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40th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 125

CONTENTS

Monday, December 7, 2009





CANADA

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 144 
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NUMBER 125 
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2nd SESSION 
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40th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayers



PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[English]

British Home Children

    That, in the opinion of the House, the government should designate 2010 as The Year of the British Home Child across Canada.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to share with my colleagues a story that few Canadians know anything about. It is the story about courage, strength and perseverance. It is a story of Canada's British home children.
    Like almost four million Canadians, my family can relate to this story. My uncle, Kenneth Bickerton, was a British home child. Born in 1916, my uncle was orphaned by the time he was 11 years old. Like most children in Britain, who suffered this fate, he spent time in an orphanage before being shipped off to Canada.
    He was 14 years old when he arrived in Quebec City. After being met by an immigration official, he and about two dozen other boys were transferred to Brantford, Ontario, to work on area farms.
    Between 1869 and 1948, over 100,000 British children, like my uncle, were sent to Canada from Great Britain, many of them to work as farm labourers and domestic servants. These were the British home children: boys and girls, anywhere from 6 months to 18 years of age. They were a part of the child emigration movement. Most of them came from orphanages or other institutions that could no longer afford to look after them.
    For a variety of reasons, the children were sent to Canada, as we were a growing economy and in need of labourers.
    Most of the children were transported by British religious and charitable organizations. For the most part, these organizations believed that they were doing a good and noble thing for the children, who were worse off living in poverty in the UK. One such organization was the Fegan Homes of England.
    One of my constituents is a descendant of a British home child who came to Canada through this organization. At the age of 11, Percival Victor Fry began working at an Ontario farm. His granddaughter, Adrienne Patterson told me that while her grandfather had to be moved several times due to inappropriate care he “was so grateful to have been afforded the chance at a life that he never would have had, back in that time, in England”.
    Like Adrienne's grandfather, many home children faced adversity. Most were able to overcome it, but it was by no means easy. The British home children faced considerable challenges and some experienced tremendous hardship. They were susceptible to mistreatment because their living conditions in Canada were not closely monitored. Some where malnourished and others emotionally starved. There was loneliness and sadness. Siblings were often separated upon their arrival and many never saw each other again. This is an important part of their story that deserves to be told.
    However, their story does not end there. Due to their remarkable courage, strength and perseverance, Canada's British home children did endure, and most of them went on to lead healthy and productive lives.
    My uncle, for example, married and had 4 children and 12 grandchildren. He made a good living for himself, while contributing to Canada's economy. He worked, first, in manufacturing, and then later as a cookware and typewriter salesman.
    Home child Percival Victor Fry was an air raid warden in Toronto during the second world war. He married and, together, he and his wife had six children.
    In the online story collection of Canada's Immigration Museum Pier 21, Jane Bartlett has written of her grandmother, home child Alice Smith, “My grandmother worked as a domestic in Saint John, New Brunswick. Later she met my grandfather and was married. The two ran a plumbing business in the North End of Saint John for many years and raised seven children”.

  (1110)  

    There are thousands of stories like these.
    In an email I recently received from Brighton, Ontario, Lynda Burke wrote, “Thank you for remembering the great contributions that approximately 100,000 child immigrants from the U.K. have given to Canada...my mother came from Scotland and despite adversity, became a nurse and a productive Canadian”.
    This is the other half of the story. While the British home children were underprivileged and suffered from unfortunate circumstances, they endured, and almost all of them who came to Canada remained in Canada. They grew up to raise families of their own. They contributed to our country's economic growth and prosperity. They helped to cultivate our country's values and defend our country's freedom. More than 10,000 of them fought for Canada in the first world war and approximately 1,000 lost their lives.
    Canada's British home children are an integral part of our country's history. They are a part of our heritage. They represent a part of our past and their descendants represent a part of our future. Their stories are ones that need to be taught in our schools.
    Today, it is estimated that 12% of Canada's population is made up of British home children and their descendants. That represents more than four million Canadians and the number continues to grow. Yet, there are many Canadians who still do not know the story of the home children. They are not aware of the hardships that were suffered and the sacrifices that were made.
    However, we as parliamentarians have the opportunity to change that. We can help tell the story. We can proclaim 2010 the year of the British home child across Canada. We can give Canadians an opportunity to learn about their past and to collectively recognize the contributions of Canada's British home children and their descendants.
    I have received many emails and letters from across this country in support of this motion. Home child organizations, like the Middlemore Atlantic Society, have also received letters. In fact, it recently received one from the leader of the Bloc Québécois, who wrote:
    As you know, many Quebeckers are the descendants of these children, who left the United Kingdom between 1869 and 1930, and went on to help build the society we know today. My maternal grandfather was a British Home Child. The Bloc Québécois members will recognize and show their respect for British Home Children by voting in favour of the motion to declare 2010 the Year of the British Home Child.
    I am grateful for that support and the non-partisan approach that is apparent in the House. I want to thank all parties for their support of this motion and for their agreement to pass this motion by unanimous consent. I would also like to thank the seconder of this motion, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and member for St. Catharines.
    Before I conclude today, I want to acknowledge the efforts and work of the many home child organizations across the country. In particular, I would like to thank the Middlemore Atlantic Society and the Nova Scotia Home Children and Descendants Association for their part in helping to bring this story forward.
    I would also like to acknowledge the province of New Brunswick where 2009 was declared the year of the British home child and the province of Nova Scotia where the month of October was dedicated to the home child.
    In 2010, Canada Post will issue a stamp commemorating home children and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism plans to include recognition of their story in citizenship ceremonies.
    I encourage my fellow parliamentarians to add to these wonderful initiatives and to join me in officially recognizing 2010 as the year of the British home child across Canada.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by congratulating the member for his motion. All of us in the House were very moved by the comments he made, especially about his ancestors.
    For a person who thrives on history, I not only want to tell him that he can look forward to my support but I think we should take it a step further. We should not declare 2010 the year of British home child but perhaps collectively we can talk to our provincial members, who are responsible for the education curriculum, to ensure they teach this part of our Canadian history.
    Would he perhaps consider that collectively we should make this effort to tell our provincial counterparts that this is part of our country and history, and that they should put it in the curriculum? Would he consider doing that?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his wonderful suggestion. Certainly, there will be initiatives. This is part of the reason for bringing this forward, that the advocates are strong for the British home children in this country. We would love to see it as part of the curriculum. I appreciate the suggestion. The answer, quite frankly, is yes. We will begin advocacy on every possible way to educate Canadians about this very important group to the heritage of our country.
    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member for bringing forward this motion.
    As a first generation Canadian, and I say that with a great deal of respect, as someone who grew up in Glasgow and whose fellow Glaswegians were home children, indeed, I commend the hon. member on behalf of all of those, as I call, my fellows, my lads and my lassies who grew up with me, on recognizing those folks who came here.
    The Welland Museum just recently had an exhibit about the home children. It was poignant to see a steamer trunk no bigger than the desks we sit in. That is how small these little ones were when they first came, and to see the shoes of that young person, no bigger than a four-year-old's, that little child could not have been more than four years old.
    To see all of that memorabilia intact, all of it, of that child who came to this country all those years ago, and to now see this motion come forward to recognize those young people who came here and to actually say to them, “We thank you for the contributions you made to this country”. But we also want to recognize the hardships that they did suffer, that they did endure, and the things that went wrong to ensure that we never actually see that again.
    I commend the member, and I, too, will stand in my place to support the motion. I would ask the member to comment on those little ones who came and the kind of suffering they may have endured.
    Mr. Speaker, all of the people who have written to me and who have sent emails have pointed out the hardships and some of the mistreatment of British home children when they did arrive. That is part of the story that needs to be told and that we need to recognize. We also need to look at their descendants and how important this is for their descendants, that we do this as a country. I appreciate the member's sentiments. Some of the people who have made themselves aware to me fall into the category of the people who are out there and who want this story told. I believe we should tell it through this motion. I appreciate the member's support.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief. I just want to congratulate the member for the work he has done on this motion.
    It is good to hear, from across the floor, regardless of parties, support for this particular motion and what it will mean for 2010. Again, the member for Brant may not have been here for a long time, but he is obviously having an impact on behalf of the residents in his riding.
    I would like the member to comment briefly on the impact he believes this will have on the hundreds of thousands of people whose forefathers are part of this. If he could just comment on that briefly, I would appreciate it.

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, I believe the numbers speak for themselves. About 12% of Canada's population are descendants of British home children. Many do not know, perhaps, that they are the descendants of home children. I, myself, was able to find out so much about my uncle and his ancestry. I appreciate the fact that we will pass this motion unanimously. That is my expectation and that we will be able to tell more stories of the Kenneth Bickertons of the world.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House and dedicate my words to our children all over our country who deserve to live in peace and harmony, and who need to be nurtured with love, understanding and compassion.
    My hope today is to speak words of encouragement to inspire them to fulfill their destiny, to expand their vision and to find the courage to overcome challenges and accomplish their dreams and aspirations.
    Each day for our children should be a day of purpose, one where they experience joy and happiness and pursue their goals with integrity and passion and make a meaningful contribution to their communities, our country and indeed our world.
    Our children's lives should be an expression or manifestation of creativity and a source of inspiration for us all. Their sense of curiosity and their free spirit, unencumbered by preconceived notions of reality, should liberate them to create a new and better world, a world of expanded opportunities where all things work for the betterment of our society, where we stretch to get beyond our comfort zone and grow, where we stretch to build greater strength and surpass previous levels of achievement and fulfilment.
    Our children need to know that they have our support in choosing hope over fear and in seeking thriving over surviving, success over failure and love over hate. Children need to know that they can count on us to be there for them and that we can be a guiding light for them during their life's journey.
    Today, however, the motion we are debating reminds us of a dark chapter in our nation's history. As we reflect on this motion, we are also reminded of other past injustices, moments we regret and are not very proud of, such as the Komagata Maru incident of 1914, the Chinese head tax, the immigration rules that prohibited Jewish people from entering Canada, or the internment of Italian Canadians.
    Today this motion to designate 2010 the Year of the British Home Child across Canada is a motion I fully support, a motion that the Liberal Party of Canada supports and I hope every single member of Parliament on both sides of the House will support.
    Between 1869 and the 1930s, over 100,000 British children, the majority of them under the age of 14, were brought to Canada by British religious charitable agencies and placed with Canadian families as labourers and domestic servants. Many of these children had been in British orphanages or other institutions, often not because they were orphans but because their families lacked the economic means to care for them. They were simply too poor.
    Their living conditions in Canada were not closely monitored. They were often vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse. By some accounts as many as four million Canadians are descendants of home children. Their story is a sad story. It is a story of abuse, exploitation, displacement and abandonment, but it is also a story of courage, character, integrity and inner fortitude. Their young lives were emotionally, psychologically and physically painful.

  (1125)  

    In some cases, they became prisoners of their experiences, of the recorded images inculcated in their minds, images of betrayal, images that brought incredible sadness and pain and in some cases, unfortunately, a sense of learned helplessness. These children began to view the world as a dark uncaring place where no one could be trusted, where every person they met could be another exploiter, another abuser. Their memories were memories of lost childhoods and humiliation, memories that for far too many, broke their spirit. Their memories were filled with images of people and betrayals by people they thought they could actually trust. That lack of trust for people, institutions and, in some cases, themselves eroded their sense of well-being. In some cases, it also broke their self-confidence and instilled fear and self-doubt.
    However, the vast majority looked within themselves and found the inner strength to overcome these very serious obstacles. In this House, in these comfortable surroundings, it is almost unimaginable to think of the great pain these individuals felt and how impressive it is now to look back and see the great contribution they have made to the growth of this country, the great contribution they have made economically, culturally and, in some cases, spiritually to the growth of Canada. It is hard imagining how these young children, the children who were abandoned, the children who were essentially given away, not because their parents did not love them but because they did not have the means to take care of them, would come to a country like Canada and put that past away, although it is always within their spirit, and bring about the type of positive change to their lives and those of their communities in making an incredible contribution to our country.
    For that reason I want to congratulate the member for bringing this to the attention of the House. As I have said to him personally, I support him in a very strong and unequivocal way because children are very special. When I read their stories, I was deeply touched and moved by the reality they had to deal with, the adversity and challenges they had to overcome, to get to where they eventually arrived, the great place called Canada. However, as we debate the motion, which embodies what the very best of Canadian citizenship is truly all about, that we understand that when mistakes are made we apologize for them in many ways, we should never forget that these individuals are truly special people.
    I want to leave the House with a final comment, a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. who once said:
    Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, they were between 6 months and 18 years of age. They were still children: girls filled with dreams and boys filled with energy. Little ones just starting their lives who looked to the future with innocence and genuine hope. They had their whole lives ahead of them. The life they left was perhaps not ideal—many were poor or lived in orphanages—but it was their life. Yet that life would change dramatically overnight.
    From 1869 to 1948, Great Britain deported more than 150,000 children in order to populate its colonies. They were loaded by the dozen onto boats bound for Australia, New Zealand and Canada. These children had no idea what awaited them. They had been promised a better life and painted a rosy picture of what lay in store. But when they reached their destination, reality would shatter any dreams they had left.
    These thousands of children, some of whom were taken away from their families, travelled across oceans. When they arrived in Canada, the British home children, as they are known today, were used as cheap labour.
    Certainly, many of them were mistreated or sexually abused. That is a sad fact, but it is part of Canada's and Quebec's history, and we must acknowledge it today.
    That history is also my family's history. My mother's name is Hélène Rowley, and her father was John James Rowley. Of Irish origin, he was born in 1890 in Soho, which was not the radical chic neighbourhood it is today, but one of the poor parts of London depicted in Dickens' novels.
    For 10 years, my maternal grandparents lived with us. We celebrated my grandfather's birthday every year on September 6, only to learn when he was in his sixties that he had been born on June 3. Moreover, he died on September 6, 1971, which is a bit ironic.
    He never talked about that part of his life. From what I have learned, many home children did not talk about it because they wanted to forget. Many did not talk about it because they were ashamed. Yet they had no reason to be ashamed. Others had reason to be ashamed, but not the victims.
    The father of one of my colleagues is also a home child. She does not want to talk about it. There is a code of silence, as in the case of concentration camp survivors who refused for many years to talk about their experience, because they wanted to forget what had happened to them.
    I did not know. After I was elected, I was telling my story during an interview, and I explained how my grandfather had come to live here, but I did not know about home children. The association came to see me and told me that my grandfather was more than likely a home child. There are many who do not even know it.
    However, I can say that my grandfather was not mistreated. He was taken in by the Leduc family of Saint-Benoît du lac des Deux Montagnes. He had a happy childhood, then met Marie-Joseph Pilon of Rigaud. They had four children, including my mother, Hélène. He was a happy man, a warm man who did not talk about that part of his life. He had forgotten it, or wanted to.
    This part of our history is not widely understood. However, British home children and their descendants now represent 12% of the population, some 4 million people. We owe it to them to remember. We must recognize the injustice, the abuse and the suffering, as well as the work these people have done and their contributions to our communities. After all these years, we have to acknowledge their true story, which is also ours.
    The shame here is in the wrongdoing, not in the apology. What is shameful is the fact that we tolerated this situation for so long, for nearly a century, that we tacitly accepted this insidious form of slavery. What is shameful here is not having opened our eyes any sooner.

  (1135)  

    Now it is time to face the facts. The voice of history is loud and clear, and we must respond. We must stand up and apologize to the victims for the tragedy they experienced.
    It is not hard to apologize. The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, apologized during a ceremony in Canberra. The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, also announced plans for an official apology on behalf of the United Kingdom.
    But in Canada, where the majority of British home children were sent, the government is still refusing to recognize the evidence and apologize properly.
    We will support this motion. We thank the member for moving it, but more must be done. The government must accept its responsibilities immediately and not only honour the memory of British home children, but also apologize. It is the right thing to do.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, loneliness, betrayal, exploitation and loss of love was the plight of over 100,000 home children shipped from England to Canada between 1860 and 1939. Two-thirds of these children were under 14 years of age and two-thirds of them were abused. Some who came were as young as four years old.
    Ada Allan, a British home child, said:
    All those years, I didn't know what it was to be loved. In those times when they hired you, it was to work. I didn't sit at the table with them...I ate by myself. I was a servant. This grew on me. I felt very inferior even though I knew I was an honest person.
    There was also documentation of sexual and physical mistreatment, as well as widespread flouting of regulations that required farmers to pay children's wages into trust accounts. Many of the children did not get any of that money. Then, as the leader of the Bloc said, there is the shame.
    Another home child from the Ottawa Valley said:
    I was one [a home child]...and a most unhappy and degrading period of my life it was. I don't even want to think about it and I haven't even told my children about it...Nothing except the Grace of God can dim the memory of that terrible period of my life.
    The New Democratic Party of Canada supports the motion in front of us to name 2010 as the year of the British home child and the establishment of a commemorative stamp, but it is not enough.
    As I said in my letter to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism two weeks ago, the 10,000 British home children and their descendants need a formal apology from Parliament. These home children are now in their nineties and Parliament must give them the honour and recognition they deserve. Canada willingly participated in taking in these children, using them as free child labour. We willingly exploited them and offered no services and no protection to them. More needs to be done.
    John Hennessey, a former child migrant, described why Canada accepted 100,000 of these children. On arrival in Fremantle, he and the other children were greeted by a senior clergyman who said, “We need white stock. We need this country to be populated by white stock because we are terrified of the Asian hordes”.
    We must remember that Canada's immigration policy was quite racist at that time. It inflicted a Chinese head tax, and later the Chinese Exclusion Act, on the Chinese who helped build the railroad. Their children were not able to come to Canada. They too were separated from their families, just as the British children were separated from their families in England.
    Hennessey said:
    There was no understanding back then of the inner life of a human being. The draconian trauma of being sent across the sea, the loneliness of being placed on isolated farms, the lack of parental understanding, the treatment and discrimination that they faced because of their cockney accents, all these made it a terrible burden.
    There are two more lessons that we can learn from this. First, we should not let our immigration policy be influenced purely and solely by our labour needs and we should not look just for cheap labour in our immigration policy. Second, we must remember that every child is precious and needs his or her parents. Whatever policy we have, whether it is our present live-in caregiver or temporary foreign workers program, we should not separate families.
    I am proud as a New Democrat to tell the House that one of the most vocal critics at that time was Major James Coldwell, an early leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, the CCF, which eventually became the New Democratic Party. Major Coldwell was very much opposed to this policy.
    Britain continued to ship kids abroad for decades. The home children program came to an end in 1939; however the last batch of home children came to Canada in 1948.

  (1140)  

    We should be proud of these young men and women, because the British home children helped build this country. An amazing 12% of Canada's population is descended from these British home children. That translates into nearly four million people, or to put it another way, one in every eight Canadians.
    We thank all of the British home children for their contribution. They helped build our country. They helped define Canada. Through their perseverance and determination they contributed to Canada. We apologize for the treatment they received.
    Let us dedicate ourselves to educate future generations of Canadians so that we understand the history. Let us work together on a formal apology to the 100,000 home children who came to Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to this motion. It is a very important topic, given the number of people involved. As the previous speakers have indicated, between 1870 and 1940, more than 50 child care organizations transported 100,000 allegedly orphaned, abandoned, illegitimate and impoverished children to Canada, supposedly to provide them with better lives than they would have in England. Thousands of children six to fifteen years of age were transported without their parents' knowledge or consent to work as indentured farm labourers and domestic servants until they were 18 years of age. When they turned 16, they were supposed to get some sort of salary, but I do not know that it was very well monitored.
    Currently there is an estimated four million descendants of British home children, many of whom are desperately seeking their unknown 20 million British relatives. They are not alone. Millions of Americans and Australians, possibly comprising 10% of their populations, are also unaware of the existence of family members in the United Kingdom.
    There has been a lot of activity going on, thanks to the member who introduced the motion. The problem I have is that a government member has introduced the motion, and it is certainly a very good step, but I believe that the government has to offer an apology to the home children.
    As I understand it so far, the citizenship and immigration minister has absolutely no plans to apologize to the home children. I do not know why that would be. He said he would support the private member's motion, recognizing 2010 as the year of the British home child, and he was prepared to issue a commemorative stamp. Given that this motion appears to have the full support of all 308 members of Parliament, it is just a logical extension from there that an apology should be in order. I would hope that the member who introduced the motion would agree with me on that, but once again, I am not sure why the government is not prepared to do that.
    There was a very good letter sent out to government representatives in Nova Scotia. I want to read a couple of parts of it because it is a very well-written letter. The letter says that from 1869 to 1948, institutions in England and Scotland, such as Middlemoor Home and others sent children as young as a few months to 18 years of age to Canada. Industrial cities in the British Isles were overcrowded and Canada needed the workers, so an agreement was struck between these organizations and the British and Canadian governments to settle these children in Canada and later in Australia. I do not know whether a formal agreement was signed or what sort of agreement it was, but at least the letter does talk about an agreement.
    The children were to work as farm hands or domestics. The letter goes on to say that some were lucky enough to be adopted. A prospective employer had to make an application for a child, and usually specified the sex and age required. The child was to work for room and board and clothing until the age of 16, when the child would be given a wage. There were to be yearly inspections by a representative of the sending agency and reports were supposed to be filed. The letter says that sometimes this worked, but most often it did not. Many children were not fed or clothed properly. They were beaten. They were forced to live in a barn, cellar or even with the family's dog. Some died from the abuse. The ones who survived were often emotionally scarred.
    In later years, not many would talk about their experience, not even telling the truth about where they were from or how they came to Canada. Some did not even know who they were because their names were changed and they were so young when it happened, they did not remember their birth names or who their natural parents were. Yet most overcame these adversities to marry, raise children and become productive citizens. They contributed much to Canada.

