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40th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 014

CONTENTS

Thursday, February 12, 2009





CANADA

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 144 
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NUMBER 014 
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2nd SESSION  
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40th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayers


  (1000)  

[Translation]

Auditor General of Canada

    I have the honour to table the report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons, entitled “Managing Identity Information”.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(g), this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Privacy Commissioner

    I also have the honour to lay upon the table the special report of the Privacy Commissioner concerning the examination of the privacy management frameworks of selected federal institutions.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h), this report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

Supplementary Estimates (C), 2008-09

    A message from Her Excellency the Governor General transmitting supplementary estimates (C) for the financial year ending March 31, 2009, was presented by the President of the Treasury Board and read by the Speaker to the House.

[English]

Committees of the House

Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics 

    Mr. Speaker, I have two reports this morning.
    I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in relation to Access to Information Act reform.
    The committee has recommended to the government that a bill to update the Access the Information Act be presented to Parliament by May 31.
    I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, in relation to supplementary estimates (B), 2008-09, which we report without amendment.

Criminal Code

     She said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to reintroduce this bill that addresses a glaring loophole in our criminal justice system. There is a serious problem in Canada with regional arrest warrants that are issued across the country but are not executed because of the cost of returning the accused to the area of the alleged crime.
    This is of particular concern in British Columbia. A 2005 study by the Vancouver Police Department found that over a three month period, it came into contact with 726 people, subject to 1,582 of these kinds of warrants. Eighty-four per cent of these people had four or more criminal convictions, including sexual assault and other serious crimes. This has seriously eroded public confidence in the criminal justice system in the lower mainland of Vancouver.
    My bill would make it an indictable offence for a person to leave the province of jurisdiction where he or she knows or has reason to believe that a warrant for his or her arrest has been or will be issued.
    The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has called for this kind of action, a call that has been supported by provincial justice ministers right across Canada. The chiefs of police in my community of New Westminster and of Port Moody support it but so far it has been totally ignored by the federal government.
    I urge the government and my colleagues in this House to help me get this important legislation through the House of Commons and right what is a very serious wrong.

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

  (1005)  

Employment Insurance Act

    She said: Mr. Speaker, I originally introduced this bill in the previous Parliament when the issue of sickness benefits on the employment insurance benefit program was brought to my attention by a constituent whose name is Natalie Thomas.
    Natalie was recovering from breast cancer surgery and was forced to return to work before she had fully recovered because her EI sickness benefits ran out. People who have suffered a serious illness should not be forced to go back to work too early. They should be able to focus on getting well and not have their health compromised by worries over their financial situation.
    That is why I am pleased to reintroduce the bill to extend sickness benefits under EI from 15 weeks to 30 weeks.
    Natalie Thomas is the kind of woman who all Canadians can respect. Since she had her diagnosis, she has participated in fundraising activities for breast cancer research for support for other people going through cancer. She is a role model for all Canadians.
    As my colleagues in the NDP have raised repeatedly, there are many problems with the current EI system but I seek the support of all members of the House for this bill, which would resolve one of them.

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

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am proud to introduce this bill which was previously introduced by the former member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing. I am confident that it has the support of both the Liberals and the New Democrats. All we need is the support of the government party to make this happen.
    The government has moved forward to increase the number of seats in Ontario, as it has committed and promised to do. I think I speak on behalf of all of the members from northern Ontario, many of them here this morning, such as the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, who seconded the bill, as well as the members for Thunder Bay—Atikokan, Sudbury andNickel Belt. This is a very important piece of work and an important message to be sent to the commission that will look at how these new ridings will be developed.
    We need to ensure that northern Ontario loses no further its voice in this place. It is really important, given the large geography of northern Ontario and the large population there, made up of many aboriginal communities, that we not lose our voice in this place.
    Over the last 10 years we have gone from having 15 seats in the House of Commons to having 9, which is a shame. It really reduces our ability to have an effect in this place and to get the kinds of things we need from government to protect that really important segment of the economy that has served this country so well.
    It is my pleasure and privilege this morning to introduce the bill and to ask the members of the House of Commons to move expeditiously to support it and ensure it becomes the order of the day.

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

  (1010)  

Employment Insurance Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, this is another bill whose time has passed and should be in place.
    The purpose of the enactment would be to allow self-employed artists and authors to participate in the employment insurance scheme and obtain such advantages as maternity, parental and sickness benefits and access to publicly funded training programs.
    This is a group of people who typically earn very little wages and are unemployed, not just periodically, but often in any given year and when they are not employed they need access to training, re-training and upgrading. They also need to look after themselves and their families when they get sick.
    Without the artists and authors, how would we capture the story that is Canada, those wonderful pictures, both in books and on canvas that these people put before us that we come to appreciate and which serve us so well.
    I think it is time that we as a government moved to protect the well-being, the income and the families of these very important professionals in every one of our communities.

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

Motor Vehicle Safety Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to re-introduce this legislation and I thank my colleague for Pickering—Scarborough East for seconding the bill.
    Each summer we witness carnage on our highways caused by excessive speed. Since first introducing this legislation in the previous Parliament, I have received support from municipalities and police forces from across the country.
    This legislation would help save lives by requiring all vehicles manufactured after January 1, 2010, to be equipped with speed limiters so that vehicles cannot travel at more than 150 kilometres per hour.

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

[Translation]

Petitions

Interprovincial Bridge  

     Mr. Speaker, I once again have the privilege of presenting a petition signed by many citizens from the National Capital Region concerning heavy-truck traffic in the downtown core of the nation's capital. These petitioners are worried that building another bridge would not actually resolve the issue.
     The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to force the National Capital Commission to conduct an in-depth study regarding a possible bridge linking the Canotek industrial park and the Gatineau Airport, namely, a variation on option number 7 of the first phase of the environmental assessment of the interprovincial crossings. Both the Ontario and Quebec governments support this idea.

[English]

Labelling of Alcoholic Beverages  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 and as certified by the clerk of petitions, I have two petitions to table. The first petition concerns the dangers associated with the misuse of alcohol.
    The petitioners from my riding of Mississauga South would like to bring to the attention of the House that the Food and Drugs Act is designed to protect Canadians from potentially harmful effects related to food and drug consumption and that the consumption of alcoholic beverages may cause health problems. Further, that fetal alcohol syndrome and other alcohol-related birth defects are preventable by avoiding the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy and that the consumption of alcoholic beverages may also impair one's ability to operate machinery and automobiles travelling maybe as much as 150 kilometres an hour.
    Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to require the labelling of alcoholic beverages to caution expectant mothers and others of the risks associated with alcohol consumption.

  (1015)  

Public Safety Officers  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with legislation that I have raised in this place on a number of occasions concerning public safety officers, particularly police officers and firefighters.
    This petition draws to the attention of the House that police officers and firefighters are required to place their lives at risk in the execution of their duties on a daily basis. It also states that the employment benefits of these public safety officers often provide insufficient compensation to the families of those who are killed while on duty and further, that the public mourns the loss of police officers, firefighters and other public safety officers who lose their lives in the line of duty, and that they wish to support, in a tangible way, the surviving families in their time of need.
    Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to establish a fund known as the public safety officers compensation fund for the benefit of families of public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

[Translation]

Privilege

Alleged Misuse of Intraparliamentary Internet--Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine on Wednesday, February 4, concerning the alleged misuse of parliamentary equipment and services by the hon. member for Ahuntsic.
    I would like to thank the hon. member for Notre-Dame-De-Grâce—Lachine for raising this important matter, the hon. member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord and the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice for their contributions and the hon. member for Ahuntsic for her statement.

[English]

    In raising this question of privilege, the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine explained that on Monday, February 1, she had received on her House of Commons BlackBerry an email from the member for Ahuntsic, which appeared to have been sent to all members of the House.
    According to the hon. member, the email “contained text and images supporting and glorifying three organizations that the federal government has deemed to be terrorist organizations”. In fact, she characterized some of these as constituting anti-Semitic propaganda.
    The member argued that the dissemination of this email was a clear misuse of parliamentary equipment and services. Noting that the hon. member for Ahuntsic had indicated that she had not viewed all the images, the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine argued that it is the duty of every member to ensure that they do not intentionally or unintentionally expose members of the House to this kind of material.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Notre-Dame-De-Grâce—Lachine went on to say that the misuse of parliamentary services in this manner constituted a violation of her privileges as a member of Parliament. In making her arguments, she drew to the Chair’s attention a ruling given on what she believed was a related question of privilege raised by the former member for Saskatoon—Humboldt, Mr. Pankiw, on February 12, 2003 in the House of Commons Debates, pages 3470 and 3471.
    For the information of the House, I should say that that ruling concerned a mass email survey originating in the member’s office that had been blocked by various government departments because it disrupted their systems.
    I have carefully reviewed the interventions made by all hon. members in this case and it seems to me that the crux of the issue here is whether the actions of the hon. member for Ahuntsic in any way impeded the hon. member for Notre-Dame-De-Grâce—Lachine in the fulfillment of her duties as a member of this House.
    House of Commons Procedure and Practice, at page 52, reminds us that “individual Members cannot claim privilege or immunity on matters that are unrelated to their functions in the House.” Thus, unless it can be demonstrated that the actions complained of were closely linked to a parliamentary proceeding, the Chair cannot intervene.

  (1020)  

[English]

    Having reviewed the ruling invoked by the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine in support of her argument, I have concluded that the ruling focused on the right of the member to seek information in the context of parliamentary proceedings, but I have not found in it the procedural grounds for a finding of prima facie privilege in the case now before us. I did, however, find that at that time I had enjoined all members to heed the guidelines regulating the use of their email accounts.

[Translation]

    These guidelines, which I have again consulted, state categorically that members “are responsible for the content of any electronic messages sent using their account”, and that account holders “will not use their network accounts for accessing data or participating in activities which could be classified as obscene, harassing, racist, malicious, fraudulent or libellous”.

[English]

    As I noted in a ruling involving the Internet given on June 8, 2005, at page 6828 of the Debates, the use of new communication technologies has ramifications that affect members in the performance of their duties. One important consideration members must take into account is that communications via the Internet and email may not be protected by privilege and may expose members to the possibility of legal action for material they disseminate.
    It is not, however, the role of the Chair to monitor the contents of emails and other electronic communications that members send and receive, nor is it possible or desirable to do so. That responsibility falls to members themselves.

[Translation]

    In rising to address the House on February 5, 2009, the hon. member for Ahuntsic acknowledged that she should have viewed all of the material in the links included in her email before sending it. Having now done so, she admitted that she found the material to be hateful propaganda and condemned it, and she apologized to the House and to all members for having sent the email in the first place. The hon. member for Ahuntsic then stated that she would be more vigilant in future and assured the House that such a lapse on her part would not happen again.

[English]

    Having reviewed the facts of this case, the Chair cannot find that the privileges of the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine have in any way been violated by this unfortunate incident, although there is no doubt that she and other members were offended by the material they received.
    In addition, by the admission of the hon. member for Ahuntsic, the House of Commons guidelines on the appropriate use of email were not respected in this case. However, in view of the unequivocal apology by the hon. member for Ahuntsic, the Chair believes the matter is now resolved and will consider the matter closed.
    I thank the House for its attention to this matter.

[Translation]

Supplementary Estimates (B), 2008-09

    Pursuant to order made on Wednesday, February 11, 2009, the House will, later today, proceed to study and adopt the motion regarding the Supplementary Estimates (B) and pass the supply bill through all stages.
    In view of recent practices, do the hon. members agree that the bill be distributed now?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The bill is now available for all hon. members.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2009

    The House resumed from February 11 consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.
    When this matter was last before the House, the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River had the floor. I believe there are eight minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks. The hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise again in the House to talk about this bill and to voice my displeasure at many of the elements that are in the bill.
    The Conservatives have attached a number of ideological riders to this budget implementation act. They are trying to sneak in through the back door a series of ideologically driven measures that really have nothing to do with the stimulus package. The Liberals have given a blank cheque to the government, a blank cheque which the Canadian public did not give them in October.
     Hidden in the 500-plus pages of the budget implementation act, the government proposes: taking a woman's right to pay equity out of the Human Rights Act; opening up Canadian industry to more foreign ownership and hollowing out, including putting institutions like Air Canada up for sale; making it easier to punitively go after student loan recipients. Most important, the budget fails to protect the vulnerable, safeguard the jobs of today and create the green jobs that we need tomorrow.
    In January all the NDP members spent a lot of time in their constituencies holding town hall meetings to talk about the things we needed to see in the budget. Probably every member in this House, regardless of which party the members belong to, did exactly the same.
    I held seven town halls in seven different communities. Two things became very apparent in those town halls. The first was a r need for EI reform, which of course is not in this budget, and we are very disappointed in that.
    Remember that many of these communities are quite small. The other thing that came through loud and clear from the people who live in these communities is a need for small infrastructure projects that can be taken care of quickly and particularly in the non-profit sector. I have some good examples.
     I held a town hall at the Royal Canadian Legion in Kakabeka Falls, the Niagara of the north, by the way, for those members who do not know about Kakabeka Falls. Twenty-five or so citizens from that very small town were there. They mentioned some things that do not require a lot of money but they cannot come up with the money themselves. For example, the Kakabeka legion needs to renovate its washrooms to make them accessible; fair enough, but they do not have the money to do that. The Rural 60 Plus centre in Kakabeka Falls needs an addition to accommodate the rise in members. A few years ago there were 60 to 70 members in the Rural 60 Plus club, and now there are almost 300 members. More space is needed, but the centre cannot raise that kind of money.
     I am sure that what we found in all of the seven town halls is what all members who also have small rural towns in their constituencies found. Organizations like the Kakabeka Falls Legion and the Rural 60 Plus club provide a very important function not just for seniors but for families and children to access community discussions and get-togethers. We were very disappointed that there is nothing in the budget for those places.
    The other thing that is missing is an understanding that certain cultural and heritage institutions right across the country, including in my riding, need help. The Fort Frances Museum is trying to improve the heritage situation. There are lots of spinoffs from those sorts of things, most notably being right on an international border, the opportunity for increased tourism. We were very disappointed to see that those sorts of things were not talked about.

  (1025)  

    Let me mention one last non-profit organization, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Members may not know that the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra is the only professional full-time orchestra between Toronto and Winnipeg. It provides a very important function to northwestern Ontario and, in particular, the citizens of Thunder Bay. Members of the orchestra work very hard all year round, not just with their symphony series but also in terms of education work and the travelling they do right across the region.
    I will give the House a good example. In Atikokan on Saturday night the Thunder Bay Symphony, with Rodney Brown and The Big Lonely, provided a virtually free concert for the citizens of Atikokan, a community that has been very hard hit by the forestry crisis that we are in the middle of right now. I was disappointed not to see these sorts of things in the budget.
    Amendments are proposed to the Navigable Waters Protection Act to streamline approval processes and give more authority to the minister to allow construction without further environmental assessments. It would exclude certain classes of works and works on certain classes of navigable waters from the approval process. While it is vague in nature, I am particularly concerned for my riding, which has been part of a historical trade route for hundreds of years, that some access would be denied.
    This new act would end legal challenges to pay equity, including amending the Human Rights Act. Complaints about pay equity would no longer go through the Human Rights Commission but through the Public Service Labour Relations Board. Having a bargaining agent working on one's behalf could result in a $50,000 fine.
    It would also amend the Investment Canada Act so that only significant investments will be reviewed. That creates more than a little discomfort for this particular member.
    Canada student loans is another issue in the budget and is quite punitive for students right across Canada. The act would require that anyone who receives Canada student loans must provide any document the minister requests and creates a host of new penalties for false statements or omissions. It also appears to permit the minister to retroactively punish students for making a false statement or some sort of omission on their applications for Canada student loans.
    I have three children in university right now and a fourth will be attending the University of Ottawa in September. I would like to tell the House that post-secondary students right across this country are the brightest and best that this country has to offer. To include something in an act that is punitive or at the outset treats students as if they are criminals before anything happens is deplorable.
    In addition, I came across a figure the other day in terms of Canada student loan defaults--

  (1030)  

    Order. I will have to stop the hon. member there. The time has expired for his speech.
    We will move on to questions and comments with the hon. member for Abbotsford.
    Mr. Speaker, during the member's speech he mentioned navigable waters, and rightly so. As we know, the current Navigable Waters Protection Act is over 100 years old and has not been substantially revised for many years. Many people across Canada, including municipalities, have seen this act as being an impediment to getting infrastructure built. It has resulted in significant delays in projects where there is a duplication of environmental reviews.
    I was a member of the transportation committee that actually did a review of the Navigable Waters Protection Act and some of the issues related to it. Since the member raised the issue and also expressed some concern that some modes of access would be blocked as a result of changes to the act, I would ask him to expand on that and explain how the act presently supports his position? How would changes to bring it up to date after 100 years would fly in the face of our efforts to get infrastructure projects built in this country that are so desperately needed to make sure that our economy gets the boost it needs right now?
    Mr. Speaker, indeed, this act is one of the oldest pieces of legislation we have in this country. It was 1882, I believe, when this act was first enacted. There is no doubt that this act needs some modernization. I would agree with the member in that regard.
    What I am concerned about is that it would give increased powers to the minister to go around the environmental assessment of certain projects. Now I also know that the minister has always had that authority but it is not a new authority. However, this would increase what he is able to do.
    As far as infrastructure projects go, I do not think it is in the best interests of Canadians, in any situation, to see environmental assessments put aside so infrastructure projects can go further. This stimulus package should be for projects that are ready to go right now. The projects that need an environmental assessment should indeed have an environmental assessment.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, infrastructure is important. In fact, Infrastructure Canada's departmental performance report for 2007-08 reports that no money flowed with regard to the building Canada fund and only 4% of new funding pledged by the Conservative government's initiatives in its 2007 budget were dispersed to Canadians. The $137 million for the gateways and border crossing fund did not flow and the $325 million for jurisdiction funding was left untouched. As well, with regard to the P3 projects, $82 million was left unspent. The bottom line is that nearly half of the $3.62 billion originally planned for infrastructure projects was not spent.
    It appears to me, and to all Canadians, that the government does not get it about the importance of infrastructure to all Canadians, to the stimulus needed. If it had acted on that, the situation we are in right now, facing this financial crisis, would not have been as difficult to deal with. I wonder if the member would care to comment on the F grade that the Conservatives were just awarded for their lack of infrastructure spending.
    Mr. Speaker, I see that the Liberals continue to rage against the machine, but then ask for reports. It is unfortunate that they are supporting the budget, be that as it may.
    Call me a cynic, but with infrastructure projects not flowing in the past two years, and not likely to flow at any great pace because of the way things are set up with communities and provinces having to put in their shares, things will be held up for a long period of time, and I think that is most unfortunate.
    Maybe I am a cynic, but it seems to me that if there is a $34 billion deficit projected for the year, then when it comes around to the next budget cycle the government is able to stand and say, “Gee, look at this. We actually are not $34 billion in deficit; we're only $14 in deficit”. That may be the plan. Perhaps the money does not flow and the government ends up looking good in the eyes of the public, or at least it thinks it looks look good in the eyes of the public.
    Mr. Speaker, it just occurred to me listening to the previous remarks that God forbid we would have a surplus on March 31, what would Canadians think? With the extreme needs for stimulus spending in our economy and suddenly on March 31 we have a surplus, what will they think of the government then? I will just leave that unanswered.
    In any event we are discussing Bill C-10, the budget implementation bill, and I wanted to direct the attention of the House to one particular aspect of it.
    I will be supporting the bill, not because it is perfect but because it is part of the government's stimulus package. If there is one reason why the government is still the government in Canada, it is because Canadians want and anticipate a stimulus package to deal with the real problems in the economy, not just here but around the world.
    If we look at the bill, we will see that it has a huge menu. It looks awfully like an omnibus bill as opposed to a stimulus package bill. I think the bill has about 15 parts. One part deals with the actual bulked up spending and there is about $6 billion outlined there. Therefore, in order to get this stimulus package out, my party is going to support the bill, warts and all, if I can describe it that way.
    In this long menu, as has already been pointed out, there are a number of legislative provisions that do not appear to have very much to do with stimulus at all. I will just pick two: one is the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the other is the Competition Act. It is not immediately clear to many people, including members of the House, why these enactments have to be in this bill.
    These are complicated pieces of legislation on their own and attempting to update them and modernize them in the context of a stimulus package bill would probably be seen as perverse by some and stupid by others. In any event, the government is either piggy-backing policy changes in this stimulus package or it is doing legislative smuggling by pushing through bills in the back of the ambulance.
    I will use the ambulance analogy again if I may because this stimulus package bill is actually like an ambulance. I just hope the government is not trying to smuggle things, contraband and other pieces of legislation in the ambulance. I suggest that it may be doing that and there are many policy reasons why it should not.
    I want to point out two areas but they have the very same theme. As the House knows this Parliament requires that delegated legislation, regulations passed under our existing laws, be reviewed by our Parliament, and that is done by a particular committee. What the committee reviews is all regulations and statutory instruments passed under the provisions of a law.
    In these two laws, the Competition Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act, there is an apparent exemption from the Statutory Instruments Act of the regulations passed under the provisions of a law. I just want to point out one. There are several of these in this bill and there has been no rationale shown or described by the government for exempting this regulation-making from the Statutory Instruments Act. I point out clause 326 of the bill referring to section 11.1 of the Navigable Waters Protection Act that states that the minister may amend an approval of a work and that he may pass an order or a regulation in relation to that. There is another section, section 13.2 that states in one of those orders that a regulation made in relation to a class of objects like bridges and construction is not a statutory instrument within the meaning of the Statutory Instruments Act.

