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40th PARLIAMENT, 3rd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 035

CONTENTS

Wednesday, April 28, 2010





CANADA

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 145 
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NUMBER 035 
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3rd SESSION 
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40th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayers


[Statements by members]

  (1400)  

[English]

     It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Kamloops Art Gallery

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to pay tribute to Kamloops Art Gallery executive director Jann Bailey. Jann has been recognized by the Canadian Museums Association and will be the first recipient of the Barbara A. Tyler Award in Museum Leadership. This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated leadership, dedication and vision in taking his or her museum to a new level of contribution to Canadian society.
    Jann meets this description to a T and is truly deserving of this award. She has been the executive director of the Kamloops Art Gallery since 1987, working hard to propel the art gallery from a little-known facility located in the basement of the Kamloops Museum to overseeing the building and operation of an award-winning facility that has gained a prominent national reputation.
    On behalf of the government, we thank Jann for her years of dedication to the arts community in Canada.

Airport Security

    Mr. Speaker, at a time when airport security is of particular concern for the safety of Canadian passengers, the federal government has slashed funding for airport policing.
    The federal government has claimed to have made security a priority, but at the same time it has eliminated the entire $15 million funding that allows Canada's eight major airports, including Mississauga's Pearson International Airport, to hire police officers to patrol the terminals.
    Since federal regulations require armed police presence in our airports, it appears that the cost will be passed on to the passengers. This is more bad news for travellers who have already been hit by the government's decision in February to increase security fees by about 50% to pay for passenger and luggage screening.
    I urge the government to reduce the financial burden that it is downloading on to the passengers and to stop putting air travellers at risk.

[Translation]

Vietnam Day on Parliament Hill

    Mr. Speaker, today is Vietnam Day on Parliament Hill, organized by the Vietnamese Canadian Federation. A major forum has been organized to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the impact of communism on Vietnam.
    As the first MP of Vietnamese origin elected to this House, I am proud to be associated with and to sponsor this important day for many Vietnamese people living here, in Quebec and Canada.
     Respect for human rights, the rights of workers and intellectuals, freedom of expression and religious freedom in Vietnam will be among the topics discussed today. It is essential that these issues take centre stage.
    In conclusion, I would like to acknowledge the hard work the organizers of this day have put in. They have been working non-stop to promote Vietnamese culture and to defend fundamental rights in Vietnam.

  (1405)  

[English]

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, in 1921, Agnes MacPhail became the first woman elected to this House. In talking about the women who would follow in her footsteps, she said, “I can almost hear them coming”. Well, there was no stampede.
    Just over 30 years ago, I started working in this place with Ed Broadbent to advance the status of women in our party and in politics generally. With the help in particular of Stanley Knowles, we launched the campaign, “A woman's place is in the House-- of Commons”.
    Since then women have made some progress, reaching 20%, but that is not enough. There is still no critical mass. Worse, advances made over the past 30 years are being wiped out.
    The saddest moment in my 13 years here has been to see the clock turned back on pay equity and to see its elimination from the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
    Today I want to thank all the women in my caucus who have supported me over these last 13 years, my leader, and women from all walks of life in this House who have been fighting the good fight for women's equality. Together we must carry on because equality is still a distant goal.
    Carry on, sisters.

Cystic Fibrosis

    Mr. Speaker, in May 1959, two amazing Canadians from the riding of Brant organized a meeting of more than 100 parents of children with cystic fibrosis. At this meeting, Doug and Donna Summerhayes laid the groundwork for what would later become the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
    In the early years, Doug and Donna travelled throughout Canada, often at their own expense, to raise awareness and help establish local chapters. Doug was the foundation's first president and Donna was the first editor of the foundation's newsletter.
    For their continuous efforts and remarkable achievements, Doug and Donna Summerhayes were awarded the Order of Canada, Donna in 1987 and Doug in 1988.
    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. On this momentous occasion, I salute my friends and founding members, Doug and Donna Summerhayes, who are in Ottawa today to celebrate with the foundation this milestone achievement.