  (1145)  

    Many young men enlisted in the armed forces and fought in the First World War, some repeated this unselfish act by signing up during the Second World War. The immigration scheme was well intentioned and credit must be given to those who tried to save these children for surely a large number of them might have died living in squalor as they did. But now the British and Canadian governments seem to want to sweep it all under the rug. Records are not always readily available and when they are, they can cost 60 to 75 pounds sterling.
    They go on to say:
    We, the second, third and forth generations are discovering our ancestors’ stories and we want to have them acknowledged. These children were real heroes even though they were not aware of it and they deserve to be recognized and rewarded for that heroism.
    Other pieces of information I had in my file indicated that people were held back from gathering information when they tried to it from these organizations. Even some of the home children themselves were ignored and were denied information when they tried to look for their relatives. It seemed to be a deliberate attempt to thwart giving information on behalf of the organizations that were involved in sending the children.
    This is an extremely important story. Many people are not aware of this. The member for Welland stood up earlier and asked a question of the member who introduced the motion. It is extremely important and interesting that he has a display in the Welland Museum.
    It has been a long time since this started to happen and not too many people know about it. Only through activities such as the member introducing motions like this and the letters from which I just read, requesting that members from the Nova Scotia legislature pass a similar motion, are people finding out. If we make a concerted effort then I cannot see why we would not be able to put some pressure on the government to offer the apology about which our member talked.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, as we look at this and reflect on what happened, many members have raised the issue of the treatment of young children as they came here and what happened to them, based on the circumstances they faced in their home countries before they left.
    As a young boy, I travelled to this country with my parents in 1963. It was a land we did not know and a place where we had no relatives or friends. I think back to those days of being a youngster. I was the eldest of a brother, two sisters and a subsequent brother who was born here. I felt lonely when I came here, but I had my parents, my brother and my two sisters.
    I think of what it must have felt like for those very young children. As I described earlier, there was a little one who had a steamer trunk and those tiny shoes. I think about the sort of feelings that little one must have had, as those children travelled all those miles. In those days, they would have travelled by sea. They did not fly over the great ocean like I did, on what was then the 707 Boeing jetliner, which was the largest in the world. It seemed like a celebration.
    Yet when I arrived on these shores, I felt lonely for my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, extended family and friends with whom I had grown up as a child. In my heart, I knew I would probably never see them again. However, thanks to technology and the way certain circumstances unfolded, I did get to see my grandparents and some closer relatives again, but I did not see many others. My great grandfather was alive when I left. I was able to see him one more time before he died at the ripe old age of 94. It left a great hole in my life and indeed a hole in my heart.
    For those youngsters who never saw their families again for the rest of their lives, and many did not, knowing they had family must have left big holes in their hearts. They would have remembered the families they had left, even if they were taken away from their home country by family. They travelled such great distances in the early part of the 20th century, knowing for certain they would never see them again. Perhaps they were in untoward circumstances, not to lay the blame today.
    I thank the member for bringing the motion forward. The organizations really had great intentions. Unfortunately, the reality did not meet the intentions in a lot of cases. Again, let us celebrate the place where those were met with welcoming families, as the leader of the Bloc said earlier about his grandfather. He was with a family who was joyous to receive him and welcomed him into its home. The family helped him flourish and nourished him, not only from a physical perspective, but from a spiritual one and in a holistic way so he grew to be the man that the leader of the Bloc understood as his grandfather, a great human being. Yet he still did not want to talk about those days and the great piece of them gone missing.
    We talked about the 12% of Canadians derived from the stock of those home children. The dilemma is that it is a huge piece of this society, but it is a huge story left untold because of the unnecessary shame they felt. Those youngsters should never have felt shame. They should have simply moved on and said that their stories were important and should be continued.
     Therefore, I thank the member and congratulate him. I will surely stand in my place for that.
    There being no other members rising, I will go to the member for Brant for his five minute right of reply.

  (1155)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues in the House of Commons for expressing their views. By bringing the motion forward, we are not trying to sweep this under the carpet. We want acknowledgement and recognition of the fact that this chapter of Canada's history needs to be told.
    Many of these orphans and others who came here contributed to the base core values of our country. They made huge contributions. In the case of my family, I can think of the descendants now, my cousins and second cousins who are now part of the Bickerton family, and how much they have contributed to our country and the well-being of it. Theirs is just one of the many stories to be told.
    I respectfully ask the Speaker to bring this to closure, by asking for the unanimous consent of the House to pass the motion?
    The question is on the motion. Is there unanimous consent of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Suspension of Sitting 

    Since private members' business started at 11:06 a.m., the House will suspend until 12:06 p.m.

    (The sitting of the House was suspended at 11:56 a.m.)

  (1205)  

Sitting Resumed  

    (The House resumed at 12:05 p.m.)

    The Chair has notice of a question of privilege by the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster and I will hear the member now.

Privilege

Seventh Report of Standing Committee on International Trade  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today, as you mentioned, on a question of privilege. I am hoping this will not take an inordinate amount of time.
    A few days ago the Standing Committee on International Trade presented to the House its seventh report. There is a clear factual inaccuracy in the text of the report, which misrepresents the committee's vote that led to its adoption and, subsequently, leads to an inaccurate or misleading report that has been presented in the House.
    The report is based on a motion that I brought to committee, which I indicated to the Speaker of the House in my letter. The evidence of the November 17 meeting of the Standing Committee on International Trade clearly shows that the majority of its members voted in support of the motion that I had brought forward. My vote, it should be noted, was the deciding vote on this matter.
    The motion that was passed by the committee urges the government to support the marketing of Canadian cattle and beef exports to a level that establishes a level playing field with Canada's main competitors. There was an additional amendment to the motion, which was then adopted as amended. It constitutes the basis of the seventh report of the Standing Committee on International Trade.
    The amendment brought forward by the Liberal Party proposed the following addition to the text, “furthermore, that the Committee urge the government to move quickly to negotiate additional free trade agreements that reduce tariffs and improve market access for Canadian products” after the word “House”. Of course, this is non-reportable.
    The transcript provides clear evidence that the amendment proposed at that time by the member for Kings—Hants was presented and voted upon as a non-reportable motion, in addition to the reportable text of the motion I had submitted to be inserted after the last sentence in my motion, which expressed the following: “that the committee report this to the House”.
    Therefore, the Liberal amendment that came after the reportable language in the first part of the motion should not have been included in the committee's report to the House. It was non-reportable.
    I submit that the seventh report of the Standing Committee on International Trade should read as follows:
    That the Committee urge the government to support the marketing of Canadian cattle and beef exports by increasing the government’s promotional budget for Canadian beef, which is currently underfunded, to a level that establishes an equal playing field with Canada’s main competitors, including Australia and the United States and that the Committee report this to the House.
    I submit that the change to that text, which distorts my and the committee's vote, breaches my privilege. The text of the report, as it currently stands, does not truthfully reflect my November 17 vote in committee and breaches my privilege. I ask that this be allowed to go before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, and at that time I will be seeking a remedy. This is an important precedent that cannot be allowed to stand.
    I would like to add that the excellent recent edition by Madam O'Brien and Monsieur Bosc of the House of Commons Practice and Procedure states very clearly as precedents the following forms of contempt found by the 1999 report of the United Kingdom Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege: deliberately publishing a false or misleading report of the proceedings of the House or a committee; or deliberately altering, suppressing, concealing or destroying a paper required to be produced for the House or a committee. As you know, Mr. Speaker, our parliamentary privilege is founded to a significant extent on traditions and precedents that have been established in the United Kingdom.
    I should also note that in the same upgraded edition of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, the excellent edition published this year, there is a very clear precedent that occurred in the year 2000, when Speaker Parent ruled that the premature release by a member of a draft report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration was a prima facie matter that should be debated by the House.

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, because the report adopted by the committee was not the same report presented in the House, one can say very clearly in this case that either the issue of a change to a committee report or the fact that the committee was never even asked to review the report before it was brought directly to the House is a prima facie case for you to consider.
    Mr. Speaker, if you find a prima facie case, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion. I have it here in my hands. I hope you will move to a rapid ruling on this case.
    I thank you and the other members of the House for your consideration of this important matter.
    I thank the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster for raising this question of privilege. I understand there were some similar questions raised last week on matters arising from committee.
    I should note that the Speaker has consistently encouraged committees to resolve matters within their control, and the question raised by the hon. member today is clearly an issue that has arisen from committee proceedings and certainly falls within the realm of action by the committee.
    The international trade committee could, for instance, decide to modify the report presented to the House. Furthermore, as indicated in the second edition of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice on page 1050:
    Ordinarily, presentation of a report to the House is a prerequisite for any question of privilege arising from the proceedings of a committee.
    Unlike the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, with its 14th report that it presented to the House on November 26, the international trade committee did not present a report that would bring the attention of the House to a possible breach of privilege.
    Accordingly, the Chair is not able to find that a prima facie matter of privilege exists in this case, but I do wish to thank the hon. member for Burnaby--New Westminster for his intervention.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Disposition of an Act to amend the Excise Tax Act

Motion that debate be not further adjourned  

    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the consideration of the motion under government orders, Government Business No. 8, I move:
    That the debate be not further adjourned.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period.
    I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places so the Chair will have some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.
    Given the great degree of interest, I will ask members to keep their questions and responses to about one minute, and we will move through this as orderly as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, the government has moved a motion that the debate on the HST, the harmonized sales tax for Ontario and British Columbia, be not further adjourned.
    It is well known that the people of British Columbia and Ontario do not want the HST, as it will create another tax on many things that are not currently taxed, for example, heating and many other things.
    I wonder why we have Parliament in this country. That is the question I want to ask the Leader of the Conservative Party. The Conservatives want to ram the bill through without a real debate, where we would take time to debate it and then send it to committee. The government is just ramming the bill through and not giving elected members of Parliament an opportunity to debate it.
    The government is saying it is the provinces that asked for it. The provinces asked for it but at the same time the federal government has to take responsibility and allow debate on the bill and allow democracy to take place. I would like to know what the leader--

  (1215)  

    The hon. Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite will have to be satisfied with the Minister of Finance, and not the leader, on this question. I am sorry to disappoint.
    This is a matter of provincial jurisdiction. Back in the 1990s three provinces chose to harmonize their provincial sales taxes with the federal GST. I might add that these provinces now have governments of various political stripes.
    The Liberal Government of Ontario and the Liberal Government of British Columbia are choosing to exercise their autonomous option. They do have jurisdiction. They have tax jurisdiction in their own areas and it is not for the federal Parliament, in our view, to interfere with these autonomous decisions being debated and made in the legislative assemblies of British Columbia and Ontario.
    Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister relates to the proceedings at committee. In paragraph 2, the government motion indicates that “not more than four hours following adoption of the second reading motion, any proceedings before the Committee to which the bill stands referred shall be interrupted”, and then the committee has to report back by 11 p.m.
    Then we have the issue of report stage motions. The minister will know that members who do not participate in the committee have the opportunity to issue report stage motions, but cannot do so on matters already dealt with at committee. Since there is no time for the House to report, it means that any members who are serious about considering report stage motions will also actually have to be at the committee to determine what is there in order to ask their question.
    I wonder if the Minister of Finance believes that maybe the committee process, or the review of the bill under those proceedings, would effectively render them inconsequential.
    Not at all, Mr. Speaker. Any member can attend the committee and I am sure that members who wish to do so will do so, as it is part of their duty and job as parliamentarians.
    This is technical framework legislation federally. This is not a revenue issue for the Government of Canada. The revenues of the Government of Canada do not change--
    Why are you ramming this motion through?
    I hear someone opposite asking why we are doing this now. They need some certainty in the Province of Ontario and the Province of British Columbia. They are planning to do this on July 1.
    I would think the NDP would care about people's jobs. This affects people's jobs. Those who work in the revenue departments of British Columbia and Ontario are entitled to some certainty in their lives. Even though the NDP does not care about them, we do and we think they are entitled to some certainty with respect to their jobs.
    Order. I will ask hon. members to allow the person who is speaking to do so without interruption.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we do realize the urgency of this. As the minister has said, we need to get this through for some certainty, not only for the provinces but also for the businesses that operate there.
    I would like to read a quote to the minister from Dwight Duncan, our minister's colleague in Ontario. He said:
    Ontarians have a great track record of success when we work together to build a better future for our children.
    Our goal is a better future powered by a stronger economy. The next step we must take to get there is tax reform.
    Specifically, today we propose three significant tax changes.
    First, a single value-added sales tax for Ontario.
    Second, permanent personal tax relief and three direct payments to Ontarians as we transition to a single sales tax.
    Third, comprehensive corporate tax reforms to permanently and significantly reduce business taxes for large and small enterprises across the province.
    I ask the finance minister if that indeed is what he has heard from his colleague in Ontario as being very important to them?

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is what we have heard not only from the Government of Ontario but also from the Government of British Columbia. They would like to have certainty. They would like to know whether in fact they are going to be harmonizing their taxes within their area of jurisdiction.
    This is a minority Parliament. The question that I discussed with members opposite last week was a very simple one: Is this Parliament going to support the decisions being made by those governments in those provinces, supported by votes in their legislative assemblies; or is it not?
    It is important that they be respected and be given certainty by this Parliament, one way or the other. I look forward to the votes, one way or the other.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the question Canadians might have for the finance minister is why ram this through with such speed now? It was only introduced Friday, with no time for people to have any kind of conscious debate.
    It is a deeply unpopular tax move. It is the worst tax at the worst possible time for Ontario and British Columbia. It shifts taxes off corporations onto individuals, and we have been hearing from thousands and thousands of British Columbians and Ontarians who are upset and furious because the government has no mandate to do this.
    My hon. colleague is so craven to the idea that this is a provincial issue, why did he offer up almost $6 billion in bribe money that could have been used for something else? Why ram this through now? It is because he knows that this is deeply politically unpopular for his members from British Columbia and Ontario.
    Why will he not simply face the truth that we need a debate in the House and recognize that this closure is fundamentally undemocratic?
    The member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley used a term which I find unparliamentary. He may wish to withdraw the term “bribe money”, as something that would impugn the motive of a member.
     Therefore, I will invite him to withdraw the remark and then I will go to the Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, it was an unsolicited incentive, using taxpayer dollars to raise taxes on taxpayers. I hope that corrects—
    I will take that as a withdrawal.
    The hon. Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, what is fundamentally undemocratic is what the member opposite has proposed, and that is he and his party would substitute their view for the views of the democratically elected members of the legislatures of Ontario and British Columbia. This is solely within their area of tax jurisdiction. It is their decision to make. This is technical framework legislation in the Parliament of Canada, and we should respect the choices that are being made by the provinces.
    With respect to the transition funding by the federal government, as it was in the 1990s so it is now. This is done based on a percentage, 1.5%, of the particular province's GST. This is framework legislation can be used in the future if other provinces, in their own autonomous way, make a decision to harmonize.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask a couple of questions of my hon. colleague from Whitby—Oshawa, the Minister of Finance. As a member from British Columbia, from Kelowna—Lake Country, many of my constituents are seniors and they are concerned about what has happened with their taxes. I am very proud that our government lowered the GST from 7%, to 6%, to 5%, and that we continue to lower taxes across the country.
    We have heard from previous speakers about the need to continue to lower taxes to stay competitive. A news release came out of Premier Campbell's office in which he said, “This is the single biggest thing we can do to improve B.C.'s economy” . Also, the Minister of Finance indicated that the PST was an outdated, inefficient and costly tax, some of which was hidden in the price of goods and services and passed on and paid by consumers.
    My question for my hon. colleague is twofold. The fact is this request for the HST was at the request of the province not at the request of the federal government, and the federal government does not benefit from the HST.
    Mr. Speaker, on the second part of the question, there is no change in federal government revenues one way or the other as a result of a province, in its own jurisdiction, deciding to harmonize its provincial sales tax with the goods and services tax federally.
    Again, as the hon. member has suggested, he is absolutely correct. This is a decision-making process by a particular provincial government, in this case, the provincial governments of British Columbia and Ontario. They have fulsome debate in their own legislatures and their members vote, as they should, in their own area of constitutional jurisdiction relating to taxation.
    What the federal government is called upon to do is to create the technical framework so their decision making can be enabled.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, the minister will know that members of his own party in the legislature of Ontario have been holding up the legislature. They vehemently oppose this. Also, in the two elections that took place in B.C. and Ontario, neither of those governments raised the point of an increase in taxation to people.
    I was on a tour this summer and I went to about 17 communities in B.C. and Ontario. I never found one senior who spoke in favour of an HST. In fact, in Elliot Lake, one woman told me her hydro bill was $2,100 a year and she wondered where she would to get the extra 160-odd dollars. She had no place to turn.
    The minister says that it will not affect the federal revenues, and I take him at his word. However, spending $6 billion is going to affect the bottom line, $6 billion as an incentive for people to sign on to this. I think it is repugnant.
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the member who just spoke, I respect the decision making by elected members of the Ontario legislative assembly and by elected members of the British Columbia legislature.
    This is within their constitutional jurisdiction, provincial sales taxes, and what they do with them. Unlike the hon. member, I would not substitute my view as an elected member of the federal parliament for an area in which the province has jurisdiction. I gather he would substitute his view for the duly elected members of the legislative assembly of Ontario.
    With respect to the formula, it is in the pattern used in the 1990s. Why he would suggest that the federal government should discriminate against Ontario and British Columbia in the formula and not follow along with what was done in the 1990s for New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, I do not know. I do not know why he wants to discriminate against British Columbia and Ontario.
    Mr. Speaker, coming from the North, I still do not understand why the government wants to continue pushing this so quickly without having proper debate on it.
    Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee stated that it had a population of approximately 52,000 people within 42 first nations communities in Ontario. Most other first nations people in Ontario have treaty and aboriginal rights to a tax exemption. The HST, as proposed, does not provide for point of sale exemption for their people.
    I would remind the government that there is an obligation by government to consult and engage first nations prior to significant tax changes, such as tax exemptions. Will the minister or the government commit to doing that prior to pushing this HST?
    Mr. Speaker, the federal government does not change its way of administering the GST with respect to first nations. The provincial government makes that decision with respect to its provincial sales tax. This is not a matter that concerns the federal Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, I think Canadians who may be watching this debate today or at least following this story as it unravels are wondering why we, as a federal Parliament, have to take any steps at all to introduce legislation when in fact this is primarily almost entirely a provincial jurisdictional matter.
    The Minister of Finance has spoken on a couple of occasions about the technical aspects of the legislation we are bringing forward today. Could the minister perhaps put in more layman language exactly what the federal government is attempting to do today that would facilitate the provincial governments' desire to harmonize their provincial tax with the GST?
    Mr. Speaker, one of the concerns the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario have, as the Atlantic provinces did when they chose to make these decisions 10 years or so ago, is to make it easier for businesses to do business, so there are not two collectors of tax, at the provincial and at the federal level.
    One thing we deal with in framework legislation, which will apply in the future as well, is the collection of the tax by the Government of Canada so there is only one set of paperwork, one set of forms, which is of assistance to small, medium and large businesses in Canada.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is simply wrong. One party has stood up for ordinary Canadians right across the Canada, and that is the NDP.
    In Saskatchewan, when the Conservatives brought in the HST, the Romanow government promptly stopped it. Manitoba has refused to put in place the HST. Darrell Dexter, the new premier of Nova Scotia, is reducing it now on all those family essentials after years of seeing Nova Scotian families gouged. One party is standing up for ordinary Canadians, ordinary British Columbians and ordinary Ontarian families.
     The reason why the government is bringing in this bludgeoning of closure is because it is running scared. More and more Canadians, people in Ontario and British Columbia, are becoming aware that $2,000 for a family of four is going to be ripped out of their pockets in this massive tax shift to help big corporations.
     The reason why the government is running scared and is invoking closure is because it knows that 80% of the people in British Columbia are opposed and 80% of the people in Ontario are opposed.
     The reason why the Conservatives are running scared is because they lost in New Westminster—Coquitlam, a massive shift in vote, and they know if they run on the HST, they are going to be soundly defeated.
    Why such contempt for ordinary British Columbian families, ordinary Ontarian families? Why does the government not allow a debate in the House—
    The hon. Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, if I thought the hon. member were actually sincere in his protestations, I would be concerned. I do thank him and his caucus members for supporting the government in September so we could bring this bill forward in the House.
     The relatively newly elected Government of Nova Scotia, which is a New Democratic Party government, has chosen to maintain harmonization in that province.
    Mr. Peter Julian: They are cutting it. You know that.
    Hon. Jim Flaherty: Again, it is passing strange to hear an NDP criticizing a newly elected government in the province of Nova Scotia. He does not really believe a word he says.
    Order, please. The hon. member asked the question and then he did not listen to the response. He was not giving the member a chance to answer the question. The Speaker is not going to be recognizing people who ask questions while somebody else is trying to answer the question. They might want to keep that in mind when they are listening to the answers.
    The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.
    Mr. Speaker, the government has known about this issue for months. It basically has left this issue deliberately until the last couple of days before Christmas, when people are not paying attention. It is trying to sneak it through.
    The whole process is a travesty. The government dumped this motion on us at the last minute. What we are seeing is an absolutely undemocratic approach taken by the government. Next July, Canadians in B.C. and Ontario will face huge tax increases on things they did not pay tax on before. The government is running scared on the issue and that is why it is acting in a very cowardly fashion right now.
    Mr. Speaker, I always like the references to the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz. I always liked that character. I will probably watch it over the Christmas season.
    What is undemocratic is members of the New Democratic Party in the federal House wanting to substitute its views for duly elected members of the legislatures in Ontario and British Columbia. That is undemocratic. They have the responsibility for this, not the members who are elected to the federal House.
    There will be three full days of debate. We introduced a notice of ways and means motion some time ago, which has already been voted on in the House. The bill itself has been available to members since Friday, when it was introduced in the House. I know those members do not like to work too hard, but if they want to get the job done, they want to work hard, they want to read the bill, they want further briefings, we will get it for them, if they want to work that hard and if they are serious and sincere in what they have said, which I doubt.