  (1040)  

    This would mean that not only does the government avoid the regulatory process in making the enactment, which would mean pre-publication and pre-consultation, et cetera and which does involve a lot of time, there are policy reasons why the government might legitimately want to avoid that pre-enactment phase of consultation and publication, However, it also, because of the wording here, would preclude Parliament from reviewing the enactment to ensure that it was legal, made within the terms of the statute, complied with the charter, et cetera.
    That is something the House should never accept. We should not pass legislation that exempts regulations from parliamentary review after it is made.
    Recognizing there may well be circumstances where the full regulatory process should be pre-empted, such as in cases of an emergency where a bridge is under construction or a type of bridge is under construction and the minister feels the need to intervene and halt construction, we would not want to have to wait six months to do that.
    Nevertheless, the exempting provision of the bill should be amended to say that it is exempt from the Statutory Instruments Act, except for the purposes of sections 19 and 19.1. Those are the sections under which Parliament reviews all regulations. Reviewing the regulation or the order after it is made would not interfere with the ability of the government to make the order or affect its validity, but it would ensure that there would be a review, that there would be a legality and that Parliament's function of reviewing these things would be pretty much comprehensive.
    With respect to this legislation, and there are half a dozen cases in the bill, we would not also like the Department of Justice to get into the habit of inserting these exemptions all the time. In fact, it does not insert them all the time, but when it does insert an exemption from the process, there should be a rationale that is clear on the face of it.
    In this case, I do not see the rationale and I am hopeful there will be an amendment made to the bill that will retain the parliamentary scrutiny of such regulations made under the statute.

  (1045)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's intervention. He has been a long-time chair of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations, a joint Commons-Senate committee. I have also been a member, and this is an important aspect. Maybe the member might care to comment on it?
    The budget implementation bill, which is to give the enabling of policy statements made in the budget speech, does not include the legislative amendments necessary for four areas, two of which I think are very important. One is the home renovation initiative under the policy, the $1,350 tax credit, as well as WITB, the working income tax benefit. I understand it is the intention of the government, at a future date, to come up with another budget implementation bill to enact these further provisions.
     The member has made the point that in the current budget implementation bill, there appears to be this piggybacking, or we are putting in matters which are not specifically referenced in the budget speech, but are there somehow to simply back-door some legislation.
    It is not rocket science to get the provisions for the home renovation tax credit or for the amendments to the WITB program. It seems to me that this will provide yet another opportunity for the government to put in even additional legislative amendments or changes, which were not specifically referred to in the budget but which the government contends is appropriate to put here.
    It is a dangerous precedent that a budget implementation bill be used to do anything more than what has been presented as policy in the budget speech. Would the member care to comment on that?
    Mr. Speaker, I made the point that we did not want to stand in the way of the ambulance as we tried to get stimulus spending commenced. The hon. member has not referred to anything involving legislative smuggling or piggybacking, but he has focused on what appears to be omissions from the stimulus package, things that should be in the ambulance but are not. It is curious why things that were highlighted in the budget speech by the minister would not have been in the bill.
    I suppose it is quite possible at some point, as all these initiatives were being developed, that somebody said that if it were not ready by 10 o'clock on a specific date in January, it would not go in the first bill. However, these items were prominently mentioned in the speech. I rather think that if I were a minister, if my friend from Mississauga South were a minister, we would have said that this stuff would be ready, that this was emergency legislation, that it would be ready by 10 o'clock and that it would be in the bill.
    This is an omission. I do not think it has been adequately explained why it is not there. I understand the concept of another bill coming later, mañana, but Canadians are waiting for a response. The member makes an excellent point.

  (1050)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the member from the Liberal Party.
     The Liberals are supporting the neo-conservative party on this bill. They keep telling us they are going to demand reports from the Conservatives if they are not happy with what is going on the House. It reminds me of the comic strip Hagar the Horrible when he charges the castle and he looks behind him and his men are running the other way.
    Could the hon. member tell me how he expects to defeat the government? Is it not a bit arrogant on the Liberals' part to think the other opposition parties will support them in this attempt to charge the gates?
    Mr. Speaker, the rationale for supporting the bill has been there. It is not a perfect bill, and probably members on the government side would agree. In fact, I have heard it said that the government does not look very neo-conservative with all the billions of dollars of deficit spending coming down the pipeline. In the end, I do not think Canadians would really forgive us if we did not get these measures passed quickly because of the stimulus contained in them.
    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to voice the serious concerns that the residents of Sudbury have with Bill C-10.
    As I rise to speak to the bill, for some reason I have the strangest sense of déjà vu, like I have seen and heard this all before. These issues I rise to address now are the very same issues that the entire opposition rose to speak up against only a few short months ago in reaction to the November economic statement.
    The opposition's unified stance forced the Conservative government to act and retract its outdated and out of touch analysis of the economic downturn. The opposition spoke with a united voice against the Conservatives attack, against women and pay equity and negotiated collective agreements and their flawed approach to getting Canada out of this economic recession.
    The opposition's unified actions backed the Prime Minister into a corner, forcing him to act. Though instead of action in the best interests of Canadians, he acted in his own best interests and those actions closed down the nation's government when its people needed it the most.
    There is only one real difference between last November and today. The difference is not with the Conservatives. They have continued their partisan-driven policies. The Conservatives are still up to their old tactics as the implementation bill shows. The most unpalatable of the economic statement's measures have reappeared, though buried in the Conservatives Bill C-10
    In the budget implementation bill the Conservatives have included a number of ideological riders, all in an attempt to sneak through a series of harmful, ideologically-driven measures that have nothing to do with the proposed stimulus package.
    The real difference today is that the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberals will not oppose the Conservatives and this harmful implementation bill. Tonight will mark the 50th time that they will support the Conservatives. The Liberals will be supporting the very same issues they decried back in December. The issues are under a different name now, Bill C-10.
    Just as I did in November, I will be voting against the implementation of these harmful measures. I will justify my reasoning for each measure in my address this morning.
    The first and a concerning part of Bill C-10, given the most recent series of events in my riding, is the proposed amendments to the Investment Canada Act regarding foreign ownership. Included in Bill C-10 are amendments that would weaken controls on foreign ownership, making our accountability to Canadians all the more problematic.
    This week has shown my riding first-hand the dangers of lackadaisical regulations on foreign companies.
    When Xstrata announced it would be laying off nearly 700 workers in my home riding of Sudbury, it was a huge blow to the community. Sudbury is a sizeable city, but these layoffs touch everyone. Each of the 686 people laid off was someone's parent, a friend, a co-worker. What is worse, these layoffs are in violation of an agreement made with Industry Canada back in 2006.
    The Xstrata layoffs are a tragic example of the importance of tighter controls on foreign ownership, not looser ones as the Conservatives have proposed.
    My constituents will be glad to know that their representative will not vote in favour of measures that will make the events of this week a more frequent occurrence. They will not, however, be pleased when these measures are implemented due to the inaction on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition, who will, along with his party, be supporting these measures.
    Another huge issue for my riding, especially as it suffers more job losses, is employment insurance.
    The budget implementation bill would end pilot project number 10 under EI, which was aimed at assessing the costs and impact of extending the number of weeks of benefits in selected economic regions. The cut is salt in the wounds of those recently laid off at Xstrata and elsewhere in northern Ontario and right across the country.

  (1055)  

    When they need their government most, when employment insurance is needed to get families through these hard economic times, the government has given them an opportunity to build a deck.
    This is not the kind of action Canadians need in times like these. The government should be improving access to EI and reforming the system so that more than 50% of those who need it can qualify. It is unfortunate that some opposition parties have lost the backbone to stand up to these harmful measures and deliver the EI reforms so desperately needed for their constituents and for all Canadians.
    Another hugely detrimental issue in my riding is the proposed changes to the Canada student loans programs. In Bill C-10, the program is amended to require anyone who receives a Canada student loan to provide any documents the minister requests. This creates a host of new penalties for omissions. It also seems to allow the minister to retroactively punish students for making a false statement or omission in an application for a student loan.
    I should not need to remind anyone about the already burdensome and punitive process that students in my riding go through to access this program. Students at Sudbury's local universities and colleges, such as Laurentian, Cambrian and Collège Boréal, are already deeply burdened by student debt. Given the increasingly difficult reality students are facing with escalating tuition costs and the lack of affordable student housing, the government should not be positioning itself to make student life harder.
    The government, faced with these challenging times, should be investing in its future and ensuring that students have access to high-quality, affordable post-secondary education. Canada will recover from this economic crisis and it will need a skilled and educated generation to move our country forward.
    Though I could tell my students that the opposition parties wholeheartedly oppose these changes to the program, I wish I could tell them that all parties will be voting against this measure. Unfortunately for them and the rest of the debt-burdened student population, the Liberals will be supporting these punitive measures.
    Another hugely and increasingly important focus, as we learn more about our effect on this planet, is the environment. Unfortunately, measures in Bill C-10 will move our nation backward in terms of environmental assessments.
    Recently Sudbury was featured on George Stroumboulopoulos's program in relation to the “One Million Acts of Green” initiative. In the program a Sudbury woman described how she came to live in Sudbury. To the shock of some, she and her family had moved to the riding for her daughter, who suffered from asthma. The feature documents the huge steps Sudbury has taken to increasingly green the community and lessen harmful environmental practices.
    As a result, the quality of air in Sudbury is far better than many other regions in Ontario. The people in Sudbury certainly know how to do their part for the environment and ensure the future for their children. It is unfortunate the government, propped up by the Liberals, is unable to do the same.
    Pay equity is another concern that is just as important as the other issues I have raised with Bill C-10. Within the Conservatives' bill are proposed changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act to prevent women from taking pay equity complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. If Bill C-10 passes, complaints about pay equity will no longer go through the Canadian Human Rights Commission, but through the Public Service Labour Relations Board. If women have a bargaining agent working on their behalf, it will result in a $50,000 fine.
    Pay equity was attacked in November's economic statement, and it is attacked again today in Bill C-10. Our caucus was and continues to be wholeheartedly against these proposed amendments, as are the other opposition parties. I am outraged by the proposed cuts to pay equity. I am saddened that these cuts, strongly condemned in the last session, are now okay enough for the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberal Party to vote for their implementation.
    Sudbury, like many other northern Ontario communities, draws its community spirit and cooperative nature from local unions. Sudbury is a better place because of the support and solidarity among the workers who characterize my community. This is another reason I cannot support Bill C-10.
    Within the pages of the bill is a legislated public sector wage freeze for years. This measure could serve to invalidate the recently agreed collective agreements that secured wage increases above the austerity measures announced in budget 2009. This section also rolls back the RCMP's pay--

  (1100)  

    
    Order. Unfortunately, the hon. member's time has expired.
    The hon. chief government whip is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties, and I believe you will find agreement for the following motion:
    
    That all votes required to dispose of the Supplementary Estimates (B) 2008-09 scheduled for later today be scheduled to take place at 3:00 p.m., and that the time taken up by the votes on the Supplementary Estimates (B) for 2008-09 or any other division today be not added to the end of government orders later today
    Does the hon. government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    Mr. Speaker, the member made a comment about there being only one real difference between last November's budget and today's budget, and that the Liberals will not be opposing the budget this time. That seems more than a little myopic. I presume the member opposite does not believe the only thing of significance is the voting that is happening in the House.
    In fact, there are two very major differences, and they are affecting Canadians' lives, including the lives of his constituents in Sudbury. First, one real difference is that the situation for people is far more urgent today than it was in November, albeit it was serious then, and the historic job losses in January are evidence of that. Second, this budget, although so flawed that I gave it a C-, does incorporate some of the stimulus measures called for by the opposition, including the member's party.
    My question is whether the member has taken the time to ask the folks laid off in Sudbury if they would prefer the outcome the member is vigorously defending and advocating, which is yet another delay of several months before a federal Parliament can possibly authorize action on their concerns.
    Mr. Speaker, what I can do is write a report for the hon. member. Hopefully she will not put me on probation if I do not get it to her on time.
    Recently I had the opportunity to speak to several workers who have been laid off in Sudbury. They are appalled that the EI reforms that have been talked about so much in the House are not being acted upon or supported by the Liberals, so in fact I have been talking to the people in my riding and I thank the hon. member for that question.
    The important thing to recognize is that the NDP stands on its principles. Not even five minutes ago the hon. member had a peer stand and talk about the inaction by the government and about how the government has not caused any money to flow. How can we trust that it is going to do anything different?

  (1105)  

    Mr. Speaker, my question follows up on the question asked by the member for Vancouver Quadra. It is very similar.
    The NDP talks about assisting workers and talks about providing stimulus to the economy. What is it going to do? It is going to vote against a budget that significantly extends unemployment insurance benefits, contains a substantial increase in work-sharing programs, contains a $12 billion infrastructure injection as a stimulus to our economy and provides assistance for the hardest-hit industries in Canada.
    How can the member go back to his constituents and to Canadians and say that despite all that assistance and a major injection into our economy, he and his party are going to vote against it? How can he justify that?
    Mr. Speaker, it is very easy for me to vote against the budget because there is nothing in the budget or in the implementation bill that does things for workers. It says people can get an extra five weeks if they qualify. Right now no one is qualifying. Ask the 700 people in Sudbury who have just lost their jobs. If they get severance pay, they cannot qualify for EI until that is exhausted.
    There are many reforms needed in this system. Workers need a government that is actually going to stand up for workers and not pretend that a five-week extension is a way to give help. That is untrue.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague with great rapture. His comments were very succinct and clear about the problems with the budget, and I want to ask a very short question.
    In my constituency office I am now getting calls from hundreds of people who are waiting for their EI claim to be processed. It is now taking the EI system seven to eight weeks just to process a claim. Because so many people are out of work and so many people are applying, they are not getting their cheques for 10 weeks down the road.
    I want to ask the member how he feels about the idea we had in the New Democratic Party to eliminate the two-week waiting period and if his constituents are suffering in the same way as mine.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief.
    I completely agree. We are seeing perhaps hundreds of people who have lost their jobs coming through our doors, people who do not qualify or who have to wait two weeks. They do not have an income, so what are they going to do?
    I have a very quick story. A person who walked through my door had 699 hours and does not qualify for EI. He is one hour short. Flat out, that is horrible.
    We need to fix EI.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and I believe you will find agreement for the following motion.
    I move:
    That all votes required to dispose of the Supplementary Estimates (B) 2008-09 scheduled for later today be scheduled to take place at 3:00 p.m., and that the time taken up by the votes on the Supplementary Estimates (B) for 2008-09 or any other division today be not added to the end of Government Orders later today.
    Does the chief government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Deputy 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)

Budget Implementation Act, 2009

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have a second opportunity to respond to the budgetary policies of the Conservative government.
    Much has been said in this House about whether this budget is adequate in terms of providing the economic stimulus necessary to lift our country out of this deep recession. Members on all sides of the House have evaluated whether we have done enough to stabilize our banking industry, to free up credit, to assist corporations, to fight the unprecedented trade deficit, and to live up to the Prime Minister's international commitment to spend two per cent of GDP on stimulating our economy.
    Many of the speeches, particularly on the government side of the House, have focused on whether the budget in the end will help those who in many cases actually contributed to creating the crisis. Much less has been said about whether and how this budget addresses those who are the innocent victims of this crisis. To a large extent, that is due to a fundamentally different view of what the economy is in the first place.
    To the Conservatives, the economy is an almost supernatural construct that is and ought to be controlled by some invisible hand rather than by the government. From that perspective, it is the role of individuals simply to serve the economy. For me though, it should be the other way around. Our economy must serve Canadians. The economy is a man-made construct and the rules and regulations we put in place to guide it play a crucial role in determining its winners and losers. In that way, the economy becomes a moral issue. It must be judged by how many people it leaves behind. Since this budget was designed to stimulate our economy, it too must be judged by who it leaves behind. From that perspective, this budget is an abject failure.
    We can do better for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have lost and who will lose their jobs because of what has happened to our economy. They did not cause the economic crisis that has robbed them of their livelihoods. Neither did the thousands who have seen their life savings and their dreams for a comfortable retirement taken away because of the rampant greed that right-wing governments unleashed and let run wild in the financial markets. We can do more for them and we must do more for them, so let me spend a few minutes this morning talking about these unwitting victims of the recession.
    In January alone, 129,000 Canadians lost their jobs, and as many as half will not qualify for employment insurance benefits, yet the Prime Minister has pushed through another budget that leaves laid-off workers out in the cold. With this budget, not one additional unemployed worker becomes eligible for EI. Unfair waiting periods are kept in place and modest EI extensions only apply to those who already qualify but do nothing for those who do not. As Ken Georgetti, the president of the Canadian Labour Congress put it so succinctly, 60% of the unemployed were not getting benefits prior to this budget, and they will not get benefits now.
    Here is what the government should have done in this budget. It should have improved eligibility. It should fix the rules so more workers who pay into EI can get benefits when they need them no matter what region or sector they work in. It should have ended unfair wait times. If most families are only two missed paycheques away from poverty, it is cruel to make people wait weeks for EI benefits to kick in.
    Economists say that improving EI will help spark our economy, generating $1.60 worth of economic growth for each dollar that is disbursed in benefits. At the same time, that helps families find new work instead of falling into poverty and onto the welfare rolls. That is a win-win solution for tough times and yet it is nowhere to be found in the budget.
    What about younger workers in this country? The deepening economic crisis is dimming the hopes of hundreds of thousands of young workers, but they are not getting any help from the Prime Minister's government. The numbers speak for themselves. In just three months, a jaw-dropping 75,000 Canadians aged 15 to 24 have lost their jobs. In January alone, 28,000 young Canadians lost their jobs, pushing their jobless rate to 12.7%. What the numbers do not show are untold thousands of young people who have given up hope or who are still looking for their very first jobs.
    The recent Conservative budget provides nowhere near the economic stimulus needed to safeguard jobs in these troubled times. On youth joblessness, it has no strategy at all. That is not good enough. Today's young people will build tomorrow's Canada. They deserve the same chances that earlier generations enjoyed. By ignoring their hardship today, the government is creating bigger problems for the future.

  (1110)  

    But the victims of this recession are not just the young and working Canadians. Seniors were devastated when they saw their life savings and their dreams disappear in the stock market crash. They were being hit on all sides. For those who had workplace pensions, their sustainability was suddenly thrown into question. For those who had RRSPs, the value of their retirement nest egg plummeted. And for those who were already in RRIFs, they were doubly disadvantaged because the minimum withdrawal requirements meant that they would be eating deeply into their capital. For seniors, the crisis is perhaps even more impactful than it is for the hundreds of thousands of other Canadians who are also suffering.
    When the Prime Minister takes his wait and see approach to providing further stimulus, he is suggesting that Canadians just need to hang in there and wait out the storm. However, seniors, by definition, do not have a lifetime to wait. They have spent their whole lives working hard and playing by the rules but now, everywhere they turn, every bill they open, they are paying more and getting less. That is hardly a retirement with dignity and respect. At a minimum, this budget should have increased the old age security so that seniors would not have to choose between paying for food to eat or for fuel for heat.
    Seniors built our country and they paid taxes all of their lives. Now that they need those tax dollars to work for them, the government is abandoning them. They deserve so much better from this budget.
    There is one group that is also predominantly made up of seniors who deserve special mention here, and that is our veterans. These men and women were willing to sacrifice their lives for our country and this budget could not even sacrifice a few dollars to live up to the commitments that the Prime Minister made to them.
    The Conservatives made very specific promises to our veterans. They promised allied veterans that they could receive the Canadian war veterans allowance. They promised all widows of second world war and Korean war veterans access to the veterans independence program. They promised full compensation to veterans and civilians exposed to agent orange. They promised to redress the issue of reducing the SISIP LTD payments for medically released Canadian Forces personnel when they receive other disability pensions under the pension act. And they promised the so-called atomic veterans compensation for their nuclear exposure during trials in the South Pacific and during decontamination efforts at Chalk River after two accidents. Not a single one of those promises has been kept. The government should be embarrassed and ashamed. It is time to put veterans first; in fact, it is long past time.
    Mr. Speaker, you are indicating that I am almost out of time, so I will not get the chance to talk about one more group that this budget failed.
    I have talked about young Canadians, workers, seniors and veterans, but I very much wanted to talk about children as well. This budget has had a profoundly negative impact on their future.
    The Prime Minister's decision to “get out of the child care business” means that his budget fails to renew an annual $63.5 million transfer that funds 22,000 child care spaces in Ontario alone. This approach is painfully short-sighted. We know that quality early learning builds better futures for young people and a stronger economy for all of us. Each dollar invested in child care would inject at least two into our economy, a vital stimulus in times like these. It locks Canada into last place among industrialized nations on early learning. I wish I had just a little more time to expand on this very important issue, but I want to get one last issue on the record.
    We are failing our children by not acting seriously on climate change. We did not inherit the earth from our grandparents; we have borrowed it from our kids. Yet, instead of investing seriously in the green economy, the government is pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into unsafe nuclear energy, coal and the unproven technology of carbon capture and storage. Anything green in this budget is purely cosmetic.
     We had an opportunity to do the right thing for the environment, for jobs and for our children, but we failed to turn over a new green leaf. This is a decision that likely will haunt us for decades to come.
    On behalf of all of the victims of this recession who this budget leaves behind, I cannot do anything other than vote against Bill C-10.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, the official opposition has a greater responsibility than the other opposition parties. The NDP has said that its members are opposing the budget. They always will. They did not care about reading it.
    I want to ask the member about the issue of putting the interests of the people ahead of partisan interests and dealing with one's principles. At some point in time, parliamentarians have to consider that if we bring the government down, this place will close down for another couple of months and it will take about another month before it gets cranked up again. Some members will leave, and new ones will come; there is the start-up thing. In the meantime, the condition of the people of Canada will have deteriorated even further. By the time yet another budget was introduced in a budget speech, it would be months.
    In my own view, notwithstanding the concerns I have about some of the things in the budget, I am pleased that at least some of the collective opposition's suggestions have been incorporated into the budget. They will be stimulative. They will be helpful to Canadians. It is a lesser evil, but it is a better outcome than going to another election at this time. I want to know what the member's view is.