Cystic Fibrosis

    Mr. Speaker, cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. Currently, there is no cure.
    There are over 3,600 Canadian children, adolescents and adults who live with cystic fibrosis. This year the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is investing nearly $8 million in support of cystic fibrosis research and clinical care and is supporting more than 50 top-ranking research projects.
    While the advances are significant, cystic fibrosis is still taking young lives and much work remains to be done. I urge the government to give increased funding to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and to oversee new centres of clinical excellence and world-class clinical trial networks.
    2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the foundation. When it was created 50 years ago, most children with cystic fibrosis did not live long enough to attend kindergarten. Today, half of all Canadians with cystic fibrosis are expected to live into their forties and beyond.
    I hope members from every party will join me tonight at the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's reception to mark the foundation's 50th anniversary and the progress made in cystic fibrosis research and care.

Workplace Safety

    Mr. Speaker, today is the 25th anniversary of the first National Day of Mourning. I speak today in the House of Commons on behalf of all Canadians for the men and women who have lost their lives in workplace tragedies.
    Today we are united across party lines as we give tribute to the workers and their families who have been permanently affected by workplace tragedies. In 2009, there were three fatalities across Canada each day on average, due to workplace accidents and the effects of occupational diseases.
    Canadians have a strong sense of work ethic and it is appropriate we honour those who have fallen in the line of their professional duties. These men and women have paid the ultimate price while making our communities better places to live and they deserve the honour we bestow upon them today.
    I call on all hon. members to re-dedicate themselves to employees' workplace rights and to remain committed to making all Canadian work environments as safe as possible to protect workers across Canada.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Cystic Fibrosis

    Mr. Speaker, the 50th anniversary of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a perfect time to pay tribute to everyone who is working to find a cure or to comfort and support those afflicted with this disease. It is also an opportune moment to emphasize the courage of those suffering from it.
    I would like to acknowledge two young women in my riding who, despite having cystic fibrosis, have shown how they can flourish in activities that require lung power and enrich their lives.
    Valérie Therrien, from Varennes, finds her fulfillment in singing. She shared her passion for vocal arts with us during the Festival Jeunesse when she sang Crazier. Maggie Ritchie showed off her athletic ability during the show put on by Boucherville's figure skating club. Skating to Céline Dion's hit song Vole, Maggie reminded us that, despite all of the significant advances in treatment, the battle is not yet won—life expectancy is still only 40 years.
    Well done, ladies!

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's economic action plan is creating jobs and promoting economic growth in communities right across Canada. Since July 2009, Canada has created almost 180,000 new jobs and has seen five consecutive months of economic growth.
    Canada will lead the G7 in growth in the years ahead according to institutions like the OECD and IMF. What is more, Standard & Poor's just confirmed Canada's rock solid credit rating, saying:
    The ratings on Canada reflect our opinion of the country's strong public finances, its relatively diversified economy, the stability of public policy and its financial sector's soundness.... Of the other G7 countries...Canada is posting the best fiscal results.... Canada...is now well positioned to continue to outperform...
    While the Liberal leader would kill jobs with massive personal and business tax hikes, our Conservative government is getting the job done and building a stronger Canadian economy.

Royal Newfoundland Regiment

    Mr. Speaker, this past weekend the Royal Newfoundland Regiment's 1st Battalion celebrated the 215th anniversary of its founding and received new Queen's and regimental colours from the Princess Royal. I was honoured to participate.
    The Royal Newfoundland Regiment traces its origins to 1795. The regiment was involved in the War of 1812 and played a significant role in defending southern Ontario.
    During the first world war, the battalion-sized regiment was the only North American unit to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. Later in the war, the regiment was decimated at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Since then, July 1 has been marked as Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador.
    Like many in my province, I have a personal connection to the regiment. My grandfather was a member.
    I ask all members in the House to join me in congratulating the Royal Newfoundland Regiment on its 215th anniversary.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that our Conservative government will always put the protection of victims and law-abiding Canadians before the rights of criminals.
    Dangerous criminals should serve their sentences behind bars, not on our streets because of early release. Victims and police officers have repeatedly told us that releasing criminals onto our streets early has a much higher cost than keeping criminals behind bars.
    The Liberals and NDP have shown that they have a fundamentally different view of what it really means to be tough on crime. While they think arsonists should be able to sit in the comfort of their homes, we do not. While they think drug traffickers should go free, we do not. While they think criminals only need to serve one-sixth of their sentence, we do not.
    Canadians know there is only one party they can trust when it comes to getting tough on crime and that is our Conservative government.