  (1235)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister just asked us whether we are serious and sincere. I should ask the same thing of the minister himself, a man who would get himself all worked up at Queen's Park every time something did not go his way, a man who has always lectured everyone, saying that our primary role here was to oversee public spending.
    How can he stand here in good conscience today as he forces everyone to keep quiet with a procedural guillotine? How can he stand here in good conscience as he imposes a new 8% tax on heating oil in northern Ontario? How can he live with imposing a new tax that will be the culmination of the biggest transfer of corporate taxes to ordinary citizens?
    And lastly, how can a man who thinks he can give lessons on honesty to others, when he has always conspired with the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Industry, the whole Mike Harris bench, a man who is now being attacked by Hudak and the other Conservatives from Toronto at Queen's Park, how can he live with himself and his own political party, especially considering what he has said in the past?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that I know several members of the Ontario legislature very well, one in particular. I am really quite fond of her as well, for many years now. We do not always agree and that is part of modern life. We are in a democracy and it is a good thing.
    What I will not do is what the hon. member wants to do, and that is purport to substitute my opinion as a federal member for the opinions of the duly elected members of the legislature of the province of Ontario, and the same thing for the elected members of the legislature of the province of British Columbia.
    It is not our place to tell them what decisions they should make in their own area of autonomous jurisdiction. I am shocked that an NDP member from Quebec would advocate that we should interfere like that in provincial matters.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask the minister a couple of questions.
    I want to begin by assuring him that New Democrats all across the country are profoundly concerned about taxes that are being downloaded onto consumers in order to give yet more tax breaks to multinational and profitable corporations.
    My question has to do with the secrecy surrounding this HST. When did the federal government begin its negotiations with the provinces and what consultations were undertaken with the public? Very clearly it is the public that is profoundly upset by the apparent new tax and the effect it will have on them.
    Would the minister please explain, if he is so concerned about democracy, why he did not consult the public?
    On the second point, Mr. Speaker, the provinces are responsible for consulting with their populations when they bring forward tax legislation in their area of jurisdiction, which is what they have done, as I understand it, in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.
    With respect to so-called secrecy, at some point after the last election in Ontario, some discussions began with respect to possible harmonization at the request of the province. It was after the provincial election most recently in the province of British Columbia that discussions began between the minister of finance and me on this subject vis-à-vis British Columbia.
    Mr. Speaker, I will keep this very brief. I just want to clear up any possible misperceptions by the viewing public at home because of some of the nonsense coming from the fourth party in the chamber. The finance minister has already indicated in his remarks that the NDP has said that we somehow are not going to allow debate on this. I would like the finance minister to perhaps elaborate a bit more on this.
    This is an extremely technical bill that is really all about respecting provincial autonomy to take control of their own--

  (1240)  

    It is closure, and Canadians would not understand, right? And British Columbia would not understand? Shame on you.
    Pipe down.
    Order. The Speaker has asked hon. members to allow the person either putting a question or answering a question the chance to do so without being interrupted.
    I will go back to the government House leader and hopefully I will be able to hear him finish his question.
    Well, unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, due to the shouting and heckling of the member for Burnaby—Douglas I will have to go on a bit further to finish my question.
    People should know that after the vote in a few minutes--
    An hon. member: Point of order, point of order.
    I see the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas. I assume he is rising to point out the mistake in riding names that was made. The government House leader said Burnaby—Douglas but he may have been referring to another member.
    Mr. Speaker, I will apologize. It was the member for Burnaby—New Westminster who was heckling and shouting and making a nuisance of himself and not his colleague. Sometimes it is hard to tell them apart.
    The reality is that we will have a lot of debate today, until 8 p.m. tonight, according to the procedural motion. We will have debate tomorrow on the bill itself at second reading. The bill will then go to committee, as is the usual process. On Wednesday we will have debate at third reading. There is going to be a lot of debate on this highly technical bill that respects provincial jurisdiction.
    Far from cutting off debate on this issue, we are going to have a substantial amount of debate. I would like the finance minister to remark on the amount of debate that we are going to have over the next three days on this issue.
    Mr. Speaker, we are going to have substantial debate, as the government House leader has suggested. If members opposite want to actually debate what is in the federal bill, as opposed to what is in the legislation that has been introduced in Ontario which deals with the substance, then we should talk about the provisions in the technical bill. If they need to understand it better, I could certainly make senior officials at the Department of Finance available to take them through it clause by clause.
    This federal legislation is not that complicated. It is a technical piece of legislation that would enable the provincial governments to act in their own area of jurisdiction.
    Mr. Speaker, what is most troubling for Canadians as they watch this debate today is the contempt and the smirks from members of the Conservative Party. The Conservatives are showing their complete disregard for the issue at hand. They do not want to hear the voices of senior citizens of Ontario and British Columbia. They do not want to hear from the people who are going to be most affected by this. These people are calling us and asking us to have their voices heard. The minister and other Conservative members are showing contempt for the senior citizens of Ontario.
    The Conservatives say this bill is too technical. They do not want to hear from the people who are going to be affected. They are going to shut down the voices of the people who will be paying extra for their home heating fuel, who will be paying extra when they try to get their RRSP savings.
    These people have a right to be heard. That is our job as members of Parliament. The Conservatives can ridicule us all they want, but we are representing our people. The minister and his gang are working with Dalton McGuinty to shut down the voices of people who are going to be paying the hardest for this regressive tax. The minister should at least be honest and say that he does not want to hear from senior citizens because he knows what they are going to say.
    That is why the Conservatives are shutting down the debate. That is why we are moving to closure now.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a question of respect for Parliament and respect for our federation. As the member opposite knows or should know, the provinces have sole jurisdiction with respect to areas of provincial taxation. That includes provincial sales taxes.
    Ten years or so ago, certain provinces decided to harmonize their provincial sales tax with the federal GST. Two more are in the process of taking that decision. They debate in their own legislatures. They have their own public consultations. They ask us to help with respect to the collection and framework so they can do it. It is not a revenue question for the Government of Canada or for the Parliament of Canada.
    It is my duty now to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.
    The question is on the motion that the debate be not further adjourned. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Deputy Speaker: Call in the members.

  (1325)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 145)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Andrews
Armstrong
Ashfield
Bagnell
Bains
Baird
Bélanger
Bennett
Benoit
Bernier
Bevilacqua
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boucher
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brison
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Byrne
Cadman
Calandra
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Carrie
Casson
Clarke
Clement
Coady
Coderre
Cotler
Crombie
Cummins
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davidson
Del Mastro
Dhalla
Dosanjh
Dreeshen
Dryden
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Eyking
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Folco
Foote
Galipeau
Gallant
Garneau
Généreux
Glover
Goldring
Goodale
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guarnieri
Guergis
Hall Findlay
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Jennings
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Kania
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Komarnicki
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKenzie
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McLeod
Mendes
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Neville
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Oda
Oliphant
Pacetti
Paradis
Payne
Pearson
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Proulx
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Regan
Reid
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Russell
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Silva
Simms
Simson
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Szabo
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Tonks
Trost
Trudeau
Tweed
Uppal
Valeriote
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (Saint John)
Woodworth
Wrzesnewskyj
Yelich
Young
Zarac

Total: -- 180

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Bevington
Blais
Bouchard
Brunelle
Charlton
Chow
Comartin
Crowder
Cullen
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Deschamps
Dewar
Donnelly
Duceppe
Dufour
Faille
Gagnon
Godin
Gravelle
Guay
Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hughes
Hyer
Julian
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Layton
Lemay
Lévesque
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Mathyssen
Ménard
Mulcair
Paillé (Louis-Hébert)
Rafferty
Siksay
Stoffer
Thibeault
Vincent
Wasylycia-Leis

Total: -- 53

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

    The Speaker: The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    When the matter was last before the House, the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain had the floor for questions and comments consequent upon her speech. There are five minutes remaining in the time allotted for questions and comments for the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.
    I recognize the hon. member for Mississauga South on questions and comments.
    Mr. Speaker, in the member's speech she expressed her views, which is always important for the House to hear. I am curious as to whether the member is aware of the fiscal circumstances of the province of Ontario leading into this discussion and whether she is aware if this is tax neutral or in fact a tax drain on the province of Ontario's finances.
    Mr. Speaker, I really welcome this question because it speaks to the heart of what we have been saying in the House. The federal government, at a time that it has a deficit of $56 billion, is nonetheless spending $4.3 billion to bribe Ontarians with their own tax money, so that it can raise their taxes further.
    The member is absolutely right. Nobody's personal finances in this economic recession are in the kind of shape where they can afford this additional tax burden. That is absolutely why we are opposing the imposition of the HST. I am really surprised that the member for Mississauga South would not stand up for his constituents, who are as vociferously opposed to this tax as we are. I cannot believe he just voted for closure on this debate. As every Ontario member knows, this tax is going to hurt hard-working families and seniors.
    Mr. Speaker, given that we just had a vote on closure in the House, which essentially shuts down any kind of meaningful public participation, I wonder if the member could comment on the fact that first nations from coast to coast to coast as well as Ontario and British Columbia have not been consulted.
    We note, particularly in Ontario, that the point-of-sale tax exemption is a very key issue regarding first nations and their ability to actually manage their own finances. In British Columbia, we know that the first nations have passed a unanimous resolution calling on the government to appropriately consult in regard to taxation policy.
    I wonder if the member could comment on the fact that we just voted on closure, which limits that kind of participation.

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, first, let me commend the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan, who has been a tireless advocate for first nations, not just when it comes to the HST but with respect to all of the issues that the House should be dealing with in much more detail than we ever are. It is only her voice that is being heard in the House to champion the rights and legislation that should impact first nations. I really want to commend her for her work.
    She is absolutely right. First nations need to be heard in this debate. The government espouses the rhetoric of wanting to deal government to government, yet when it comes to things like the HST, it is completely shutting out the aboriginal community. I commend her for speaking out on this issue, as have other members in the House, such as the member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing and the member for Churchill. They have all taken up this cause.
    It is not just aboriginal communities. Everybody needs to have the opportunity to have input in something that is going to impact their bottom lines so negatively. We need to hear from seniors. We need to hear from hard-working families. We do need to hear from aboriginal Canadians. As I mentioned in my speech earlier, I had the privilege of reading dozens of comments that I have received by email into the record. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
    We need to have a full debate. We need to give Ontarians an opportunity to be heard on this issue. I think the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan is absolutely right. Closure is disgraceful in this place. This issue deserves a full debate.
    I can take a 30 second question and a 30 second response. The hon. member for Welland.
    Mr. Speaker, according to the finance minister, the provinces want this. In May 2006 he said:
The Government invites all provinces that have not yet done so to engage in discussions on the harmonization of their provincial retail sales taxes with the federal GST.
    In light of this quotation, could the member for Hamilton Mountain please tell us what she feels is really behind this closure when it comes to the government and the federal complicity in the HST?
    Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no doubt that the federal government has had a huge role to play in this. In fact, if the federal government had no role, we would not be debating this issue in the House at this time.
    When the member raises questions about the Minister of Finance, I must say that I share his concern. I wonder what his conversations are like at home. As members here will know, his wife is a member of the provincial Conservative caucus that is pretending in Ontario that it is opposed. Yet, they are banging their heads against the majority government when the fight ought to be here.
    It is here and I am ashamed to say that the New Democratic Party is the only party that is opposing the HST. I hope people at home realize that. The Liberals and the Bloc have joined forces with the Conservatives in the axis of taxes, which—
    Resuming debate. The hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.
    Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity. This is my first experience here with closure.
    I have followed politics quite carefully and closely for a long period of time. I remember when the Liberal government used to invoke closure, the Conservatives were up in arms, screaming like banshees about it. I certainly did not get that sense today, that they were outraged by putting that forward.
    The interesting thing is that the HST, plainly put, is the wrong tax at the wrong time. I want to give a couple of examples from my riding, people I have talked to, but I also want to debunk a couple of things that the government is saying, along with the McGuinty government in Ontario, is good for the HST.
    The government is saying this is really good for small businesses. It is good for small businesses because they are going to be able to get all their inputs back. The fact of the matter in Ontario is that most small- and medium sized businesses have very few inputs that have PST on them right now. So the argument is false.
    To presume from that, that it is going to create, and I think the quote has been from the Premier of Ontario, 600,000 new jobs is just the opposite. I have a small business. I know many people and have talked to many people who have small businesses, and not one of them has said that they are going to be hiring somebody because of HST. In fact, it is just the opposite.
    Before I get too much further, I would like to say that I will be splitting my time with the member for Vancouver East. I forgot to say that at the beginning, and I hope that it is still acceptable.
    I want to give a couple of examples. I will give an example of a gentleman in my riding, and I will not use his name, who says that this tax is certainly going to put him under. This kind of tax at this time, in a recessionary time, means that those who spend most or all of their income every month to survive are no longer going to be able to even survive month to month. That is a real problem.
    I spoke to an elderly gentleman in Atikokan, which is right in the middle of my riding. The riding has had its share of troubles over the years since the mines closed in the early 1980s. He came to me and said he could not pay his electricity bill. Keep in mind, he is in his mid-80s or so. He worked all his life. He raised his family. His children are gone and his wife has passed away. He owned his house about 30 years ago or so and he is on a fixed income.
    He says, “I cannot pay my electricity bill, and I do not know what to do”. If he cannot pay his electricity bill, what is he going to do when he gets another 8% on his electricity bill, when he gets another 8% on his home heating fuel, or when he gets another 8% on his gasoline purchase? I do not think he drives anymore, so that is not an issue.
    He also told me, “I do not know why I cannot pay my electricity bill now because I have one light bulb in my house. I use one light bulb in my house, and every three or four days I turn my refrigerator off and then on again. That is all the electricity I use”.
    Now, there is a combination of reasons for that, that do not concern the government, and it happens to be things that Mr. McGuinty has done, smart metres and a couple of other things have started to put daily expenses out of reach for this gentleman, but he is not the only one. I have talked to plenty of seniors and other people on fixed incomes who are having real trouble with HST.
    I will give another example. In Emo, in the west end of my riding, we have a number of people who depend on the tourism industry. They have resorts. In this particular case, a gentleman from Emo and his family have run this resort for 35 years. I believe it was his father's before him. The way resorts work, the way the business works, and I am sure everyone in the House will agree with me, is they plow that money back into the business every year to build that business. They do not think about retirement. The only retirement they think about, when they are in the resort tourism business, is that someday they are going to be able to sell that resort, and that is going to be their retirement.

  (1335)  

    He came to me in Fort Frances and said that he cannot sell his resort; there is no one around who wants to buy it. He said his business is down 50%. There are a combination of factors, and I will briefly describe them.
    Two years ago the Ontario government made him get a professional survey for his out-camp. He has a regular resort and then he has an out-camp hundreds of kilometres further north, where he takes people fishing. He had to get a professional survey at his own expense. He did that. The next year he was charged property tax.
    That was really tough for him, because he was paying property tax on an out-camp. Why do we pay property tax? It is because we get services. When his place burns down, I am not sure who is going to put the fire out in that out-camp. He does not get any services, so he has been hit again. This time he is going to be hit with 8% HST. There will be some more percentage points on each bed he has.
    Let us not always think about 8%, because at this time that flight from his resort to his out-camp has no tax on it at all. He will be charging 13% to tourists, most of them American, to send them to those camps, and his business is down 50%.
    He said he would have to go down to Iowa this winter, set up his table and try to get business at the trade shows. Right beside him is going to be a resort owner from Manitoba. The fish in Manitoba and northern Ontario are not that much different. He said he would be standing beside a fellow from Manitoba who will be able to undersell him by $1,100 to $1,500 for any package he can offer. He fully expects that in 2010 business will be down another 50%.
    Members will remember my opening comments. Resort owners who deal with tourists plow every cent back into their businesses, as do owners of many small businesses and many medium-sized businesses. They look to retirement when they can sell their resort; that becomes their retirement nest egg. Mr. Speaker, this gentleman is not going to have that retirement nest egg because he is being priced right out of business in northwestern Ontario, and HST is just the latest.
    There are couple of other interesting things that the Conservative government and the Ontario government talk about when they say that the HST is going to be good for us. One is that they say it is good for investment. That is an interesting statement. If we compare a tax on profits, which would be the normal way of doing things, and this kind of value-added tax, I am not sure we are going to see any investment; we have high unemployment, and more than 50% of the people in Ontario are not even figured into the unemployment figures because either they have given up or moved, or their benefits have lapsed.
    The most heinous thing about HST and the government is that they are borrowing $4.3 billion. This is not money the government has. It is borrowing $4.3 billion, and the cost of that extra over the next 10 years may be double. It may be $9 billion or $10 billion. They are borrowing $4.3 billion to bribe Ontario into bringing HST in. Ontario is going to send one-time cheques to everyone, cheques of $350 for single people and $900 or $1,000 to families. People in Ontario are going to be bribed with their own money, but it is not even their own money; it is money that the government must borrow to make HST happen.
    It is also interesting that although Conservatives talk about money going back into the coffers, the Ontario Minister of Finance said that we will lose on this tax. We will not even make anything on this tax. My goodness, why is it coming here in the first place?

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are going to have a lot of time to debate this, but I wanted to raise one aspect of this issue.
    Currently, provincial sales tax is applied at every stage of the process of a product. There is PST on extracting a raw material. There is PST paid on that again when it is manufactured, and it cascades, so that ultimately, when the consumer purchases a finished product, provincial sales tax has been applied as a tax on a tax on a tax. It cascades through the system.
    What that means is that the end product has an extraordinary amount of provincial sales tax incorporated into it. Under the harmonized system with the input tax credits, businesses are in fact going to get a substantial reduction in the cost of the end product being sold to the ultimate consumer.
    This is the issue, and the member may have a comment about it: if businesses are going to save all this tax that they have been paying along the line, how are they going to reflect that savings in cash flow with respect to the ultimate price to consumers?
    Mr. Speaker, the member is dealing with a couple of falsities to begin with.
    The first is that we are going to have a long time for this debate. Apparently we are not going to have a long time for this debate; it is going to be finished today, and that is most unfortunate.
    As I said, small and medium-sized businesses in Ontario right now do not get charged PST on most of their inputs. They do not have that particular tax right now. They do have GST, and we know that there is a system of recovering that GST.
    Let me give an example to the member of how really disastrous it is for those small businesses, particularly those that are close to the line, close to the profit margin, or just struggling to stay alive.
    Many people do not know that the Prairies start in my riding, but they do, and in the west end of my riding there are a lot of cattle farmers. Cattle change hands three, four, maybe five times before they go to the end user, before they go to the market. Cattle farmers in my part of northern Ontario are this close to the line, and if they are putting out money, they cannot wait three or four months to get it back in, because they will not survive.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River has done a really good job of describing the overall problems while particularly focusing on northwestern Ontario, and I thank him for that.
    I have two questions and ideas for the hon. member to help us pass along to those who implement this act.
    First, the hon. member did a really good job of talking about the burden on tourism. The tourism industry used to get rebates for its non-Canadian tourism customers, who got a rebate on much of their GST inputs. That has been done away with. I would like to ask him whether he thinks it would be a good idea to reimplement that rebate to the tourism clients.
    An even bigger question and idea is this: given the depressed state of rural areas such as northwestern Ontario, which to date has had no help at all for the forest industry from the current government, what does he think of the idea of a tax holiday for areas where the forest industry is down? We have areas that desperately need a tax holiday until they are on their feet again.
    Mr. Speaker, my friend from Thunder Bay—Superior North is absolutely right. If the current government and the Ontario government are determined, with the help of the Liberals here, to make this tax a reality in Ontario, I would like to see northern Ontario set aside as an HST-free zone. That would be fair. It is something that needs to be considered and looked at.
    How about northern B.C.? How about Abbotsford?
    Mr. Speaker, it should include northern B.C., for that matter. My goodness, that is an important part of it.
    The hon. member also brought up another interesting point, which is that tourists in Ontario will no longer be able to get that tax back when they leave the province, or at least that is my indication. That will stifle tourism. That is another 13% for every tourist who comes into this province.
    Mr. Speaker, I know that we have only very limited time for this debate, which is very unfortunate. I have to say that on days like this, one feels a sense of shame about what is taking place. The motion that we had in this House a few minutes ago, which is now placing a limit and a closure on debate on the HST, is truly shameful.
     As a British Columbian and as someone who has heard not only from so many of my constituents but also from people all across B.C. and indeed other parts of Canada, I feel incredibly disappointed that there are Liberal and Conservative members of this House who are going along with this proposal to ram through this legislation before Christmas when there is absolutely no reason to do so.
    We had the leader of the B.C. NDP here today in Ottawa. In a press conference she held with our leader, she made it clear that in British Columbia they are not even looking at the legislation on the provincial side until spring, so why is the government, aided and abetted by the Liberals, now trying to ram this through?
    We come to Parliament to represent our constituents. We all understand that one of the most important issues that we represent in that debate, and why we come here, is the debate over taxation. We in this party, I am proud to say, stand for a fair and progressive taxation system. We believe that taxes should be paid; they produce the services and the programs that can help bring about a sense of equity in our society, whether it is for housing, pensions, social programs, help for veterans or help for the unemployed. We understand that the importance of the taxation system is fundamental to who we are as parliamentarians in the role of government.
     However, what we are debating and what is being rammed through here today is legislation that is inherently regressive for people on low and moderate incomes.
    I spent all of Saturday in my riding in east Vancouver at the Kingsgate Mall and at the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House at what we call travelling community offices. I did not raise this subject, but every single constituent I met asked me about the HST, why it was being rammed through here in Ottawa and why that had to happen. I had to say it was because members of Parliament from B.C., other than New Democrats, are refusing to stand up and speak out in favour of their constituents to ensure that in this country we will have a fair and progressive taxation policy and program that will not hit people on low incomes or people who are poor.
     I feel very ashamed today that we are having this debate on closure and that we are going to be voting tonight at 8 p.m. Because the Liberals and the Conservatives have worked together to bring forward this closure motion that we voted on a little while ago, this debate will now be eliminated at 8 p.m. tonight. Then this bill will be rammed through tomorrow and the day after, when it did not need to happen. Shame on those members.
    One of the constituents I met was someone was working full time washing dishes in a very popular and fairly expensive restaurant. He showed me his take-home pay stub. His net take-home pay every month was $890.00, and that constituent is trying to support his wife and his family. He just got moved out of a social housing program. Luckily, he was able to find something else. However, a large percentage of his income is going on rent. To meet constituents one by one, to meet the people who are going to be hard hit by this legislation, is not something to be taken lightly. It is not something that can be brushed off by our being told that in the long run this is going to be good for us.
     I can tell members that in B.C. people know intrinsically, they know inside their hearts, they know inside their guts, they know from their chequebooks that this is a bad tax, that it is the wrong tax at the wrong time, that it is being delivered by the wrong people, that it is regressive, that they are going to be hurt by it and that they are going to be paying more money every day for very basic essentials in daily life, whether those are haircuts, vitamins, a taxicab or even a funeral.
     I feel very proud that we New Democrats in this House have done everything we can to point out the inequities of this proposal being rammed through by the government.