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate this question because, frankly, I think the people who are watching the debate today do not care at all about political parties. They do not even care about politicians. Right now, they are worried about whether they are able to keep their jobs and homes and whether they actually can provide a brighter future for their kids.
    We have an obligation in this House not to do what the Prime Minister did, which was to create a budget to save his job, nor to do what the Leader of the Opposition did, which was to look for some strategic advantage to buy himself enough time to grow as a leader in his new role and worry about his job. I think it is time that all members in this House made worrying about the jobs of their constituents their number one priority.
    We lost 129,000 jobs in January alone. We have lost 250,000 jobs in the last three months. We are presented with a budget that purports over the next two years to create 190,000 jobs, if we are lucky. That still leaves us 50,000 jobs behind and the numbers are growing. Canadians want us to put their jobs first. Leave the partisan politics aside. We need to do what is right for our constituents. Even the Leader of the Opposition has enumerated all of the ways in which this budget fails his constituents. I would encourage him to join us by voting against this budget implementation bill.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the points which I think is missed by the official opposition is that there is an $8 billion hole in the budget. I know the Liberals are going to ask for reports three or four times a year. The document we have in front of us says that the government will sell off $2 billion in assets, that is, the government will sell buildings in a buyer's market, and it is somehow going to find $2 billion in government savings through cuts. Does the member think that is a sensible thing? Does she think that the official opposition actually read the document earnestly, or did the Liberals just want to pass over that $8 billion hole in the budget?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the hole is very much a real one, and as the budget numbers show, it is a hole of $8 billion.
    It is outrageous that in this fire sale the government is contemplating selling public assets that Canadian tax dollars helped to build and maintain. Now, to balance its own books in this shell game, we are seeing the shuffling around of potential sales at a time when the value of those assets could not be any lower. Canadians deserve better. More important, Canadians deserve a budget that puts their interests first, where the dollars that are in the budget are actually accounted for and not just by the official opposition saying that it will hold the government to account and demand a report. That opposition party truly is soft on crime. The Liberal Party is letting the government get away with things it never should, and that is a crime.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join my colleagues in the NDP today in speaking against Bill C-10, the budget implementation bill.
    I, like many members of Parliament, held consultations in my local community of East Vancouver to talk to people about what they wanted to see in the budget. People really focused on the essential bread and butter issues of what they need to see happen in order to get through their daily lives, to make it to the end of the month, to put food on the table, to make sure that they have enough money for housing and for their kids to go to school, and to be able to afford a decent quality of life. That is what people were most worried about, particularly in the middle of an economic crisis where so many people were losing their jobs.
    In examining the budget in detail, we have come to the conclusion that it fails on two fundamental levels. First, it does not address those essential issues that people are facing in their communities, and second, and what is particularly offensive and outrageous, is that the budget is being used as a cover to move in all kinds of outrageous proposals and rollbacks that would impact working people right across the country.
    The Conservative government is not the first government to do that. I remember a Liberal budget that was billed as an education budget. The Liberals moved in proposals that would dramatically impact students in terms of bankruptcy laws. Those proposals were buried in the back pages.
    Just a couple of budgets ago the Conservative government used the cover of a budget to bring in massive changes to the citizenship and immigration system. We have not forgotten that either.
    Today, the government is using the budget to bring in a wage restraint and a wage freeze program, and to rollback collective agreements. The budget is being used to leverage an attack on women's equality in this country and to turn back the clock on decades of struggle for pay equity. It is doing this by removing the choice that women have to negotiate for pay equity and the use of the human rights system and the court system to ensure that their grievances and legitimate claims for pay equity are heard.
    Why on earth would that be in the budget? The answer is because the government is focused on an ideological agenda that is about dismantling the rights that people have fought for and won over many decades. On those two fundamental levels, the budget is a failure.
    When I talked to the people at the budget consultations in my riding, the issue that came forward most forcibly was the issue of the crisis in affordable housing.
    In B.C. there are up to 15,000 homeless people. In metro Vancouver the 2008 homeless count was 2,600 people in a 24 hour period. The overall homelessness rate in Vancouver has risen 32% since 2005 and street level homelessness has increased by 364% in greater Vancouver since 2002. That is from the metro homeless count.
    What is even more disturbing is that aboriginal people make up over 30% of the homeless population in Vancouver even though they make up only 2% of the overall Canadian population.
    What makes this housing crisis in my community even worse is that it is facing a vacancy rate that is in effect zero. Tenants are being evicted. They cannot find any kind of affordable place to stay. Renovations are going on and people are being booted out on the street. The crisis in the city of Vancouver is really hitting people hard.
    We had seriously hoped that the budget would provide a real stimulus to housing construction not only in Vancouver but right across the country. Instead of a long-term strategy to build affordable housing in this country, we see a one shot deal that will not even address the broad spectrum of housing needs.

  (1125)  

    Although there is money earmarked for people with disabilities or seniors, there is nothing, for example, for aboriginal people who live off reserve. There is nothing to develop or actually guarantee that new social housing units will be built or that cooperative housing, which has been a huge success story across Canada, will be either refurbished or new units developed. It is no wonder that people like Mayor Gregor Robertson was quoted in the press as saying:
    It looks like we'll need to be creative and more aggressive at trying to ensure these dollars create housing for those in greatest need in Vancouver.
    He went on to say:
    It's confounding, because our homelessness crisis, and specifically the aboriginal homelessness issue, is well-known across the country. I don't know why they would limit our ability to apply these dollars where they're most needed.
    That is the mayor of Vancouver who is grappling with a serious housing crisis in our city. He is doing his part and even the provincial government has begun to make some movement to address this issue, but what has the federal government done? What is there really in the budget that will ensure that money flows to the municipalities?
    Yesterday the Federation of Canadian Municipalities held a briefing and pointed out that it has serious issues with the way the infrastructure money will be flowing. It wants to see a per capita formula, so we can ensure that the money gets directly into those projects and into those municipalities.
    At this point there is no knowledge and no understanding, so we are faced with the very real possibility that just like the billions of dollars that were earmarked in the previous budget for infrastructure, that these dollars will never be spent because they have to be matched by other levels and because the process for having the money actually implemented is so onerous that it may actually never be spent.
    Maybe that is what the Conservatives had planned all along, that they would book the money there but would actually frustrate the system so much that it would never get to the people who really need it.
    I also want to add that people in British Columbia are suffering under double injury. Not only are they facing the consequences of the recession, the loss of jobs and not being able to get EI or adequate housing, they are also facing cuts from the B.C. government. We have just experienced a whole slew of cuts in our legal aid system. It is very serious when we have a study from the Legal Services Society of B.C. that found that more than 80% of low income British Columbians are dealing with legal issues that are serious and difficult to resolve, yet both the quality and quantity of legal services available to low income people continues to erode.
    When people are facing the lack of support and services on the provincial side and then they see on the federal side that they are getting hit again, it makes people feel pretty bad. It makes people feel that they do not have a hope about what will happen in the future. These are just some of the examples of what people are actually experiencing.
    When I did my budget consultation, one of the issues that came through very strongly was the fact that Canada is at the bottom of the OECD ranking for child care provision. There had been hope that the budget finally would include a commitment to a national child care program.
    The NDP worked very hard in the last Parliament to get through a bill by a majority of members of Parliament to set up a universal, accessible, affordable, not-for-profit child care system. The government had the opportunity to build on that strength and on that vote and to finally include something in the budget that would recognize this importance, not just focusing exclusively on the number of child care spaces but also on the affordability of child care and ensuring that there were adequate wages for child care workers and stable, long-term funding for our child care centres. None of those things were in the budget.
    I want to end by just making a point about EI. Surely, this was the greatest travesty in the budget. What a horror story that workers who have been laid off or thrown out of work, who have paid into their EI diligently over so many years, only to find that they are no longer eligible. We have 65% of women who are no longer eligible for EI. We find this the most reprehensible thing that is contained in the budget. It is appalling that in a recession, when people most need help because they have been thrown out of work, they do not even qualify for the program to which they themselves have contributed.

  (1130)  

    For all of these reasons, we in the NDP find this budget to be a failure. We have fought it as hard as we can. It is very disturbing that the official opposition members have fallen right off the job and have capitulated to this budget. That is what they will have to live with. We know what we have done in terms of opposing the direction this budget has taken because it does not serve the people of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP had already predetermined that it was going to vote against the budget, regardless. We should explore the regardless because what that would have meant was that Parliament would be dissolved, there would necessarily be an election, after which there would be a formation of government by either my party or the party opposite, the selection of a cabinet, the recall of Parliament, a speech from the throne, and a presentation of the budget and a budget implementation bill.
    If we add all of that up on a parliamentary calendar, we would probably be in the middle of August, with the greater likelihood that it could be October, before the Parliament of Canada could respond to the needs of Canadians. That is the choice that the NDP and Bloc have made.
    I ask the hon. member this question. Is she comfortable with the choice that she and her party have made to essentially postpone the response to this economic crisis until at least the end of this year or possibly this time next year?

  (1135)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has some historical blinkers on or is trying to self-censor himself in terms of what happened. It seems to me he should be asking this question of the Conservative government that he is now apparently very close to in terms of what actually took place in the House. He will remember it was the government that suspended the business of the House. It prorogued the House and shut down all of the business that we in the NDP were prepared to do.
    The member was one of the members on this side of the House who signed the letter which made it clear there was an alternative, and we did not have to have an election. This idea that somehow the choice is to either go along with a terrible budget or move into an election, of course, is a completely false premise, and the member knows that. However, I guess it is easy to spin things in a certain way now that the Liberals have made their choice to support the Conservative budget.
    All I can say is that we in the NDP came to a very important conclusion that given everything that has happened, we do not have confidence in the Prime Minister nor the Conservative government in terms of the decisions they have made, the direction they are taking this country, and how they have so badly let people down. We made our decision based on principle and merit, and we feel very comfortable with it.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Vancouver East for speaking so passionately about the things that not only she believes in but the NDP believes in. I would like her to comment on some of the measures in the budget. There are many non-monetary measures in the budget. I would like her to tell me how they are going to stimulate the economy.
    Mr. Speaker, this is one of the serious problems in the budget. When we examine it in detail, we can see there are many measures and proposals that not only will not contribute anything in terms of stimulating the economy but will actually hurt people.
    One of the really serious things is rolling back the collective agreements. British Columbia had that experience with bill 29 when Gordon Campbell ripped up the whole principle of collective agreements and negotiating. That was fought all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. Luckily and thankfully, the bill was overturned by the Supreme Court. Lo and behold, the Conservative government is doing exactly the same thing.
    The member is entirely correct. Those measures in the budget have nothing to do with economic stimulus. They attack people's basic rights, whether they are women or workers. This is something people feel very demoralized about because we expect a budget that actually addresses budgetary priorities that will help people, not measures and broad proposals that are actually going to hurt people.
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising to join in the debate on Bill C-10, the act to implement the budget measures. For the public who are watching this, I am holding up a copy of the bill, which is about an inch thick. The bill was tabled in the House a number of days ago, I believe on February 6, and it contains some 500 pages of measures that are used to implement the budget and amend a whole series of acts. Also contained in these measures, as the previous speaker just indicated, not just budgetary measures, but measures that are designed to change public policy in important areas.
    I will use a couple of examples referred to earlier in the debate as poison pills as part of the budget. One example is the change to pay equity. Pay equity, as we know, is an important human right. The importance of equality of men and women is recognized in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is also recognized in the Canadian human rights code and the Canadian Human Rights Commission has been a vehicle for the achievement and the definition of those rights in this country for many years.
    It is important to understand what the government has done. The Conservatives said that these rights were no longer subject to review, adjudication and enforcement by the Canadian Human Rights Commission but that they must be done through collective bargaining. Now that sounds on the surface reasonable, but I practised labour law for in excess of 25 years in this country and I will give a bargaining 101. Bargaining 101 is when one side puts its proposals on the table and the other side puts its proposals on the table and then both sides negotiate. Since when did human rights become negotiable? In every set of bargaining, people put their wants and their demands on the table, which could be 5, 10 or 12. They might want a pay increase, more holidays and so on, but now they are asking for equality too. The other side agrees but wants to know what the people will give up to get equality. The answer should be “nothing” because people are entitled to equality as a human right as recognized in the Canadian human rights code and embodied in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    However, the government has now made that a subject of negotiation. In the public sector there are men and women. The men are being told that if they want equal rights for women, then they must give up something in terms of pay, in terms of vacation or in terms of benefits. What are we doing here? Are we setting up a conflict between men and women in the public sector? Is that what the government wants?
    Ms. Dawn Black: It seems to be.
    Mr. Jack Harris: It seems to be, my colleague says. That is what I call a poison pill and it should not be put up with.
    That is one good example of the kinds of things contained in this budget that are not really economic stimulus measures or even budget measures at all.
    Another one is the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. One might wonder what that has to do with stimulating the economy. The argument is that any project less than $10 million is no longer subject to any review whatsoever or any standards set by the Navigable Waters Protection Act that protect our environment and the environment of the streams and rivers that are navigable waters. Is that an economic stimulation? No, it is not. It is, in fact, a diminishing of the standards of protection of the environment just because the project is less than $10 million.
     Many a bridge, many a diversion and many an activity in this area cost less than $10 million and the amount of damage that can be done is considerable. Is this time sensitive? At the end of two years, is this gone? Is this designed to fast-track projects? No. This is designed to lower environmental standards and the protection of navigable waters, something that obviously the government desires and the official opposition is supporting.

  (1140)  

    Those are two of the many examples of how the budget fails in its own standard of providing economic stimulus in attempting to, supposedly, get the money out the door.
    The government likes to criticize the NDP for holding up the government from getting economic stimulus out the door. We are doing our job to ensure that the people of Canada know what the government is doing, that we cannot take a bill like this and push it through the House in two or three days and expect no one to debate it or even know what is going on. This is the means for the public to know what the government is doing in this one-inch thick piece of legislation.
    I have talked about a couple of poison pills. In addition to poison pills in the budget bill there is something that I would call more of a bombshell. That is the treatment of my province, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, by a significant huge penalty. The government decided to change the rules in the O'Brien formula and the application of the Atlantic accord to the detriment of my province to the tune of $1.5 billion over the next three years.
    To put that in perspective, this is not about capping equalization payments. This is not even equalization payments. This is a formula designed to ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador is the primary beneficiary of its offshore resources. That fight was fought by Newfoundland and Labrador. It started off with the Atlantic accord of 1985. What we have is the government changing the rules because the rules work in favour of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
    The government does not like that, so it is going to change it: $1.5 billion of backdoor changes to the rules, unilaterally effected by the government with no consultation and no foreknowledge. In fact, it was only ferreted out in the budget lock-up by officials from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador when they saw the number for transfers to Newfoundland and Labrador reduced by $460 million. It is a shocking treatment of a partner in Confederation.
    We know that if the comparable number was applied to the province of Quebec, it would be $14 billion. If it were applied to Ontario, it would be $22 billion. The number is $3,000 for every man, woman and child in Newfoundland and Labrador. That is a bombshell and it should be recognized as such.
    I know my colleagues from Newfoundland and Labrador in the House voted against the budget once but I understand that was a one-time permission granted by their leader and that they will be supporting the budget implementation bill and all other budget measures. That action speaks for itself and I will not say any more about that.
    We have a budget bill that not only has these poison pills but it also does not do the job for the people who actually need the help. The previous speaker, my colleague, referred to the fact that not one other person in the country is now eligible for employment insurance in the worst downturn that we have had since the Great Depression. The government has added five weeks to the back end. If people are unlucky enough to be on employment insurance for the full length of the existing measure, they will get an extra five weeks.
    We have had someone cost out that measure and it will cost the government $11 million. “Thank you very much”, say the unemployed in this country. It is $11 million when the budget that was presented to the House projects a $64 billion deficit over two years. That is not helping people who need the help.
    The budget has failed those people and the people of this country. It does not deserve the support of the House and certainly does not deserve the support of the official opposition.
    What is ironic is that every time members from the official opposition ask questions in the House and complain about the budget what do they get? The government answers, “You supported it. You're with us on this one”, and the official opposition can say no more.
    We are not prepared to do that. We are here to fight the budget and we are here to fight the government.

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for St. John's East for a very detailed criticism of the budget. It shows what the real intent is behind the budget bill and the real direction the government wants to take.
    We have in the House the official opposition, the Liberal Party, endorsing the budget despite the fact that for Newfoundland and Labrador, as the member so clearly pointed out, there is a major grab basically taken out of the pockets of the men, women and children of Newfoundland and Labrador of thousands of dollars for each and every inhabitant. The Liberals, even those from Newfoundland and Labrador, are supporting the budget. By voting for the budget implementation bill, they are supporting the Conservative government in its attack on Newfoundland and Labrador.
    Today, unfortunately, we will see for the 50th time the Liberals prop up the Conservatives. I would like the member to comment on the inappropriateness of the official opposition to simply be here to prop up for the 50th time a Conservative right wing agenda.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians must be very discouraged, when over 60% of them voted against the governing party in the last election, to see it now carrying out its agenda with the help of the second largest party in the House, the Liberals. The expectation seems to be that the Liberal Party will somehow be rewarded for that in the next election. I think Canadians may have another point of view on that because they well know that there is at least one party standing up in this House to support them.
     I would like to read what a professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School said about the budget:
    Tuesday's budget shamelessly massaged numbers and tables to give a false impression that the tax cuts favour low-income earners. In true [Prime Minister] form, he has used the budget as cover to advance the Conservatives' vision of a good tax system – one that is less redistributive, and encourages heavier reliance on private savings to meet citizens' needs.
    Whether one likes this vision or not, it is fundamentally inconsistent with the short-term goals of stimulating consumer spending and helping those who lose their jobs in the recession. The official opposition should have called him on that.
    That fact is, it did not.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's dilemma with respect to his province and the unwarranted attack by the Prime Minister on Newfoundland and Labrador.
    However, I would like to correct a statement about the Liberal Party agenda. The Liberal Party agenda is pretty straightforward. It is the well-being of Canadians. In our view, there is absolutely no question that that well-being is best served by immediate help given to Canadians facing this historic economic disaster.
    Does the member believe that holding out for a perfect budget, which is a chimera, something we may never see, is a better strategy for the people who are losing their jobs than giving them immediate help rather than waiting months for the implementation of some other potentially perfect budget?
    Mr. Speaker, we do not live in a perfect world but I am assuming, since the member is a member of the Liberal caucus, that she was one of those who signed a document back on December 1 offering to participate in a government that would immediately deliver the economic stimulus that was needed in this country. In fact, a proposal was made to form a coalition government to do just that. This was done while the government was projecting surpluses for the next three years, ignoring the fact that there was a real need. It obviously did not anticipate that there would be a job loss of 129,000 jobs in December. It did not recognize the need nor did it want the stimulus.
    I am assuming that she was joining with us in saying that stimulus had to happen starting in December, not now or later. We intend to ensure that people understand that we were there to do just that. We are still ready to do just that but this is not the budget to do it with.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member from Newfoundland a question about equalization. I know he is interested in this.
    His province and my province of Nova Scotia were given the opportunity to have a different equalization formula as an option in the 2007 budget implementation speech. That option included a 3.5% escalator clause every year until 2020. The budget speech says that all equalization increases will be capped at the rate of overall growth of the economy, which is about zero percent. That contradicts the legislation that was passed just a little over a year ago that says that Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have a 3.5% automatic cumulative escalator clause until 2020. I wonder if he is aware that that has been taken away now.
    There is a contradiction. The words in the budget say that all equalization be capped, but the legislation says that Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have a 3.5% increase every year, cumulative until 2020. Which will happen?

  (1155)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know the member has a great interest in that issue and has stood steadfast for truth, justice and the right thing to do despite some personal costs to himself. I congratulate him for that.
    Unfortunately, I cannot answer for the government. The government says one thing and does another, as it did to Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. These rules that it talked about were actually imposed on Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. They were not agreed upon. Now that the rules work, whether in legislation or otherwise, to the benefit of these provinces, the government sets out the changes. These are not strictly equalization. These are designed to be offsets for natural resources.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose the budget because it does not address the serious problems that Canadians are facing.
    Over the past 20 years, the NDP has brought into the House the point that for most families in Canada, their real income has decreased. We have had a slow and quiet economic crisis in our country. For 20 years, incomes have continued to fall for the middle-class, for the working-class, for the poorest of Canadians. They are earning less now than they were 20 years ago. The NDP has been pointing this out, yet the Liberals and Conservatives have simply refused to address any of the economic realities.
    That crisis has continued and, more recent, has become a full-blown economic crisis, which shows that the economic policies of the past 20 years have certainly not worked and have not provided a foundation to withstand this full-blown economic crisis.
    The Conservatives support corporate CEOs. They support banking CEOs. They support corporate lawyers. These are the only people Conservative members are really worried about. They are giving lots of money in corporate tax breaks to the profitable banking sector and to other profitable sectors. They say that they are addressing these economic fundamentals. At the NDP end of the House, which overflows on both sides of the aisle because of our recent increase in the number of seats, we fundamentally disagree.
    When a worker in Chicoutimi is earning less now to keep a roof over his or her head than he or she was 20 years ago, that is a fundamental economic problem. When Alberta families see their farm receipts go down, that is an economic problem. In fact, Alberta farmers have had the worst level of farm receipts than farmers anywhere in the country. All Canadians should share these problems. When a softwood lumber worker is laid off because of the government's ill-thought out and irresponsible softwood lumber sell-out, that should concern Parliament.
    For 20 years, we have been sleepwalking with right-wing economic policies, whether it has been Liberal government or Conservative government policies. Nothing has really changed. They are similar. It is very difficult to tell them apart. Conservative and Liberal speeches might be different, but on the fundamental economic issues those members have exactly the same approach.
    While governments have been sleepwalking for 20 years, the NDP has been warning them that the problems would come to a head, and they now have. We have seen the collapse of our economy in many parts of the country. Thousands of jobs have been lost across the country in the softwood industry, after the softwood sell-out. In the last 90 days, a quarter of a million families have lost a breadwinner.
    Each one of these individuals is not a statistic. They are real Canadians. They are real human beings who are suffering because of the absurdly ideological economic policies of the government, rather than putting into place sensible economic policies that would help families sustain jobs in our country.
    I represent the riding of Burnaby—New Westminster, one of the epicentres of foolish Conservative and Liberal policies. The softwood lumber sell-out has led to the closure of three softwood mills in my riding and in my community. Hundreds of softwood workers lost their jobs because of the softwood sell-out. They can be added to the tens of thousands of Canadians across the country who have their job because we have no manufacturing policy in place, no real export policy in place, aside from an ideological rant around free trade, and no sectoral industrial strategies in place.
    All of those foolish decisions, the deregulation that Conservatives and Liberals have put forward, have led to the crisis we are facing now.
    Since we are not talking about statistics but real people, let me read an email I received from one of my constituents, talking about employment insurance. He says, “I'm a 49-year-old licensed heavy duty mechanic who recently got laid off in my line of work. I was at my local Canada Service Centre in Westminster this morning trying to fill out my reports for benefits”.

