
    The member will have five minutes to finish her speech.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members's Business]

[English]

Airline Passenger Bill of Rights

    The House resumed from April 17 consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in favour of Motion No. 465, moved by the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte.
    Members of the House should realize that this motion is actually motivated by events that happened in Newfoundland during Christmas, 2007 and again in central Canada during reading week in 2008. In both cases Canada's airlines were flying full airplanes during a peak travel period. Indeed, in both cases severe storms closed major airports and resulted in hundreds and hundreds of flight cancellations. Because of the huge numbers of people travelling, the airlines had real trouble finding empty seats on other flights in order to accommodate the passengers from the cancelled flights. In some cases the airlines actually removed luggage from their airplanes in order to be able to carry as many extra passengers as possible. In another case one of the airlines actually added three extra wide-body jets for flights to one destination in a desperate effort to clear the backlog.
    No jurisdiction anywhere has passed legislation that would force airlines to operate in a storm, or to bump paying passengers in order to accommodate other paying passengers from a weather cancelled flight.
    This motion proposes a Canadian airline passenger bill of rights based either on the European model or U.S. legislation that has been proposed.
    European regulation No. 261/2004 establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and deals with the very concerns raised in this particular motion, and it has the force of law. I will refer to it as the European charter. It deals with denied boarding, delays and cancellations.
    Curiously though, the European charter does not deal with luggage at all. In that sense it does not address one of the most significant complaints of the Newfoundlanders whose Christmas nightmares prompted Mayor Woodrow French and Mayor Graham Letto to call for this motion.
    Furthermore, article 5(3) of the European charter takes away a passenger's right to compensation if the airline is forced to cancel a flight due to extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. Extraordinary circumstances clearly include weather conditions that are incompatible with the operation of the flight.
    The European Directorate-General for Energy and Transport stresses the importance of flight safety in evaluating weather as an extraordinary circumstance. It states:
    Weather conditions are by their nature unpredictable and it is not therefore possible to create an exhaustive list of the circumstances that may lead to weather related disruption. In evaluating an incident, [one] has to bear in mind that the safety of flight operations has to be the overarching priority and should therefore consider each incident on its own merits.
    The Canadian approach is similar in that it recognizes, for this government especially, that safe operation of the aircraft is absolutely paramount. In fact, Canada's air transportation regulations specifically excuse “delays due to weather conditions affecting safety or abnormal operating conditions”.
    However, the motion also refers to legal instruments being either proposed or enacted by jurisdictions within the United States for the purpose of protecting passenger rights.
    The major advocate of airline passenger rights in the United States is Kate Hanni, president of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights. She is very familiar with existing airline passenger rights in the U.S. and understands that a European style bill of rights is not what North America needs. Her 11 point bill of rights focuses almost entirely on providing relief to people stranded for hours on an airplane. The only other major new idea is to compensate bumped passengers, or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours, by refund of 150% of the ticket price.

  (1810)  