  (1350)  

    We have stood up time and time again and said to the government that this is absolutely the wrong course of action to take. It took months for the government even to acknowledge and admit that it had anything to do with it.
    We heard from the finance minister and still today Conservatives are saying that this is not really them, that it is the provinces. I can hear them now. They want to duck their responsibility.
    The people of B.C. understand that it is the Conservative federal government and the Liberal provincial government that are foisting this on the people of B.C. There is incredibly widespread opposition to this tax. It goes right across the political spectrum. We can see it in the emails. We can see it in the letters to the editor. We can see it in the rallies that have been held. We can see it in the petitions that have been collected all around British Columbia.
    We are here today as a very united voice in our party to say that we 100% oppose this regressive tax that will so unfairly hit people particularly during an economic recession.
    I think members of the House need to reflect on what is taking place here today and ask themselves why it is that this is being done at this moment. Why does this legislation have to go through before the House recesses on December 12? Why do we have a motion today, which is going to be approved, that will set out debate for two days and the bill will be before the finance committee for a mere four hours?
    We can see there has been a gathering of ideological forces between the two major parties. They are determined to try to thwart public opinion, to try to duck their responsibility and to get this out of the way as fast as they can.
    We have news for those members who think that by getting the bill through before the House recesses the issue will go away. It is still going to be a major issue in British Columbia. People are still going to be talking about it. They are still going to be signing petitions. They are still going to be raising this issue both in the federal arena and in the provincial arena. They will do everything they can to ensure that the legislation does not go through.
    Today as we approach this time limit we should really be thinking about what our responsibilities are as members of Parliament. Our responsibility is to listen to our constituents and to understand the impact of legislation, whether it is this kind of legislation or other legislation. Obviously there is other legislation but at this particular time it is this piece of legislation that we are talking about and to understand the reality of how it is going to impact people.
    We believe that the legislation is ill-conceived and should be scrapped. As we go through this debate, maybe some members will change their minds. I would like the members from B.C. who are supporting it to come into the House and tell us why they are supporting the bill and why they are going against the wishes of their constituents after all that they have heard and after all of the opposition in B.C.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to move an amendment to the motion. I move:
    That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after paragraph 1 and substituting the following:
“upon the adoption of second reading motion, the Standing Committee on Finance shall undertake public hearings in which opinions of Canadians on this legislation shall be heard; the choices of witnesses to be heard in this process will be made by the Committee; in relation to its study of the Bill, members of the Committee be authorized to travel in Ontario and British Columbia, and that the necessary staff do accompany the Committee; and the Committee shall report these Canadians' views back to this House before February 28, 2010”.

  (1355)  

    The Chair will take the amendment under advisement as to whether or not it is in order.
    We have a short amount of time for questions and comments before question period. The Chair will come back to the House with a ruling on the admissibility of this amendment after question period.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Vancouver East for enlightening us on what is going to happen with the HST.
    The HST is going to apply to a lot of items. I would like the member to comment on some of the things that are going to be taxed, for example, gasoline, utilities, heating, hydro, natural gas. These all concern me but one that concerns me a lot is adult footwear under $30. Only the poor buy footwear under $30. I would like the hon. member to comment on the tax on $30 footwear.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very glad the member raised this issue, because it does illustrate how hard hit people will be. That is precisely why we moved the amendment, to try to ensure that at least the finance committee will hold public hearings in Ontario and in British Columbia so we can actually hear from people about the impact of this legislation on things like footwear, vitamins, haircuts or other daily provisions that are being hit by this. What we hope to achieve with the amendment is that hearings will be held.

  (1400)  

    There will be three minutes left for questions and comments after question period, but now we will move on to statements by members.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Canada-Palestine Friendship Group Report

    Mr. Speaker, last week I raised a point of order concerning a document circulated to members of the House.
    I objected to the failure to identify the document as a product of the Canada-Palestine friendship group. Instead, it was presented with the House of Commons identification on the cover, followed by “A Report of the Parliamentary Delegation to the West Bank and Gaza”. But the members were not delegated by the House nor are they a parliamentary association, which implies taxpayer funding.
    More troubling than the misrepresentation of the origin and authors of the report is the one-sided presentation of a complex and multifaceted conflict.
    These members toured UNRWA camps. Did they notice that school books depict only one state called Palestine? These members toured illegal tunnels. Did they notice the smell of gunpowder and rocket fuel? Did the members suggest to their hosts that calling for the destruction of a neighbouring state and launching rockets into civilian areas are not landmarks on a path to peace? Finally, did the members take note that a complete Israeli withdrawal that displaced 7,000 settlers from Gaza did not produce an ounce of peace or hope for Israelis or Palestinians caught in the conflict?

[Translation]

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is a call to action.

[English]

    It calls on us to: establish a national action plan on violence against women; establish an inquiry into the over 500 disappeared aboriginal women; maintain the long gun registry as an antidote to domestic violence; replicate the Yukon domestic violence tribunal; enhance protection for victims of trafficking as we combat this global scourge; protect women in armed conflict; ensure affordable, safe housing for women at risk; enact a comprehensive early learning and child care program; protect access to justice through restoration of the court challenges program and secured legal aid; and finally, combat gender inequality, including legislation, with respect to equal pay for work of equal value.
    That is a national action plan.

[Translation]

Neurological Diseases

    Mr. Speaker, in 1934, Dr. Wilder Penfield had the idea of creating a place where medicine and research could be combined in order to improve the quality of care given to people with neurological diseases. This led to the creation of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. This world-class medical centre is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
    Since the beginning, this university medical centre has adopted a multidisciplinary approach to fundamental research into the nervous system, pursuing Dr. Penfield's early work, in order to better understand the causes of neurological diseases. A wealth of accumulated knowledge is contributing to our understanding of these kinds of diseases and bringing hope to the people who suffer from them, as well as to their loved ones.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to commend the efforts of the researchers and doctors who work hard every day to advance science and improve the lives of our fellow citizens.

[English]

Poverty

    Mr. Speaker, poverty is on the rise. For many, their need has never been greater as we head into the holiday season. Thankfully, there are people on the ground willing to do the hard work needed to help ease the sting of poverty and to make their communities a better place to live.
    People like Natalie and Dave Timeriski of Elliot Lake, who organized this year's annual fire services food drive, exemplify the true spirit of giving. Mr. Timeriski, who is also a volunteer firefighter, makes the food drive fun for the volunteers by getting them to work in teams or with their families.
    But for those in need, there is little that is fun about the extra challenges at this time of year, especially those with children. In Elliot Lake, food bank use for families with children has risen 69.7% over last year's levels.
    In Algoma--Manitoulin--Kapuskasing there are countless local campaigns that are raising both awareness and relief in their communities: the Express Père Noël program in Hearst; the Moonbeam Volunteer Firefighters food drive; the Kinsmen Club of Kapuskasing's Santa Claus Fund; or radio station CKAP's food drive. The Elks Lodge of Espanola raised $8,000 in one day with the help of a radiothon with Moose FM.

Chalk River Laboratories

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to recognize those individuals as well as other interested stakeholders who answered my call to develop my vision of the future for the Chalk River laboratories. That call resulted in the forming of the Chalk River employees ad hoc task force for a national laboratory, known as CREATE.
    I would like to thank doctors Blair Bromley, Rob DeAbreu, Archie Robertson, John Hilborn, Zin Tun, Daniel Banks, Jeremy Whitlock, and CRTT union president Gordon Tapp for all their hard work.
    That outward focus includes leading diverse research programs beyond nuclear energy, partnering broadly with universities, industries and government, commercializing knowledge, and spinning off research into business to deliver enduring value to all Canadians.
    The centrepiece of this national laboratory will be a new multi-purpose research reactor that the report by the Expert Review Panel on Medical Isotope Production recommended.
    Canada will maintain its 60-plus years of leadership that gave it the Nobel prize in physics in 1994.

  (1405)  

Graduation Congratulations

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour a young man from my riding of Random—Burin—St. George's, who did post-secondary education in the United States and finished at the top of his class.
    Brandon Organ is from the small fishing community of Isle aux Morts, which has a population of 813. He completed a bachelor of science and a doctorate of chiropractic at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.
    Brandon finished at the top of his class of 143, with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He was chosen as class valedictorian after an impressive stay at the college that saw him on the dean's list every year. As well, Brandon has served as president of the Honour's Society.
    Brandon is testament to the fact that even the smallest of school systems can produce impressive scholars. He has made his family, friends and home town proud. Brandon intends to return to Newfoundland to work as a chiropractor.
    I ask all members to join me in applauding this young man and wishing him all the best in the future.

Agriculture

    Mr. Speaker, we Conservatives are delivering real results for our farmers. Last week the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food re-opened China to Canadian pork, and this week Hong Kong is open to Canadian beef.
    As we Conservatives work day in and day out to represent our country's hard-working farmers, the Liberal critic for agriculture has decided to go on strike, according to a recent article in The Western Producer. When asked why he had not been asking any agriculture questions during question period, the member for Malpeque answered, “Why bother?” He then went on to say of farm leaders, “I am not prepared to fight their fight for better policy and better treatment by the government if they are not prepared to support me”.
    This is a shocking statement. The member for Malpeque thinks it is all about him, “If you don't support me, I won't support you”. I say to him that his job is to support farmers. It is not the job of farmers to support him and the Liberal Party.
    As I continue to work diligently for the farmers of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell and across Canada, I would like to extend my best wishes to them for a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year. For the Liberal ag critic, I say get back to work.

[Translation]

Rio Tinto Alcan

    Mr. Speaker, Rio Tinto Alcan recently announced that it will permanently close its payroll office in Jonquière and transfer operations to Montreal. In the words of union president Alain Gagnon this is nothing less than a slap in the face to the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region.
    Rio Tinto, which has recently acquired Quebec's Alcan aluminum company, is continuing to downsize its workforce, thereby disturbing the balance between what it gets out of the region and what it gives back in employment.
    The Conservatives, in particular the minister responsible for the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region, are partly responsible for this situation. By not putting any conditions on the acquisition of Alcan, such as the obligation to maintain a certain number of jobs, Rio Tinto Alcan can do whatever it wants and move our jobs to other regions while reaping great benefits from our natural resources. The Conservatives in my region should be ashamed of themselves today.

[English]

Battle of Hong Kong

    Mr. Speaker, this week marks a sombre anniversary for Canadian veterans. It was 68 years ago this week that imperial Japan engaged Canadian troops in Hong Kong. “C Force”, as they were known, provided much of the Commonwealth forces in the Battle of Hong Kong that lasted 17 gruelling days.
    This weekend the Prime Minister paid tribute to the sacrifice of young Canadians who never returned from the Battle of Hong Kong by laying a wreath at the Sai Wan War Cemetery. The ceremony was also attended by Patricia Osborn, daughter of company Sergeant-Major John Osborn, a Canadian hero who died in combat in Hong Kong. He received a posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions in protecting his fellow troops, Canada's first in World War II.
    Canadians today remain proud defenders of freedom, democracy and justice around the world. I agree with the Prime Minister's remarks, “It is the men and women of the Canadian Forces who defend our way of life and keep Canada, the true north strong and free”.

  (1410)  

KAIROS

    Mr. Speaker, KAIROS assists the world's poorest countries and is recognized as one of Canada's most respected and important charitable organizations. After nearly 40 years of funding from successive Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments, KAIROS has had its funding cut off because its programs do not “fit” with Reform-Conservative priorities.
    As recently noted in media reports, this is money that would have been used to help resettle people who had lost their homes and livelihoods because of rising sea levels, or to help a legal clinic in the Congo that assists rape victims, among other crucial projects. These cuts are unconscionable and are nothing less than a censure against a Canadian multi-faith organization for speaking out against regressive Conservative policies on climate change, overseas mining operations, aboriginal rights, immigration and international trade.
    The government must continue to fund KAIROS so it may continue its invaluable work in helping the world's poor.

[Translation]

Consumer Product Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals should be ashamed of themselves for delaying bills to protect the health and safety of families.
    Earlier this year, our Conservative government introduced the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. Protecting Canadians and Quebeckers from dangerous products is something we take very seriously.
    The bill was passed by the House in June, but has been blocked in the Senate by the Liberals ever since. They are proposing amendments that will considerably weaken the bill and not in any way better protect the health and safety of Quebeckers and Canadians.
    The Leader of the Opposition is not even capable of telling his Liberal colleagues in the Senate to stop dragging their feet and pass this bill.
    Let us restore this bill to its original form and pass it now. We are talking about the health and protection of Quebeckers and Canadians, especially our children.

[English]

KAIROS

    Mr. Speaker, for years, the faith-based Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiative KAIROS has helped Canada work for justice internationally and at home. Now KAIROS, which unites 11 Canadian churches and organizations, representing millions of Christians, is itself threatened by CIDA's decision to end funding.
    At risk is human rights and development work, such as: in the Congo, where KAIROS helped fight rape as a weapon of war; in Indonesia, where it aided those who disappeared and victims of violence; and in Colombia, where it nurtures a grassroots organization running 22 women's centres. A woman in Sault Ste. Marie reminds me how KAIROS brought a Sudanese refugee to area schools. She wonders how else any teenager in the Sault would otherwise actually know about the real Sudan refugee story.
    KAIROS and other non-profits should not foot the bill for stimulus funding. Why bankrupt such a respected organization? I urge the government to restore CIDA funding to KAIROS.

Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's recent visits to China and India are delivering results for Canadians. Approved destination status will bring millions of Chinese tourist dollars to Canadian businesses. Canadian pork and canola producers will benefit from bigger and better access to the Chinese market. Our nuclear co-operation agreement with India will provide tremendous opportunities for Canada's civilian nuclear industry.
    In 13 years the Liberals signed a paltry three free trade agreements and caused long-term damage to our relationship with India. The Liberals are even helping the NDP hold up our trade agreement with Colombia. In less than four years, our Conservative government has concluded five new free trade agreements with eight countries. We have launched historic negotiations with the European Union and India, two of the world's largest markets.
    The facts speak for themselves. When it comes to opposing protectionism and promoting free trade, our government is leading by example.

[Translation]

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, first nations chiefs are meeting in Ottawa this week for their first Special Chiefs Assembly under the leadership of their new national chief, Shawn Atleo.
    In July, I could feel the excitement during the election and the final vote, the results of which were revealed at 7 a.m. Those hours before the results were revealed were a perfect opportunity for the chiefs to discuss issues affecting first nations. They are urging the government to respect them by adopting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to invest heavily in access to education for aboriginal peoples, which is one of the government's responsibilities.
    I urge all parliamentarians to attend the reception this evening and to participate in the many discussion sessions and talks that are going on all week.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I welcome the chiefs and their delegation, and I wish them a good week of reflection.

  (1415)  

[English]

Gerald Yetman

    Mr. Speaker, on Friday, November 27, Cape Breton and Canada lost a leader and dedicated public servant in Gerald Yetman.
    A veteran of the merchant marine in World War II, Mr. Yetman moved to North Sydney and became a strong voice for labour in Cape Breton. He served as the president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, a national representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and president of the Cape Breton District Labour Council. He was also a councillor and the deputy warden for Victoria County.
    Gerald Yetman was honoured with a medal in 1993 for his dedication to public service on the 125th anniversary of Confederation. A great orator and strong defender of the worker, Mr. Yetman was much loved, especially by his family. A man of great passion, he would go out of his way to help people whether he knew them or not.
    I therefore ask all members of the House to recognize the contribution of Mr. Yetman to his community, his country and his family.

Consumer Product Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the government will always put the health and safety of Canadians first. It takes the issue of protecting everyone, especially children, from dangerous products very seriously.
    That is why we introduced Bill C-6 to protect Canadians from dangerous products. This House passed Bill C-6 in June and the Liberal leader's senators have held the bill up in the Senate since. Now they are trying to gut it.
    The Liberal leader must recognize the need for this important legislation, which would make it easier to recall a product as soon as inspectors determined it was a danger. If the Liberal leader will not make the health and safety of Canadians a priority, it is no wonder there are Liberals whispering in lounges across Ottawa.
    The Liberal leader needs to tell his senators that this is an important bill. The new tools would help protect Canadian families. If the Liberal leader will not take action, he is only proving what we said before. He is not in it for Canadians; he is just in it for himself.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, for months now, the Minister of National Defence has been claiming that there is no evidence that Afghan prisoners transferred by the Canadian Forces were tortured. However, the sworn testimony of Canadian officials is contradicting the minister.
    Obviously, the minister has misled Canadians. Will he admit it and finally tell the truth?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the story the Leader of the Opposition raises is one that was raised in this House more than two and a half years ago.
    The Vice Chief of Defence Staff, now the CDS, issued a statement over two and a half years ago stating that the Afghan in question was not detained, was not captured and was not transferred by the Canadian Forces.
    I hope the member opposite will stand in this place and apologize to the men and women in uniform.
    Mr. Speaker, the point is that the Canadian Forces did their job; the question is whether the government did its job.
    The issue here is that the minister says one thing, but a Canadian field officer's diary and sworn testimony say another. I would prefer to believe the testimony of the officer and not the minister opposite.
    Can he give me a reason to believe anything he says?
    Mr. Speaker, for more than three years, we have seen the Liberal Party and the members opposite smear our brave men and women in uniform.
     The Chief of Defence Staff, a man who has bravely worn the Canadian uniform for decades, has been abundantly clear. He issued a statement more than two and a half years ago, stating that the Afghan in question was not detained, was not captured and was not transferred by the Canadian Forces.
    The Leader of the Opposition should be up on his feet commending the work of our troops and the contribution they have been making under difficult circumstances, and stop this fearmongering.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, this is precisely a case where the Canadian Forces did their job. They saw someone being beaten, his face covered in blood, and they did the right thing. This side of the House did the right thing.
     For a year the government had credible evidence this had occurred and it did nothing. What kind of government, what kind of Canadian government, refuses to act on credible accusations of torture, evidence of torture and in this case evidence provided by Canadian Forces?
    Mr. Speaker, let me be as clear as I can. When Canadian Forces personnel, when Canadian officials, are presented with clear and substantiated evidence, they have always acted.
    Let us be very clear on another point. The Afghan in question was not a Canadian detainee, and our men and women in uniform did the right thing. They should be honoured for that contribution, honoured for their sacrifice. The member opposite should apologize to those men and women in uniform.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, in 2007, the Conservatives said they wanted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 megatonnes by 2010. They said it was essential to meeting their 2020 target.
    Since then, we have seen no regulations, no price on carbon, no credit trading system and no plan.
    By how many megatonnes have large industrial emitters reduced their emissions since the Conservatives were elected in 2006?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our target is clear. Our policy is clear. Canadians support it, and the hon. member knows that.
    The important issue right now is that today is the first day of the Copenhagen conference. Canada wants to see an international agreement arrived at in Copenhagen. It is very much in our interest to have an agreement negotiated in Copenhagen.
     Our country is prepared to shoulder its fair share of responsibility under that agreement. Moreover, we are prepared at the table, having the finest minds in the world on climate change sitting as Canada's negotiators at the table.
     I encourage the hon. member, knowing that he will be at Copenhagen, and hope that he will work with us constructively in the best interests of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, here are the facts.
    After declining in absolute terms between 2003 and 2006, Canada's emissions grew by 29 megatonnes in 2007, the single largest increase since 1990, making Canada the worst performer in the G8.
    The United States and all of Europe have credible plans. They support international emissions trading. They have tabled or passed regulations for their entire economies. Canada has none of this.
    These Reform-Conservatives are lurching from denial to damage control, isolating Canada, risking our environmental and economic future. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, to reiterate, our target is clear. Our plan and policy is clear and Canadians support it.
     Now I do not want to be completely disparaging of the Liberals in the House, but at Kyoto they were excited: they had a target but they had no plan. Now they are enthused about Copenhagen, but they have a plan and they do not have a target. This could only be said to be progress in the way that Churchill described progress for Liberals, which is lurching from failure to failure with enthusiasm.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the government reiterated that it will be speaking with only one voice in Copenhagen. However, not only does Canada's position contradict that of Quebec, it is harmful to Quebec. Its position is contrary to that of the National Assembly and Quebec's environmentalists and businesspeople. The Minister of the Environment even had the nerve to say that his position was not negotiable. And today, Canada was given the fossil award in Copenhagen.
    How can the government say to us that its position on climate change is in Quebec's interest when Quebec is unanimously against it?
    Mr. Speaker, today is the first day of the Copenhagen summit. We want an agreement and Canada will participate actively. Canada will assume its fair share of the responsibility for reaching an agreement. We are delighted that Quebec is part of the delegation. It is unprecedented. Quebec will be participating proactively as part of the Canadian delegation.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that Quebec is not represented by this government in Copenhagen because the Canadian government's position goes against Quebec's interests. It could not be clearer. Just look at the position of this government, which is supported by the oil companies and defends Alberta to the detriment of Quebec.
     How can token Quebeckers tell us the opposite in this House?
    Mr. Speaker, it is not up to the leader of a sovereignist party to tell us how to make the Canadian federation work. That does not make sense.
    Having said that, I will remind the House that we are working with targets. At present, the American targets, those of the Obama administration, are comparable to ours. They should stop trying to divide the country. We are taking an industry-by-industry approach and not trying to pit one province against another. That is something the sovereignist leader will never say because Quebec does play an active role, Quebec has taken action and Quebec will be compensated.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment justifies his greenhouse gas emission targets by saying that if Canada did more than the United States, there would be economic impact without any real environmental improvement, and that if we do less, there could be some economic retaliation.
    Does the minister realize that with reduction targets that are lower than those in Europe, Quebec companies, the primary exporters to that market, could be the first victims of potential “retaliatory tariffs”?
    Mr. Speaker, we have a simple plan. We want to reach an agreement in principle in Copenhagen, which will serve as a basis for a new international treaty. We also want a binding agreement on all the major emitters. We will have harmonized targets and regulations with the United States. President Obama already announced yesterday that his country has a reduction target of 17%. That is almost the same as the Canadian target. We must continue to coordinate our efforts in the fight against climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, we have learned that since 1996 no fewer than 1,570 lobbyists paid by industrialists, and in particular by the oil companies in the west, have intervened to convince the government to do as little as possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    Will the Minister of the Environment acknowledge that his cautious greenhouse gas reduction policy is nothing more than a policy dictated by the oil companies and their lobbyists?
    Mr. Speaker, I consulted extensively with everyone involved and with all the provinces leading up to Copenhagen. I invited the provinces to join the official Canadian delegation. That is a first in our country's history. In Copenhagen, the provincial representatives will have considerable support. However, Canada will speak with a single voice in Copenhagen, and that will be the voice of the federal government.
    Mr. Speaker, the whole world is demanding action on climate change. That is exactly what the NDP asked for and proposed in its Bill C-311.
    Yet the Conservatives are treating Copenhagen the same way the Liberals signed Kyoto: as a big public relations stunt, nothing more. We need action, but the government does not have a plan, nor is it taking concrete action.
    When will this government show real environmental leadership for Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, our government, our minister and our Prime Minister will continue to work very hard to produce a solid agreement in Copenhagen. Canada will do its part. We will continue to work with the provinces, with industry and with non-governmental groups to come up with an agreement that will really benefit our environment.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, they are calling us a corrupt petro-state and the dirty old man of the climate world. Our international reputation is at an all-time low because our emissions are growing faster than those of practically any other country in the world, and that is a result of successive government policies.
    The government has no plan and no regulations in place. In fact it is making it up as it goes along. It just recently abandoned its foolish intensity targets, and has nothing to replace those with.
    When are we going to see some real leadership from this government on climate change? That is what the world wants at Copenhagen.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, I say very directly to my friend, the leader of the NDP, that not a single tonne of carbon is reduced when he runs down Canada and repeats those mischaracterizations of the position of the Canadian government or the actions of our country.
    We are committed to working with the Obama administration. We are committed to working with our partners at the UNFCC in Copenhagen to get a strong, effective agreement that delivers the goods for Canada, that delivers the goods for the environment.
     Canada, as a rich country, is prepared to do its part and we are looking forward to a successful negotiation in Copenhagen.