  (1200)  

    He talks about another older worker, a 60-year-old truck driver, who tried to electronically make an application for EI medical benefits. He has cancer in his eye. He has never used a computer in his life. The guy helping him had to leave him on his own. Later on in the email, he talks about it being virtually impossible to talk to a human being.
     On top of all that, those workers, half of them being laid off, will be unable to access employment insurance. That is a fundamental tragedy. How Liberals and Conservatives could work together to pass a budget that does not give a single Canadian, of that quarter million who have lost their jobs in the last 90 days, access to employment insurance is a fundamental tragedy.
    The budget does not help those Canadians. It does not provide a social safety net. It continues the gutting of the social safety net because successive governments, Liberal and Conservative, have favoured big banks and banking CEOs rather than those people on Main Street who pay their salaries. They has completely forgotten about ordinary Canadians. Shame on them.
    The budget provides a smoke and mirrors approach to economic stimulus. Essentially, as we well know ,virtually all the money is tied funding. Taxpayers at a city and provincial levels have to cough up first before the government will provide any sort of economic stimulus.
     Contrast that with President Obama in the United States, who is putting forward federal funding first. He is saying that, under the buy America act, it has to be spent on an American workers.
    In Canada we have this ideological right-wing whacko theory that we cannot protect Canadian jobs and we cannot invest in Canadian workers. Any of the stimulus package that does come out will go to foreign firms, foreign workers. It is absurd.
    Half of the taxpayers who have paid their taxes with diligence and who have paid for employment insurance for years in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1930s are essentially cut out of getting employment insurance. Whatever stimulus that grudgingly comes out of the government will go to support foreign workers overseas.
    We certainly cannot trust the government for reasons that I do not need to go into. It said that it would not nominate senators and it has put 18 of them in the senate. It said that we would have fixed election dates. It broke that promise, too. The government is a serial promise-breaker.
    If there is any funding that comes out, if it does not break the promise again, essentially that money will go to support foreign workers overseas. There is no buy Canada provision in place, unlike in the United States where it has put in place buy America provisions.
    This is the real tragedy of the principle around this budget. Liberals, for the 50th time tonight, will prop up the Harper agenda, a right-wing agenda. Yet the Liberals have gall to go back to their constituents and pretend that somehow they are fighting that agenda. They are not. They are the major contributing party to the agenda. They are ones who, for 50th time, have allowed the government to continue many of the former right-wing Liberal policies, running roughshod over the lives and quality of life of ordinary Canadians.
    What is in the budget? We are the only party that has read the budget implementation bill. We are the only party that brought it in. If Conservatives and Liberals have read the budget implementation bill, why are they in agreement with gutting environmental assessments?
     Are they in agreement with gutting pay equity for women, essentially eliminating that right of the majority of Canadians to press for equal pay for work of equal value? Liberals are supporting the gutting of pay equity.
    Foreign ownership will be increased, as set out in the bill. Canada student loans will be bludgeoned. Students who are highly in debt will be pursued by the government because of new powers. Collective agreements will be gutted.
    For those reasons, we are voting against this act.

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, my question is very straightforward. Since the weekend, I have heard from a number of constituents who do not understand one thing. It seems to them, and it certainly seems to me, that there are lot of non-monetary, non-money, parts to the bill.
    Would the member like to make comment about why that would be? It is supposed to be a budget bill.
    Madam Speaker, the member is absolutely correct. Essentially, it is an attack on any sort of progressive legislation. It is an attack on collective agreements, ripping them up after the fact. It is an attack on students, creating new penalties around Canada's student loans when we know student debt levels are at record levels.
     It allows unrestrained foreign takeovers of Canadian companies. We have seen how well that has worked with some of the so-called guarantees the government received, which are worth nothing. The government is basically saying, “Take over whatever is left that is in Canadian hands”.
    It also attacks the principle of pay equity, a principle for which the New Democratic Party has long fought in the House, and we continue to press for that.
    It is an attack on environmental assessments. How could anybody who has been involved with the environment simply allow the ripping up of environmental assessments? It is absurd.
     However, the Liberals are supporting all of these polices. They will stand in the House and say that they are supporting the budget. They are propping the government for the 50th time. Then they will call for some broad principle and say that they are really opposed to all these right-wing measures, but they will vote for them anyway”.
    Canadians should not be fooled. The Liberals and the Conservatives have the same agenda.
    If we really want a progressive government, we will have to triple the NDP caucus again. In the next House the NDP will be able to provide the progressive leadership most Canadians seek.
    Madam Speaker, I listened to the comments of the member for Burnaby—New Westminster. I want to acknowledge the member as being a master of righteous indignation. I appreciate the member's list of deficiencies of the current government, and I share those views. I agree with much of the critique of the budget. It could have been much better, and I would give it a C-. It was disappointing to see what was tabled.
    The member talks about principles. Listening to all the speeches about the past 20 years, the past fall, and so on is all very interesting, but for people who has lost their jobs, it is not very relevant. The member's principles seems to be to oppose, no matter what. That was demonstrated when the NDP members stated they would oppose the budget well before it was written.
    The choice is clear. Have laid off sawmill workers in his riding asked the member to make people wait for months for any assistance at this time, or would they prefer the member clear the way for immediate action to stimulate the economy, help people—

  (1210)  

    Order, please. I will give to give the member for Burnaby—New Westminster time to respond.
    Madam Speaker, that is the problem. We are the only party that actually read the budget implementation bill. We know that not a single additional Canadian will have access to employment insurance at a time when the number of employed is exploding, a quarter of million in the last 90 days alone. The Liberals are saying it is okay, that the unemployed sawmill worker in New Westminster does not have access to employment insurance. They do not care whether workers cannot feed their family or keep a roof over their head.
     We disagree. We had an agreement and that agreement included substantial changes to employment insurance. This was the alternative that the new Liberal leader faced, and he betrayed Canadians by going with the Conservatives and their right-winged economic agenda.
    Madam Speaker, I rise proudly today to oppose Bill C-10, the budget implementation bill.
    It is quite interesting when one does a quick analysis of what has happened since the financial crisis hit, which is a huge indictment of a capitalist system run amok and now attempts are being made to salvage it by bills like this one and other attempts by other right-wing governments around the globe. It is so symptomatic of how the crisis came about. It was based hugely on greed, incompetence and corruption, particularly in the United States, but its tentacles have spread right across the globe. Because we in Canada are so integrated, part of the globalization formula which both major political parties in this country have advocated for so long, we got caught in the crisis and we are going to get caught in it even more. In spite of the Bank of Canada's prognostications, the reality is we have not hit bottom and we are still some distance from hitting bottom based on the way our economic system works.
    We saw the government, both during the election and even more so after, continue to be in complete denial of the crisis we were faced with. That has not ended. The budget is a continuation of the government's psychological bent of refusing to recognize reality. It is living in a fantasy world and the budget reflects it.
    It also reflects a good deal of cynicism on the part of the government. It follows the same pattern the Prime Minister personally has followed for so long in taking every opportunity to push his ideological right-wing agenda. We see it in this bill in so many ways. It is a continuation of his broken promises, as we have just heard from my colleague, whether it was in appointing people to the unelected Senate, which he promised so vehemently he would never do, or whether it was calling the election in the fall. I remember watching him a number of times give speeches in advance of making that decision, and in advance of fixing the dates for elections in this country, a policy our party has supported for a long time, and the vehemence with which he spoke, and then watching him breach that promise so easily at the first possible opportunity to pursue his own personal objective of trying to get a majority government. We see that continued in the budget.
    The Prime Minister stood in this House and he stood before the cameras of all our TV channels, all of our media, and said that he was going to change, that he was going to stop having every single item, no matter how important, be a confidence vote. He was not going to do that anymore.
    Then what do we see in Bill C-10? Buried in this bill, which of course is a confidence vote since it is the budget implementation bill, there are at least half a dozen items that have nothing to do with the budget. They are policy issues in a number of different ways, but they are items that the Prime Minister wants from an ideological standpoint. Whether it is attacking the labour movement in this country, or whether it is attacking women over pay equity, he has buried a whole bunch of provisions in this bill, which is now going to be a confidence vote, which compels the so-called official opposition to support it, given the pledges it has made.

  (1215)  

    This bill is going to go through at some point, unless the Liberals finally come to their senses and maybe stand on principle, but that seems to be a contradiction in terms when we are talking about the Liberal Party. Unless that happens, a bunch of bills will go through the House comprised in Bill C-10, which should not be confidence votes and we should be allowed to vote on those bills without that hanging over our heads. I do not think there is anything more offensive and I say that personally.
    I remember watching the finance minister speak about pay equity in his November financial update. In terms of the tone, the words he used and even his body language, I was offended by the vehemence with which he was attacking women and the movement around pay equity that has gone on for decades and still has not completely resolved itself. Then at the next opportunity the government almost hides it in Bill C-10.
    We listen to the President of the Treasury Board try to justify it by, quite frankly, as my colleague from Winnipeg said, misleading the House about the provisions in provincial legislation and claiming it is the same. It is not. It is nowhere close. The epitome of it is the government is saying it will get done through collective bargaining. It was interesting to hear my eloquent friend from Newfoundland and Labrador point out that human rights are not bargained. It is either a human right or it is not and it is not bargained. That is what the government is doing in trying to lead us to believe that is the mechanism it is going to use.
    To put the lie to that, one only has to read the bill, and I invite the Conservatives to do that to understand what is really in it, if collective bargaining does not work and a number of women say they did not get their pay equity and they want to pursue it, there is a mechanism to pursue it, but their union, their organized support mechanism, cannot help them. In fact, if it tries to help them, it will be fined $50,000. For every incident it will be fined $50,000 for doing what it should be doing in terms of its responsibility vis-à-vis its membership. If that does not put a lie to the real intent of the government, I do not know what would.
    Madam Speaker, are you signalling that my time is up?
    No, I am concerned about the language. All hon. members in the House know that the word “lie” is inappropriate parliamentary language and I have just heard it repeated, so I was concerned.

  (1220)  

    I think within the context, Madam Speaker, it was not unparliamentary, but I will go on to other items.
    There could have been so many other things in the budget as opposed to trying to hide things. We have heard about the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the attack on the environmental movement, and all of what we have accomplished so far being undermined by that.
    When I read that part of Bill C-10, the budget implementation bill, it immediately brought back a conversation I had with a public servant at the municipal level in my riding when I was doing the prebudget consultation work. I asked to be provided with a list of all the projects available if we could get a decent stimulus program going. I specifically asked whether these projects were ready to go, including if they needed an environmental assessment and if it had been done. He said to me in response, “Every single one of these has had an environmental assessment, if it is needed”. That is true generally with municipal projects across the country. Therefore, this provision is absolutely unnecessary. It is simply an attack.
    I want to conclude by saying there is so much hypocrisy and ideology in this bill. The bottom line is there is not going to be an effective mechanism to stimulate the economy.
    Madam Speaker, the Conservatives continually tell us to read the bill and read the budget, but they certainly do not expect parliamentarians to do that, because if all parliamentarians read the budget bill, the vast majority of them would actually be appalled at what is in the bill.
    I am particularly concerned about the attack on the Canadian Human Rights Act. What that has to do with the supposed economic stimulus package is clearly worthy of debate. It states specifically in the budget bill that an employer who has been found to be engaged in a discriminatory practice against women is now protected by all the legal weight in Canada. That is sitting right on page 388. It clearly lays out how employers who have been engaged in discriminatory practices are protected. It is not even a question; if they have, they are protected. Yet that is in a supposed budget implementation bill that is supposed to be addressing the biggest economic crisis since the 1930s.
    I would like to ask the hon. member, how can it be that members of Parliament representing such diverse regions of Canada could sit in the House and allow the Canadian Human Rights Act to be so arbitrarily trashed in such an ideological fashion against women workers in this country?
    Madam Speaker, the point my friend from Timmins—James Bay is raising is in keeping with the line I was making in terms of the ideological underpinnings that are quite obvious in the budget bill. I will extend that, because he has caught the point already that there is an attack on the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
    In the justice committee there is a motion from the Conservatives, which has now been approved, for us to study that, with a clear indication from that side of the table that they want to gut the human rights legislation with regard specifically to section 13. There are reflections of that here.
    Going back to that $50,000 fine, one of the areas one would want to access would be the Canadian Human Rights Commission if one were in a pay equity dispute with the government or one's employer. By making it impossible, in effect, to take that on as an individual, it is undermining the usefulness of the commission and the serious important role it plays in protecting human rights in this country.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my hon. colleague from Windsor—Tecumseh.
     International Women's Day is coming up in March. Yet this budget directly attacks pay equity, while women today already earn only about 71¢ for every dollar earned by a man.
    What is more, we heard one of our colleagues say today that the NDP is not prepared to stand up for Canadians. But that is precisely what we do in the NDP: we stand up for what Canadians are really asking for.
    Can my colleague comment on the impact this budget will have on pay equity for women?

  (1225)  

    The hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh has one minute to respond to the question.
    Madam Speaker, I will reply in English, since I speak faster in English than in French.

[English]

    The reality is that Manitoba actually increased the ratio of the amount that women make in that province vis-à-vis men, by a significant amount in the way it treated pay equity. We will see the opposite with this legislation.
    In particular, the Conservatives are changing the way pay equity is being defined. They are not even using that term, other than one occasion in that part of the bill, and they are coming up with new terminology which clearly will undermine the role the legislation can play in protecting women. It will be just the opposite and we will see that gap between men's and women's wages in this country more than likely widen rather thank shrink.
    Madam Speaker, I am very proud to rise on the issue of Bill C-10 and its implementation.
    The context in which we have to discuss this issue today is the root causes of how we came to this international economic catastrophe, how the Conservatives completely failed to understand the implications, and the implications of what they are doing now on the long term, because they all fit together in a very straightforward pattern.
    I am sure members will remember the glib comments we heard from the other side of how we avoided a recession. When we saw the U.S. housing market collapse, there was a belief from Mr. Magoo of finance that Canada would not be in any way impacted by a downturn in the United States, even though that has never, ever happened--
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member for Timmins—James Bay just used some fairly unparliamentary language in the description of our finance minister. I ask that he retract that comment.
    Madam Speaker, I had referred in the past to a Liberal leader as Mr. Magoo and the Conservatives laughed and supported it. It is not unparliamentary. We would not find it on any unparliamentary list of words. Mr. Magoo is obviously a cartoon character and so it is perfectly straightforward. However, if the hon. member is feeling a little touchy this morning, Madam Speaker, and I hope this is not coming off my time responding to him, I would say that I have used it as a symbol.
    I had not heard the first comment. I do not believe that it is unparliamentary. I would ask the member to continue.
    Madam Speaker, speaking of comical, it is the glib response that we saw from the Conservatives when they saw the storm clouds coming, everyone saw this technical, this synchronized recession or whatever the words were that they used, they saw it coming for a long time. What did they do throughout that period? They stripped the fiscal capacity of the country to respond.
    They were coming with one tax break after another, which were absolutely useless tax breaks in terms of GST, stripping the country's capacity to be ready at a time of crisis. But that speaks very much to the typical attitude of the neo-conservatives, the attitude of what we saw in the United States, and what we saw in Europe. They created this situation that we are in now.
    We are dealing now with the government's response. It is supposed to be 500 pages of economic stimulus. However, the government in November told us that we had missed the recession and the recession was past, then Conservative backbenchers said they had already done their economic stimulus the year before. That was their tax cuts and in fact they were so smart they were ahead of the economic stimulus package. Then, of course, we found out that 130,000 jobs were lost in January and 250,000 since they were making such glib comments. Now they have settled down their tone somewhat.
    However, within Bill C-10 we see the real direction of the Conservatives. They are not all that interested in an economic stimulus. They are looking to create the old Reform Party pinata. If we smash this like a pinata, we will find all the ugly little slugs of the Reform ideology start to fall out, for example, their attack on the human rights code. It is right there. What does it have to do with budget implementation? Zero, but the attack on the human rights code is laid out. The attack on environmental protection, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, is in there. What does that have to do with economic stimulus? Zero.
    The attack on student loans is absolutely appalling. We have student debt that is crushing middle class families across Canada and yet we see the government adding brass knuckles in its budget implementation bill to attack students who are suffering from student loans. What does that have to do with economic stimulus? Absolutely zero.
    Then of course we see the move to strip Canada's foreign investment rules. What does that have to do with economic stimulus? A great deal, if one is a foreign corporate raider and dealing with a Canadian company that is on weak legs, the government has just made it easier.
    Let us put all of this in the context of the times. Right now we have the situation of Xstrata in Sudbury, an absolute debacle in the community. It has hit the region like an economic neutron bomb, but it is not just an isolated plant closing. This is the result of the twin pillars of Conservative ideology, which are indifference and incompetence, in addressing the economy.
    Let us back up two years to the former industry minister. Some day it will be a Trivial Pursuit question to ask: who was the minister at the time when we lost the two great mining giants of Canada overnight?
    I am sure many of the listeners back home will be wondering. I will give two clues: Julie Couillard, the whole “Mom” Boucher thing. That famous member. He was the industry minister. At that time Falconbridge and Inco were attempting to get a merger so that we could make the synergies of the industrial basin of Sudbury actually come together. Inco was having problems with its regulatory approvals and the industry committee, not just the New Democrats but the industry committee said, “Hold off on the hostile takeover by the corporate raider Xstrata until we can ensure that at least there is another bid on the table”. It was not to say, force Falconbridge to marry Inco, but to give Canadian companies the chance because they were being held up by international regulatory approvals.
    The minister did nothing because it was not the role of the Conservatives to be involved in the economy in any way unless it was to sell off the great assets of Canada. Therefore, overnight we lost the twin jewels of Canadian money. Falconbridge went to Xstrata and Inco went to Vale of Brazil. We lost the synergies in the Sudbury basin.
    At the time there were guffaws from the government side because it was the good times. In good times any idiotic company can make money. That is not a problem. In good times no one is worried about who is paying the bills but the question we asked again and again is what happens when the bust comes? What happens when the bust comes because nickel mining is cyclical? Now the bust has come. The only thing that the people of Sudbury had to protect them was an assurance by the government that a contract had been written to say that Xstrata would agree, in exchange for taking one of the key assets of the Canadian mining industry, that there would be three years without layoffs.

  (1230)  

    We have not even reached the three years. Now we have heard the industry minister claim, “Oh, don't worry, I stepped up to the floor and got Xstrata to offer some new money”. That is a lark. That money was on the books from Xstrata because it is simply moving ahead with what it planned all along.
     If anyone knows nickel mining in Sudbury they will say at $5 a pound, nickel can be mined profitably. Nickel is about $5 a pound. What Xstrata is doing, as part of its corporate plan along, is to move away from the lower grade deposits, move to the nickel rim mine which is a phenomenally rich mine, which will allow it to continue to high grade the assets. Officials knew that if they simply ignored the agreement that they had a toothless, indifferent and incompetent government on the other side of the floor that would do nothing to make them stand up to the signed agreement with the Canadian people. That is exactly what happened.
    For the people of Sudbury and all of the northern Ontario economy, the loss of 700 jobs is going to have an impact with long-term implications because anyone who has less than eight years seniority is gone. So sure they will be getting the bus ticket to Fort McMurray, but we are losing the new generation of miners. We are seeing families who do not have this extra six months. Whatever payout they get they are going to have to spend it and lose it before they ever get employment insurance.
    In the 500 pages and all the talk we have heard from the Conservative Party, there is not a single provision anywhere in the budget for one extra family in Canada to be allowed access to employment insurance. Nothing. That has profound implications because Canadians pay into these systems. They believe, because they are working, that they do not have to worry about it, that if things go wrong that their government has a system in place.
    The surprising fact for the people of Sudbury, Abitibi, and for the people all across my region, is that they have come to realize that the government has complete indifference toward those who are falling through the cracks. The only model applied for employment insurance is the Minister of Human Resources saying that the government did not want the benefits to be lucrative because it wanted to ensure that a hungry belly would ensure that people would get up off the couch and went looking for a job. That is absolutely intolerable.
    It is intolerable that we have an indifferent government that has allowed such key resources, such as Falconbridge deposits, to be so cavalierly wasted. It is appalling that we have a government that will not make this foreign corporate raider stand up to the commitments that it made to the Canadian people when it acquired Falconbridge in the first place.

  (1235)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Timmins—James Bay for bringing up the subject of Xstrata because a lot of people who have been laid off not only live in Sudbury but they also live in Nickel Belt. I would like the hon. member's thoughts on the fact that the industry minister this week stood in the House and, I cannot say the word “lied”, misled the House of Commons into believing that he was involved in the strategy--
    Order. Hon. members must be careful about the language. It is not acceptable to use words like “misled the House”.
    Thank you, Madam Speaker.
    The industry minister tried to make us believe that he was involved in negotiations with Xstrata to put new money on the table, when all along this was old money dating back to 2008. I would like the member's thoughts on the industry minister misleading us.
    Madam Speaker, we have been fighting this issue so strongly. The issue is really clear. This is a government that through its indifference and incompetence has allowed Falconbridge to be taken off by this corporate raider. At the time we were told not to worry because we have protection for three years, but Xstrata knew that the government did not really care and would not actually stand up for the people of Sudbury because it has not stood up for any other industry in this country.
    When our new industry minister stands in the House and says “Listen, I'm taking this seriously”, I am glad he is actually standing up. He seems to have a little bit more backbone than some of his predecessors. But when he is saying there is new money, it is simply not true. Xstrata had money on the books for developing nickel rim because it is a fantastically rich mine and everyone knows it, and it wanted that deposit. It did not want to have to deal with the larger issues of the Sudbury basin and that is again the misuse of our resources, the misuse of commitments that were made to the Canadian people, and the misuse of information in the House of Commons. The government has to at least say, “We had no intention of holding them to any agreement in the first place”. That is a fundamental of Conservative ideology.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the member for Timmins—James Bay for his intervention. One of the things he pointed out was the record of the government, not just in this budget but in previous budgets, saying that it is going to do one thing and ending up doing another.
    My question is specifically on how it has treated those who are most vulnerable, those who are right now suffering job losses, particularly in his area but also right across this country. Does the member believe that this budget can really actually help people who need the help right now? Are the changes that are contemplated in this budget going to make matters worse in the long run or better?