[Translation]

Firearms Registry

    Mr. Speaker, ever since the Liberal leader announced his intention to force his MPs to support the costly and ineffective long gun registry, the member for Madawaska—Restigouche has kept mum.
    However, last November, when he voted to get rid of the long gun registry, the member for Madawaska—Restigouche said that hunting rifles were generally used for sport and that he could not oppose their use. He added that he was a big boy and could make his own decisions, and that he had been talking about the registry with people in his riding for five years.
    It is time for the member to tell us what he plans to do. Will he make his own decision or will the Liberal leader force him to support the long gun registry? He has a big choice to make. I hope that he will listen to his constituents and vote to eliminate the long gun registry once and for all.

  (1415)  

[English]

Workplace Safety

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the NDP caucus, it is an honour to rise in this House today to commemorate the National Day of Mourning and sombre remembrance of workers killed, injured or exposed to toxins at work.
    I know that all MPs will take time today to mourn the dead. However, if we really want to pay tribute to those who were killed on the job, we need to bring that same collective sense of purpose to fighting for the living. Standing in this House year after year on April 28 without committing ourselves to concrete action starting on April 29 makes our tribute today a hollow gesture.
     Common sense tells us that when the minimum wage remains below a living wage, requiring many workers to work 14 hours a day, often in 2 or 3 jobs, they are less protected than a worker who is well rested. We know that unionized workplaces are safer workplaces. Unions and collective bargaining give workers some control over their workplace conditions and enable workers to protect themselves from the brutality of a workplace assault, and yet card-check certification has still not been extended to all workers in this country.
    On this day of mourning, I ask all members of this House to do more than pay lip service. Do not just mourn the dead, join New Democrats in fighting for the living by turning our concern into action.

[Translation]

National Day of Mourning

    Mr. Speaker, the National Day of Mourning, marked every year on April 28, originated with the Canadian labour movement. The Canadian government declared this day the National Day of Mourning in 1991 to commemorate those whose lives have been lost or who have been injured in the workplace.
    Despite sustained efforts and the successes we have seen in workplace health and safety, there are still too many people killed or injured, or who become sick, because of their jobs.
    Between 2002 and 2007, the rate of disabling injuries in federally regulated workplaces increased by 5%, while the provinces managed to cut their disabling workplace injuries by an average of 25%.
    Today Bloc Québécois members are paying tribute to the men and women who lost their lives and those who were injured or became sick because of their jobs, and calling on the government to work actively to improve the safety of workers under federal jurisdiction.

[English]

Workplace Safety

    Mr. Speaker, today we mark the National Day of Mourning for those killed or injured in the workplace.
    Can anyone imagine waking up in the morning, getting ready for work and asking oneself, “Is today the day I die at work?” This is the slogan for the Canadian Labour Congress' National Day of Mourning.
    In 2008, over 1,000 people were killed in their workplace or from an occupational disease. Thousands more were injured to such an extent that they had to miss work. Most, if not all, of these accidents are preventable.
    The government has a positive role to play in ensuring that our workplaces are safe and to enforce the law when employers are found in violation.
    Today we remember those who have lost their lives or have been injured in the workplace. These people are ordinary Canadians who went to work, provided for their families and worked to make Canada a better place in which to live, work and play. This could be anyone, members of our family or neighbours.
    All of us must do what we can to make our workplace even safer. I encourage all members of this House to work together in order to prevent any more of these tragic losses of life and injuries in the workplace.