Disability and Health Benefits

    Mr. Speaker, the government often speaks of working together. Here is an opportunity, because last week, my colleague, the member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, presented Bill C-487, which would address the situation of long-term disabled workers.
    These are workers who are left out in the cold when a company goes bankrupt. It is very tough for them to find alternative work. It is probably not likely for many of them and they are literally left without hope. Here is an opportunity, because it really is our responsibility as legislators to make sure they are in a situation where they can be protected. It is our responsibility.
    Will the minister undertake today to support the bill that we put before the House and work with us to get it passed?
    Mr. Speaker, I think all of us know that long-tenured workers have had difficulty transitioning into new jobs and often need more long-term training.
     We have made unprecedented investments in training, including training specifically for long-tenured workers, to help get Canadians back to work. We have made unprecedented investments to help those who, through no fault of their own, have fallen on hard times and lost their jobs.
    The minister will continue to work with all members and all Canadians on achieving real results for these Canadians who need help.

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, in January 2008, Brigadier General Deschamps confirmed under oath that in December of 2006, a Canadian detainee who was turned over to Afghan police was severely beaten.
    The Minister of National Defence has claimed repeatedly that there has not been a single proven allegation of detainee abuse. Brigadier General Deschamps and Colonel Noonan are no Taliban dupes.
    Will the minister now apologize for misleading the House? Will the government now provide the complete, uncensored documents regarding abuse of Taliban detainees?
    Mr. Speaker, this story is about two and a half years old. It was discussed in the House two and a half years ago. It is not a story about transferring detainees to the prison system; it is a story about a mission in the field.
    The patrol was with the Afghan forces. The Afghans took control of the individual. They proceeded to abuse him. Canadian soldiers stepped in and did the right thing, and we should be proud of that.
    What it points out is that everyone, from the Prime Minister to the soldier in the field, is doing the right job and will continue to do that.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a story about Brigadier General Joseph Deschamps, who was the chief of staff for operations in Canada's expeditionary forces in January 2008. He said, under oath, that the government was not telling the truth.
    The evidence given by Brigadier General Deschamps and Colonel Noonan proves beyond a doubt that there were proven reported incidents of abuse of Canadian-transferred detainees.
    Would the Minister of National Defence now apologize for misleading the House and provide complete uncensored documents regarding detainee abuse?
    Mr. Speaker, this was not a Canadian-transferred detainee. This was a person taken control of by the Afghan authorities.
    If anybody should apologize, it should be that member, who has called senior officers of the Canadian Forces legally flimsy, negligent, liars, war criminals, and morally weak. I think if anybody should apologize, it is that hon. member.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the government is the one saying that these two soldiers are not telling the truth.
    During his testimony, Richard Colvin, another of the people it is attacking, stated that his briefing notes included allegations of torture. However, in the heavily-censored documents, these allegations suddenly seem to have been blacked out. It is now clear that the minister himself played a significant role in censoring these documents.
    Can the minister explain to Canadians why he tried to hide the truth by censoring these documents?

  (1435)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is a bunch of nonsense. I hope the hon. member will get on her feet and apologize to the Minister of National Defence.
    There is a three-part test in determining whether information should be withheld from the public on the grounds of international relations, national defence or national security. The test is applied by government officials with subject matter expertise. It is not applied by the minister or the political staff.
    The hon. member should get on her feet and apologize right now to this House.
     Mr. Speaker, when the government apologizes for using the military the way it has, as props for its cover-up, that is the day that the sun will rise and descend on the same day. It is nonsense.
    Last week, the bureaucrats claimed the government, the minister, had a role in the redaction of documents. Now the government and that minister are claiming they do not. Who is telling the truth?
     The minister knew about the allegations. He tried to cover up. He should explain to Canadians why he continues to hide the truth. Why does he not fess up? His fingerprints are all over those documents.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has been caught out with that outrageous claim before. She has not done the right thing which is to apologize to the Minister of National Defence. She should get up and pay homage to those individuals, those experts within the public service, who have no other interest but the best interest of this country, and protecting men and women in this country. That is who does the redacting. She should get up on her feet and apologize to this House.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence maintains that there is no evidence that Afghan detainees were tortured. Yet Canadian officers have admitted under oath that at least one detainee transferred by Canada was severely beaten by the Afghan police in June 2006. The testimony given by Colonel Noonan and Brigadier General Deschamps clearly contradicts the minister.
    Will the Minister of National Defence acknowledge that he misled the House by claiming that the detainees handed over to Afghan authorities were not tortured?
    Mr. Speaker, what the member is saying is completely false.

[English]

    We have already addressed that. It was addressed in the House two and a half years ago. The simple fact is it was not a detainee transferred by Canadian Forces. It was an Afghan picked up in the process of the joint patrol by Canadian Forces and Afghan forces. When the Canadian soldiers realized that the Afghan detainee was being abused by the Afghan national police, they took action, as we would expect them to. They took the same kind of action that officials at all levels have taken when they have seen that action is necessary.
    Canadian Forces members, governments, everybody along the line, has done the proper thing at the proper time.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the army did what it had to do.
    The Minister of National Defence is trying to shirk his responsibilities. He said he denied the existence of torture in Afghanistan based on advice he received from his generals and senior officials. After claiming that opposition members were somehow dupes of the Taliban, now the minister has another excuse: Canadian Forces personnel are to blame.
    Instead of trying to find a scapegoat, why will the minister not simply tell the truth?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have never said this is the military's fault. The military has been acting in good faith with the agreements that have been in place, just as the government has been acting in good faith, and frankly, just as the previous government acted in good faith on the arrangements that were in place at the time.
    This is not a new story. Members opposite are hashing this out like it is some kind of revelation. This is an old story that was talked about in this House almost three years ago. This is absolute nonsense. They are trying to pick fly droppings out of pepper to build a story around, and it will just not work.

[Translation]

International Cooperation

    Mr. Speaker, we were dismayed to learn that the Minister of International Cooperation is getting ready to cut funding for two NGOs: KAIROS and Alternatives. KAIROS has been working with CIDA for 35 years, and Alternatives is a major NGO in Quebec that has been active in international cooperation since 1994.
    Can the minister tell us why she wants to cut funding for these NGOs, which work in the areas of human rights, social justice, democracy and poverty reduction? Could it be because of their progressive ideas?

  (1440)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member's question gives me an opportunity to re-articulate our government's commitment to effective international development and aid.
    We want to make sure we are making a difference. That is why we are supporting strengthening justice systems, human rights commissions and ombudsmen. We are also ensuring that people on the ground are getting access to education and better health care.
    These efforts are really making a difference in the lives of those living in poverty.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the federal government has funded these NGOs for many years, because of the important services they provide and the values they promote.
    Why does the Minister of International Cooperation want to prevent them from continuing their work, if not to punish them for the positions they are taking in Canada?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as we have articulated, we want to ensure that our international efforts are effective. This means that tough decisions will have to be made.
    However, it also means we will continue to support the Primate's World Relief, which is working in Bangladesh, Mozambique and Tanzania improving the health care for women and working on HIV-AIDS; the Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development, because it is supporting national literacy; the Mennonite Central Committee, because it is providing food security and income generation; the United Church of Canada, because it is also providing support for increased--
    Order. The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.
    Mr. Speaker, last week we learned that KAIROS, a respected Christian NGO, was being cut. It represents one of the largest churches in Canada. Its only sin, apparently, was speaking out against the government's dismal human rights record and environmental record. It appears that anyone criticizing this government will be cut.
    After 36 years, what other explanation can this minister give for cutting KAIROS funding with no advance warning?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Scarborough—Guildwood for the question because it was his bill that our government supported which firmly entrenches poverty reduction that underlines CIDA's work.
    As I reported to the House, there are now over a billion people living in extreme poverty. That is why we will continue to support work that provides better health care, improved literacy, food security, water and sanitation facilities. That is why we continue to support the Primate's World Relief, the Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development, the Mennonite Central Committee and the United Church of Canada.
    As the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca has said, tough choices will have to be made--
    Order. The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.
    Mr. Speaker, this is ridiculous. The Anglican Church of Canada, the Mennonite Central Committee, the Presbyterian Church, the Catholic Church, the Lutherans, Development and Peace, and Quakers, are all being branded as subversive because they have the temerity to criticize this Conservative government.
    Will the minister immediately restore funding to KAIROS to ensure that Canada's aid dollars are being spent in accordance with Bill C-293 just as these organizations want it done?
    Mr. Speaker, as I just indicated, we support the Primate's World Relief from the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, the United Church, and World Vision, all of those church-based faiths.
    The projects they are working on are actually making a difference, as I just said, with regard to health care, literacy, food security, water and sanitation.
    In fact, it was a member of his party who said, “Tough choices will have to be made. You can't be all things to all people”. Right now Canada wants to make a real difference.

[Translation]

Postal Service

    Mr. Speaker, since 2006, more than 55,000 Canadians living in rural areas have lost the right to home mail delivery. More than 40 post offices have been closed.
    Many Canadian seniors, like 86-year-old Elsie Bédard, now have to travel long distances to pick up their mail.
    All Canadians should have the right to the same service, no matter where they live. The Liberal Party does not want a Canada where rural regions are penalized for the benefit of urban centres.
    Why has the government done nothing to stop 55,000 Canadians from being deprived of home mail delivery?

  (1445)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. When it comes to rural delivery, this government has put in a charter that actually guarantees a universal, effective and economically viable postal system right across the country.
    That is a charter, which is an agreement between Canada Post and the people of Canada. On top of that charter there is a moratorium on any closures of post offices. We are acting and Canada Post is delivering.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if there were an agreement between the people of Canada and Canada Post, people would not be after federal MPs to change things.

[English]

    Arlene Parks and other seniors of Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, are losing their rural mail service and will now have to walk long distances or drive to get their mail. There are examples of this all across this country.
    Regardless of where Canadians live, they have a right to an equal quality of service. The Liberal Party does not support a Canada in which rural Canada has a lower level of service than urban Canada.
    Why has the government done nothing to ensure that rural Canadians have the same rights to have the same service? Tell us why.
    Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. In fact, we put it in a charter to make sure there is a universal, effective and economically viable postal system right across the country.
    Rural delivery will take place. The charter says: two days for local delivery, three days for national delivery and four days for international delivery.
    That is what the charter says. Canada Post is guaranteeing that the mail is getting through. That is what is happening and we are making sure that it can do it.

Consumer Product Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Liberal senators, led by the Liberal leader, amended our consumer protection bill last week. These changes significantly weaken the bill and actually make it easier to protect animals than our own children.
    Clearly, the Liberal leader has a complete disregard for the health and welfare of Canadians.
    Could the hon. Minister of Health please tell us why it is so important to pass the bill as it was passed by the House without these damaging amendments?
    Mr. Speaker, last week under the direction of the Liberal leader, Liberal senators voted together to gut our consumer protection bill. These amendments are weak and contrary to the intent of the bill that was passed unanimously by members of the House.
    They will cause confusion and uncertainty for industry, but more importantly will weaken the protection afforded by the original bill to those who will be purchasing gifts over the holiday season.
    One death is one death too many. The Liberal leader, who has now admitted that he does not like the amendments, should share his reasons why with the senators and order them to vote down the amendments.

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, the Globe and Mail has just published sworn testimony by senior Canadian military officers and uncensored evidence that contradicts the repeated claims of the Minister of National Defence.
    In this House, on nine separate occasions, the defence minister has said that no proof exists of even a single case of a Canadian-transferred detainee abused by Afghan security forces. We now know that this is not true.
    Will the minister apologize for misleading the House and Canadian people, and will he finally commit to a full and independent public inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, once again this is absolutely false. It is apples and oranges. We are talking about an issue that arose in the House two and a half or three years ago. It was discussed at that time.
     It is not an issue of a Canadian transfer into the prison system. It is an issue or a situation of an operation in the field that was conducted, and when Canadian soldiers saw that something was going inappropriately, they took action.
    There has never been a single proven allegation of abuse of a Canadian-transferred detainee into the prison system in Afghanistan. They are definitely clutching at straws, and it is just not going to work, because Canadians can see through this.
    Mr. Speaker, that is not what the eye witnesses say, the Canadian military officers and soldiers who testified and wrote notes at the time.
    With every passing day there comes a new revelation of this massive government cover-up of transfer to torture. With every passing day we get a new excuse from the Minister of National Defence.
    Now that we know he misled the House, he has decided to blame generals by saying he relied on the advice they gave him. It is totally unacceptable to be passing the buck and trying to blame our dedicated military leaders or public servants.
    When will the minister finally admit that the responsibility is his as Minister of National Defence?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, this is simply outrageous. We have never blamed the military. We have supported the decisions made in the field by the military under very difficult circumstances in very good faith, just as the government has acted in very good faith.
     We supported the military decisions then. We support the military decisions today, and we will support the military decisions tomorrow.
    The member is incorrect.

[Translation]

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, the government seems incapable of implementing employment insurance measures that meet the real needs of workers in Quebec.
    While the government's temporary program to encourage the training of older workers is supposed to apply to 50,000 workers, we learn that barely 6,000 workers—again, barely 6,000—have used it because the eligibility conditions are too restrictive.
    What is the minister waiting for to acknowledge her mistake and ease the eligibility criteria in order to meet the needs of the unemployed?
    Mr. Speaker, our transition assistance program allows those who have lost their employment to get employment insurance while receiving training for two years.
    We are working together with the provinces since this is a provincial jurisdiction. We invite the Government of Quebec and the other provinces to promote this program in order for more workers or people who have lost their jobs to benefit from it.
    Mr. Speaker, the employment insurance benefits extension is based on the same thinking as the temporary labour training program. Since both programs are based on the same thinking and since the forestry workers have gone through too many periods of unemployment to be eligible for either program, only a fraction of the 190,000 claimants targeted by the government will benefit from an extension of employment insurance benefits.
    What is the minister waiting for to ease the eligibility criteria in order to help the unemployed?
    Mr. Speaker, again, the transition assistance envelope is $500 million. We are offering this program to the provinces so that long-tenured workers who have lost their jobs and want to get new training, or make a transition, can benefit from employment insurance during that period.
    I repeat: this is a provincial jurisdiction, but we are making money available to the provinces to help workers who lose their jobs. We invite the Government of Quebec and the other provinces to promote this program among workers who have lost their employment.

Museums

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to ignore the labour dispute between the war and civilization museum workers and their employer. If the dispute drags on, planning for summer camps, which allow our school children to discover our rich heritage, will not be completed.
    How will the Conservatives explain to those children and their parents that their summer camp has been cancelled?
    Mr. Speaker, we were working with both parties even before the strike began. It is always difficult for workers to choose to go on strike. It is a legal strike. We could appoint an arbitrator but both sides must agree. In this case, one side did not and therefore arbitration cannot be considered.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we understand the labour minister cannot impose binding arbitration unless both parties agree to it. However, the museum's management is accountable to the heritage minister.
    When will he finally direct the museum's director to start negotiating in good faith with its employees so that an honourable accord can be reached?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been working with both parties since before the strike began. It is always a very difficult decision for workers to make when they do go on strike, but this is a legal strike.
    As the member knows, we could appoint an arbitrator, but we do need both sides to agree to that, and at this point we do not have agreement from both parties. Recently the union overwhelmingly rejected the employer's offer.
    We continue to ask both parties to return to the table as soon as possible.

  (1455)  

[Translation]

Tax Harmonization

    Mr. Speaker, implementing the HST is a bad idea for consumers, who will have to pay more taxes on everyday goods.
    The HST is also bad for citizens of northern Ontario, who must travel great distances by car and who will be paying more taxes on gasoline. What is very worrisome is that the aboriginal peoples of Ontario will lose basic rights with the HST.
    Why is this government intent on attacking consumers' wallets and violating aboriginal rights?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the government has framework legislation before Parliament now because we respect the autonomy of the provinces and their areas of exclusive jurisdiction, like provincial sales tax. As it was for New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia ten years or so ago, so it is now for two other provinces.
    We on this side of the House do not think we ought to discriminate between provinces and their areas of jurisdiction, nor do we, unlike the NDP, think Parliament ought to.
    Mr. Speaker, the HST is hugely unpopular in B.C., but that political problem should not be an excuse for the Conservatives to ram the HST through the House at all costs. They are denying British Columbians a chance to be heard. There will be no committee hearings, no public consultation, no debate, none in B.C. The Conservatives have become the distant, uncaring, tax-hiking government they used to rail against.
    What is the hurry? Why are the Conservatives in such a mad rush to deny British Columbians a say on the HST?
    Mr. Speaker, British Columbians have had their say when it comes to taxes and they voted for a government that believes in lowering taxes.
    The NDP in the province of British Columbia stepped forward twice in a row and Carole James, the provincial NDP leader, was rejected twice in a row by the people of British Columbia.
    British Columbians know that it is Conservatives who believe in lower taxes and it is members of the NDP who believe in higher taxes. That is the simple fact of the matter. We have lowered the GST and income taxes. We have lowered taxes across the board for Canadians.
    British Columbians understand that if they want high taxes they will vote for the NDP. If they want low taxes, they will vote for the Conservatives.

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, our government continues to invest in vital infrastructure across Canada in order to stimulate the economy and create jobs for Canadians.
    I agree with the Prime Minister that we need to increase trade and not protectionism during these tough economic times, especially in my region, which was hit hard by the recent downturn.
    Could the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities tell the House about the new developments with respect to the Detroit River international crossing and its significance to Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the member for Essex for all his work on infrastructure in both Essex and in the City of Windsor.
    Last week the Detroit River international crossing project received the necessary federal environmental assessment approval. This is a huge step forward to a new bridge that would be a bridge for trade, a bridge for jobs, and a bridge for southwestern Ontario. This is another example of this government stepping up with billions of dollars of support, even when projects are not in a Conservative riding.
    When this project goes ahead, it will create literally thousands of jobs in Windsor and Essex, and they are in this country, which really needs a shot in the arm.

United States Steel Corporation

    Mr. Speaker, in 2007, U.S. Steel took over Stelco, a company which has Canadian roots going back over 200 years.
    As a condition of its purchase, U.S. Steel committed to maintaining 3,000 jobs. Unfortunately, U.S. Steel has not kept that commitment. It has closed its production in Nanticoke, laying off hundreds.
    Where is the government? Why has it failed to maintain these jobs? Why is the government absent on this file?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a curious question, because this government is in court against U.S. Steel. For the first time in the history of the legislation, we are suing its butt off.

[Translation]

Firearms Registry

    Mr. Speaker, Suzanne Laplante-Edward, mother of Anne-Marie Edward, who was killed when just 21 years old in the École Polytechnique massacre, deplores the fact that the Conservative government is perversely dismantling the firearms registry. By relaxing firearms controls, the Conservatives are attacking, and I quote, “the monument erected in memory of our young women.”
    When will this government acknowledge that the firearms registry helps prevent violence against women?