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, every day my office deals with the front lines of this economic crisis. We hear from the families who are not eligible for EI, who do not have enough weeks for EI, and the older workers who do not have enough funds to bridge them to a pension and end up losing everything along the way.
    When we met with bankers, the business communities and labour, we found a surprising unanimity on one issue, which is that we have to allow greater latitude for EI in a time of economic crisis. We have to poverty-proof our communities.
    We heard that from all kinds of sectors. Obviously, the Conservatives did not hear it because they continually go back to their basic Reform Party message. They do not want lucrative benefits because they think people are lazy. They want to accuse anyone who comes forward, who says anything about the issues of older workers, that we are not being positive enough. They want this whole Horatio Alger claptrap to be danced out in this House of Commons, and that we should encourage people to be more positive to find jobs that do not exist.
    It is simply not acceptable. Families are losing their homes, they are losing their savings, and they are looking to the government to do more. What they see on the government side benches is absolute indifference.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to speak today to Bill C-10, the budget implementation bill, and make some comments about the current situation of the government.
    The government has introduced a budget that contains a lot of the stimulus package and ideas that were promoted by the opposition. However, at the end of the day, we have no confidence that this budget will ever see the light of day in terms of implementation. Budgets get passed all the time but governments will underspend budgets. One member was heard to say recently that we are confident that the recession will end, that we will start coming out of the recession within three months and that we will not need to spend a lot of this money.
    That is why, fundamentally, we cannot trust or believe the government. It is a Jekyll and Hyde sort of government. The sweater comes on during the election campaign and then, of course, it comes off. Now, I think it is back on again. Some of the members, such as the President of the Treasury Board, have not figured out yet that it is sweater time again. I want to take a few minutes to explain what I mean by that.
    In my riding in Winnipeg, we have a serious situation where a freeway and two bridges will be closed for a year and a half, inconveniencing about 200,000 people. For whatever reason, the mayor has decided to punish that quadrant of the city by refusing to stop the closure by allowing two extra lanes to be built. These two extra lanes are envisioned to be built by the city in the next 20 years anyway. In fact, they have been costed out at around $50 million. This has been an issue for almost a year now. When I spoke to the President of the Treasury Board about this, he was really surprised. Given all the publicity on this issue, he felt that the problem could be solved if he could just get the parties together and do a cost-share on the extra two lanes, split into thirds. The federal share might then only be $17 million. He agreed that he would try to get the parties together to do that.
    That was back in the early part of November. I have followed up with him since and he told me that he had talked to them but new infrastructure money could not be applied to an existing project. Any project that was on the city of Winnipeg list would be excluded because it was already being dealt with. The issue then became how we would consider this project. I suggested to him that it would be a separate project. The first project had already been approved and it was a triple P, a totally different concept. This should be conventionally financed and they should find a way to do it under infrastructure money. We all remember the shovel-ready talk that this should be done because the city already owns the land.
    I have had occasion to speak to the minister a couple of times over the last couple of weeks. On the first occasion, he said that I had better vote for the budget because there would be consequences if I did not. I just attributed that to him having a bad hair day and I let it slide. About a week later, I had another conversation with him. I asked him the same question and he repeated the same thing. He said that I should vote for the budget or there would be consequences. He kept referring to consequences. I do not think that is a good approach. He is out of sync with the Prime Minister because the Prime Minister is back to the sweaters. This minister should get on side and be a little warmer and friendlier.
    In the Manitoba provincial legislature, I sat beside the highways minister. This is nothing new. It has been going on forever, regardless of the party that is in power. Conservative and opposition members, who sometimes ask very good, tough questions of the government, would come up after question period and talk to the highways minister, who was sitting right beside me, and ask about the bridges and roads that needed rebuilding in their areas. We need to be able to separate these things. We did not get all excited because the guy had voted against the budget. Of course he had. He was a Conservative in opposition and that was his role. He was supposed to be voting against the budget. He was doing his job by opposing the government and pointing out things the government should be doing.

  (1245)  

    However, we never held it against the member because he voted against the budget by not giving him his road. What kind of nonsense is that?
    Let us flip it back. When we were in opposition, the same thing applied. We would ask the Conservative minister of highways a tough question about something to do with roads and a few minutes later we would cross the floor, have a chat with him and he would give us the answers. That is just the way things operate.
     All I have tried to do is to get these parties together. However, we have a stubborn mayor who refuses to listen to over 5,000 people have responded to my surveys. It is not as if there are people opposed to this. Ninety-seven percent of the people are in favour of providing the two extra lanes.
    Do members know that last June the Prime Minister announced $70 million, which is a third of the money, would go toward a bridge in Saskatoon? That bridge in Saskatoon carries only 21,000 cars a day. Our Winnipeg bridge, which is 50 years old and falling apart, carries twice as many. It carries 40,000 cars a day and the mayor says, no, that the city will wait the 20 years to add the extra two lanes and the 200,000 people up in that quadrant can just suffer.
    I want to make it very clear that it is not the minister's fault that this has happened. I do applaud him for trying to take a leadership role in this, but he should follow through. He should try to convince the mayor that there is money available for these extra two lanes, that if he will put in his third, which he seemed very agreeable to do in the beginning, then we could continue this project and get it done. However, he seems to now have double-shifted back and is saying that it is all contingent upon how we voted for the budget, which is just not the way to do it.
    The Conservatives have a new-found alliance with the Liberals but they have to be pretty confident that will last. As the leader keeps moving up in the polls, the Liberals may not pass that big report card the Conservatives need to answer to in a few months.
    One would think the Conservatives would get those sweaters back on and be a little extra friendly with all the members over here in the opposition because, guess what, they might need our help some day.
    In any event, I would once again appeal to the minister to find a way to get the infrastructure money out to deal with this issue that we are talking about in Manitoba.
    We talked yesterday to the municipal people who told us that the infrastructure money was really not there for bridges anyway. They said that it was for shovel-ready projects that had to be finished within two years. They have a list of projects that might apply and those are basically renovations. If a community centre needs a little bit of renovating and it can be done in two years without any environmental assessment, then that is the project that will be funded.
    Why, in this omnibus bill, is there a provision dealing with environmental assessments? Just what kind of environmental projects do the Conservatives think will qualify under their rules for the infrastructure money? The answer is, none. There are no environmental projects that will apply here because they will not be able to get their assessment done in time to get the project done in the two year allotment.
    Once again, I made the argument about the two lanes. I said that because we already had the land, we probably would not need an assessment because it was already in the plans. I said that this project should be considered as a separate one-off project to avoid people suffering an inconvenience. It is not only me who will be inconvenienced. The member has a colleague from Kildonan—St. Paul who is also in the affected area. Conservative councillors in the area are all in favour. Every elected official, at all levels, is in interested in solving this problem. It is simply the mayor of Winnipeg who is the intransigent one in this particular project.

  (1250)  

    
    Madam Speaker, I would like my colleague to comment a little further with regard to employment insurance and the changes in the budget that the Liberals are supporting.
    I understand, from what I have read in the budget, that there will be five additional weeks of benefits afforded to people who are entitled to them. However, it does not deal with the two weeks prior, which means that if they cannot get the first two weeks, they wait about 28 days before they get their first cheque.
    I was just wondering what impact my colleague feels the changes to EI will have and whether he feels these are as lucrative as the Minister of Human Resources feels they are. I had applied way back when for EI when I was a young teenager and I did not feel that what I was making was lucrative.
     In 1996, people used to make $647 a week and now it is down to a maximum of four hundred and some dollars, but on average people only collect about $355 a week. Does my colleague feel that this is lucrative or that it benefits the people who have lost their job? What is the impact on his community?
    Madam Speaker, we know that perhaps 65% of unemployed people are ineligible for EI benefits under the current system. We are not helping matters by not making changes. Given the conditions that this country is under at the moment, we definitely should eliminate the waiting period for EI because that would be the proper thing to do.
    All the government has done is add an extra five weeks on at the end. The pain is up front. I would expect that we would keep pushing the government to see the light in this case and do something. We only need to look at the unemployment stats just in the last month and in the last quarter to see the huge increase in unemployment numbers. The signs point to matters only getting worse, not better, in the short term.
    I know the Tories are holding on, hoping that we will come out of the recession so they will not have to spend any of this money. They want to be able to go back to their Reform Party cousins and say that they did it because they had to in order to save the government, but that they did not really have any intention of spending the money. They want to hold on long enough so that the economy will begin to come out of the recession.
    However, it does not look like that will happen. Things are starting to look like they will be even worse. If those people in that party are aghast at the deficit they see the government looking at running right now, they will need to take another look at what could happen in another six months to a year from now when conditions might be far worse. We would hope that the government will take a look at this EI situation now and make the changes now before conditions get even worse than they are.

  (1255)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like the hon. member from Winnipeg to enlighten me on how the non-monetary measures that have been added into this budget, which is supported by the Liberals, will help stimulate the economy.
    Madam Speaker, I am quite familiar with the Tories in Manitoba doing the same thing. They also brought in big omnibus bills with poison pills in them.
    When we were in opposition for the 11 years under the Filmon government, we had to deal with one of these bills every year. They were about 400 pages long and we would send our staff in to read it over and reread it to find these hidden poison pills. There were all kinds of them, which made it very difficult for us at times to vote against the bill because the government always put something in there that would be hard for us to vote against. That was just tactics on its part but that is what the government is all about, tactics.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for standing up in opposition in a constructive and critical way. It is important for us as members of Parliament to understand our role, and our role is to be critical when necessary. We are not always critical. We have been constructive in our criticism and have put ideas forward. It is important to make that statement to begin with.
    Before I get into the substance of my comments on the budget bill, I want to take a moment to pass on condolences from the Ottawa community and my caucus to the family of Madame Michèle Demers on her sudden and tragic death. Madame Demers was the president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. She was a leader not only of her union and for the people she worked for, but also for the Ottawa community. We are saddened today for her family and quite frankly for the labour movement. I had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Demers on many occasions. She was always clear in her convictions about what she was doing and served her members well. We will all miss her greatly.
    If we look at the trajectory of the budget, we have to look at the fiscal update, of course. Three components in the fiscal update were obviously not satisfactory to all members of Parliament, save the government. Included in the fiscal update was the well-known political financing issue. My colleague spoke of poison pills. The political financing issue was a large dose of poison.
    However, that was not the focus for us in the NDP. We focused on the fact that the government wanted to ban the right to strike by public servants the day after it had just negotiated a contract with one of the public service unions.
    In both the economic statement and Bill C-10 the government wants to take away the right of women to have pay equity. It also wants to take away the right to challenge if they do not receive equal pay for work of equal value.
    In the fiscal update there was also a $10 billion assumption. It was a whopper. It was that the government was going to find savings in government operations by selling off enough assets to gain $10 billion.
    In his own comments, the finance minister admitted that his numbers were a bit rosy. We will have to give him the new nickname of “Rosy”. Actually, I think “Rosy” is being polite.
    Every single economist who looked at that $10 billion assumption, and this is especially for our friends who used to be reformers, thought it had no credibility. The finance minister was also criticized by the government's own parliamentary budget officer. The Conservative government pretends that it knows how to manage a lemonade stand, but it has a $10 billion assumption that was laughed at from every corner.
    The government grabbed onto power and prorogued the House. Then it did a Hail Mary pass, which is the budget. The Hail Mary pass is sadly being caught by the official opposition, as those members like to call themselves.
    The rosy $10 billion number from our rosy Minister of Finance came back in the budget in front of us as $8.7 billion. The government has managed to figure out some of the math. However, the government forgot to tell us where the money is going to come from.
    This year in the budget--and I say this to all those who purport to be fiscal conservatives, be they in the official opposition or be they on the government benches--the government is going to get $4 billion from the sale of government assets and from finding government savings.

  (1300)  

    We all know what the game is. The game is that the Conservatives are going to have to do one of three things: increase the deficit, not spend the stimulus or have a fire sale of government assets in a buyer's market. Does anyone find that credible? I certainly do not. That is what bothers me most about this budget.
    My colleagues have underlined the importance of looking at what this does for people, and I applaud that. It does not do much for people. What gets me more than anything are the assumptions made and the rhetoric put forward by a government that pretends it actually knows what it is doing when it comes to managing the nation's finances.
    I will give another example. A couple of years ago the government said, and I go back to its assumptions in this budget, that it was going to find $2 billion through savings in government operations and through selling off assets. It was going to find $2 billion that was booked by the previous government, I might add, in government operations.
    What it did was a real whopper. It hired a consulting company by the name of A.T. Kearney out of Chicago. The company has a branch office in Toronto. The consultant racked up a bill, and I know my friends know this one well, of not $1 million, not $2 million, not $10 million, not $15 million, not $20 million, but $24 million. Does anyone know what the government got for it? It got zero.
     Public works had the blessing of the cabinet. The former minister of foreign affairs is nodding and smiling. He knows it well. The government got shaken down for $24 million by A.T. Kearney. The problem is that we were shaken down.
    One member looks as if he does not know what this is about. He should look it up. I am going to send it to him, actually, because he is a minister now in cabinet. He is walking away now, and he should. He is hanging his head in shame, I hope. A sum of $24 million was spent, and we received zero value for the money.
    These are the people who are now responsible for bringing us out of the recession. God help us all. What we need right now are people who understand how finances work. That is why I will not only be opposing this budget, but doing so vigorously and with clarity.
    The government wants us to believe it has the best interests of the country in mind. When a government signs on for a $24 million contract with a consulting company from Chicago and gets zero value for the money, I am sorry, but I do not trust it, my constituents do not trust it and neither should anyone in the House, including its own members.
    In the time I have remaining, I want to talk about some solutions.
    It is interesting to note that south of the border there is an entirely different situation. There are people who actually listen to those who want to pull us out of the recession by investing in people and communities. One of the most exciting things happening south of the border is the green collar momentum. It is a move toward taking us from this economic recession and transforming our economy to one that is not only environmentally sound but also sustainable.
    One of the alliances is different from the alliance we see in the House. It is called the Blue Green Alliance, an alliance in which labour and those pushing for environmental change have come together. They have said they need to come together to provide stimuli and solutions for the economy. We see this being applauded, lauded and supported by the federal government in the states.
    My final comment is that instead of paying $24 million for bogus reports, we should be investing in blue-green alliance solutions similar to those we see south of the border. That is what this party will be doing, it is what we will be advancing and it is why we will not be supporting this budget.

  (1305)  

    Madam Speaker, there is a gaping hole in this budget, and a lot of money is missing. The Conservatives are going to have to sell off some public assets to meet their target.
    I would like the hon. member for Ottawa Centre to comment. The CBC is being talked about as one of the things the Conservatives are going to sell. I would like the hon. member to tell me what effect selling off public assets is going to have on Canadian culture.
    Madam Speaker, that is why I was stating in my comments on the budget that every Canadian should be concerned. The government has an $8.7 billion hole in its assumptions in the budget. It was $10.1 billion before; now it is $8.7 billion.
    My concern, and many of my colleagues share it, as should the official opposition, is that things like the CBC are in danger right now, because the budget document itself says that the government will be reviewing public sector assets that are in competition with the private sector. I am sorry, but that is where CBC is.
    We also look at assets such as AECL, which needs some money. I am afraid the Conservatives will pump in taxpayers' dollars, turn around and sell it to their friends, and leave us holding the bill for it all.
    This should be of concern. The government does not care. It wants to use the assets to make its books look better. It already did that in the last Parliament, when it sold off a bunch of buildings so that we could rent them back.
     I implore my friends from the Liberal Party to actually understand what the Conservatives are doing. When we are aware of what they are doing, it demands action. No one will believe them when they say they did not know that was going to happen. They are fully aware of what is wrong with the budget. I ask the Liberals to wake up and oppose the budget.
    Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on the question of the kind of carny huckster attitude that the government has toward government assets.
    In the last sale, public buildings were sold on the fact that the government sells off prime real estate all across Canada and then makes the taxpayer rent it back and pay for all improvements. It is not the owners. They get off scot-free.
     In 25 years the taxpayer has to buy the building back at full market value. I do not know any real estate from the early eighties that is worth zero now, but this is the argument the government uses: at the end of 25 years, this prime real estate is supposed to somehow be valued at zero, so we are getting value for our dollar.
    Could the hon. member, who knows this file so well, explain to the people back home about the real estate scam being perpetrated in the selloff of these assets? It is putting the taxpayer on the hook for all improvements and then making the taxpayer buy the building back at the end of the day.

  (1310)  

     Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Timmins—James Bay for the question, because this is extremely important.
    Right now, as we speak, the federal government is looking around this region for extra office space. It is projecting ahead. It is a good idea to plan ahead--very smart.
    At the same time, it is looking to sell off assets. It has already done this little ruse when it sold off government buildings, buildings that we need, meaning that taxpayers have to lease the assets and have to pay. The simplest way to put this is to ask whether we would rather own or rent. What the government is doing, has done and is contemplating doing right now is similar to selling off our homes and then having to rent them back. It looks good in the short run because we have some money in our pockets. In the long run, it makes no sense at all.
    The problem with the government is that it only looks at the short term to gain advantage. In this case it means putting an asset on the books to make things look good. In five or ten years, unless we do away with government entirely and no longer need buildings anyway, which is maybe the real plan, we need to have a place for our public service to work. I would rather have a government asset that we own than one that we have to sell and then rent back. It makes no sense. It is not good economics. It is not good management.
     Resuming debate. Seeing no other speakers, is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): Call in the members.
    And the bells having rung:
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): The vote stands deferred until 3:00 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been consultations and I believe that if you were to seek it, there would be unanimous consent for the division on Bill C-10 to be the first division put to the House at 3 o'clock.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act

    The House resumed from February 6, 2009 consideration of the motion that Bill C-4, An Act respecting not-for-profit corporations and certain other corporations, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, for several years, a number of representatives of not-for-profit corporations have been pressing to have the Canada Corporations Act modernized. In the past decade, numerous people have taken part in consultations, while others have made written submissions to Industry Canada calling for amendments to the Canada Corporations Act.
    Since 2002, both Liberal and Conservative governments have tried introducing various bills, but they all died on the order paper. In spite of everything, it is quite clear that there is a common desire on both sides of the House to modernize the Canada Corporations Act, especially since the bills introduced by previous governments have all been very similar.
    To briefly summarize Bill C-4, its primary aim is to propose new legislation on not-for-profit corporations that would establish a more modern and transparent framework for such organizations. The operational framework for not-for-profit corporations would be similar to corporate governance under the Canada Business Corporations Act. The new act would gradually repeal the Canada Corporations Act and would replace parts II, III and IV of that act. Although the bill is complex, the new framework that will govern not-for-profit corporations should considerably simplify and clarify the role of these corporations in our society, both for their members and directors and for the general public.
    It is exceedingly clear that extensive changes must be made to the Canada Corporations Act. For that reason, the Bloc Québécois is in favour of the principle underlying the bill. However, it is evident that some aspects of the bill must be examined in committee.
    The Bloc Québécois supports this bill for a number of reasons. First of all, the process for establishing a not-for-profit will be considerably streamlined and much more transparent. The act currently requires not-for-profit corporations to keep detailed accounts of their activities but does not require disclosure of these accounts. Bill C-4 requires not-for-profits to make their financial records available to their members, directors and officers, as well as to the Director.
     This will permit directors and officers to better manage and supervise the corporation, and allow members to monitor the financial situation of the organization between annual meetings and ensure that funds are used only in the pursuit of the stated goals and objectives.
     With regard to efficiency, replacing the letters patent system, involving a sort of order signed by the minister, with an as of right system of incorporation makes it much easier to set up not-for-profit organizations. First, the discretionary approval process would disappear and the incorporation process would be simplified, giving corporations greater flexibility. This process would also be more efficient and less expensive, both for corporations and for the government.
    Second, eliminating the obligation to have by-laws approved gives corporations the flexibility to create by-laws to meet their particular needs. It is high time the minister's discretionary authority in this area was abolished. This will increase not only the credibility of not-for-profit organizations, but public confidence in them.
     I would also like to take this opportunity to point out the main issues the Bloc Québécois and many representatives of not-for-profit organizations have with Bill C-4. Currently, the Canada Corporations Act does not have a classification system for NPOs. Bill C-4 does not contain a mechanism to change that.

  (1315)  

     In the government's view, the new act does not need a classification system because the framework is permissive and flexible, allowing organizations to choose how to apply many provisions.
    However, according to the national charities and not-for-profit law section of the Canadian Bar Association, not including a general classification system is a major flaw in this bill. It then becomes important to specify if the not-for-profit organization is charitable, mutualist, political or even religious, because they would be different. I am only trying to highlight various distinctions, but we believe that the committee should tackle this issue.
     As well, section 154 of the Canada Corporations Act currently stipulates that the federal minister may grant a charter of incorporation if the corporation thereby created pursues objects “to which the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada extends, of a national, patriotic, religious, philanthropic, charitable, scientific, artistic, social, professional or sporting character, or the like objects.”
    It seems that clause 4 of the new legislation would not require a not-for-profit organization to include in its statutes the objects it intends to pursue, thus sidestepping the whole notion of specifying what action an organization can take in accordance with its goals. Since we know that the federal Parliament has jurisdiction only over organizations that do not have provincial goals, this raises the following question: Why does the bill not include some provision to oversee what falls under federal jurisdiction? The Bloc Québécois feels that this question should be studied in committee as well.
    These are legitimate issues that the Bloc Québécois is trying to defend. Under section 92 of the Constitution, managing the social economy, volunteering and community activities falls within provincial jurisdiction. As set out in that section, all matters of a “merely local or private nature” fall under Quebec's exclusive jurisdiction.
    It is important to note that the federal Parliament has jurisdiction only over those organizations not pursuing provincial objects. Subsection 92(11) of the Constitution Act, 1867, grants the “incorporation of companies with provincial objects” specifically to the provinces.
     Accordingly, there seems to be a serious flaw in the bill and it must be carefully examined to avoid any potential conflict between the provinces and the federal government.
     At the beginning of my speech, I said that, for some time now, representatives of not-for-profit corporations have been calling for amendments to bring the Canada Corporations Act up to date. For reasons of transparency, efficiency and fairness, the Bloc Québécois believes that these amendments are legitimate and essential. However, certain points need to be clarified in committee. Whether on matters of classification or the jurisdictions of each level of government, we believe that the committee must provide clear answers.

  (1320)  

    Madam Speaker, despite the clarity of my colleague's presentation, I would still like to ask a question.
    With respect to developing regulations, the possibilities are wide-ranging, given that there really is no classification within not-for-profit organizations. Conflicts can arise concerning the goals of not-for-profit organizations because, as my colleague said earlier, there are corporations that are charitable and there are others that are mutualist.
    Basically, the goal of charitable organizations is to provide services to people other than members and administrators, whereas mutualist organizations provide services directly to members. At some point there must be a regulation or a classification that would change how the act is applied in different situations. The Canadian Bar Association has also expressed its views, and it is important that this go back to committee so that it can be discussed.
    I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on this, since he sits on the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. How does he feel that we should proceed?