    Although there are various legislative proposals in the United States, none at this time have the force of law. I repeat: none. The only one ever to be passed by a legislature, specifically New York state, dealt almost exclusively with rights for passengers detained on an aircraft prior to takeoff or after landing.
    Before members of Parliament spend a lot of time examining legislation in other countries, it would probably be very helpful to look at the current Canadian situation.
    First, after researching this, I will note that it is important to understand that Canadian air travellers have more legislated rights than travellers in any other country in the world. That is right: currently we have more legislated rights than anywhere else in the world.
    Further, through the passage of Bill C-11 just recently, the government has strengthened the complaints provisions in the Canada Transportation Act and requires airlines to publish their tariffs or the terms and conditions of carriage for both domestic and international travel. The Canada Transportation Act requires Canadian airlines to actually file their tariffs with the Canadian Transportation Agency. This makes those tariffs legally binding.
    The United States does not have a realm of legally binding passenger rights at this time. The European realm has inconsistent enforcement and, as I said, does not cover baggage claims. In practical terms, Canadian travellers already have far more rights, with better enforcement, than travellers in either the United States or Europe.
    Canadian travellers currently have the following rights. I would like to go through them. First, there is compensation for denied boarding. Second, there is compensation for flight cancellations. Third, there is care during delays. Fourth, there is compensation for lost or delayed baggage.
    First, on compensation for denied boarding, in order to be eligible for denied boarding compensation a passenger has to meet the airline's minimum check-in time. In a situation where an aircraft is oversold or a smaller aircraft is substituted at the last minute, it is the practice of Canada's airlines to call for volunteers to take a later flight. Indeed, typically a volunteer will be offered a credit for future travel of $100 or more as well as transport on a later flight.
     If there are not enough volunteers, though, passengers may be denied boarding on an involuntary basis. Here, the passenger is typically offered free transport on another flight or a refund of the fare paid. In cases where the airline's next flight is not relatively soon, the carrier will often try to get the passenger a seat on another airline flight, even if that seat costs more than the passenger paid.
    Where a passenger must wait another day to take the airline's next flight, the carrier will pay for meals, hotel accommodation and airport transfers as necessary. I know this because it recently happened to me. The carrier was very accommodating.
    Second is compensation for flight cancellations. If a Canadian airline cancels a flight, the airline will undertake to ensure that the passenger is routed or transported to his or her ultimate destination as per the contract of carriage, within a reasonable period of time and at no extra cost to the traveller. If this cannot be done, the passenger is actually offered credit for a future flight or a full refund.
    Third is care during delays. If the delay is within the carrier's control, such as a mechanical problem, the carrier will pay for meals as well as a hotel stay and airport transfers if appropriate.
    Finally, there is compensation for lost or delayed baggage. If an airline loses a passenger's baggage, it will pay provable damages or a minimum financial compensation. The actual amounts vary by airline, but in each case the full legal details are contained in the airline's tariffs. They have the force of law in Canada and they are enforced by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

  (1815)  

    In conclusion, even though Bill C-11 received royal assent a year ago, most Canadians do not know what the rights of air passengers are or how to go about enforcing those rights. Thus, as a result of the passage of this motion and the support by this Conservative government, Canada will take steps to publicize passenger rights of Canadians and the ways to enforce those rights. This is good news for Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Motion No. 465 from the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, concerning rights for airline passengers.
    The spirit of my colleague's motion is not unique to Canada. Similar regulations already exist in other countries, and could even serve as models for an airline passenger bill of rights.
    In 2004, the European Union adopted Regulation No. 261/2004 of the European Parliament and Council of the European Union. This regulation came into force on February 17, 2005, in the 25 member states of the European Union. The United States has a similar regulation established by the Air Transport Association.
    In general, these regulations set out the rights of airline passengers and the responsibilities of carriers, for example: to provide compensation for passengers who are denied boarding by the carrier; to reduce any problems and inconveniences to passengers whose flights are cancelled, by encouraging carriers to inform passengers of cancellations and propose an alternative; to see to the needs of passengers with reduced mobility and their attendants; to inform passengers of their rights if they are denied boarding or if their flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, so that the passengers can properly exercise those rights.
    The Bloc Québécois is in favour of adopting such a bill of rights, although it recognizes that airlines cannot be held responsible for any mistakes made by other industry players such as NavCanada, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority or the Canada Border Services Agency.
     It is important to answer two distinct questions regarding the motion we are discussing today. First, what are the responsibilities of all the service providers in the airline industry with respect to this issue? Second, what exactly are airline passengers' rights? The Bloc Québécois recommends that Parliament take decisive measures on a matter that is of vital importance to Canadians: creating guaranteed protection for the rights of airline passengers.
    These measures will apply to all industry players involved in serving passengers. The industry as a whole will be responsible for implementing these measures.
    I would now like to talk about the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, of which I am a member. In 2007, the committee heard a number of witnesses when it examined Bill C-11 concerning complaints about air travel.
    The witnesses included Marie-Hélène Beaulieu and Christiane Théberge of Option consommateurs, a Montreal-based consumer advocacy group, Michael Janigan and Michael Pepper of the Travellers' Protection Initiative, and Fred Gaspar, Vice-President, Air Transport Association of Canada, all of whom appeared before us on October 5, 2006.
    I would like to read part of Ms. Théberge's testimony:
    The second concern we would like to address is with respect to [much-needed] airfare advertising transparency.
    [Travellers' Protection Initiative] does not believe that the airlines will willingly change their advertising practices. We see every indication that they increasingly tend to break up their airfares and announce one way fares when these are not even available. We have seen cases where consumers, upon completing the transaction, had paid 25%, 50% or even 90% more the amount initially advertised by the airline.