[Translation]

National Day of Mourning

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to say that today we join with the families and workers who are mourning someone who lost their life on the job.
    The best way to pay tribute to deceased workers is to step up efforts to make Canadian workplaces as healthy and safe as possible.
    It was our government that brought forward tough regulations against workplace violence.
    This spring and summer, we will focus on the safety of young workers to ensure that our sons and daughters understand their rights in the workplace and are confident enough to report hazardous working conditions.
    My colleagues and I remember those who have lost their lives and reaffirm our collective commitment to ensure that all Canadians can return home safe and sound at the end of the work day.

  (1420)  

National Day of Mourning

[Tribute]
    Following discussions among the representatives of all parties in the House, I believe there is agreement to observe a moment of silence to commemorate the National Day of Mourning and honour the memory of workers killed or injured on the job.

[English]

    I now invite hon. members to rise.
    [A moment of silence observed]

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, I hope I speak for everyone in this House when I salute your historic decision yesterday.
    I would like to ask the Prime Minister if he will fully comply with your ruling yesterday, Mr. Speaker, and whether he will now work with us in good faith to do what we first proposed five months ago, which is to respect the authority of Parliament, deliver the documents and provide Canadians with the truth that they deserve.
    Mr. Speaker, you have made a ruling. At the same time, as you know and as I think was recognized, the fact is that the government has certain obligations that are established under statutes passed by this Parliament.
    We obviously want to proceed in a way that will respect both of those things and, of course, we will be open to any reasonable suggestions to achieve those two objectives.
    Mr. Speaker, I still did not hear a clear answer to the question as to whether the government will comply with your ruling. My question is now about his understanding of that ruling.
    Does the Prime Minister now understand that the ultimate decision to invoke national security to prevent the disclosure of documents rests with this House, with the elected representatives of the people, and not with the government?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we look forward to both complying with your ruling and with the legal obligations that have been established by statutes passed by this Parliament.
    The fact is, the government cannot break the law, it cannot order public servants to break the law nor can it do anything that would unnecessarily jeopardize the safety of Canadian troops.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this side of the House respects the need to protect national security and the operational security of our troops.
    Will the Prime Minister and his government work together with us and respect the will of the House and your ruling in order to protect the safety of our troops? Furthermore, will they tell Canadians the truth?
    Mr. Speaker, you have made a ruling. In the meantime, the government has certain legal obligations that are established under statutes passed by this House. We want to proceed in a way that will respect both of those things, and of course we will be very open to any reasonable suggestions.

International Cooperation

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the National Assembly unanimously supported our position to maintain the consensus that has existed for 25 years. However, the Prime Minister wants to cut funding to NGOs that support African women's right to choose, even if they have been raped. We know that systematic rape is used as a weapon of war in many African conflicts.
    How can we claim to defend maternal health while taking away the right of African women who have been raped to control their bodies?

  (1425)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to read from a news release from organizations that are trying to work with us on this issue. They say:
    It's time to focus on the hope and opportunity that this G8 Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health presents and end the suffering of millions of families around the world. It's time to commit significant and new investments to meet this need. It's time to measure success in lives saved, not political points scored.
    That is from the CEOs of World Vision, UNICEF, Results Canada, CARE Canada, Plan Canada and Save the Children.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we could save 70,000 lives per year.
    The Minister for La Francophonie says that the WHO does not talk about abortion. That is absolutely false. The WHO agrees with the Canadian position of the past 25 years. This government is tampering with the Canadian position to satisfy the ultra-religious lobby. This is a step backwards straight into the Duplessis era. Women, and not the Prime Minister, must control their bodies.
    What right does the Prime Minister have to interfere in the medical decisions of African women?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what I find terribly sad is the fact that the member and the entire opposition are trying to make an issue that simply does not exist.
    I have already read the statements of people who are trying to work with our government. Let me remind her who they are: the CEOs of World Vision, UNICEF, Results Canada, CARE Canada, Plan Canada and Save the Children.
    I will take their counsel, not hers.