  (1325)  

    Madam Speaker, my colleague from Sherbrooke is absolutely correct. We feel that the issue of classification is a flaw in Bill C-4. And so we need to clarify this aspect of the bill. As my colleague mentioned, the Canadian Bar Association has raised this issue and sees it as a flaw.
    The Bloc Québécois wants to debate the issue of classification and improve this part of the bill.
    Madam Speaker, as you can see, I am enjoying this dialogue with my colleague through you.
    I imagine that there have been a number of not-for-profit organizations in his riding with all kinds of situations at various points in time. The new legislation says that there can be a member on the board of directors, and other organizations can have several if they solicit funds.
    I was once an accountant, and I sometimes encountered not-for-profit organizations that had one person in charge of absolutely everything, including solicitation and the investment of funds collected from donors.
    I would say that, in some cases, it was relatively easy for organizations to get their certificates under the Canada Corporations Act. In many cases, they did not act in accordance with their stated objectives and sometimes even abused them. We have to consider the importance of protecting the public and the community in terms of assets because there are often tax breaks associated with that.
    I would like to ask my colleague a question. In general, even if the bill seems to meet organizations' expectations and appears to have received unanimous support in nearly every respect, without regulations governing classification, how are unclassified organizations supposed to operate, and what will the minister's responsibilities be when giving these organizations a certificate?
    Madam Speaker, in a former life, I also worked with not-for-profit organizations, because for several years I was recreation director for the City of Chicoutimi. I can say that I saw many organizations where, as the member mentioned, one member had control over a corporation.
    Bill C-4 is designed to modernize the legislation. The current legislation is out of date, and I believe there is a need for transparency in the operation of an organization and with regard to its membership. Organizations must also be accountable to the people when they solicit funds from them. There is also a need for transparency with regard to the people. I believe that Bill C-4 will be an improvement.
    Madam Speaker, things come in threes, as the saying goes. I have seldom had occasion to address questions and comments to my colleague three times in a row. This third time proves that I enjoy talking to my colleague, through the Chair, of course.
    It appears that at some point the committee will hold a lengthy period of consultations on this bill. Can my colleague tell us whether a series of consultations has already been planned? A number of round table discussions were held to draft this bill. Will the consultations take place in committee only, or will there be other consultations on Bill C-4?

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, I must tell my colleague that I cannot answer that question. However, I believe it will be necessary to hold extensive consultations in order to understand the whole issue of not-for-profit corporations. I will take his question to the committee and make sure that we hear a great many people, in order to get an overview of this issue.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-4. It is an important bill for a couple of reasons, but it really shows how the government has missed the mark, especially for the not-for-profit and charitable sector.
    At a time when charitable donations have gone down, the government has reduced what people get back in terms of giving. It has not adjusted the formula properly. Over the last number of years a lower tax rate has been applied and it has reduced the charitable money we get back from the government. In not having fixed that, it has taken money away from charities and from individuals who give to charities. The government has decided to bring forward a bill that is basically a legalization of Robert's Rules of Order at a time when charities are struggling to get by. I am not going to accept that. I am not going to accept the bill in its current form. The government needs to be told to clean up its act and do something for charities that are struggling.
    Right now there is an economic meltdown. Many groups and organizations are suffering and trying hard to get by but some are actually closing their doors. The government is going to pass on incredible legal costs and also the costs of a whole process to those organizations. It is important to recognize that this started back in 2000. I remember going to the voluntary sector initiative outreach that was done in 2000. That was eight years ago.
    My background is in the not-for-profit sector. I worked as a job developer at Community Living Mississauga. I worked at the Association For Persons With Physical Disabilities. I worked at the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County. I have been a board director for the AIDS committee and board director for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. I have been at the table and I know how complicated it is and how we need to improve some of the processes.
    Accountability is important and some elements in the bill do that to some degree, but it is not the only thing that is in the bill.
    We were asking quite clearly for new regulations with regard to charitable giving. We asked that volunteers be rewarded for their time. This is done in the United States where there is a tax writeoff for volunteering of time. We asked for the ability to give money back to people, as the Victorian Order of Nurses does in that it gives receipts for gas and volunteer hours.
    What do we get from the government? We get a process that is going to further cause pain and suffering in those organizations which have to deal with it right now. There is no plan or assistance. That is the problem. That is why I am saying now is not the time to do this. The government should be told to go back to the drawing board and come back with something that has balance, bring back something that is going to provide the charities and the not-for-profit organizations the capabilities to fulfill the requirements of the bill without having to draw from their programs. That is what will happen, because they will have to retrain board members and staff to implement new administrative processes.
    The technological age that has come about has made things even more complicated, through emails and a whole series of other initiatives which are also going to have some rules around them. All of that will have a cost to the organizations through their management systems, their computer systems and their processes. Where is the money going to come from for that?
    Is the government going to come down hard on those organizations that will not be able to do that right away? Is it going to go through an audit and target different organizations that do not have the same capability as the large ones? That is important to recognize because not all organizations operate in the same way. I can understand the impetus and support the principles of trying to bring some accountability forward, which is important, but the Lions Clubs, the legions and many others are going to be pretty shocked and wonder if they are going to have to follow the same process as the Toronto Port Authority. That is not right and should not be done without providing any type of supports.
     The government has had alternatives in the House. I had a private member's bill that would review the whole way charitable donations are treated. What I proposed is similar to a political donation; when money is given, there is a generous return. I have asked for the same thing, and for the charities to be capped at a certain level so it does not cost an exponential amount of money. People could get their return and the charities could move forward. When people give to a political party in this country, for example, $400, they get 75% of that back. If they give to the United Way, Scouts Canada, or the Victorian Order of Nurses they get a mere pittance back. I propose that we invert that so that those charities can have another revenue stream and ensure that the fiscal stimulus that happens in local communities goes to social organizations that are combatting the issues they are facing right now.

  (1335)  

    Some of the great organizations available to the public in my riding, such as the United Way, have to spend money from their reserves to support their current programs. They are going to be dealing with the consequences of a government that has put its head in the sand with regard to the economy for so many years and had this thrust upon them. The government has no plan. People are losing their homes. They have more social problems. They are experiencing greater stress in their lives. They will be turning to those organizations to get support. They will be turning to credit counselling. They will be turning to the Alzheimer's association to get assistance for their loved ones. They will be turning to all those groups to get the support they need.
    Those groups will have to learn 170 pages of legislation and implement it at the time of greatest need in Canada. That is the wrong approach. The government should be told to go back to the drawing board and bring back some tools that would enable those agencies to deal with this change, put some money toward it and deal with the other issues that the voluntary sector initiative raised. Those elements were to strengthen those core organizations so that they would have the capability to plan for the future and expand their mandates in Canada in order to deal with new cases and problems in a fair way.
    There are some elements in Bill C-4 that I do support. There are some good things, but they cannot be done alone. Once again, there were consultations in 2000, eight years ago. There were some talks and discussions by some groups back in 2002 and 2005. They were a more modest approach than the 2000 consultations which took place across Canada. However, those are years in the past and those consultations were done in a time that is totally different from today.
    The government needs to start thinking about the organizations that are supporting the social economy. The social economy is significant in this country. Eight per cent of our GDP is tied to those groups and organizations that are helping people get by. They provide the services and programs that governments often turn their backs on because they do not want to fund them. People in our civil society decide that they are not going to put up with that and they form collective organizations to make a real social change, to make a difference. They fight back by creating an organization, choosing a board of directors and becoming incorporated. They start doing the charitable work that is so necessary for the people of their community, and in fact their country, because those organizations work together across many regions and provinces.
    These organizations are going to have thrust upon them another cost, expense, process and procedure that is going to divert them from their necessary work. I think of some of the things that have happened just recently in my area. The Alzheimer Society just opened up a new facility in Windsor and Essex county. Sally Bennett Politidis is the chief executive officer. It is a great organization and has been able to open its doors and provide more respite care to assist a number of people who are not getting support from government programs. People are behind it. Lots of money has been donated.
    The Alzheimer Society had a good campaign and has opened a beautiful new building that it is sustaining. Now, that organization is going to have to spend its time looking at a bill and deciding how it is going to change its operations to cope with this new set of rules when what it really needs is support from the government to sustain its operations. That is what should be happening.
    There is absolutely nothing in the budget; the economic action plan, as it is referred to, did absolutely nothing for not-for-profit entities, not a single thing. Not only did it not support the traditional programs, such as child care, that we have been fighting for in Parliament, the government turned its back on every not-for-profit and charitable organization.
    It has known about its actions and about clawing money back from Canadian taxpayers for the last number of years. The last number of budgets have reduced the bottom income for taxation. That is coupled with the rate of return one gets for charitable giving and that has shrunk over the years. It has gone in the reverse direction. I will concede that it is only a few dollars per person, but it is a symbolic gesture of a government that will not even address a simple issue and it turns its back on charities and other organizations. That is unacceptable.

  (1340)  

    Once again, I submitted a private member's bill. There have been other submissions, but my bill is about treating charitable donations similar to the way political donations are handled. I asked for unanimous consent for the bill to bill to pass and it was denied. It would have been an important one that could have been effective.
    When I put the bill forward last year, parliamentary research came back and said that it would cost around $800 million to do it. I said we could phase it in over time, but at the time the government said that it was just too much money, that it could not afford $800 million of taxpayer money.
     Ironically, that money would have gone to local communities because it would have gone toward donations of individuals. It would have been a tax return for people, a tax investment back to the social programs that we support in our community. Those charities and organizations would be able to track new donors. The number of donors is dwindling in Canada because people cannot afford it as much any more.
    The government said that it was too much money at that time. Look at what it is doing right now with the billions of dollars going out to the banks and so forth. They seem to get their share, but there is no money for individuals who give to charities. There is no money to reward people who give to Scouts Canada or to hospitals and universities. They count as well. There is no money for people to decide how they want to help advance civil society.
    Instead the Conservatives have come back to Parliament with an old retread bill that has been tabled a couple of times in the House of Commons, a bill that was widely consulted on eight years ago. Society was much different eight years ago than it is now. Now the government is going to ram it down our throats.
     This is what the government is going to do for the not-for-profit sector this year. It has not included them in the economic stimulus package. It will reduce the amount that individuals can get back at tax time. It is also going to give them new Robert's Rules of Order so boards of directors, staff and all administrative components will need to be reviewed and evaluated. In addition, the organizations will probably require some legal advice on that, for which the government will not provide assistance.
    That is not right. These organizations, such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters in my riding, need to be concentrating on ensuring people can continue to volunteer and support them.
    They have two fronts with which to deal. They have a front where people do not have enough money right now to donate, and donations are slipping. They also have to deal with the fact that volunteers are drying up as well, and that is important to recognize. The volunteer initiative needs focus. The not-for-profit organizations said at the time that they wanted to stimulate their volunteers and reward them.
    There are all kinds of things we could do. The United States gives a tax credit for that. There are all kinds of opportunities to do something for those individuals. Let us face it. A lot of Canadians now need one or two jobs, or they go back to school, even if they work right now. They have less time to give to those organizations.
    This needs to be adjusted. We need to focus on some type of legislation that will facilitate that type of encouragement. I cannot believe the government would come forward with this bill without including some of those other initiatives. It has denied the other requests that were made and has brought in a new set of Robert's Rules of Order for the not-for-profit organizations. They are on their own.
    Enough is enough. If this makes it to committee and we end up spending time on this, we will have to bring all the not-for-profit organizations to the table. We need to hear from them. We need to know what is happening in their industry. We will need to know how they are getting by right now. We need to know how they will implement the legislation, while not affecting a single penny of the revenues going to their programs.
    It would be a shame if the Conservatives, supported by whomever here, would implement a bill at a time when these charities need our support. If passed as is, the bill will take money out of programming, because not-for-profit organizations will have to do more administrative procedures. This needs to be addressed. There needs to be a plan behind it. I have not heard that plan. I have listened to the government on this and I have not heard anything from the comments of the Conservatives to deal with that situation.
    I do not think anybody in the House wants to go back to their communities right now and see money taken away that could go to programs right now or to updating facilities to deal with the financial and other implications and the stresses with our current economy.

  (1345)  

    My area has had 10% unemployment for the last number of years. We just finished our United Way campaign and it had to pull from the reserves. That traditionally is not the situation. With the downturn in the automotive sector and a number of different manufacturing sector losses over the years, we have lost great generosity from members, men and women, often in the CAW. Also our salaried employees give the most per capita in Canada.
    However, we are having a problem now. The loss of those jobs has eliminated the donations, not only from the companies that used to donate, and some of which made large donations to the United Way, but also those individuals who used to be employed by them. That has dried up as well. The ones left are stuck with having to pull things together.
    I congratulate the men and women of CAW Local 1973. Despite having their transmission plant close in 2010, they upped their donations and led the United Way. The men and women of the CAW came forward and gave more money than ever before, knowing they would lose their jobs.
    They are not giving up on the charitable sector. Those individuals are saying that we have to more. What does the government do? Yes, it does more. It gives them a Robert's Rule of Order that will take away from those groups, and that is unacceptable. It could have put something in the budget. It could have attached something to the bill. Even if it did not want to put out cash or some type of stimulus for the agencies, it could have rewarded Canadians who give to charities. The government decided not to do that.
    The government decided as well to not even reward the volunteer effort of Canadians, the thousands of hours that people give to charities, whether it be for the environment, for children, for seniors or for educational institutions, on all of those things it could have given some type of reward for individuals to show them that needed to get engaged in their communities and if they did, the government would reward them. It could have shown people that it recognized the fact that they needed to get more active in their communities.
    That is what is happening in other parts of the world. There is a recognition that people need to come together stronger than before. The government could do some type of small initiative for that or at least throw a crumb, just do something. People are willing to continue to do these things, but they are under much greater stress. Once again, they are either working one or two jobs, or going back to school and retraining. All those things are happening right now.
    I say no to Bill C-4. I want the government to go back to the drawing board and bring forward something that will be progressive and balanced for the charities and ensure that it will not cost any money for them. If the government is going to bring in something, it should at least acknowledge there is going to be a cost.
    This side of the House recognizes that there is a responsibility on the government side to reward those Canadians who are giving their time or their money. Both are values that are important to recognize and they are values that strengthen our civil society. They help eliminate poverty, reduce crime, improve literacy and help people who are sick get better, whether one sits on the board of directors at a hospital, or on a board at a university or college or whether one is the person working the bingos at night. This is another industry that has been crushed because of the border issues. We have seen revenues dry up from that. People would go out and give their time, with late hours, just to ensure that a few dollars would come into the organizations.
    We recognize there needs to be a partnership and the government needs to be there for them. Implementing a Robert's Rules of Order that will cost their administration time, money is irresponsible. They are also probably going to have to deal with some of the computers and other systems they run and to do so without any support. We want to see something brought forward that will meet the needs of Canadians, not-for-profits organizations and their charities, not attack them at this time.

  (1350)  

    Madam Speaker, I listened to the member, and I know the House has a great deal of respect for the member, in particular for the subject matter on which he has spoken.
    The Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, and there is a great deal of respect for that secretariat as well, has brought in legislation on the Canada not-for-profit corporations act. From time to time, when we deal with the link between bureaucracy and the grassroots organizations in our communities, we are always cognizant of many of the points that the member has raised. I am quite taken when he says that volunteering represents the values that strengthen civil society.
    This bill is going to committee. The member has already indicated that he has a private member's bill, and I know he has put a great deal of research into it. He has linked the bureaucratic regime and the capacity that is necessary for non-governmental organizations, NGOs, to meet the criteria embedded in this bill. Would he and his party be prepared to bring forward suggestions at committee that would alleviate the kind of stresses he has indicated, and I believe he is correct? The stress will be in excess of the capacity that non-governmental organizations in my riding already have. They are experiencing a huge amount of problems.
    Would he be prepared to put forward suggestions to committee in order that the bill could come back and address some of the major concerns he has raised?
    Madam Speaker, the member is right. There is an opportunity at committee to bring forth a number of different amendments. My concern is whether the government will have any interest to allow them. That is why I decided today to hold the line and send the Conservatives a message. We are extremely unhappy that they even initiated it without any thought or even a gesture of support for those organizations having to go through such a process. In fact, it will even be stressful for them to examine and analyze the bill to determine how their local organization will be affected and then to get a lobby going on the Hill to have a presentation to make changes.
     I agree with the member. If this bill goes forward, I will propose a series of different amendments. This corner of the House will also demand extensive consultations with not-for-profit organizations to be inclusive of how they deal with the current climate.
    However, my concern in general, even right now, is that as we move toward that process, it will be taxing on organizations. If this is passed, I need to ensure that my not-for-profit organizations get copies of the bill. I know they will have to go to their board members with it. If they are lucky enough to have a lawyer on their board, that member will have to examine it and get back to the board. They will have to focus on those things as opposed to what is important right now. Sometimes it is just outright survival. There are groups that are clinging on right now will not even have the opportunity to get involved in the lobbying. They will be too busy surviving and later on, they will have a surprise at the end of the day.
    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to hear from our member for Windsor West, and I fully endorse his comments on the bill. I, too, am very disturbed that the government did not choose to come forward with a much larger package.
    Since becoming elected last October as a member of Parliament, I have had organization after organization approach me looking for assistance because of the bureaucracy and red tape the government has imposed on them. These organizations serve the disabled. One organization had been a charitable organization for 20 years, but it missed one filing deadline and had its charitable status taken away. We have organizations that serve the Latin American communities. These are groups of new Canadians that, instead of making a lot of money in Alberta like a many other people, are dedicating their time to volunteer organizations. They are being harassed by the red tape of CIDA because they missed one deadline. Organizations like Preserve Agricultural Land in Alberta was founded simply to tell people the value of preserving agricultural land and it was denied charitable status.
     Would the member please address the bigger issue of how we deal with charitable status and enable people who help Canadians to raise funds?

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, that is important to recognize and I thank my colleague for the question because it touches upon a subject that I did not have time to address.
    The bill further complicates the grassroots organizations that are trying to get together to form a social movement for education, literacy, anti-poverty, and a whole series of different initiatives. It could be agriculture, the preservation of land, or the environment. A number of groups that will try to get together will have further complications to do so under this bill and that is an issue.
    It is important to contrast what we are seeing from the government with regard to not-for-profit organizations and charities versus the business sector, the government's pal. We know from the national survey of not-for-profit and voluntary organizations that 48% of organizations said they had difficulty obtaining funding from other organizations, including government. There is no surprise there. Some 20% said this problem was serious. The same proportion of organizations said that they had difficulty obtaining funding from individuals, although only 13% said this problem was serious. Finally, 42% of organizations said they had difficulty earning revenue. We know that is the current environment right now.
    We have a budget that is going to be passed that does not do anything at all for not-for-profit organizations, not a single thing. It does not increase the amount of money people will get back nor does it provide any type of new supports or structures. The evidence is out there and in members ridings people know that they are losing organizations. They know that a number of them are being taxed when they try to get people information or actual work. Turning our back on the community is wrong right now.
    Madam Speaker, I too had the opportunity to work in the not-for-profit and charity sector for a number of years. I want to commend the hon. member for his speech and for bringing forward several of these issues. Maybe he could speak to what he has been able to discover, in the legislation and sledgehammer of bureaucracy in the budget, when trying to recruit new board members. We know how difficult it is to find volunteers. I would ask the member to explain the impact on all of these not-for-profit organizations and charities.
    Madam Speaker, the question from my colleague is an important one right now.
    Every not-for-profit organization spends a lot of time trying to recruit board members. Not-for-profit organizations need board members for a variety of reasons. They need people in accounting, they need lawyers, they need people who are connected to the community in different capacities to be able to raise funds. They need people who can deal with social policy. They want to make sure they have somebody who is going to be good with the people the organizations represent and being an advocate for their boards.
    The organizations are now going to have to shift their vision to how they are going to educate their current board members under this 170-page document and how they are going to implement a strategy to shift it. It is going to require an extensive shift and a business operational plan. At the same time, they are going to have to recruit board members. It is going to be extremely confusing and more and more difficult to bring board members online, in my opinion, at this particular time because people are concerned with a lot of other issues right now.
    It is actually a sledgehammer approach and one that is very much focused on the Robert's Rules of Order way of bringing that in. Our gift to charities this year is that they are getting more rules of order and more things to learn, and by the way, we are not going to help them with it. We are not going to provide them with new tax incentives. We are not going to reward their volunteers and we are not going to improve their facilities or provide some type of stimulus. We are going to let them do this on their own. I say, good luck.
    By the way, if they want to lobby us, they should come to Ottawa because back in the year 2000 we did some consultation, eight years ago, and that will be our justifiable reason that we can do it on the Hill as opposed to what we should be doing, which is hearing from Canadians and their communities on how their charities are dealing with the current economic problems and how their communities are going to deal with cutbacks to services and the increased capacity necessary to deal with the social problems around a failing economy. That is what the government should be focused on.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

Oshawa

    Madam Speaker, I am proud to stand before the House today representing the great citizens of Oshawa. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation to them for re-electing me for the third time this past fall.
    The people of Oshawa have been hit hard by this downturn and need the stimulus in the budget to pass. I am extremely disappointed in the NDP, who have irresponsibly voted against the budget and its measures to assist those hardest hit in my community.
    However, I am extremely proud to say that the citizens of Oshawa provide our city with a renewed spirit of optimism and strength during this difficult time. I am confident that the ingenuity, determination and character of Oshawa's best will ensure that Oshawa will emerge stronger than ever.
    I would also like to take this opportunity to honour the memory of an outstanding Oshawa citizen, community leader, volunteer, and a dear friend, Kevin Campbell. We will miss Kevin, especially during these tough times.
     I call upon younger community leaders, in Kevin's memory, to step forward and bring together the spirit, optimism and strength of our great city.

World Winter Games

    Madam Speaker, today I want to honour our Canadian team of special Olympics athletes who are currently competing in the 2009 World Winter Games.
    In particular, I want to recognize four amazing athletes: Justin Fong, Marc Theriault, Alexandra Magee and David Boudreau, all from my riding of Newton--North Delta. In fact, Justin Fong came in first in his alpine intermediate super G event which took place this past Tuesday.
    I want all members of the House to join me in wishing our special athletes the best of luck in the final two days of competition.