  (1820)  

    In the past, the airline industry has promised to take voluntary measures but they never delivered the goods. We are therefore skeptical of arguments put forward by the airlines, in other words that the airline industry can be self-regulating with respect to consumers' interests. Despite years of discussions with the airline industry and a series of false starts, the airline industry has not moved voluntary on this issue.
    We believe that the requirement to full disclosure, with details, should be firmly entrenched in the legislation and apply to all airlines which advertise in Canada. After all, air carriers providing services in United States are already subject to these requirements.
    As I said earlier, many of the issues we are discussing today were addressed during the committee's study of Bill C-11. That bill was passed here at third reading, was passed by the Senate, and received royal assent on June 22, 2007.
     This legislation provides enhanced consumer protection for air travellers. These enhancements were in addition to existing consumer laws. Under this legislation, airlines are now required to prominently display and post their terms and conditions of carriage at their business offices. This legislation also made permanent the informal and flexible complaints resolution process within the Canadian Transportation Agency. It integrated the role and functions of the Air Travel Complaints Commissioner with the authority and day to day operations of the agency.
    In order for these new measures to be officially adopted following royal assent to Bill C-11, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has to approve them by order in council. Almost a year after the new legislation was passed—it has been just about a year now—these measures still have not been ordered by the minister.
    This week, in the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, we passed a motion calling on the minister to appear before our committee in order to give us some follow up on his discussions with the industry, which might explain the delay in adopting the order in council regarding the provisions of Bill C-11.
    Despite the passage of Bill C-11 nearly a year ago, it is clear that consumers are still not benefiting from the provisions of that legislation. This is why the Bloc Québécois will support the motion being debated here today: in order to do something about the Conservative government's failure to act when it comes to the rights of air travellers.
    My colleague has had to move Motion M-465 in order to do something about the unwillingness demonstrated by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities regarding the bill introduced by his own government.
    If the motion were adopted and enforced, consumers would receive a good deal of publicly available, government sanctioned information.
    My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I support the motion before us, in order to ensure that air travellers get the real protection they deserve and in order to strongly urge the minister to take action on this issue, which greatly concerns consumers.

  (1825)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in this debate on Motion No. 465.
    I want to read the text of the motion so the folks who are watching will have some understanding of what we are actually considering tonight. The motion reads:
    That the House call upon the government to bring forward an airline passenger bill of rights similar in scope and effect to legal instruments being either proposed or enacted by jurisdictions within Europe and the United States for the purpose of protecting passenger interests in a consistent and rules-based way and to provide a means of ensuring adequate compensation being offered by the airline industry to airline passengers who experience inconveniences such as flight interruptions, delays, cancellations, issues with checked baggage and other inconveniences incurred while travelling on commercial passenger airline services originating from anywhere in Canada.
    I appreciate that we have the opportunity to discuss this this evening and have had another occasion to do so. At that time, the NDP transport critic, the member for Windsor West, indicated that this motion had his support, and it is something that has my support as well. It is an important initiative.
    Over the years, consumer protection has been an area where we have fallen short in Canada. There was a time in Canada when we actually had a minister of consumer affairs and that was an integral part of our government. It was seen as an important post in government, someone who had the specific responsibility to look out for Canadian consumers in all manner of ways to protect consumers. That was specifically on the agenda.
    Unfortunately, over the years that capacity of government has kind of dwindled down and is not what it once was. It might be a desk in a department someplace now rather than a full-fledged department in its own right. There has been something significant lost with those changes over the years.
    Recently, in many ways we have seen concerns around consumer protection come to the fore again, whether that be with regard to food products, with regard to toys imported from overseas or with regard to the concerns with pet foods that were very much on the minds of many Canadian pet owners in recent months. There have been many places where we seem to have fallen short of offering appropriate protection to Canadian consumers and where our government has been slow to take initiatives to offer that kind of protection.
    That is an appropriate role for government. It certainly seems to me that Canadians, as we come together collectively, as our government, would want us to take that kind of responsibility to ensure that our fellow citizens are safe and secure, and that they get value for the products that they consume and the services that they purchase. It seems to me that is an entirely appropriate role for our federal government, especially so in the area of transportation, which is clearly something that is a direct responsibility of the federal Government of Canada.
    This is an important initiative to be discussing. There is a lot of room for improvement in how we ensure that consumers of airline services are protected in Canada. It is very important that we have clear, accessible information about what the protections available to passengers are,. The clearer, more accessible and better organized that information is the better off we will all be.
    I was glad to hear the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport say that Canada would be taking measures to publicize the protections that are available now to Canadians. That is a good initiative but I wish it had happened sooner. I wish we could have seen some tangible result of that commitment by now, but perhaps organizing that in some way that makes sense to consumers, with information that they can use easily and readily, will be an important step to take.
    However, that commitment should not deter us from pursuing the motion that is before us today. It seems to me that we have not had that commitment, that we have not seen the government move in that direction.