  (1500)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, any suggestion that any member in this House would not want to see an end to violence against women is not only wrong, it is hateful. The ineffective Liberal gun registry has done absolutely nothing to protect Canadians and it has done nothing to make Canadian women safer. The hon. member will know this if he looks deep inside himself.

International Aid

    Mr. Speaker, in the last few days the government announced it is cutting funding for renowned faith-based Canadian foreign aid group KAIROS and for Alternatives. These groups advocate for human rights, clean drinking water, democratic governance and social justice in developing countries that have been ripped apart by decades of war and corruption. Canada used to have a history of fighting world poverty. Now that is not a government priority.
    Why is the government cutting funding to KAIROS and Alternatives instead of applauding and supporting their good international work just when it is needed the most?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear. This government supports and will continue to support the good work of religious and church-based organizations. In fact we work with the Adventists Development and Relief Agency, the Canadian Baptist Ministries, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Evangelical Mission Church of Canada, the Mennonite Central Committee, the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, the Presbyterian World Service and Development, the Anglican Church, the United Church, the Salvation Army, World--
    The hon. member for Brandon—Souris.

Public Service of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, our nation has always been proud of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Historically the spouses of those who sacrificed their lives in both world wars as well as Korea were given priority placement in the public service. Can the President of the Treasury Board tell the House how we have updated this practice?
    Mr. Speaker, military families have always been a priority for our government. That is why I am pleased to tell the House that the Public Service Commission has been working with government departments on some important changes to help military families. These proposed regulations will give priority for externally advertised public service positions to surviving spouses or common-law partners of persons employed in the public service, members of the Canadian Forces and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Any form of assistance that helps these families deal with injury and loss is the least that we can do for our men and women in uniform.

Presence in Gallery

    Order, please. I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Michael Murphy, Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Consumer Affairs for New Brunswick.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Public Safety and National Security  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth and fifth reports of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. The fourth report is in relation to Bill C-34, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts, and the fifth report is on the statutory review of the Sex Offender Information Registration Act.

  (1505)  

Environment and Sustainable Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in relation to supplementary estimates (B), 2009-10.

[Translation]

Industry, Science and Technology  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in relation to its study on supplementary estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.

[English]

Government Operations and Estimates  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates with respect to the supplementary estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.

Canada Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce in the House private member's Bill C-488, An Act to amend the Investment Canada Act (disclosure of undertakings and demands). When a foreign company takes over a Canadian company, it often must first make undertakings to Industry Canada to ensure that the acquisition will be a net benefit to the country. Currently, these undertakings are confidential under the Investment Canada Act. I believe Canadians have the right to know what commitments a foreign company has made when it takes over a Canadian company, especially when it concerns our natural resources.
    The bill would allow any Canadian citizen the right to request that these undertakings be made public. With recent events with Xstrata, Vale Inco and U.S. Steel, it is time for Parliament to introduce transparency and accountability to foreign takeover agreements.

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

Inco Limited Acquisition Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce in the House a private member's bill, an act respecting the acquisition of Inco Limited by CVRD Canada Inc. Vale, formerly CVRD, acquired Canada-owned mining company Inco in October 2006. At that time, the company made a commitment to Industry Canada to not lay off any of its Canadian workers for a period of three years.
    Despite this commitment, Vale Inco has made a series of layoff announcements this year. I have made requests to have these undertakings made public by the Minister of Industry, Vale Inco and the House of Commons and through the Access to Information Act and have repeatedly been denied.
    I therefore present this legislation, which would release the details of the Vale Inco agreement along with any correspondence between the minister and the company and its enforcement.

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

  (1510)  

[Translation]

Falconbridge Limited Acquisition Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce a private member's bill respecting the acquisition of Falconbridge by Xstrata PLC.
    Xstrata acquired Canadian mining company Falconbridge in July 2006. At the time, Xstrata promised Industry Canada that it would not lay off any Canadian workers for three years, but that did not prevent it from firing 686 employees. In the House of Commons, I asked the Minister of Industry to make the agreements in question public, and I also asked the government under the Access to Information Act, but have so far received no response.
    I am therefore introducing this bill to publish the details of the agreement signed with Xstrata and all correspondence exchanged between the minister and the company about enforcement of that agreement.

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

[English]

Olympic Flame Torchbearers

    Mr. Speaker, there have been extensive consultations among all parties and if you were to seek it, I think you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, at 2 p.m. on Thursday, December 10, 2009, the House resolve itself into committee of the whole in order to welcome torchbearers carrying the Olympic flame; that the Speaker be permitted to preside over the committee of the whole and make welcoming remarks on behalf of the House; and, when the proceedings of the committee have concluded or at 2:20 p.m., whichever comes first, the committee shall rise and the House shall resume its business as though it were 2 p.m., provided that the time taken for the proceedings be added to the time provided for government orders on that day.
    Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

Darfur  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present a petition signed by numerous residents of my constituency in Guelph.
    The petitioners seek federal action to expedite the end of the atrocities in Darfur. Specifically, they call upon the Government of Canada to help end the attacks by militias on the ethnic Darfur people and continue humanitarian aid to the Darfur-Chad refugee camps.
     I present this petition on behalf of my constituents.

International Aid  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition entitled Canadian Grandmothers for Africa, a national advocacy network, undersigned by many Canadians across the country.
    The residents of Canada petition the House of Commons to ensure that Canada sets a timetable to meet by 2015 its 40 year old promise to contribute 0.7% of our gross national product to development assistance, as well as to contribute its fair share to the global fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, that is 5% of the funding needed for the next five years, and make legislative changes necessary for Canada's Access to Medicine Regime to facilitate the immediate and sustainable flow of lower cost generic medicines to developing countries.

[Translation]

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, with the Copenhagen climate change conference opening today, I have the honour to present a petition signed by 10,000 people from the Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches regions. The petitioners are calling for Canada to implement significant greenhouse gas reductions of at least 25% by 2020, using 1990 as the reference year. They also want concrete solutions before an ambitious agreement is signed in Copenhagen.
    I thank all of the individuals and groups who helped make this extensive operation possible, including Équiterre, the Conseil régional de l'environnement de la Capitale nationale, and Nature Québec.
    The Conservative government reminded us once again this morning that it does not plan to make any new concessions during negotiations in Copenhagen, and that it will adopt a take it or leave it approach. This petition urges the Prime Minister to change his climate change policy and to consider the disastrous economic, social, human and environmental consequences climate change can have.

  (1515)  

[English]

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table a number of petitions.
    The first petition calls for the Government of Canada to support a universal declaration on animal welfare. This petition, signed by a number of Ontario residents, acknowledges that animals often feel pain and suffer. It also acknowledges the significant role animals play in our lives. This effort would help prevent animal cruelty and reduce animal suffering.

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to present 10 petitions from Canadians.
    The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to make changes to the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. These changes will help to protect the rights of all Canadian employees and to ensure that employees receiving pensions or long-term disability benefits laid off by a company undergoing bankruptcy proceedings will obtain preferred creditor status over other unsecured creditors.

Canada Post Corporation  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.
    The first petition concerns rural post offices. One of the things we know about public post offices is they connect communities throughout this vast land, helping us to overcome differences and distances. Public post offices play a key role in our social and economic lives by providing the infrastructure that healthy communities need to thrive and for businesses to grow.
    The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to maintain and improve its network of public post offices and to consult with the public, their elected representatives, postal unions and other major stakeholders to develop a uniform and democratic process for making changes to this network.
     Rural post offices are very important to Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Salmon Fishery  

    Mr. Speaker, my second petition calls for the judicial inquiry on the salmon crisis. We know the judicial inquiry has been called, but we also know the length of time, up until 2011, is simply too long for interim action.
    The petitioners urgently call upon the government to establish an independent judicial inquiry under the Federal Inquiry Act to fully explore all the facts, consult with scientists and stakeholders to determine what went wrong with this year's sockeye run and to present a public report with binding solutions within six months.
    I would also urge the government to include first nations throughout the province in the judicial inquiry. They have an important role to play in looking at what went wrong with the fisheries.

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 and as certified by the Clerk of Petitions, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of pensioners and retirees, particularly those on long-term disability benefits, pursuant to plans of companies like Nortel.
    The petitioners from my riding of Mississauga South call upon Parliament to amend the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to protect the rights of all Canadians and to ensure that employees who receive pensions or long-term disability benefits and who are laid off by a company during bankruptcy proceedings obtain preferred creditor status over other unsecured creditors. They also ask that the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act be amended to ensure that employee-related claims are paid from proceeds of Canadian asset sales before funds are permitted to leave the country.
    I believe this is an important petition and I hope the government will heed the pleadings of these petitioners.

Aviation Safety  

    Mr. Speaker, I have here petitions that are signed by hundreds of Canadians from every province in the Confederation, from British Columbia through Ontario, Quebec, the Prairies and right through to Atlantic Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador.
    The petitioners are concerned about the government's implementation of the so-called safety management systems, or self-serve safety. They are concerned about financial considerations outweighing safety. They are concerned about Canada losing its safety record and that we may no longer even be compliant with our obligations to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
    On behalf of these petitioners, I would like to table this petition. They call upon the government to initiate a commission of inquiry that would conduct a judicial review into Canada's state of aviation safety. They are concerned about our safety, and they have right to be.

  (1520)  

Salmon Fishery  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition with many hundreds of names on it, calling for the inquiry, which the federal government eventually relented to, on the collapse of the sockeye fishery on the west coast.
    What is important about this petition effort is New Democrats have been receiving names and signatures from people right across British Columbia, and in fact across Canada, imploring the government to act with some sort of responsible management over our fishery. It has proven itself to be a fruitful exercise. Canadians, when they wrote this petition, signed it and talked about it with their friends. They were able to force the government to do something it said was not necessary.
    I remember the Conservative candidate in the recent byelection said that it would be a witch hunt and that we did not even need it. The Conservatives were out of touch with British Columbians.
    These Canadians who signed this petition calling for this inquiry saw the right path forward. Through pressure like this, they were able to make the Conservative government act like a proper government and force this inquiry to happen.

Employment Insurance  

    Mr. Speaker, my petition is signed by dozens of Manitobans and calls for equal employment insurance benefits for adoptive parents.
    Canadians realize that adoption is important and compassionate in a just society. The current EI program provides adoptive parents with only 35 weeks of paid leave, followed by a further 15 weeks of unpaid leave. The biological mother is given both the first 35 weeks and the latter 15 weeks of paid leave.
    We all know that adoptions are expensive, lengthy and stressful to the adoptive parents and their families. Recent studies have shown that the additional 15 weeks of paid leave will help these parents to support their adopted children and help them through a very difficult period.
    The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to support Bill C-413, tabled by the MP for Burnaby—New Westminster, which would amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code to ensure that an adoptive parent would be entitled to the same number of weeks of paid leave as the biological mother of a newborn child.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition, signed by well over 100 of my constituents. The petitioners recognize that over a billion people worldwide rely on animals for their livelihoods and for companionship.
     They call upon the government to support a universal declaration of animal welfare.

Aviation Safety  

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise to table a petition that calls for a commission of inquiry into safety aviation.
    The petitioners are concerned by the fact that Transport Canada is reducing traditional oversight and inspection methods and is delegating its responsibilities to aviation companies via a safety management system. They also are concerned with the fact that the Government of Canada has sought amendments to the Aeronautics Act that continue secrecy provisions and do not effectively protect whistleblowers. Other concerns are with regard to Canadian aviation regulations, financial considerations versus safety, lack of investigations from the Transport Safety Board, as well as a few other pertinent concerns.
    As previously mentioned, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to initiate a commission of inquiry, headed by a Superior Court judge, to conduct a judicial review into Canada's state of national aviation safety and government oversight of the aviation industry.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present, signed by Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    The petitioners ask the Government of Canada to initiate a commission of inquiry to conduct a judicial review into Canada's state of national aviation safety.
    These are the voices of Canadians who are concerned about the government's wish to recede from the role that it should play in ensuring that our aviation systems are safe. As someone who has survived a plane crash and represents many communities where travelling by air is the only way one is going to get out, we know air safety is nothing to be played around with. These Canadians know. We want the government to act.

Transport  

    Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions.
     The first petitioner is from a group of cyclists in my riding. They even ride bicycles in the winter. Right now, they are concerned that there are no side guards on trucks.
    They call upon the Government of Canada to introduce a regulation under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act requiring side under run guards for large trucks and trailers to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from being pulled under the wheels of these vehicles. They note that in European countries this is already in place. They also note that, according to 1993 coroner reports on the death of cyclists, 37% of collisions resulting in cyclist fatalities involved large trucks. These side guards can save lives.
     Therefore, they ask the federal government to take action.

  (1525)  

Citizenship  

    Mr. Speaker, I have another petition regarding people who work abroad and what is going to happen to their children.
     Prime ministers have been in different countries encouraging trade. We have noticed that, as of April 17, 2009, children and grandchildren of Canadian ex-pat and adoptive families have had their citizenships downgraded, or worse, stripped away. These families, which recently were able to pass on their Canadian citizenship for their born-abroad children, have had such rights stripped away.
     They call upon the Government of Canada to adopt NDP Bill C-397, which would restore equality among all Canadians no matter where they are born and ensure that the citizenship status of the children and grandchildren of Canadian families that work overseas and government diplomats would not be downgraded or stripped away outright. That would cause statelessness in some born-abroad children. They ask that we remain in compliance with Canada's ratification of the 1961 convention on the reduction of statelessness, et cetera.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, my last petition is a large one. It concerns a universal declaration on animal welfare.
    Given the recent controversy around the Toronto Humane Society and that animals can feel pain and suffer, we should make all efforts to prevent animal cruelty and reduce animal suffering. Over a billion people around the world rely on animals for their livelihoods. Many others rely on animals for companionship. Half of Canadians have a pet.
     Therefore, they petition the Government of Canada to support a universal declaration on animal welfare.
    The time for presenting petitions has expired. We will proceed with questions on the order paper. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 474, 477, 478, 479, 485, 490, 491, 492, 493, 494, 495, 496, 497, 507, 508, 509, 511, 512, 515, 518, 519, 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 528, 530, 531, 532, 537, 543, 544, 545, 546, 554, 555, 556, 557, 563, 577, 578 and 579.

[Text]