[Translation]

International Child Soldier Day

    Mr. Speaker, on this International Child Soldier Day, it is estimated that there are 300,000 such soldiers in the world. These children are used as fighters, messengers, porters, cooks or often, if they are girls, as sexual slaves. Some of them are forcibly recruited or kidnapped. Others join up to escape poverty, mistreatment and discrimination.
    Canada is a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Optional Protocol on Child Soldiers, which bans combatants under the age of 15.
    Unfortunately, while this convention requires signatories to promote the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers, the Conservative government has not yet repatriated Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old at the time of his arrest.
    On this International Child Soldier Day, it is imperative that Canada at last respect its international commitments.

[English]

Legal Aid

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my concern over cutbacks to legal aid that are adversely affecting people in my communities, particularly women, children, and the most vulnerable.
    Legal Services Society of B.C. has announced it will be closing its family law clinic and firing 38 staff as a result of a funding shortfall. This will further weaken a legal aid system already in crisis after it was cut back by 40% by the provincial Liberal government in 2002.
    This became a national embarrassment last November when the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women released a report that highlighted the lack of government support for legal aid, particularly in B.C., which was severely impacting the ability of those living in poverty to access legal services. The UN report also condemned the cancellation by this Conservative government of the court challenges program.
    While Canada was once a global leader in social justice and equality, the actions of Liberals and Conservatives, both provincially and federally, have severely tarnished--
    The hon. member for Calgary Northeast.

Guyanese Community

    Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Calgary Northeast we are blessed with incredible cultural diversity and strong community-minded organizations.
    Today I want to officially congratulate the Guyana Canada Cultural Association of Calgary on the purchase of its new building in Calgary Northeast. Led by President Percy Mootoo and his dedicated team, the association gives back to the community through volunteer work, financial contributions to worthy causes, and bursaries for students pursuing higher learning. I congratulate Mr. Mootoo and the association for leading by example.
    I also congratulate the Guyanese community in Calgary, throughout Canada, and around the world on the celebration of Guyana's upcoming 39th Republic Day on February 23rd. The history of our two countries, our multicultural diversity, and our friendly and ever-strengthening bilateral relations are all reasons to be proud of our relationship, to celebrate, and to be hopeful for an even brighter future.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, today marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, and it is 150 years since he published his theory of evolution in the seminal book The Origin of Species, which has contributed so much to our understanding of the natural world and human behaviour.
    Social scientists have used Darwin's theories to better understand the root causes of crime. It is one thing to understand those causes though and it is another to take action. In my community of Vancouver Quadra, people are deeply concerned with the recent crime wave being described as an all out gang war. Six gang shootings in one week and at least seven homicides since late January in greater Vancouver. This is unacceptable.
    The Liberals are deeply concerned. The Conservatives, for political reasons, defeated their very own crime bills through prorogation and other procedural means.
    I call for an evolution of Conservative priorities on crime. It is time the Conservatives put the public good above their own partisan gain.

  (1410)  

Food Freedom Day

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to thank all the farmers in my riding and across Canada who work hard, day in and day out, to ensure Canadians enjoy the highest quality, most abundant food supply in the world.
    I salute our growers and producers today because today is Food Freedom Day in Canada, the day when average Canadians have earned enough income to pay their grocery bill for the entire year. We thank our farmers for the risks they take and the great care they give to raise the food we are so blessed to receive on our tables.
    I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge that too many Canadian families rely on food banks to enjoy the goodness of our bounty.
    The weekend after next I will be participating in the annual Ancaster Community Food Drive in my riding and I urge all members of the House to also be mindful of those in need today and every day as we recognize our farmers for their great work.

[Translation]

Quebec Film Industry

    Speaker, Quebec films are the runaway favourites in the competition for the 29th Genie awards. This week, we have learned that Quebec practitioners of the cinematographic arts have alone captured 41 of the 71 nominations.
    Despite this domination by the Quebec film industry, it has a dark cloud hanging over it. Producers and directors are worried. Director Charles Binamé, who brought us Séraphin: heart of stone and American trap says, “The word culture is not in the Conservatives' vocabulary...We sense that we are being punished by the federal government...This country has a heritage and culture minister who has never read a book in French and has never seen one of our films”.
    As for Denise Robert, producer of Everything is fine and The barbarian invasions, she adds. “Quebec is guilty of being too talented. We are being forced to cut the pie into smaller and smaller pieces ”.
    It is imperative for this Conservative government to stop penalizing the artists of Quebec.

Genie Awards

    Mr. Speaker, the nominees for the 29th annual Genie Awards were announced Tuesday by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

[English]

    British Columbia films, such as Carl Bessai's Normal, are among the nominees, as are B.C. film professionals Janice Blackie-Goodine and Greg Middleton, who are among the many talented nominees.

[Translation]

    The films The Necessities of Life and Everything is Fine dominated the selection. Passchendaele, Fugitive Pieces, Amal and Mommy is at the Hairdresser's each garnered six nominations.

[English]

    The Genie Awards take place here in Ottawa April 4 at the Canadian Aviation Museum. Events featuring the Canadian film industry will occur in the days leading up to the awards.
    As the member of Parliament for North Vancouver, home of much of Canada's film production industry, I wish to congratulate all the nominees.

Olympic Winter Games

    Mr. Speaker, today marks the one year countdown to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. We look forward to joining Canadians from across our country as we cheer on our superb athletes and celebrate their achievements.
    Although the B.C. government and the Olympic committee organizers are working very hard to make this international event a huge success, this Conservative government refuses to disclose how much it will spend on security for the games. The B.C. government needs this information now to complete its own budget and security preparations.
    Is the federal government hiding from the Canadian people because the cost of security is now projected to be at least five times greater than previously estimated, or is it because the RCMP may not be able to provide extra staff, now that the government has torn up their wage agreement, further compromising their national manpower deficit in this, one of the finest police forces in the world?
    The Conservative government must stop hiding and provide B.C. with the facts and resources to ensure we can have top notch games.

[Translation]

Quebec Winter Carnival

    Mr. Speaker, from the earliest days of the French colony, the inhabitants of New France traditionally got together to celebrate, shortly before Lent. That tradition remains alive and well to this day.
    Quebec, the snow capital of the world, is once again celebrating the joys of winter this year with Bonhomme Carnaval. Many activities are planned, such as the magnificent night parade, which took place last Saturday. The Carnaval de Québec is now the largest winter carnival in the world and is ranked third among the top carnivals. Our Prime Minister attended once again this year.
    I would like to commend the excellent work of the carnival's organizers and congratulate its president, Gisèle Bourdeau.
    Best of luck to the sexiest man in Quebec, Bonhomme Carnaval.

[English]

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of my constituents, Mikhail Lennikov, his wife Iriana and his 17-year-old son, Dmitri, to urge the government to stay their deportation to Russia on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
    Mr. Lennikov was allowed into Canada with his family for a fresh start after he had voluntarily notified Canadian authorities that he was recruited 25 years ago by the KGB against his will. As if he had a choice in a totalitarian state.
    The Lennikovs were recently ordered to leave Canada on the grounds that somehow he could constitute a security risk.
    Mr. Lennikov's spotless record of 11 years in Canada demonstrate that he is not a threat. The case for his deportation simply cannot be based on fact or even contemplated for his 17-year-old son, Dmitri, who sees the deportation to a country that he hardly knows as “a final nail in the coffin”.
    The Lennikovs have been a credit to our community. I urge the Minister of Public Safety to stop the Lennikov deportation and allow this family to stay in Canada where they now so clearly belong.

Human Rights

    Mr. Speaker, Canada remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Iran.
    Reports yesterday that seven leaders of the Baha'i community, who had been detained without access to legal counsel, have now been charged is very troubling. Addressing the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, such as the Baha'i in Iran, has been a consistent priority for Canada.
    The adoption of the Canadian-led resolution on the human rights situation in Iran by the UN General Assembly in December again signalled the international community's ongoing concern. It calls on the Government of Iran to respect fully its human rights obligations.
     Canada will continue to raise our concerns about the Baha'i and human rights more generally directly with the Government of Iran.

[Translation]

Michèle Demers

    Mr. Speaker, we were dismayed to learn yesterday of the sudden death of Ms. Michèle Demers, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.
    A social worker by training, she became politically active as a shop steward in 1982 while working at the veterans' hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. In 2005, she became the 50th president of a union that represents 55,000 members. She was re-elected in December 2007.
    Throughout her career, this union activist championed the right to collective bargaining, funding of the sciences for the public good—especially in connection with food safety and hazardous products, union-management consultation and dialogue and the renewal of the public service.
    For all those involved in defending the rights of workers, Michèle Demers will remain a source of inspiration who set an exceptional standard.

  (1415)  

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, a new report has confirmed that the Prime Minister was not able to provide the money promised for infrastructure, calling into question the promises made in his new budget.
    We have it on good authority that since the start of the new fiscal measures, Quebec's municipalities have not received any news or details about the Conservative government's infrastructure projects. The government is proposing to finance 50% of the work, leaving the rest of the bill to the provinces and municipalities, which have already approved their 2009 budgets.
    What is more, even though the infamous Building Canada plan was implemented in September 2008, eligibility criteria have yet to be outlined. Canadian municipalities are still in the dark concerning this government's intentions. The government's attempts to shed light on the subject have been deplorable. Meetings between federal ministers and municipal authorities are being cancelled at the last minute without any explanation.
    We must continue to hold this government accountable.

[English]

Olympic Winter Games

    Mr. Speaker, February 12, 2009 marks the one year countdown to the official opening ceremonies of the 21st Olympic Winter Games.
    In exactly one year, Canada will welcome the world. Canadians from every corner of our country will be able to participate in this once in a generation opportunity as we showcase our athletes, artists, culture and heritage.
    Today, in Whistler, the Minister of State for Sport unveiled the made-in-Canada torch that will be carried across our country. Communities from coast to coast to coast will be able to welcome and celebrate this record-setting journey.
    Olympians, like Jennifer Heil and Clara Hughes, are a few of our Olympic champions. Just last weekend our Canadian athletes won an amazing 28 medals, including 14 gold.
    Among the exciting new signature venues is the Richmond Oval.
    Thanks to the government's strong support for elite athlete development and increased investment in sports infrastructure, I am certain that the 2010 Canadian games will be a smashing success.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, President Obama visits Canada next week and Canadians want to know what the Prime Minister will be doing to defend vital Canadian interests, such as jobs in the auto sector, for example. The government has been idling for months waiting for the U.S. assistance package.
    Will the Prime Minister tell the president, as he should, that the U.S. auto rescue package must not suck jobs and product mandates out of our industry?
    Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of dictating outcomes to the United States. It is a question of Canada coming to the table as a partner. We have indicated that we are willing to do that in collaboration, as the hon. member should know, with the Government of Ontario.
    We have been working hand in glove with the American administration and with our Ontario counterparts for some time now to ensure that, as this industry is restructured, Canada maintains its vital part of the North American automobile industry.

Canada-U.S. Border

    Mr. Speaker, let me raise another matter, which is the U.S.-Canada border. It has become a choke chain on the Canadian economy. The tourist industry, the auto sector and communities next door to the American border have all suffered from the U.S. tightening of the border.
    What specific measures will the Prime Minister propose to the president to loosen that chain? For example, will he ask the president to rethink the passport requirement due to be imposed in June?
    Mr. Speaker, first, I think the entire House knows that it was under the preceding government that the border was tightened and, in fact, that we lost our privileged relationship with the United States.
    Under our government, some of the implementation of the matters that the hon. member speaks of have been delayed several times. We always indicate to our American friends that this government views the United States as our closest ally and partner, that we share not only a vibrant commercial relationship with it but also its security concerns, and that we are always willing to work as a partner.

  (1420)  

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the third point I want to raise is this: President Obama's visit will give us a chance to unite in the fight against climate change. The government claims that its environmental standards are similar to those of the new American administration, but nothing could be further from the truth.
    Is the Prime Minister ready to get on board with the U.S. government's initiatives, and is he ready to support stricter North American targets?
    Mr. Speaker, the climate change targets the opposition wants are completely unrealistic. Neither this government nor the U.S. government want unrealistic targets. It is critical that we talk about our objectives together. In addition to an integrated continental approach with an integrated economy, we must insist, in international talks, that all large countries adopt targets. That is this government's position and that of—
    The hon. member for Ottawa South.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are still waiting for a regulatory framework for the fight against climate change. The opposition rewrote the Clean Air Act, then the Conservatives let it drop. Eleven independent groups say that the Conservative plan is doomed to failure, and Canada is falling behind internationally.
    In anticipation of President Obama's visit, how can we undertake climate change negotiations with the United States if we have nothing to bring to the table?
    Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth, and I want to finish my previous answer.

[English]

    It is important to understand that the targets the Obama administration is looking at in terms of climate change are very close to the targets of this government. They are certainly not the completely unrealistic targets of the opposition.
    The position of the opposition parties that only some emitters should reduce their emissions and not all emitters is unacceptable to this government and I think it is also unacceptable to the government of the United States.
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' climate change story has gone from made in Canada to delayed in Canada to made in the U.S.A. Canada is scrambling to catch up, lurching from ice floe to ice floe, without credibility and without a plan.
     When President Obama says cap and trade, he means cap as in hard cap, not intensity-based targets. When he says trade, he means trading that is in line with the European Union and, of course, the United Nations.
    Why does the minister not simply admit that he is making it up on the fly and that he is no position to cooperate with the United States on climate change? Or, is he the Minister of the Environment in prime minister Obama's country?
    Mr. Speaker, the targets we have spoken of are very clear.
     I would say that the hon. member opposite is making fairly extreme statements, both in the House and elsewhere, about this particular matter. He has referred to the ecoTrust funds, for example, including the ones that went to the Government of Ontario, as eco-fraud.
    I would ask the member here in the House if he could share with the House any specific accusations of fraud that involve the Government of Ontario or any other provincial government?

[Translation]

Culture

    Mr. Speaker, the Canada Prizes for the Arts are turning into the blooper prizes, with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages in the leading role. Yesterday, he had the audacity to say that the prizes were not even his project.
    I would remind this House that in its latest budget, the government earmarked $25 million for something that is allegedly not its project.
    Does the Prime Minister realize that he has no option but to cancel this project, which has been universally condemned, and transfer the $25 million to the cultural programs he cut?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc always opposes any initiative that strengthens Canada. This government has established world-class science and medicine prizes. We are doing the same thing for the arts.
    There is a proposal in the budget. The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages is consulting the cultural community to clarify that proposal. The project will be good for Canada, despite the Bloc's opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, if I understand correctly, during the vote on the budget, this House voted $25 million in funding for an unknown project, and to boot, the government is cutting cultural programs without familiarizing itself with the analyses justifying these cuts. So much for sound management of public funds.
    Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages shoulder his responsibilities and take his cue from Edgar Allan Poe, saying, “Nevermore, nevermore”?
    Mr. Speaker, the only justifying here is being done by the Bloc leader, who is always trying to justify voting against initiatives that benefit the cultural community. This government is taking action and is going to create a world-class prize. This is important for this country. The Bloc may always vote against these things, but we are going to take action.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages has shown that he is incompetent because he was duped by two promoters who did not hesitate to lie and to invent backers to snatch $25 million from the government for the Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity.
    Rather than criticizing the opposition members who do not support his project and attempting to defend the indefensible, would it not be better for the minister to be working on re-establishing programs that will allow our artists to promote culture abroad?
    Mr. Speaker, we will make investments this year, as we have in the past and will in the future, to promote our artists around the world. This year, we are investing $21 million. Yes, there is $25 million in the budget to create prizes for artists, to look after the cultural and artistic community in Canada. We want to create prizes, like those we have for doctors and scientists, to celebrate Canadian artists, even if the Bloc votes against it. The Bloc always votes against measures to support artists' needs. It votes against every bill that seeks to establish real prizes for Canada. That is shameful.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister abolished the former touring programs under the pretext that they were poorly administered. However, he refuses to make public the analyses to support his conclusion, as though his management of the Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity were exemplary.
    Does the minister realize that he has achieved the impossible? He is even worse than his predecessor.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, speaking about the Canada Prize, here is what the Globe and Mail had to say about it. It said:
    This is about giving a jolt of entrepreneurial energy to the arts, about putting young artists in a borderless world on centre stage, and with them, Canada, as a country that is open to the world culture, and cares about the arts and the artists. Artists should be thrilled. This is their moment.
    Artists in this country are receiving more support from this government than from any government in Canadian history. We are proud to support our artists. All we ask from the opposition parties is that they wait and see the exact plan that we are going to put forward for arts and culture. It will be fantastic. When we do, hopefully we will hear no more comments from the Bloc.

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the facts show that the Conservatives' economic policies are not working: we have the first trade deficit in 33 years; we saw a record number of job losses in January; there has been a 50% increase in personal bankruptcies; and job losses continue to mount, for instance, at AbitibiBowater in Grand Falls, Pratt & Whitney in Longueuil and Domtar in Ear Falls.
    The Americans have a buy-domestic policy. Why does Canada not have such a policy, in order to create jobs here in Canada?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada does not want to see an increase in protectionism around the world. We honour our commitments and we expect the Americans to do the same. However, we have brought forward important initiatives for the economy, initiatives that are being well received by Canadians. We are in the process of passing the budget. Not only did the NDP oppose the budget before even reading it, but that party is trying to stall its passing. That is completely irresponsible.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this buy Canadian policy is not protectionist. It is, in fact, consistent with NAFTA. It is supported by business and labour, and it is in the Obama stimulus package that the government said it is pleased with.
    But the government is going in the opposite direction than that budget adopted by the Americans. In fact Canadian companies have been shut out completely in bids for public works contracts. They have gone to the U.S.
    If the Prime Minister believes that Canadian companies are the best in the world, why will he not at least let them bid on government contracts?
    Mr. Speaker, this is absolutely a ridiculous accusation from the NDP. The fact of the matter is that our Canadian companies bid and every year they win between 80% and 90% of those contracts. We respect the rules. We expect the Americans to do the same.
    Our government has a number of important economic measures before the House that require passage for the Canadian economy. The NDP decided it would be against them even before it heard about them. Now it is the only party in the House trying to delay passage of these economic measures. The NDP is once again behaving totally irresponsibly for the families of this country.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister raises the issue of the budget implementation bill, but it is filled with ideological add-ons, such as making it easier for companies to take over Canadian businesses. People should be concerned about this.
    For example, the government has a legal agreement with Xstrata that says there are to be no layoffs for up to three years. Yet there are people in Sudbury, 700 of them, who have received pink slips now before the three years is up.
    We have to ask ourselves, how can we trust a Prime Minister who will not even stand up for agreements that his government has signed on these issues?
    Mr. Speaker, the budget has measures to support Canadian communities. It invests in industries that are hard hit. It invests in strategic industries. It has measures to improve credit and financing for Canadian business. It has measures to help the unemployed and to retrain people. These are what is important for the Canadian economy and Canadian families, not the hon. member's pet undemocratic coalition that nobody voted for.

[Translation]

Aerospace Industry

    Mr. Speaker, Pratt & Whitney is laying off 1,000 employees, Bell Helicopter has sent 500 workers packing and Bombardier has slashed 710 jobs. All of this news, which is disastrous for the aerospace industry in Quebec, in less than one week.
    Is the Minister of Industry still ready to say, as he did on Monday, that the aerospace industry is in good shape and does not need special federal financial aid?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, there are challenges in many Canadian sectors. Obviously the aerospace industry is one sector that is being affected by the global economic crisis.
    However, we have already announced $900 million for the aerospace industry through SADI. And Bombardier has announced 730 new permanent jobs in Montreal as well. The news is not all bad.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, these people live in my riding. The minister has no right to insult their intelligence.
    Over 2,000 people have lost their jobs in less than a week in the aerospace sector, and he tells them there is nothing he can do? This just will not do.
    We have invested a lot to make our industry one of the best in the world. What is he going to do to guarantee that there will still be jobs once this crisis is over?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have a great relationship with the aerospace industry. That is why we continue to support innovation in that sector through our program. That is why we continue to have, through our Canada first defence policy, continued buying in that sector that involves the Canadian sector.
    The hon. member is totally incorrect. We support the sector, just as we support all sectors of the economy through a budget that works, through a budget that is helping create an economic stimulus, through an economic plan that is based upon innovation and new jobs and opportunity for the future.
    The hon. member voted for the budget. I expect that she will be telling that to her constituents as well.

Trade

    Mr. Speaker, many Canadian firms cannot get U.S. government business because of American protectionist rules. Yet last year U.S. defence firms almost doubled their business with the Canadian government.
    Having failed to stand up for Canada and secure ITAR exemptions from the Bush Republicans, the Conservatives' soulmates, what specific actions has the trade minister taken with the Obama Democrats to secure ITAR exemptions to protect Canadian aerospace and defence industry jobs now when they need it the most?
    Mr. Speaker, if my hon. friend could get up to speed on some of these issues, it would help us to move them forward.
    I am not sure if he is aware that the Democrats actually have been in control of the U.S. house for some time. I have met previous chairs of the committees on that issue. I would be happy to send him information, which I do not know why he has not read, about the progress made on the ITAR issue relative to Canada. There has been great progress made. I would be happy to send him that information, if he will read it.

Canada-U.S. Border

    Mr. Speaker, on January 30, Secretary Napolitano, in making ominous statements called for a comprehensive review of threats along our border to be completed next week. This has been followed by erroneous and pejorative op-eds in U.S. newspapers that attack Canadian interests. The government's response: silence.
    In fact, in committee yesterday the minister confirmed he had only a brief unrelated conversation with the secretary and that he provided no submissions at all to the Obama administration or Congress. This could have a major impact on trade and tourism. Why is the government doing nothing?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, as I told the committee, I had a very constructive discussion with the homeland secretary and we discussed the importance of our common interests both in border security and in trade.
    Obviously, the Government of Canada does not write the staff reports, but I do not agree with the characterization that my friend across the way has given to what she has sought. The homeland security secretary has asked for reports on a wide range of issues, including getting up to speed on the Canadian border. I think it is a very positive thing that she is showing that interest in Canada and in having good relations with us.