  (1830)  

    Since we do not have that kind of information readily available, the House should put pressure on the government to organize an airline passenger bill of rights and organize it in that kind of format so people will know what the airlines' responsibilities are and what their rights as passengers are.
    We know there have been very serious issues related to airline passengers. We had the 10-hour incident where people were kept on a plane on the tarmac and were denied access to appropriate hygiene and food. It took a 911 call to get the kind of help those folks needed. I am sure we all believe that it should never happen again and that it should never have happened in the first place.
    We also have seen situations arise, especially at times of mergers or bankruptcies of airlines, where many passengers are inconvenienced or right out of luck when it comes to their travel plans. I think all of us would agree that it is not an appropriate time either.
    We have seen weather delays but we know we cannot always control that. However, we do want to ensure that the response to those kinds of delays is done appropriately and with the consumer and passenger in mind.
    There is also the issue of pricing of airline tickets and the advertising of those airline tickets. We have seen a significant concern around the hidden costs in airline advertising about ticket prices. This is something that we thought we had taken some initiative on in the House. There were proposals in Bill C-11, which was passed almost a year ago, that would have had some effect on that had the government taken the necessary action to implement it. We are still waiting on that and I think it is very important.
    The member for Windsor West has asked in the House, as recently as April, when we would be seeing the implementation of that policy that was passed in the House.
    We need to ensure the airlines are not hiding fees and not misleading consumers about the actual cost of flying in Canada. We want to ensure that what is called all-in pricing is the standard for airline advertising here in Canada. The mechanism to do it is in the legislation but, unfortunately, the government has not acted to actually put that into practice yet in Canada. It needs to do that without delay because that would be a significant improvement in consumer protection for Canadians.
    There are a number of proposals already. We have heard that the European Union has such a consumer airline passenger bill of rights in place. We have seen attempts to do it in the United States and we know there are ongoing discussions in the United States.
    The Canadian Association of Airline Passengers and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre have a proposal around an airline passenger bill of rights that includes things like public participation to ensure the public is consulted and is part of the process of developing such a code and developing awareness around issues of safety, pricing and service quality; that safety principles are important; that the importance of public safety and decision making is emphasized; that normal and emergency levels of service are clearly elucidated; that there is a culture of safety in the airline industry; that additional risks arising from mergers and restructuring that would affect passengers are addressed; that there is access to public safety information for passengers; and that in the event of accidents that passengers are entitled to rescue and firefighting services that are equal to or better than international standards.
    Those are all some of the things that would be part of that kind of passenger bill of rights. There is also the whole category of service quality, that there needs to be full passenger information disclosure, that there are certain standards of onboard quality and that there are general service standards available to the public, just basic common courtesy needs to be one of those. The whole area of fair pricing rules is one that is very important.
    The regulation of the airline industry is another key area that is part of this proposal from the Canadian Association of Airline Passengers for an airline passenger bill of rights. I think this motion gets us going in the right direction and I am happy to have been able to speak in favour of it this evening.