Question No. 474--
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh:
     With regard to the mission in Afghanistan: (a) what contingencies have been developed in the event that the Canadian military mission is extended beyond 2011; (b) what ministerial resources have been devoted to this effort; (c) what major material purchases have been acquired to facilitate such contingency; and (d) what measures have been taken to prepare our human resources in the Armed Forces for the contingency of extension?
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the Chief of the Defence Staff has issued direction to redeploy Canadian Forces from Afghanistan in accordance with the parliamentary motion on Afghanistan of March 13, 2008.The Department of National Defence has not developed contingencies for the extension of the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan beyond 2011.
    In response to (b), the Department of National Defence has not devoted any ministerial resources to planning for an extension of the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan beyond 2011 as the Chief of the Defence Staff has issued direction to redeploy Canadian Forces from Afghanistan in accordance with the parliamentary motion on Afghanistan of March 13, 2008.
    In resonse to (c), the Department of National Defence has not acquired major materials to facilitate any contingency for an extension of the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan beyond 2011 as the Chief of the Defence Staff has issued direction to redeploy Canadian Forces from Afghanistan in accordance with the parliamentary motion on Afghanistan of March 13, 2008.
    In response to (d), the Canadian Forces continues to prepare and train high-readiness forces for use in domestic or international missions as directed by the Government of Canada. However, the Department of National Defence has not taken any specific measures to prepare human resources in the Canadian Forces for an extension of the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan beyond 2011 as the Chief of the Defence Staff has issued direction to redeploy Canadian forces from Afghanistan in accordance with the parliamentary motion on Afghanistan of March 13, 2008.
Question No. 477--
Hon. John McCallum:
     With respect to section 3.7 of the Treasury Board’s Policies and Guidelines for Ministers’ Offices, between October 19, 2007 and October 19, 2009 what is the total amount of funds dispersed from the Consolidated Revenue Fund to pay for: (a) severance pay for departing exempt staff of the combined Cabinet including the Prime Minister’s Office, all Ministers’ offices and all Ministers of States’ offices; and (b) separation pay for departing exempt staff of the combined Cabinet including the Prime Minister’s Office, all Ministers’ offices and all Ministers of States’ offices?
Hon. Vic Toews (President of the Treasury Board, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, between October 19, 2007 and October 19, 2009 the total amounts of funds dispersed from the consolidated revenue fund to pay for severance and separation pay for departing exempt staff of the combined cabinet including the Prime Minister’s Office, all ministers’ offices and all ministers of states’ offices were (a) $2,013,300, and (b) $4,907,032 respectively.
Question No. 478--
Hon. Irwin Cotler:
     With respect to the prosecution, under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, of alleged perpetrators of such crimes, does the government intend: (a) to improve the rate of war crimes prosecution in Canada; and (b) to double the budget of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program of the Department of Justice, in order to facilitate increased prosecutions thereunder?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the government is committed to prosecuting individuals involved in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. The government is committed to ensuring that Canada will not be a safe haven for anyone involved in crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.
     In response to (b), the government is considering future funding options for the program.
Question No. 479--
Hon. Irwin Cotler:
     With respect to the Iranian leadership’s comments concerning Israel and Jews, does the government: (a) recognize that Iran has committed the crime of incitement to genocide under international legal instruments; (b) intend to act to combat Iranian incitement to genocide; (c) intend to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for discussion and action regarding its state-sanctioned incitement to genocide; and (d) intend to initiate before the International Court of Justice an interstate complaint against Iran?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a) and (b), in September 2009, the Minister of Foreign Affairs led the Canadian delegation in walking out of the United Nations General Assembly as President Ahmadinejad was delivering his speech. This action was taken in order to protest his repugnant statements against Israel and his continual denial of the Holocaust, as well as Iran’s blatant disregard for the basic human rights of its citizens and foreign nationals, including Canadian Zahra Kazemi, whose death remains unexplained. We were followed by many like-minded members of the international community, including the United States and most European countries. Our actions demonstrated Canada’s leadership and commitment to taking a clear position on Iran’s unacceptable behaviour.
    Canada has long been outspoken in the UN and elsewhere about the unacceptable undemocratic practices and deplorable human rights record of the Government of Iran. We are deeply concerned that the human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated significantly in 2009, especially following the June 12 presidential elections. As part of its ongoing efforts to focus the international community’s attention on the human rights situation in Iran, Canada, along with 41 co-sponsors, tabled a resolution on the human rights situation in Iran on October 29, 2009, at the third committee of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, for the seventh consecutive year. The resolution was adopted by the third committee of the UNGA on November 20, 2009. It expresses particular concern about the human rights violations committed by the Government of Iran following the June 12, 2009, presidential election. The resolution calls on the Government of Iran to fully respect its human rights obligations and implement previous resolutions and to cooperate with international human rights mechanisms by redressing its inadequate record of co-operation with international human rights mechanisms. It also encourages Iran to “continue exploring cooperation on human rights and justice reform with the United Nations, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights”. The adoption of the Canada-led resolution is another clear signal of the international community’s concern for the human rights of people in Iran. It sends a message of hope to the victims of violations, and to the human rights defenders who seek to effect positive change in Iran.
    The international community has a responsibility to address egregious violations of human rights. Canada, along with much of the international community, believes it is important that we continue to exert pressure on the Iranian regime to improve the current situation for the people of Iran.
    In response to (c), if Canada were to refer Iran to the UNSC regarding its remarks calling for the eradication of the State of Israel, it is unlikely that the UNSC would take any action, thereby handing Iran an undesirable political victory. Instead, as outlined in the 2009 UN resolution on the human rights situation in Iran, Canada will continue to press the Iranian government to grant access to the special rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; and on the situation of human rights defenders access to Iran; as well as the working group on arbitrary detention and the working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances; in order to monitor human rights violations writ large.
    In response to (d), it is unclear whether the International Court of Justice would be able to take jurisdiction in this case. An unsuccessful attempt at pursuing Iran in this forum would hand the regime an undesirable political victory. Moreover, Israel, as the state party most concerned with this matter, has not brought an action before the ICJ.
Question No. 485--
Ms. Siobhan Coady:
     With regards to government advertising, how much money has the government spent on television and radio advertising since August 15, 2008, giving particulars of (i) how much has been spent by each department or agency of government, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 485 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 490--
Hon. Scott Brison:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between September 1 and 30, 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 490 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 491--
Hon. Scott Brison:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between August 1 and 31 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 491 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 492--
Hon. Scott Brison:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between July 1 and 31, 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 492 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 493--
Hon. Scott Brison:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between June 1 and 30, 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 493 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009,Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 494--
Mr. Rodger Cuzner:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between May 1 and 31, 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 494 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 495--
Mr. Rodger Cuzner:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between April 1 and 30, 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 495 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 496--
Mr. Rodger Cuzner:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between March 1 and 31, 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 496 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 497--
Mr. Rodger Cuzner:
    With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between February 1 and 28, 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 497 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 507--
Ms. Megan Leslie:
     With regard to the recommendations contained in the report entitled “Spiralling out of Control, Lessons Learned from a Boy in Trouble--Report of the Nunn Commission of Inquiry”, released in December 2006 by the Minister of Justice, what is the current status of any action that the government has taken to meet these recommendations?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Nova Scotia shared with the Government of Canada the 2006 report of the Nunn commission entitled “Spiralling out of Control, Lessons Learned from a Boy in Trouble” in which recommendations were directed to the provincial government. Many of those recommendations stressed the need for improved services for at-risk youth, and urged improvements to the administration of justice for youth. A few called upon the provincial government to lobby the federal government for changes to the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act, particularly in the area of the pretrial detention and release.
    While the provision of programs for at-risk youth is largely a provincial responsibility, significant federal crime prevention resources directed at high-risk youth have gone to Nova Scotia. These programs include: building crime prevention knowledge in Atlantic Canada, $331,838 over three years to the Atlantic Coordinating Committee for Crime Prevention and Community Safety; Youth advocate program, $1.9 million over four years to the Halifax regional municipality; and Saint Mary’s University Pals program, $342,000 from 2007 to Saint Mary’s University.
    The Government of Canada took issues raised by the Nunn commission and others about issues with pretrial detention and release in the youth justice systems very seriously. A consultation paper on pretrial detention and release, which included issues raised in the Nunn commission report, was shared in the spring of 2007 and feedback was received.
    On November 19, 2007, Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act was introduced. Among other provisions, it proposed amendments to the pretrial detention sections of the federal youth justice legislation. This bill was supported by the Attorney General of Nova Scotia.
    Over the past year, the government conducted a comprehensive review of the Youth Criminal Justice Act to hear what Canadians have to say on youth justice. The review brought forward valuable input for the government to consider as we work to improve our youth criminal justice system.
    Although Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act died with the dissolution of Parliament in September 2008, the Government remains committed to introducing amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act that will strengthen the youth criminal justice system, including pretrial detention and release provisions.
Question No. 508--
Mr. Michael Savage:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between February 1 and 28, 2007 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 508 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 509--
Mr. Michael Savage:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between March 1 and 31, 2007 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 509 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 511--
Hon. Geoff Regan:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between October 1 and 31, 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 511 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 512--
Hon. Geoff Regan:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between November 1 and 30, 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 512 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 515--
Mr. Francis Valeriote:
     With regard to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario): (a) what is the date that FedDev Ontario was created through order in council; (b) what is the total amount of money to be allocated from the Agency’s 2009-2010 funds for the Agency’s 2009-2010 operating expenses, and how much has been spent to date; (c) what happens to funds allocated either to programs or operating expenses that were not spent by the Agency during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010; (d) on what dates did the Agency, and each of FedDev Ontario’s regional offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener, Peterborough and Stratford begin incurring operating expenses; (e) what is the number of staff hired to date and expected to be hired in 2009-2010 for each of FedDev Ontario’s offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener, Peterborough and Stratford; (f) what dollar amount of the Agency’s operating expenses in fiscal year 2009-2010 will be spent on staff salaries for those staff employed at each of the Ottawa, Toronto, Peterborough, Kitchener, and Stratford offices; (g) what is the number of staff hired in 2009-2010 for FedDev Ontario’s call center in Toronto; (h) what total dollar amount of the Agency’s operating expenses will be paid to staff in salary for FedDev Ontario’s call center in Toronto; (i) what is the total operating expense for FedDev Ontario’s call centre in Toronto; (j) what is the median annual income of an Agency employee; (k) what is the annual income of the Agency’s president; and (l) what is the annual income of the Agency’s vice president-infrastructure.
Hon. Gary Goodyear (Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario), CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, FedDev Ontario, in response to (a), FedDev Ontario was created through order in council on August 13, 2009.
    In response to (b), regarding the total amount of money to be allocated from the agency’s 2009-10 funds for the agency’s 2009-10 operating expenses, and how much has been spent to date, 2009-10 is a transition year from Industry Canada to the agency. As such, the agency continues to work closely with Industry Canada through established memoranda of understanding for the provision of certain services. Costing for these services has not yet been charged to the agency. A full accounting of agency expenditures will be available in the 2009-10 public accounts.
    In response to (c), regarding what happens to funds allocated either to programs or operating expenses that were not spent by the agency during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, the agency is delivering programs that are beneficial to southern Ontario while respecting fiscal prudence and proper accountability. Funds allocated to the agency are intended to be spent by March 31, 2009.
    In response to (d), the agency, and each of FedDev Ontario’s regional offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener, Peterborough and Stratford began incurred operating expenses on August 13, 2009.
    In response to (e), regarding the number of staff hired to date and expected to be hired in 2009-10 for each of FedDev Ontario’s offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener, Peterborough and Stratford, the staff complement as of October 21, 2009, including students and personnel from temporary help services, was 103. The agency will continue to staff in order to meet its needs over the course of the fiscal year. A substantial number of new employees being hired will be located in Kitchener.
    In response to (f), what dollar amount of the agency’s operating expenses in fiscal year 2009-10 will be spent on staff salaries for those staff employed at each of the Ottawa, Toronto, Peterborough, Kitchener, and Stratford offices, actual expenditures for 2009-10 will be available in the 2009-10 public accounts.
    In response to (g), what is the number of staff hired in 2009-10 for FedDev Ontario’s call centre in Toronto, FedDev Ontario has entered into an agreement for services with the Canada Ontario Business Service Centre to provide the service of a call centre for FedDev Ontario. As a result, FedDev Ontario has not hired any staff for this function.
    In response to (h), what total dollar amount of the agency’s operating expenses will be paid to staff in salary for FedDev Ontario’s call centre in Toronto, FedDev Ontario does not have any staff for the call centre.
    In response to (i), what is the total operating expense for FedDev Ontario’s call centre in Toronto, as expenses continue to be incurred, this information will be available after the end of the current fiscal year.
    In response to (j), what is the median annual income of an agency employee, as the agency is still staffing toward its full complement, this information will be available after the end of the current fiscal year.
    In response to (k), what is the annual income of the agency’s president, the exact earnings of individuals is considered to be their personal information and therefore protected from disclosure by virtue of the Privacy Act. The annual income for this position is between $206,700 and $243,200.
    In response to (l), what is the annual income of the agency’s vice-president, infrastructure, the exact earnings of individuals is considered to be their personal information and therefore protected from disclosure by virtue of the Privacy Act. The annual income for the agency vice-president, infrastructure is between $145,600 and $171,300.
Question No. 518--
Mr. Francis Valeriote:
     With regard to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario): (a) what is the government’s long term strategy for the development and distribution of funds from the Agency’s Southern Ontario Development Program; (b) which Southern Ontario business associations, not for profit organizations, post-secondary institutions and municipalities were consulted in advance of the Agency’s launch in August 2009 to ensure its objectives, plans, and priorities were in line with Southern Ontario’s economic needs, and on what dates; (c) what is the Minister’s long term consultation strategy for the aforementioned Southern Ontario stakeholders; and (d) will the Agency employ any specific strategy or program to address those industries and regions of southern Ontario most impacted by the recession?
Hon. Gary Goodyear (Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario), CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Southern Ontario Development Agency, FedDev Ontario, in response to (a), what is the government’s long-term strategy for the development and distribution of funds from the agency’s southern Ontario development program, the current program parameters for southern Ontario development program were developed as a result of consultations with community leaders and economic development stakeholders throughout the southern Ontario region. The agency will continue to consult key stakeholders with the goal of hearing first-hand about the specific concerns of their communities, and to seek suggestions on the best approaches to foster enhanced productivity, innovation, commercialization, and diversification. In parallel, FedDev will continue to undertake economic and data analyses on the economic landscape of southern Ontario.
    In response to (b), which southern Ontario business associations, not-for-profit organizations, post-secondary institutions and municipalities were consulted in advance of the agency’s launch in August 2009 to ensure its objectives, plans, and priorities were in line with southern Ontario’s economic needs, and on what dates, in advance of the agency’s launch on August 13, 2009, a number of consultations were carried out. Between March 12 and May 14, 2009, Industry Canada consulted with: National Research Council/Industrial Research Assistance Program, NRC/IRAP; Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NSERC; Queen's Technology Transfer, PARTEQ; University of Toronto;Business Development Bank of Canada, BDC; University of Ottawa;MaRS; Communitech Inc.; Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, CME, Ontario members; Ontario Bio-Auto Council;Regional Economic Development Officers for: Burlington; Canadian Consulate General, Detroit; City of Brampton; City of Brantford; City of Hamilton; City of Mississauga; City of Oshawa; City of Stratford; City of Woodstock; Cornwall Economic Development Corporation; Greater Peterborough Economic Development Corp.; Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance; Kingston Economic Development Council; London Economic Development Corporation; Niagara Economic Development Corporation; Northumberland County Economic Development & Tourism Nottawasaga Futures; Quinte Economic Development Council; Region of Durham; Regional Municipality of York; Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership; St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation; Windsor-Essex Development Commission.
    In response to (c), what is the minister’s long-term consultation strategy for the afore-mentioned southern Ontario stakeholders, the minister meets regularly with local officials and stakeholders to ensure FedDev Ontario is responsive to the needs of southern Ontario.
    In response to (d), will the agency employ any specific strategy or program to address those industries and regions of southern Ontario most impacted by the recession, the agency will continue to consult key stakeholders and undertake the necessary economic and data analyses on the economic landscape of southern Ontario to ensure that FedDev Ontario programming continues to address the specific needs of southern Ontario’s hardest hit regions and industries.
Question No. 519--
Mrs. Alexandra Mendes:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between January 1 and 31, 2007 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 519 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 520--
Mrs. Alexandra Mendes:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between December 1 and 31, 2006 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 520 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 522--
Hon. Shawn Murphy:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between July 1 and 31, 2007 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 522 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 523--
Hon. Shawn Murphy:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between June 1 and 30, 2007 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 523 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 524--
Hon. Shawn Murphy:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between May 1 and 31, 2007 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 524 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 525--
Hon. Shawn Murphy:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between April 1 and 30, 2007 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 525 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 528--
Ms. Joyce Murray:
     With respect to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Copenhagen, occurring between December 7 and 18, 2009: (a) what government officials, including parliamentarians, will be attending the conference; (b) who has been invited to join the Canadian delegation; (c) who will be participating in the Canadian delegation; (d) what is the total cost to the government for participation in the conference, including but not limited to delegate fees, accommodation, travel, hospitality and per diems of the Minister, departmental staff, personal and political assistants and all other staff paid by the government; (e) how has the government met Canada’s commitments under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol; and (f) has the government drafted a plan for addressing climate change and, if so, where can it be found?
Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of the Environment, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the Prime Minister will attend the conference in Copenhagen.
    The Minister of the Environment will be the head of delegation for the ministerial segment of the meeting, scheduled for December 16 to 18, 2009. From December 7 to 16, 2009, Canada’s chief negotiator for climate change, Mr. Michael Martin, will lead Canada’s delegation, supported by a team of federal, provincial and territorial officials. Critics of the environment from each federal party will be invited to attend the conference as well.
    In response to (b), provincial and territorial premiers, or designated representatives, have been invited to join the Canadian delegation. The delegation will also include a number of advisors representing a range of Canadian stakeholders.
    In response to (c), federal officials and representatives from the provinces and territories will be part of the Canadian delegation, as well as a number of external advisers.
    In response to (d), final decisions have yet to be made with respect to the exact number of federal officials that will need to participate on the Canadian delegation in Copenhagen. A final list of delegates will need to be approved by the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. However, based on experience at previous UNFCCC conference of the parties and estimated expected expenses, we are projecting a potential total cost of approximately $1.7 million Canadian for the government participation at Copenhagen. This total includes the cost of accommodation, travel, per diems and delegation meeting rooms. There are no delegate fees associated with the meeting.
    In response to (e), Canada signed the Kyoto protocol on April 29, 1998 and ratified it on December 17, 2002. The Kyoto protocol entered into force on February 16, 2005.
    Canada’s commitments in the UNFCCC and its Kyoto protocol are clear. Canada remains a party to the Kyoto protocol and is actively engaged in negotiations for the post-2012 period.
    Canada’s assigned reduction amount for the 2008 to 2012 commitment period is 2,791 million tonnes CO2 eq. Similar to a number of other annex 1 parties with Kyoto protocol commitments, Canada’s emissions in the 2008 to 2012 period are projected to exceed its assigned amount. The Kyoto protocol provides annex 1 parties with the right to acquire or transfer emission units. Canada meets all the eligibility criteria and became eligible to participate in all the flexibility mechanisms under the Kyoto protocol on June 16, 2008.
    The compliance of annex 1 parties with their Kyoto commitments will be determined following the completion of an expert review of its 2012 emissions inventory, to be submitted by April 15 in 2014.
    Going forward, Canada believes we should build on the experience gained through the implementation of the Kyoto protocol in developing a new agreement under the convention to strengthen the environmental effectiveness of the existing global climate change regime through binding commitments and actions by all major emitters.
    In response to (f), in March 2008, the government published the Turning the Corner plan. Earlier this year, the government indicated that it was refining this approach to reflect the new realities of the global economic downturn and the opportunities represented by a new administration in the United States. The government publishes information on the implementation of its climate change programs annually through the climate change plans for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. These documents can be found on Environment Canada's Web site, and are also available in hard copy by contacting the department.
Question No. 530--
Hon. Judy Sgro:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between December 1 and 31, 2007 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 530 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 531--
Hon. Judy Sgro:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between January 1 and 31, 2008 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 531 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 532--
Hon. Judy Sgro:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between February 1 and 29, 2008 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 532 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 537--
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between March 1 and 31, 2008 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 537 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 543--
Mr. Mario Silva:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between July 1 and 31, 2008 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 543 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 544--
Mr. Mario Silva:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between June 1 and 30, 2008 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 544 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 545--
Mr. Mario Silva:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between May 1 and 31, 2008 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 545 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 546--
Mr. Mario Silva:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between April 1 and 30, 2008 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 546 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 554--
Mr. Pablo Rodriguez:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between April 1 and 30, 2009 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 554 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 555--
Mr. Pablo Rodriguez:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between March 1 and 31, 2009 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 555 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 556--
Mr. Pablo Rodriguez:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between February 1 and 28, 2009 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 556 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 557--
Mr. Pablo Rodriguez:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between January 1 and 31, 2009 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 557 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 563--
Hon. John McCallum:
    With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between October 1 and 26, 2009 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, Question No. 563 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 577--
Mr. Brian Murphy:
     With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between May 1 and 31, 2009 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of the government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 577 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 578--
Mr. Brian Murphy:
    With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between December 1 and 31, 2008 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of the government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 578 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.
Question No. 579--
Mr. Brian Murphy:
    With regard to government advertising, how much money did the government spend on television and radio advertising between November 1 and 30, 2008 inclusive, giving particulars of (i) how much each department or agency of the government spent on such advertising, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Question No. 579 is similar to 34 other questions.
    The information requested in these questions was previously requested in Question No. 395, tabled on September 14, 2009, Debates, Volume 144, No. 080, page 4940. Breaking up that larger question into smaller questions does not alter the government’s response to the original question.
    The data required to adequately respond to these questions is contained on more than 27,000 pages of raw data. To answer these questions as posed would require a second level of sorting and a manual search through a combination of electronic and paper archives to attribute each purchase to a particular campaign. In addition, the data is available in the original language only and it is not possible to produce and translate this information in the time period required.
    The Government of Canada produces an advertising annual report which provides information on the process used to manage government advertising, annual expenditures, and the major campaigns undertaken to support government priorities.
    These annual reports are available at the following link: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/pub-adv/annuel-annual-fra.html.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 467, 469, 470, 471, 472, 473, 475, 481, 484, 486, 499, 502, 505, 510, 514, 516, 517 and 526 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 467--
Mr. Marcel Proulx:
     With regard to the distribution of jobs in the government and all federal public agencies in the National Capital Region: (a) how many jobs were there in 2009 on the Quebec side of the National Capital Region; and (b) how many jobs were there in 2009 on the Ontario side of the National Capital Region?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 469--
Mr. Marcel Proulx:
     With regard to economic stimulus projects in the constituency of Hull—Aylmer: (a) what projects have been announced; (b) what amounts have been allocated; and (c) when did the projects begin?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 470--
Mr. Marcel Proulx:
     With regard to economic stimulus projects in the constituency of Gatineau: (a) what projects have been announced; (b) what amounts have been allocated; and (c) when did the projects begin?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 471--
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh:
     With regard to Afghan detainees: (a) when did the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defence receive each of the following documents: KANDH-0029, KANDH-0032, KBGR-0118, KBGR-0121, KBGR-0160, KBGR-0258, KBGR-0263, KBGR-0265, KBGR-0267, KBGR-0269, KGBR-0271, KBGR-0274, KBGR-0275, KBGR-0291, KBGR-0292, KBGR-0302 and KBGR-0321; (b) what actions were taken or instructions given in response to these documents; (c) did the offices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence receive copies of each of the listed documents and, if so, when; (d) what actions were taken or instructions given by the offices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence in response to these documents; (e) were briefing notes prepared or was a briefing given for either Minister with regards to these documents and, if so, when; (f) did the Office of the Prime Minister or the Privy Council Office receive copies of these documents and, if so, when; and (g) were briefing notes prepared, or was a briefing given to the Prime Minister regarding the documents and, if so, when?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 472--
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh:
     With regard to the withholding of information by the government under section 38 of the Evidence Act for reasons of national security: (a) what criteria or guidelines are used to determine whether a piece of information would have an impact on national security; (b) how does the government define “impact on national security”; (c) who in the government is responsible for determining which pieces of information will be subject to section 38; (d) do the Ministers of Justice, National Defence or Foreign Affairs or the Prime Minister or their offices have an input on what information will be withheld on national security grounds; (e) what role does the Department of Justice play in redacting or suppressing information under Section 38 of the Evidence Act; (f) what role does the Privy Council Office play in reviewing or further redacting information that could have an impact on national security; (g) what role does the Prime Minister’s Office play in the decision to withhold information on national security grounds; and (h) what role does the Prime Minister’s Office play in reviewing or further redacting information judged to be a risk to national security?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 473--
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh:
     With regard to reports that Canadian soldiers witnessed Afghan children being sexually abused by members of the Afghan National Police or the Afghan National Army: (a) were any complaints or reports filed with either the Canadian Forces, Military Police, Department of National Defence, or Department of Foreign Affairs alleging that children were being abused; (b) when were these complaints or reports filed; (c) what actions were taken to address these complaints or reports; (d) when was the Minister of National Defence or his office informed of the existence of these complaints or reports; (e) what instructions were given by the Minister of National Defence or his office with regard to these complaints or reports, and when; (f) when did the Minister of National Defence first receive a briefing on this issue; (g) when were briefing notes first written by either the Minister’s staff, the Department of National Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Canadian Forces, or the Military Police; (h) were the Canadian Forces or Military Police ever instructed not to report incidents of child sexual abuse and, if so, when; (i) were the Canadian Forces or Military Police ever instructed not to intervene or prevent incidents of child sexual abuse if they witnessed them and, if so, when; and (j) when were the Canadian Forces and Military Police explicitly instructed to report or prevent such incidents?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 475--
Hon. John McCallum:
     With respect to the Department of Finance, for all contracts under $10,000 signed between December 1, 2008 and October 19, 2009, what is the: (a) vendor name; (b) contract reference number; (c) contract date; (d) description of work; (e) delivery date; (f) original contract value; and (g) final contract value if different from the original?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 481--
Ms. Yasmin Ratansi:
     With respect to ministers' office expenses within the National Capital Region: (a) what has been the total amount spent on taxis for each fiscal year from 2005-2006 up to and including the current fiscal year for each minister's office; (b) how many employees at each minister's office have access to taxi vouchers; and (c) what is the overtime cost for each minister's driver for each fiscal year from 2005-2006 up to and including the current fiscal year?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 484--
Hon. Anita Neville:
     With regard to the decommissioned Kapyong Barracks in Winnipeg, Manitoba: (a) how many homes are on the base; (b) how many homes are empty on the base; (c) how many of those empty homes are habitable; (d) how many of the homes are rented out; (e) how many members of the military occupy homes on the base; (f) how many RCMP officers occupy homes on the base; (g) how many military personnel occupy homes on the base; (h) how many contract workers have homes on the base; (i) who else occupies the homes on the base; (j) what are the annual approximate costs of repairs to the homes on the base; (k) what are the maintenance costs to the homes on the base; (l) what is the annual cost to maintain all the homes on the base and what is the cost of maintaining the empty homes on the base; (m) what is the maintenance cost of the other buildings on the site; (n) which buildings are occupied, who occupies them and for what purpose; (o) which buildings are empty; (p) has a Treasury Board submission been developed for the transfer of the homes on the base to Canada Lands; and (q) has the government initiated a consultation process with affected First Nations regarding the transfer of the houses and, if so, who is conducting the consultations, what form are they taking, and with whom are the consultations taking place?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 486--
Ms. Siobhan Coady:
     With respect to the Treasury Board, for all contracts under $10,000 signed between January 1 and October 21, 2009, what is: (a) the vendor name; (b) the contract reference number; (c) the contract date; (d) the description of work, (e) the delivery date; (f) the original contract value; and (g) the final contract value if different from the original contract value?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 499--
Hon. Navdeep Bains:
     With regards to Industry Canada’s use of contracts for each fiscal year, since 2004-2005: (a) what are the total number of contracts awarded, their value, contact persons and the names of those organizations that received contracts all broken down by both province and constituency, and whether the contracts are for goods or services; (b) in detail, what each contract was awarded for; (c) was the contract tendered or sole-sourced; (d) in the case of a sole-source contract was it approved by a minister and, if so, which minister approved it; and (e) in the case of a tendered contract, what are the number of tenders put forward and the length of the tender period?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 502--
Hon. Joseph Volpe:
     With respect to the case of Ms. Suaad Hagi Mohamud: (a) what are the details of every official communication held within the Government of Canada concerning this matter, itemized by the date and department of each initiated communication; and (b) what are the details of every communication held between the Government of Canada and the Government of Kenya?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 505--
Hon. Joseph Volpe:
     With respect to temporary resident permits (TRP), since January 2006, how many requests were granted and refused itemized according to (i) the month, (ii) the name of the representative that made the request, (iii) the country of origin of the intended TRP recipients, (iv) the current location and status of each TRP recipient?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 510--
Mr. Michael Savage:
     With respect to the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, for all contracts under $10,000 signed between December 1, 2008 and October 19, 2009, what is: (a) the vendor name; (b) the contract reference number; (c) the contract date; (d) the description of work, (e) the delivery date; (f) the original contract value; and (g) the final contract value if different from the original contract value?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 514--
Hon. Geoff Regan:
     With regard to the government's Economic Action Plan, for each announcement in the constituency of Halifax West: (a) what was (i) the date of announcement, (ii) the amount of stimulus spending announced, (iii) the department which announced it; and (b) was there a public event associated with the announcement and, if so, what was the cost of that event and which elected officials, if any, were invited to appear?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 516--
Mr. Francis Valeriote:
     With regard to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario): (a) what are the terms, cost, and length of the leases signed at each of the Agency’s offices in Kitchener, Peterborough, and Stratford; (b) what is the total operating budget for each of FedDev Ontario’s offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener, Peterborough and Stratford; (c) what is the total dollar amount from the Agency’s 2009-2010 funds to be spent on the cost of administering the core Southern Ontario Development Program; (d) what role, if any, did the Agency play in administering each of the Community Adjustment Fund, the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program, the Economic Development Initiative, the Community Futures Program, the Eastern Ontario Development Program, the Ontario Potable Water Program, the Building Canada Fund, the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program, the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Program, the Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund top up, in fiscal year 2009-2010, and at what total operating cost to the Agency; and (e) what is the current relationship between FedDev Ontario and all existing Economic Stimulus Programming, Industry Canada Programming, and Infrastructure Canada Programming for Ontario stated by FedDev Ontario to be transferred to the Agency with particular reference to the sharing of operating or administration costs for these programs, and will this relationship change in subsequent fiscal years?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 517--
Mr. Francis Valeriote:
     With regard to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario): (a) at which offices are the Agency’s 2009-2010 Southern Ontario Development Program’s applications being received and processed, and will this arrangement change in subsequent fiscal years; (b) was the $50 million transferred to the Business Development Bank of Canada by FedDev Ontario this year administered by the Business Development Bank of Canada; (c) was the $27.5 million transferred from FedDev Ontario to the National Research Industrial Assistance Program this year administered by the National Research Industrial Assistance Program; (d) what will be the Agency’s total funding allocation to the Agency’s core Southern Ontario Development Program in fiscal year 2010-2011, and each subsequent fiscal year according to the government’s five year $1 billion commitment to the Agency in budget 2009; (e) will all of the Agency’s funding through the Southern Ontario Development program in 2010-2011 and each subsequent year be made available for applications; (f) what proportion of the operating or administrative costs will the Agency assume in administering each of the Community Adjustment Fund, the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program, the Economic Development Initiative, the Community Futures Program, the Eastern Ontario Development Program, the Ontario Potable Water Program, the Building Canada Fund, the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program, the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Program, the Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund top up, in fiscal year 2010-2011, at what total operating cost to the Agency; and (g) what amount of the funds from the programs established before the Agency’s creation but stated by FedDev Ontario to be administered by the Agency in the future as outlined in question (f), count toward the total of the government’s five year $1 billion commitment to the Agency in budget 2009?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 526--
Ms. Joyce Murray:
     With respect to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games: (a) since fiscal year 2006-2007 and beyond, how much money has the federal government allocated to the games and what is the total amount; (b) to what entities has the federal government allocated funds and for what purpose; (c) in what amounts have those funds been distributed and on what dates; (d) how much money is being spent on the “Canada Pavilion” and to whom is its construction and preparation being contracted; (e) what are the requests for proposals that the government invited contractors to bid on; (f) who was invited to bid on government requests for proposals; (g) who submitted bids related to government requests for proposals; (h) who adjudicated the bids related to government requests for proposals and based on what criteria; (i) who successfully bid for government requests for proposals, for what amount were the contracts and what was the purpose of the contacts; (j) how much money has been allocated for promoting bilingualism and French translation, on what dates was it distributed and for what purposes; (k) what is the government’s plan to address the H1N1 influenza pandemic before and during the games; (l) how much money is being spent in regard to an H1N1 plan at the games; (m) what is the lead department or agency in charge of overseeing and executing a plan related to H1N1 influenza at the games; and (n) how much money has the government spent on including aboriginal communities in the games and for what initiatives?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