[Translation]

Aerospace Industry

    Mr. Speaker, first we had Bell Helicopter and Bombardier Aerospace, now we have Pratt & Whitney announcing several hundred layoffs. Yet the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada had forewarned the government and is still calling for the $200 million that was promised during the election campaign by the Prime Minister but does not appear in the budget.
    Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that his budget is totally inadequate and that he has a duty to respond to the needs of the aerospace industry?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, we have already announced $900 million for the aerospace industry through the strategic aerospace and defence initiative, or SADI, and the Canada First defence strategy. On the contrary, there is more support for Canadian businesses.
    I can also say that there is good news from Bombardier: the creation of 730 new permanent jobs in the Montreal region. So there is good news as well.
    Mr. Speaker, aerospace is to Quebec what the automotive sector is to Ontario. The budget does not meet the expectations of the aerospace industry, which is in urgent need of a true development policy, for instance, one that would provide refundable credits for R and D.
    Does the Prime Minister understand that it is unacceptable for his government not to provide the aerospace industry with support equivalent to what it has provided to the auto industry?
    Mr. Speaker, I will continue. Canada's economic action plan also increases our support to all industries, including the aerospace and aviation industry. We have also simplified the process for companies to access credit. The action plan has also extended the write-off for capital and equipment costs, and improved the accessibility of skills training.
    We are taking action for Canada's economy and for Canada's future.

  (1440)  

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, an economist said, and I quote, “The role of the Prime Minister is to defend Canada's interests. And you have failed to do so. For instance, in the softwood lumber file, for over three years all opposition leaders have been calling for loan guarantees for our forestry companies.”
    What is the Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) waiting for to take action on this?
    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague should know, things are very, very dangerous right now in the forestry industry. Given that the loan guarantees offered by Ontario and Quebec are at this time the subject of an arbitration procedure with the United States, it would be inappropriate to comment on the interpretation of those agreements.
    I can say, however, that the agreement provides stability and certainty to the forestry industry, its workers and their communities throughout Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, the economist I quoted earlier was the current Prime Minister during the leaders' debate in 2006. To maintain that loan guarantees violate the agreement, as the minister insists, is false. The auto plan has them, EDC works on that basis and Investissement Québec is already giving loans to forestry companies.
    Will the minister admit that the budget is clearly inadequate and that additional measures are needed, such as loan guarantees, to help the forestry industry?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question, but he does not seem to understand.
    The loan guarantees extended by two provinces and the rulings have gone to arbitration with the United States. Some 80% of Canadian softwood lumber exports go to the United States. It is extremely important for us to preserve this agreement and ensure that our workers continue to export their lumber to our main economic partner, the United States.

[English]

Arts and Culture

    Mr. Speaker, 40 well-known and respected cultural organizations were listed as partners for the Canada Prize for the Arts without their knowledge. These organizations have built their names and their credibility through many efforts over several years. Today, they find themselves associated with a concept which they did not even approve. The minister, instead of defending them, puts his head in the sand.
    Is the minister trying to hide something or is he incompetent? Maybe he is trying to hide his incompetence.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is talking about one proposal about which I know there is debate, but that proposal is not our government's policy. When we come forward with the policy, my hon. colleague will be able to rise in the House and actually speak to it with a little bit more acuity. That having been said, the Canada Prize and the money to create a prize for arts and culture is in the budget and I am pleased that the member is going to be voting for it, in spite of his questions.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, last Monday, before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, the minister defended the Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity. Wednesday, we learned that the prizes were established under false pretences. Now, the minister is washing his hands of it all. On Monday he was announcing this $25 million program, with which he was familiar. On Wednesday, he really was not sure about the program. On Monday, he was giving details about the program. On Wednesday, he was saying that the details might be different.
    Is there anyone on the other side who can tell us what the program is all about?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have said the exact same thing all the way through, which is that in this budget we will create prizes for Canadian artists, just like last year when we set aside $20 million to create the Gairdner prizes for excellence in medicine and science.
    We want to do that as well for arts and culture, which is what we are doing. We have set aside the money in the budget. There is one proposal out there that is getting debate. It is not our proposal. When we come forward with our specific plan, my hon. colleague will be able to see it, read it and take a position. When this comes forward, it will get the support of the arts and culture community in this country and it will be great for this country, which is why the Bloc Québécois is against it. I am sorry to see my hon. colleague is on its bandwagon now.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.
    We learned today that the Conservative government has no idea whether it is getting value for money from a military communications project. This project was supposed to cost $105 million and has since ballooned to $290 million, three times the original cost. The defence department audit flagged that sole source contract.
    With such a mess, could the minister explain why he agreed to extend and expand this land command support system with General Dynamics?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are aware of the costs associated with this particular project and we are looking into how this has occurred.
    As members would expect, these particular programs are reviewed and are under the auspices of the Auditor General, as are all contracts of this nature. We are looking into the details that the hon. member is seeking.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time that we have heard of management problems at the Department of National Defence. The chief of review services sounded the alarm. He has determined that supply projects worth $9.6 billion are currently at risk. He even refers to 20 projects carried out by very underqualified lead suppliers. That is worrisome.
    In this recession, does the minister really know what is happening in his department?
    Mr. Speaker, it is always necessary to be prudent with such programs. At the Department of National Defence, we have very competent and professional staff capable of looking after such programs.

[English]

    We are constantly reviewing these programs, given the amount of money that is involved in the spending and the procurement of military hardware and military programs, especially at a time like this. I give my friend the assurance that we are looking into this.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, the global economy remains in unprecedented turmoil. Our Conservative government has brought forward a multi-year economic action plan. It is a plan that will create and maintain jobs, help those Canadians hardest hit by the global economic downturn and make key investments to stimulate the economy.
    However, for the plan to work, Parliament needs to act and pass the budget implementation bill without delay but the NDP has been trying to stall the bill's progress. Could the Minister of Finance please update the House as to what is at stake if the NDP continues--
    The hon. Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, the situation we face is serious. We are in the midst of a synchronized global recession, which is why we created Canada's economic action plan.
    The first budget bill is before the House. Delay of the bill would, quite frankly, be irresponsible. What would be delayed? The following would be delayed: extending EI benefits by five weeks; $6 billion in stimulative investments for hospitals, infrastructure, highways, roads and public projects across the country; and vital measures with respect to ensuring access to financing for people and businesses across the country.
    We consulted with Canadians extensively before the budget--
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.

[Translation]

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, we know that the Conservatives have trouble with numbers. In November, they made some forecasts that did not hold water, and they have taken advantage of them to try and save money at the expense of women.
    Can the government tell us how much money it is going to save by refusing to pay women equally for work of equal value? Or will it admit that no money will be saved and that it is simply opposed to pay equity?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what I do not understand is how the member does not understand the cost to women for having to wait for 15 years to have a complaint resolved.
    We brought forward a proactive system to ensure women would receive equity in the workforce on a timely basis. I am proud of our government's efforts in that respect.
    Mr. Speaker, it was his leader, the Prime Minister of this country, who said back in 1998 that the federal government should scrap its ridiculous pay equity law. With Bill C-10, the government is doing exactly that. It is scrapping pay equity.
     If the President of the Treasury Board wants to take a page from the Manitoba government, why does he not drop the fines against unions, allow the complaints procedure under the Canadian Human Rights Commission and appoint a pay equity bureau like Manitoba did to help women close the gap once and for all?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, I believe we should be closing that gap and 15 years is too long to wait. Each of us in the economy, whether it is a union or an employer, has a positive obligation to ensure that women receive equity in the workforce. That is what we are about and that is what we are doing in this legislation, which is why we hope this House and that member will support this very important legislation.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, despite endless urging from the opposition parties and members of all sectors of civil society, the Conservative government is still stubbornly refusing to repatriate young Omar Khadr to Canada. Worse yet, the Prime Minister refuses to even raise the matter with President Obama when he visits, according to one of his spokespersons. We are talking here of a child soldier, imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for more than six years now and subjected to acts of torture.
    Does the Prime Minister understand that he has a moral duty to discuss with President Obama the arrangements for repatriating this young Canadian citizen, Omar Khadr?
    Will he do this or will he sink—
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our position regarding Mr. Khadr remains unchanged. Mr. Khadr faces serious charges that include murder, attempted murder and terrorism.
    We continue to closely monitor this situation, including the work of the American committee formed to study the fate of the detainees, including Mr. Khadr. Any speculation is premature at this time.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions comes into effect on March 18, 2007. Guided by Quebec, Canada signed that convention along with 95 other countries.
    Since the United States has not yet signed, does the Prime Minister intend to put this on the agenda when he meets with President Obama, in order to convince him to sign the convention?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will say this again. Our position regarding Mr. Khadr remains unchanged. Mr. Khadr faces serious charges, including murder. We continue to closely monitor the situation, including the work of the American committee formed by President Obama to study the fate of detainees, including Mr. Khadr.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs still has the same page. Canada has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. That being the case, is the government of the opinion that the U.S. government has respected the standards set out by that protocol in the case of the detention of Omar Khadr at Guantanamo Bay? President Obama does not agree.
    Does our government think that the U.S. government has respected the protocol, yes or no?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I have stated, we continue to closely monitor the situation, including the work of the American committee formed by President Obama to look at the detainees, including Mr. Khadr. Our position has not changed. Omar Khadr faces serious charges, including the murder of a medic. We are aware but at this time any speculation is premature.
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps I asked the wrong question. Let me try it again.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. Whatever question the member is going to ask, the parliamentary secretary needs to be able to hear it. We will have some order so the member for Beauséjour can be heard.
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary did not answer the question. Canada ratified the protocol on the convention of the rights of children. Does the minister believe the American government has respected the requirements of that protocol? President Obama believes it has not.
    Does the parliamentary secretary agree with President Obama or does he still agree with President Bush?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, he should be asking the American government that question.
    Let me state the position of the Government of Canada, not the government of America. The Government of Canada continues to closely monitor the situation, including the work of the American committee formed by President Obama to look at the detainee issue, including Mr. Khadr's issue.
    Again, let me remind the member that Mr. Khadr faces serious charges, including the murder of a medic.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, a scathing report has just been released about the secret procurement empire at the Department of National Defence. Among other things, the report reveals a communications system that was supposed to cost $100 million ended up costing nearly $300 million.
    Why is this report so heavily censored? Will the minister allow the full report to be released today so Canadians can see why this contract tripled in cost?
    Mr. Speaker, there seems to be a breakdown in the coalition communication. This is a pretty well reported secret.
    We have a very strict review process in place at the Department of National Defence. We, of course, have the scrutiny of the House of Commons in addition to the Auditor General.
    This particular contract has expanded in its costs and we are examining it. As we have seen in a number of situations, including having responded to the requests of the independent commission and the independent review of the mission in Afghanistan, there are costs associated with the Department of National Defence that do expand in relation to operations.
    Mr. Speaker, this runaway contract is just the latest example of how defence procurement has become synonymous with incompetence under the government.
    How can the government claim to be accountable when it will not even tell us which rules, if any, it follows when it comes to these multi-million dollar contracts? If the minister does have faith in the procurement process, why will he not release the full report? If he still will not do that, will he at least tell this House how a $100 million contract ended up costing Canadian taxpayers $300 million?
    Mr. Speaker, the procurement process is accountable and transparent. This particular contract that the member is looking at is open to all the rigorous reviews that take place in contracts such as this. That information will be available to the hon. member.
     She had an opportunity to ask questions about this when I appeared this week before the committee on supplementary estimates and she asked nothing about it.

Olympic Winter Games

    Mr. Speaker, today marks the one year countdown to the start of the Canada Olympic Games. As a British Columbian, I can say how excited everyone is back home.
     Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending a celebration in Kamloops with thousands in attendance. Could the regional minister for British Columbia update the House on how Canadians will be celebrating from coast to coast to coast?
    Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo for her characteristic promotion of the interests of her constituents.
     I can say that today, one year from the start of the Olympics, at venues all around British Columbia, especially in Vancouver and Whistler, the announcements have gone out. The venues are ready, with a state-of-the art made in Canada design, including the green energy technology and aboriginal art.
    We think the athletes are ready. In events just last weekend, they won 28 medals, including 14 gold. With our announcement today, we are using trade offices around the world to say “Come to Canada. Come to the--”
    Order, please. The hon. member for Sydney--Victoria.

Aboriginal Affairs

     Mr. Speaker, Eskasoni is the largest native community in Atlantic Canada. It had four young people die by suicide just last week. I visited the community. It is in crisis.
    The recent funds from Health Canada are only a short-term solution. Eskasoni has presented the government with a long-term proposal. The people of Eskasoni need to hear from the Minister of Indian Affairs. Is he going to act on their proposal to stop the tragic loss of lives?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to offer my condolences to the community and to the families of Eskasoni. Growing up in the north, I am very familiar with the issue and the impact it can have on a community.
    Health Canada has met with INAC and the Eskasoni community. My department has been involved with this file from the very beginning. I can say that Health Canada provides Eskasoni with more than $1.4 million in annual funding for counselling programs and services related to mental health.
     I am committed to working with the community on a short-term and long-term basis, and will be in contact with the community on an ongoing basis.

[Translation]

Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, the railway infrastructure in the Montreal region is so old that some of the switches have to be operated by hand. The CN and CP lines must be upgraded to enable the Agence métropolitaine de transport, the AMT, to provide quality service to its users. The budget allocates $407 million to upgrading rail lines located almost exclusively in Ontario.
    Will the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities also commit funds to improve the rail lines used by the AMT's suburban trains?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is exciting when we see the economic action plan presented by the Minister of Finance. There is $407 million in it for VIA Rail. There is a significant amount of infrastructure that is going to take place on rail. That is just one part of it.
    There is also a significant amount of money that is left over from years previous. We are excited about this. The NDP obviously is not. It is unfortunate that all parties of this House are not excited to get this action plan done, get the money into the hands of Canadians, and we encourage them to do so.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, dramatic allegations of attempts to bribe former MP Chuck Cadman raised very serious questions and led to unprecedented actions. Now it seems questions about the scandal will not be answered because Conservatives and Liberals have huddled together in the cone of silence.
    However, there is another victim. According to an expert hired by the Conservatives, journalist Tom Zytaruk was falsely accused of tampering with his audiotape of his interview with the Prime Minister.
    Will the Prime Minister and the government withdraw their allegations that he doctored the tape and apologize to Mr. Zytaruk?
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear, in fact, that the tape was tampered. The matter is now settled and both parties are pleased with that settlement.

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, during the early 1980s recession, the Liberals cut immigration levels in half. Today we learned that a Liberal senator said that the government should halt the programs of foreign workers. She was not talking about temporary workers but all foreign workers coming to Canada. The Liberal Party must end this ugly anti-immigration rhetoric.
    Could the Minister of Immigration tell us the government's position on this issue?
    Mr. Speaker, not only did they cut immigration in half during the last major recession, the Liberals cut immigration levels by 75,000 after taking office in 1993. They froze settlement funding. They imposed a $1,000 head tax on newcomers. They did nothing on foreign credential recognition. They drove up the backlog 20 times.
    Now we have a Liberal caucus member giving voice to nativist sentiments, pitting immigrants against Canadians, in our economy. I would like to know if the leader of the Liberal Party will denounce and disassociate himself from these irresponsible remarks?

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, on September 23, 2007, the RCMP informed the Conservatives that there was no evidence to back up their accusations of theft and embezzlement against me by their official agent. Yet, two weeks later, other Conservatives distributed the same accusations of theft and embezzlement to the media and on the Internet. In fact, members can see those accusations against me on the website stephentaylor.ca.
    Last week, the Minister of Public Safety said there was only one person involved, but now obviously there is more than one Conservative, and I do not mean Conservatives in this House, but there is more than one Conservative involved. Will they now release the names of all those Conservatives?
    Mr. Speaker, as I advised this House previously, the RCMP looked into this matter and made it clear that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing with regard to the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley.
    I also confirmed to this House that the Conservative Party was of the same view.

[Translation]

Presence in Gallery

    I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of Mr. Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie for Quebec.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

[English]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, to the government House leader, I wonder if he could inform us of his plans for the business days in the House immediately ahead. Obviously, those plans have changed a bit since he last reported to the House, so I would be interested to know what he has in mind for the rest of this week and for the first week, at least, after the parliamentary break. Specifically, I wonder if the government House leader could tell us which days he intends to allot as supply days.
    I would point out, secondly, that the government's first probationary report, with respect to its budgetary and economic performance, is due on or before March 12. I wonder when the government will be tabling that report.

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, I welcome those questions from the opposition House leader.
    In a few moments we will be voting on the second reading stage of Bill C-10, the budget implementation act. Also, the House will approve supplementary estimates (B).
    I would like to take this time to thank all members for their cooperation in accelerating the consideration and approval of supplementary estimates (B) including and especially my cabinet colleagues who responded with little notice to invitations from the various committees to study these estimates.
    After the votes, we will continue with the debate on Bill C-4, not-for-profit legislation; followed by Bill C-9, transportation of dangerous goods; Bill C-5, Indian oil and gas; Bill C-11, an act to promote safety and security with respect to human pathogens and toxins; and Bill C-3, Arctic waters. All these bills are at second reading.
    Next week is a constituency week when the House will be adjourned.
    As the House is also aware President Barack Obama will be visiting Canada next week. Since the House will not be sitting, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of all members of the House, to welcome the President to Canada. We hope he has a productive and enjoyable visit here in our nation's capital.
    When the House returns from the break, we will continue with the list of business I mentioned earlier and in addition to these bills Tuesday, February 24 and Thursday, February 26 will be designated as opposition days.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2009

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.
    It being 3:09 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the previous question at the second reading stage of Bill C-10.
    Call in the members.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 6)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Andrews
Ashfield
Bains
Baird
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
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannis
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casey
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Coady
Coderre
Cotler
Crombie
Cummins
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davidson
Day
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dion
Dosanjh
Dreeshen
Dryden
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dykstra
Easter
Eyking
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Folco
Foote
Fry
Galipeau
Gallant
Garneau
Glover
Goldring
Goodale
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hall Findlay
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Holland
Ignatieff
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Kania
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kennedy
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malhi
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McLeod
McTeague
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
Patry
Payne
Pearson
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Proulx
Raitt
Rajotte
Ratansi
Rathgeber
Regan
Reid
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Ritz
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Saxton
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schellenberger
Sgro
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Silva
Simms
Simson
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Szabo
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Tonks
Trost
Trudeau
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Volpe
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilfert
Wong
Woodworth
Wrzesnewskyj
Yelich
Young
Zarac

Total: -- 211

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Angus
Ashton
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Beaudin
Bellavance
Bevington
Bigras
Black
Blais
Bonsant
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brunelle
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Crête
Crowder
Cullen
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dorion
Duceppe
Dufour
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Faille
Freeman
Gagnon
Gaudet
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
Lavallée
Layton
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Mourani
Mulcair
Nadeau
Ouellet
Paillé
Paquette
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Rafferty
Roy
Savoie
Siksay
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Vincent
Wasylycia-Leis

Total: -- 84

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

 
     The next question is on the motion that Bill C-10 be read a second time and referred to a committee. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:

  (1525)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 7)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Andrews
Ashfield
Bains
Baird
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
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannis
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casey
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Coady
Coderre
Cotler
Crombie
Cummins
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davidson
Day
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dion
Dosanjh
Dreeshen
Dryden
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dykstra
Easter
Eyking
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Folco
Foote
Fry
Galipeau
Gallant
Garneau
Glover
Goldring
Goodale
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hall Findlay
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Holland
Ignatieff
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Kania
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kennedy
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malhi
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McLeod
McTeague
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
Patry
Payne
Pearson
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Proulx
Raitt
Rajotte
Ratansi
Rathgeber
Regan
Reid
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Ritz
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Saxton
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Silva
Simms
Simson
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Szabo
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Tonks
Trost
Trudeau
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Volpe
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilfert
Wong
Woodworth
Wrzesnewskyj
Yelich
Young
Zarac

Total: -- 210

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Angus
Ashton
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Beaudin
Bellavance
Bevington
Bigras
Black
Blais
Bonsant
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brunelle
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Crête
Crowder
Cullen
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dorion
Duceppe
Dufour
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Faille
Freeman
Gagnon
Gaudet
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
Lavallée
Layton
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Mourani
Mulcair
Nadeau
Ouellet
Paillé
Paquette
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Rafferty
Roy
Savoie
Siksay
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Vincent
Wasylycia-Leis

Total: -- 84

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

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

[English]

Business of Supply

Supplementary Estimates (B), 2008-09  

[Business of Supply]
    Pursuant to orders made earlier today and on Wednesday, February 11, 2009, it is my duty to put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the Supplementary Estimates (B), 2008-09, tabled in the House on Thursday, January 29, 2009.
    That Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009 be concurred in.
    Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:

  (1535)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 8)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Andrews
Ashfield
Bains
Baird
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
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannis
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casey
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Coady
Coderre
Cotler
Crombie
Cummins
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davidson
Day
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dion
Dosanjh
Dreeshen
Dryden
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dykstra
Easter
Eyking
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Folco
Foote
Fry
Galipeau
Gallant
Garneau
Glover
Goldring
Goodale
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Guergis
Hall Findlay
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Holland
Ignatieff
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Kania
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kennedy
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malhi
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McLeod
McTeague
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
Patry
Payne
Pearson
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Proulx
Raitt
Rajotte
Ratansi
Rathgeber
Regan
Reid
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Ritz
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Saxton
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Silva
Simms
Simson
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Szabo
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Tonks
Trost
Trudeau
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Volpe
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilfert
Wong
Woodworth
Wrzesnewskyj
Yelich
Young
Zarac

Total: -- 210

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Angus
Ashton
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Beaudin
Bellavance
Bevington
Bigras
Black
Blais
Bonsant
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brunelle
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Comartin
Crête
Crowder
Cullen
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dorion
Duceppe
Dufour
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Faille
Freeman
Gagnon
Gaudet
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
Lavallée
Layton
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Ménard (Hochelaga)
Ménard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin)
Mourani
Mulcair
Nadeau
Ouellet
Paillé
Paquette
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Rafferty
Roy
Savoie
Siksay
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Vincent
Wasylycia-Leis

Total: -- 84

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

[Translation]

     moved that the bill be read the second time and referred to committee of the whole.
    Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion, the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Speaker: The hon. Chief Government Whip on a point of order.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I believe that if you were to seek it, you would find unanimous consent to apply the results of the vote just taken to the motion presently before the House, with Conservative members voting yes.
    Is there unanimous consent to proceed this way?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party will be voting yea.

[Translation]