  (1835)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte for Motion No. 465, an airline passenger bill of rights.
    Having attended meetings in his riding, I know very well the esteem in which he is held for his tireless work for all of his constituents. Indeed, it was my privilege as a graduate student in environmental studies to work out of Rocky Harbour at Gros Morne National Park. Those were the early days of site design and ecological inventory, and for me it was a great learning experience.
    When we talk about air travel, my very first arrival in Newfoundland was at the same time as one of its most famous citizens was getting off the plane. The security people advised everyone that “he is coming”. Sure enough, to my amazement and delight, it was Joey Smallwood who stopped, shook my hand and asked if it was my first time on the rock and then told me I would love it, which, of course, I did.
    I wish all air passengers had it so pleasant. There are two good times to plant the tree: one is 20 years ago, the other is today. This motion is for today.
    As the past chair of the Subcommittee on Persons with Disabilities, I presided over hearings which heard from many witnesses who attested to their humiliating, degrading and disrespectful treatment by some of the larger airlines. I will immediately clarify this by stating emphatically that the personnel of these airlines should not be blamed. They are left with the very difficult and unpleasant task of telling the blind that their seeing eye dogs must go into a hold, of telling the wheelchair disabled that they will be carried into their seats because of a lack of proper ramping, of telling guardians and health care assistants that they must pay for a second seat.
    The recent excellent news that such personal attendants will not be compelled to pay for their seats is a most welcome relief. I applaud the airline industry for understanding the reasonableness of this and understanding how much it adds to the dignity and self-esteem of the disabled.
    In my riding there are numerous not for profit organizations that have long championed the rights of the disabled. These include: Persons United For Self-Help, the Handicapped Action Group, Human Rights Northwest, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the George Jeffrey Children's Centre, Superior Greenstone Association for Community Living, Avenue II and Wesway Respite Care, among many others.
    Fortunately, I believe we are making progress. Thanks to the efforts of those and similar community-minded groups across Canada whose mottos invariably imply compassion and caring, the message of inclusivity is being heard. An accessible society is a healing society. An airline passenger bill of rights would be a fundamental enhancement to a society where no one is held back by their disability or disabilities, physical or mental.
    Once a delegation from a foreign land came to visit Thunder Bay when I was the mayor. They commented facetiously on how poor the drivers must be because there were so many people that they saw out and about in wheelchairs, walkers and with canes moving about freely. When I explained that it was because we had set a goal to have Thunder Bay become known as Canada's most accessible city, they were justifiably impressed.
    If a community can show such leadership, then certainly the airline industry can be accepting of a bill of rights for its valued customers.
    By and large, I must admit that the airports with which I am most familiar, like Fort Francis, Thunder Bay of course and all of those served by Bearskin Airlines and Wasaya Airlines, the service is excellent. Truly, the number of negative incidents that I have personally incurred are very few.
    The number of complaints that have come to my great staff in our four offices, which, incidentally, starts at the Manitoba border and stretches right here to the nation's capital over two time zones, are also few but, regrettably, those are valid.
    For the record I will include the mention of a resolution passed during my past role as president of the Association of Municipalities and as an executive member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

  (1840)  

    The FCM passed a resolution which states that the Government of Canada should prepare a national airline passenger bill of rights to be adopted into legislation by this Parliament. Support is coming nationwide for this. Indeed, Sam Barone, the president and CEO of the Air Transport Association of Canada, sent correspondence recently that is worthy of including in the record. He states:
...if we are truly serious about addressing customer service challenges, everyone involved in the system needs to be part of the solution. Certainly air carriers do not control the airports, the navigation system, the security screening process or the various regulatory agencies that control passenger movements across borders and through the boarding process.
    He goes on to state:
...members [of Parliament must] recognize and support the principle of the supremacy of ensuring safety as the primary aspect of all flight-related decisions. I know Parliamentarians would agree that delays or inconveniences caused as a result of compliance with safety regulations or considerations should not be subject to the constraints of this proposal. ...members [must] consider the impact of weather and other factors outside a carrier's direct control as matters for which the carrier should not bear financial responsibility.
    I do not believe that was the intent of the motion, and as it is presented, we have a very balanced and fair motion before us.
    In conclusion, I can only attest to the wisdom of hon. member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte in designing such a conciliatory motion. I am quite hopeful that in the positive spirit in which this motion has been presented, it will find unanimous consent to pass this evening.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in favour of Motion No. 465, put forward by the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte. This motion deals with protecting the travelling public and is something that many people have been waiting for. The story of how this all came about is interesting.
    During Christmas 2007 some major storms were experienced in Newfoundland and Labrador and throughout Atlantic Canada. Many flights were cancelled or delayed which created major havoc especially for people in Newfoundland and Labrador, and among them, people in my own riding of Avalon.
     Many people in Conception Bay South, a town in my riding and one of the fastest growing communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, have the opportunity to travel back and forth to other parts of Canada.
    A movement was started at that time by Woodrow French, the mayor of Conception Bay South. I met with Mayor French on a couple of occasions to discuss this issue and other issues. Mayor French involved many families and people who travelled. He sought and received the support of the Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador association. He also sought and received the support of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. With that combination of support, Mayor French found a need and a want for a passenger bill of rights in Canada.
    I am certainly delighted that the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte brought his motion forward because it gives us an opportunity to protect the travelling public. We hope we can do that through this process.
    A lot of people are not aware that there is protection already in place in Canada. Canada's complaints process has been in place since 2000 and was made permanent by Bill C-11. It is one of the strongest features of Canada's consumer protection regime. However, like many other things, the regime and its strengths are not well understood by Canadians. We have not done enough to inform travellers of the consumer protections that exist and the redress available to them through this process. If passengers do not know their rights, they are unlikely to take steps to protect those rights.
    There is no way that we can bring forward in this House, or any government can bring anywhere for that matter, a bill of rights that would dictate what the weather was going to be on a Friday or Saturday night, or whatever the case may be. Therefore, we have to work within the existing system. A bill or a motion will not dictate what the weather will be on any given night.
    How passengers are treated when their carefully laid out plans are suddenly disrupted because of the weather or because of some other situation that might arise is what we are trying to deal with through this motion. Common courtesy is not something that we can legislate.
    Because of the Christmas panic that ensued in Newfoundland and Labrador, we have a regime in place that we hope can provide some protection. Hopefully, by enhancing that and working with all members in the House we can bring forward something that would at least give people some kind of protection.
    I heard many stories from people in my riding who contacted my office. Some had been in Halifax on December 22 and were told that due to flight cancellations, the next flight they could get to go home would be on January 2. Some people were in Toronto on Christmas Eve and were told that the first opportunity for them to get home would be on New Year's Day. Some people had to return to work on January 2 or January 3. That is totally unacceptable to the government and it is totally unacceptable to the travelling public.