  (1530)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I listened very closely to my hon. colleague, just as I did the other day. I still have not heard whether he has answered Question No. 537. Could he go through the list again and let us know? A number of my constituents have been writing letters, emailing and phoning me about Question No. 537.
    It was on the list the parliamentary secretary read off. I followed along, and he did indicate Question No. 537. The member should be able to find the answer.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Disposition of an Act to amend the Excise Tax Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    The amendment moved by the hon. member for Vancouver East is in order. Therefore, the debate is on the amendment.
     I believe the hon. member for Vancouver East has questions and comments consequent upon her speech. I therefore call for questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Mississauga South.
    Mr. Speaker, during her speech, as I recall, the member made note that pursuant to the memorandums of agreement with both Ontario and British Columbia that the arrangement was to take effect for March 31, 2010.
     That is true, however, I am not sure if she is aware that the province of Ontario has announced it will pass its legislation before Christmas. The reason for this is that part of the arrangement it is making is to introduce personal income tax cuts effective January 1, 2010, and it wants to have that legislation in place to provide these legislative tax changes to the citizens.
    I want to advise the member that those are the facts, which the provincial revenue minister had indicated to us in a meeting last week. It would appear that at least the province of Ontario is anxious for the Government of Canada to provide the facility for it to proceed with its legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, it is too bad that the member has become such an apologist for ramming this bill through.
     As he just heard, we moved an amendment to the motion that would at least require public hearings by our finance committee in the federal Parliament. I am astounded members could not agree that even holding hearings to hear from people in Ontario and B.C. is somehow too much for the House to deal with.
    I listened to the hon. member. He has just bought, hook, line and sinker, the argument of his own government. I guess he wants to ram this through, too. We want to ensure people are heard. We want to ensure the bill is not rammed through over people's objections.
     Why is the hon. member not supporting the need to have hearings in this Parliament at the finance committee so people in his province and my province can be heard on this question?
    Mr. Speaker, this gives me a chance to answer the member's question, because I think all members of Parliament have received communications from their constituents on the harmonized sales tax question, which has a number of elements to it.
    The member who just spoke is quite right. What the Conservative government is doing now is putting closure on the whole process of dealing with this bill. That is reflected in Motion No. 8, the matter that was first raised here, for which the member has now tabled her amendment.
    I do not have the amendment. However, if one of the pages could get me a copy of the amendment that was tabled, it would be helpful.
    My constituents have been trying to understand what exactly is the role of the federal government here and I have been trying to provide them with some detail. However, I thought it would be helpful for others if there were at least some recognition of what is happening here in the chamber and what is going to happen as we move forward with this bill.
    The government has in fact tabled Bill C-62 in the House, the bill that would amend the Excise Tax Act and make all of the necessary changes to permit Ontario and B.C. to pursue harmonization of their sales taxes.
    That bill is not before us yet. It has been tabled and printed and is here and members can look at it. They had better have a copy of the Excise Tax Act, because it will be very difficult for members to understand what this means without putting it in the context of the Excise Tax Act itself.
     There has also now been an amendment made to change the process. However, the process before the House is such that we will only have one day to debate Bill C-62, when it is finally called. That will be before the end of second reading stage, and 15 minutes before expiry of the time provided for government orders on the day on which this bill is going to be called, we will have votes. We will vote on this bill at second reading, which is basically to provide approval in principle.
    Normally, what we would do is to refer it to committee for committee hearings. However, Motion No. 8 goes on to say that the committee is only going to have four hours. This is where the previous speaker decided to move an amendment. What it says in paragraph 2 is that:
not more than four hours following the adoption of the second reading motion, any proceedings before the Committee to which the bill stands referred shall be interrupted....
    Hence, it basically says that the committee is going to have four hours.
     I can tell members that there are a number of constituencies that are impacted by the potential imposition of an HST, but the discussion in committee will be four hours. It says that the committee has to report the bill back to the House by 11 o'clock that night.
    The next part of Motion No. 8 has to do with report stage motions. I raised this earlier as question for a member who spoke. As a matter of fact, it was a question to the finance minister this morning, saying that members of Parliament who were not on the finance committee could attend and listen to a committee meeting, but without the unanimous consent of the members of the committee, they would not get a chance to ask any questions or speak.
    Therefore, what is going to happen is that they are going to do their work and at the end of four hours, they are going to have to vote and send it back to the House. The next morning, what is going to happen is that any member who wants to make a report stage motion, i.e., to propose a change to that legislation, he or she will have to submit it by 3 a.m. There are some rules surrounding report stage motions, one of which is that if a matter has been disposed of or considered and negated in committee, it cannot be raised at report stage.

  (1535)  

    The question I raised with the minister was that it did not seem that members were going to have much of an opportunity to determine whether or not any other amendments would be admissible, simply from the standpoint that they would have to be advised first of exactly what was dealt with in committee. Theoretically, I guess 308 members would have to attend the finance committee meeting to determine what amendments they might be able to make.
    Obviously, that is ludicrous. It is not going to happen, unless the meetings are held in West Block and members are provided at least some water while they do their work.
    The deadline for getting to the report stage motion is 3 a.m. The bill is then going to proceed on the next sitting day at report stage, if there are any amendments. I suspect there may not be, but if there are, no more than one sitting day is going to be allowed for both report stage and third reading. I am not sure there is going to be a report stage motion. There may be some ingenious way of getting the amendments through, but it is very unlikely we will have an opportunity to debate them in a normal fashion.
    My comment to the minister was that we are basically going through a charade. I really do not appreciate it, because the committee ought to be relied upon to carry out due diligence on a bill and to report to the House that it has looked at it and there are no problems.
    There are also some stakeholders who may want to appear before the committee and they are not going to have the chance. In a four-hour meeting, after the presentations by the Finance officials on the various aspects of the bill, explaining why they are there and answering questions from members, et cetera, it is very unlikely there are going to be any witnesses.
    Quite frankly, we are going through a process wherein we are really not going to be able to do much to change Bill C-62 as presented to us now. The motion before us pretty well shuts down all venues that members normally have to advocate for certain changes.
    If we get to a point where the bill is not read a third time and passed by this coming Friday, the House will adjourn on Friday and reconvene on Saturday and we would here then to dispose of the remaining business related to third reading.
    I know that many of the members do not like the idea of closure. It is another reason to oppose the bill for those who have a profound disagreement with the introduction of the harmonized sales tax in their province, whether it be B.C. or Ontario, or maybe another province that may ultimately decide to go forward with that.
    I and a number of other people met with a provincial minister of revenue on this just to try to understand it a little better. One of the things I really had to understand was the agreement the Province of Ontario entered into with the Government of Canada. It is my province. I have not read the memorandum of agreement between B.C. and the federal government, but I took the opportunity to print it and look at it. There certainly is a lot of ministry involvement.
    The memorandum of agreement is referred to in the debate as the MOA. We will also hear about the Canada-Ontario Comprehensive Integrated Tax Co-ordination Agreement, referred to as the CITCA. There is also the Canada Revenue Agency and a lot of people will talk about the CRA, as well as the Canada Border Services Agency, the CBSA, which will administer the Ontario value added tax, the OVAT. If people are not confused yet, they will get confused unless they have a glossary of terms and acronyms.

  (1540)  

    For this agreement negotiated by the Conservative Government of Canada with Ontario and B.C., the necessary legislative process and the signing of appropriate agreements have to take place before March 31, 2010, except where otherwise authorized by the MOA. Canada also undertakes to seek approval of the Governor in Council to enter into the agreement.
    As for the implementation date, Canadians will probably know that the proposed date for the harmonization of sales taxes in the two additional provinces to be effective is Canada Day, July 1, 2010.
    The transitional provisions are important. There is a provision under the provincial tax policy flexibility that, subject to reasonable notice, the province, in this case Ontario, could increase or decrease its value added tax rate two years after the date of implementation. So there is actually a freeze on this, and there is not going to be a change before the two years are up.
    It is important that people understand in regard to the implementation of a value added tax and a harmonized sales tax that when taxation systems get too many exceptions and too many details, they become very cumbersome to administer and, certainly, to apply, which causes an awful lot of difficulty. Therefore, the agreement stipulates that there will be a designated, limited number of OVAT point of sale rebates, that is, for the Ontario value added sales tax, not to exceed 5% of the aggregate. It means there will be a limit in place in the agreement on how many items can be exempted from the harmonized sales tax, and that is why there are a number of items that members have already noted do not currently attract a provincial sales tax. I think there is provincial sales tax on shoes of over $30 in value, but not those under $30. Now shoes are not even going to be exempt at all. It is not easy to say that we will now implement an 8% tax increase on shoes under $30. A lot of these kinds of examples will come up, but we have to remain focused on what this chamber has been asked to do.
    There are some other provisions with regard to input tax credits. I do not believe they have agreed yet, but there is an undertaking to agree on the rebate rates and thresholds for the MUSH sector. Members may recall the discussions with regard to municipalities, universities, schools, colleges and hospitals; and charities and qualifying housing NPOs. I am sure there will be significant discussions with those sectors because, currently under the GST, they do get some extra assistance with regard to rebates or input tax credits, for which they are eligible.
    This whole agreement is based on a common tax base, and I should indicate that all of this information is available on the Ontario government website. There is no questions that if one took the GST collection system and the provincial system and combined them into one, then one would have a whole administration for collecting the taxes, processing the documents, doing investigations, fixing errors, et cetera. It is a tremendous cost. As a matter of fact, there are some provisions in the agreement whereby it is mutually agreed that the provincial tax policy flexibility provisions will be collected and administered at mutually agreed upon service and compliance levels by the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency at no cost or charge to Ontario.

  (1545)  

    In addition, Canada will be solely responsible for all the revenue agency and border services agency start-up and ongoing costs, including their development and systems costs, so there is a substantial savings in terms of eliminating costs at the provincial level. These costs will in fact be billed to the province on the basis of usage in terms of the processing involved with the provincial taxation component.
    The agreement says, “Canada agrees to pay Ontario its revenue entitlements on a daily basis. For greater clarity, the allocation for a tax entitlement year will be paid to Ontario in estimated daily amounts determined using the revenue allocation framework beginning July 1, 2010”.
    There are some provisions with regard to the exchange of information agreement with regard to human resources. There are some other changes. During the transitional period, though, the province will be able to continue to operate the system so that a transitioning happens when things get sorted out. Whenever we have a change, there are always things that are going to come up, so they have made some transitional provisions.
    I was not aware of this, but there is going to be an appointment of a panel. Both the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario have agreed to appoint a panel or an individual within six months following the implementation to review and make recommendations on possible improvements to the administrative and policy information available; the revenue allocation framework, such as replacement by a system that would provide distribution of revenue to Ontario, and harmonized sales tax provinces, based on actual sales of goods and services in such provinces; and finally the governance and organization structures of the various committees under the Canada-Ontario agreement.
    Therefore it is anticipated that there will be ongoing fine tuning with regard to the agreement.
    I encourage members to consider looking at the agreement. I understand that once we get through this procedural phase, it would appear there is not going to be much chance of amending Bill C-62. It is going to be presented to the House on probably the fastest track one can ever imagine.
    What members probably should consider is the fact that Ontario and B.C. have made a judgment: in their judgment, this policy of harmonizing the taxes makes sense for their economies.
    Having met with the Ontario Minister of Revenue last week and having seen the presentation on how this would work, I could see clearly that the Province of Ontario is hurting badly; in fact, its projected deficit for the current year is about $24 billion. The job loss in Ontario is extraordinary.
    Faced with the prospect of having this implemented now, people were saying it might make good policy sense, but the timing is not good because everything is so bad in the economy. However, both B.C. and Ontario have been arguing that it makes sense because it is going to provide an additional stimulus in their provinces to create jobs. In fact, about 591,000 jobs will be created in Ontario, according to Jack Mintz .
    We might wonder where this money is coming from. Earlier I had an opportunity to pose a point to a member and ask for his comment. It had to do with the difference between this tax and what happens when GST is charged on a product.
    As most Canadians know, GST is only paid once, and that is by the end user or consumer. For any GST paid by a wholesaler there is an input tax credit, so in the case of the GST only the 5% is ultimately paid.
    The provincial sale tax is different. At every level of motion through the economy until it gets to the consumer,  provincial sales tax is charged; then it is added to the input costs of the next buyer, and then it is charged again, and it cascades. That cascading of the provincial sales tax is really where it is coming out.

  (1550)  

    Canadians in Ontario can look forward to tax cuts on their personal income tax effective January 1, 2010, as well as a credit of up to $1,000 to help with the transitioning. I hope they will have an opportunity to be well informed about the implications of this bill on the economy of Ontario.

  (1555)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague and I did not hear a word on the issue of closure or the fact that just a few weeks ago members of the Liberal Party were standing in the House telling the Prime Minister that his time was up.
    At the end of his long soliloquy supporting the Conservative government, that member expects us to believe that 591,000 jobs, or maybe 592,000 jobs, would be miraculously created in Ontario if the tax burden were shifted onto senior citizens. We are supposed to accept that blather without being able, as politicians, to do due diligence, to hear from witnesses, to hear from senior citizens.
    I have heard from senior citizens in my riding and from right across Ontario. They have spoken out consistently on this matter, but they are not getting the opportunity to speak here because they are being shut down.
    I did not hear a single word about first nations people in Ontario, first nations people whose treaty rights are going to be erased at the stroke of a pen for the convenience of the Conservative Party and the greater convenience for the Liberal leader from Harvard, who simply wants this to go away.
    If the member believes that this carbolic syrup is so good that it should be forced down the throats of Ontarians, why is he supporting the Conservatives in shutting down discussion that would allow witnesses to be brought forward so that they could speak to the reality of what this tax burden would--
    The hon. member for Mississauga South.
    Mr. Speaker, those who are going to be affected with regard to this tax in their province will have the opportunity at the provincial level to deal with its implementation. We are not dealing with it. As the member knows, we are only dealing with an agreement with the provinces. That is what we are debating. We are playing an enabling role, not a detailed role.
    What this means to Ontario is the creation of 591,000 new jobs, an increase in capital investment of $47 billion, and an increase in annual incomes of up to 8.8%, or $29.4 billion.
    The member also mentioned seniors, and we will learn more about this as we go through the process.
    About 93% of Ontario taxpayers would get a permanent income tax cut. Eligible families earning less than $160,000 would receive $1,000, and individuals earning less than $80,000 would get three payments totalling $300 each. There would be new refundable sales tax credits, similar to the GST credit, that they would get at the provincial level. I can talk only for my own province, but 93% of people in Ontario would be better off under the harmonized tax system than they are today.
    Those are the facts. We will get a chance to debate it a little further.
    Mr. Speaker, the member should start practising his lines for next July 1, when taxes go up all over Ontario and people start paying tax on a lot of things that they did not have to pay tax on before.
    The member is trying to have it both ways. He is following his caucus line here in supporting the Conservatives and the closure motion on the actual bill itself and trying to defend it. I do not think it is going to wash, because we have done enough surveys to know that 80% to 85% of the people are against this tax.
    The minister is basically trying to drive this through the House just days before the Christmas holidays and pretending that somehow the devil made him do it and that he really did not want to do this, but we have numerous quotes that we can give in the House. One of them is from the 2006 federal budget. It says, “The government invites all provinces that have not yet done so to engage in discussions on the harmonization of their provincial retail sales taxes with the federal GST”, yet the member is trying to pretend that this is all being driven by the provinces.
    Manitoba had the good sense to say no. The throne speech given on November 30, just a few days ago, stated, “Manitoba is rejecting an invitation from the federal government to introduce a harmonized sales tax. As proposed, the HST would impose more than $400 million in new sales tax costs on Manitoba families at a time of economic uncertainty”.
    Who is the member trying to kid?

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am not afraid to stand up in the House and give my opinion to the member. I can tell the member that the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario entered into an agreement to move forward with this.
    In my view, this has an awful lot to do with the economic recovery of the Province of Ontario with regard to creating jobs and increasing business investment. In fact, 93% of Ontario taxpayers will get a personal income tax cut, and in fact all Ontario taxpayers will see a 16.5% cut in the income tax rate on the first $37,000 of their taxable incomes. That will be the lowest rate among all the provinces in Canada. Ontario families and individuals with incomes up to $80,000 will get an average personal income tax cut of 10%.
    These are the things that have to be taken into consideration. If I wanted to argue the other side of it, I would say it is increasing a tax here. However, if I put everything on the table and look at it carefully, I know that the vast majority, 93% of Canadians, will have more money in their pockets after this measure is implemented than they do now.
    Mr. Speaker, I am just wondering if the member, in doing his extensive research on this important topic, found out whether the NDP had contacted any of the provinces in Atlantic Canada that implemented this measure several years ago to find out how they have made out. As a matter of fact, I think the new NDP Government of Nova Scotia seems to be quite comfortable with this arrangement. It serves people very well.
    I wonder if he might comment on that for us.
    Mr. Speaker, I can only speculate. I do not think that the members are looking for reasons for them to support this motion and the bill on the agreement.
    I think the important thing here is to be honest with Canadians about what is happening and why. If we look at the circumstances that all our provinces are finding themselves in, the challenges of job creation, business investment and reducing personal taxes are all extremely important.
    I could put it all on the table, look at it, and ask people if they would be prepared to take an income tax cut that on average, for most people in Ontario, would be a 10% cut. For those with lower incomes, it would be a 16.5% personal income tax cut. Would that be a good thing? What would people say if they had to pay a little bit more on a product because the government is trying to make the taxation system a little simpler, but they got the tax credits and the personal income tax cuts? If they looked in their pockets and found that they had more money in their pockets after government made this efficiency change in the tax systems of Canada, would that be okay?”
    I have found that a lot of people did not know about that. That is what is happening now. The bill has not passed yet. The province has not yet passed its bill. I do not know on what basis people are being asked for their opinions, when the bill is not even before the Ontario legislature.
    I believe members should be careful about what they say is going to happen, because it is not--
    We have time for one more question or comment.
    The hon. member for Burnaby--New Westminster.