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    I was delighted to hear the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca state earlier that we are not only supporting this motion, but we are going to make a concerted effort to inform Canadians of the rights and protections that are already in place.
     I was delighted to hear the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca, because if there is any area or town in this country that knows the importance of the travelling public, especially from Newfoundland and Labrador, it is Fort McMurray. A direct flight was brought in sometime in 2007. Every single day there is a direct flight from St. John's, Newfoundland to Fort McMurray, Alberta. There are in excess of 60,000 people travelling back and forth between Fort McMurray and St. John's, people who either live in Fort McMurray permanently and visit family in Newfoundland, or who travel back and forth on turnovers. This is a major concern for all those people. Many times we refer to the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca as the eighth member from Newfoundland and Labrador because there is no doubt that his constituency is made up of many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
     I was delighted to see the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca on his feet here today announcing that our government is supporting this private member's motion. We are taking the concerns of the travelling public of Canada very seriously. We have a situation here where, as I said earlier, we cannot regulate the weather or how things happen, but we can provide protection. We can provide at least an opportunity for the travelling public to be treated fairly in a situation where people cannot have their concerns addressed in an airport at 2 o'clock in the morning.
    I want to congratulate Mayor Woodrow French of Conception Bay South, who on February 13, I believe it was, sent a letter off to the Prime Minister, asking him to look at bringing in a passenger bill of rights similar to ones in other parts of the world. When we did some research on that, we found that the passenger bills of rights in other parts of the world do not exactly fit everything that we have here in Canada.
    Hopefully, we can enhance what we already have in place to protect consumers and the travelling public. We want to ensure that the concerns that are being brought forward to members of Parliament are addressed and that we can have something in place so that at least people travelling do not have to worry that they are not being treated fairly.
    We have a large geographic region. I mentioned the daily flight between St. John's and Fort McMurray. We travel long distances. Sometimes people arrive in one town but their luggage is in another city. Some people do not find their luggage at all. The attitude sometimes of the airlines is well, too bad. That is not an attitude Canadians should have to put up with. It is absolutely unacceptable that the travelling public of Canada have to put up with anything less than the service they pay for and deserve.
    We as a government are here today to make sure that the protections that are in place are enhanced for the travelling public. of Newfoundland and Labrador in our case. I am delighted that a member from Newfoundland and Labrador brought this motion forward. In that way, every one who travels can know that if something goes wrong, if something does not work out, there is protection and that those who are responsible have to step up to the plate and say, “We are responsible for what happened”. They are not responsible for the fog, they are not responsible for the snow, they are not responsible for the wind, but they are responsible for the paying customers who deserve a service that sometimes we find is lacking.
    I am delighted that we are here today to support the motion. I look forward to enhancing the protections that are in place now so that members of the travelling public of Canada feel that they are protected in some ways and feel more comfortable when they sit on a plane. After all, it is a major mode of travel now.

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    With no one else rising, I recognize the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte to wrap up the debate.