[Translation]

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday's Speaker's ruling about the Afghan detainee documents could also apply to the government's attitude in general. When dealing with various issues, the Conservative government has lacked transparency, exhibited ideological stubbornness and scorned democracy. The right of women in developing countries to have abortions and the Rahim Jaffer affair are just the latest examples of that.
    Now that the Speaker of the House has given him a slap on the wrist, will the Prime Minister acknowledge that he is in the minority and stop trying to impose his backward ideology at all costs?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the maternal and child health initiative to save the lives of mothers and women around the world, our position respects the vote in the House of Commons.
    Mr. Speaker, that is certainly not Quebec's vision.
    We are not asking the Prime Minister to sacrifice safety in the name of truth. We are asking him not to use safety as an excuse for hiding the truth. The Prime Minister was elected because he promised greater transparency and democracy.
    Will he seize this opportunity and respect the will of the House?
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc leader talked about what Quebec wants. Quebeckers have voted on this issue twice, and they have chosen to stay and to respect the vital role played by a united Canada. That makes the Bloc the only party to reject what the people of Quebec want.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, a fourth minister has admitted that he was contacted by unregistered lobbyist Rahim Jaffer. Following on the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Minister of the Environment, and the Minister of State for Science and Technology, now the Minister of Industry has remembered that his staff received an email from the former Conservative MP.
    Instead of having them come forward one at a time, will the Prime Minister table a full list of his cabinet members and their staff who had contact with unregistered lobbyist Rahim Jaffer?

  (1430)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this government expects all Canadians to follow the Lobbying Act and all the rules it contains. This is the government that strengthened that act. We put in place, as one of our first orders of business, an independent commissioner of lobbying who can make determinations based on issues that are brought to her attention.
    I say to the member opposite that, if she has any evidence of anyone who has contradicted the act, she should follow the example of members of this government and turn it over to that independent commissioner.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it has been established that Rahim Jaffer was lobbying his former Conservative colleagues without being registered. However the Prime Minister was informed by the private detective from the beginning that Rahim Jaffer was promising his business associates access to the Prime Minister's Office.
    Why did the Prime Minister not immediately hand over this information to the lobbying commissioner? Who did he want to protect?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. When serious allegations were brought to the attention of the Prime Minister, he did the ethical thing. He did the honourable thing and he immediately referred the allegations to an independent third party.
    If the member opposite has any information or any evidence with respect to a contradiction of the act, she should follow the Prime Minister's lead, do the right thing and turn it over to the relevant authorities.

[Translation]

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, your ruling yesterday reminded everyone that the Prime Minister must be accountable to Parliament.
    No one here wants to put our troops in danger. However, we need to shed some light on who knew what about the transfer of Afghan detainees.
    After all the stalling tactics, secrecy and cover-ups, will the Prime Minister show some common sense? Will the Prime Minister let the members do their jobs to ensure that Canadians know the truth?
    Mr. Speaker, I have already answered this question. The answer is clear: we want to respect the rulings as well as our legal obligations that have been established by statutes passed by this House.
    As always, the government depends on the confidence of the House.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's interpretation of your ruling, exemplified here today in the House, is wrong.
    You have said that it is the view of the Chair that accepting an unconditional authority of the executive to censor the information provided to Parliament, as the Prime Minister is suggesting he is prepared to do by using other legislation as his cover, would in fact jeopardize the very separation of powers that is purported to lie at the heart of our parliamentary system.
    Is the Prime Minister saying to us today that he is going to use other laws of Parliament in order to hide the truth that you have said has to be brought forward?
    Mr. Speaker, I said no such thing. You have delivered a decision. Obviously, the government seeks to respect that decision. At the same time, it seeks to respect its obligations established by statute and passed by this Parliament. That is the position of the government. The leader of the NDP talks about confidence. Of course, the government's position always depends on the confidence of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, your ruling was very clear. Let me quote it for the Prime Minister and others. You said:
    No exceptions are made for any category of government documents, even those related to national security.
    Is the Prime Minister telling us today that he is going to defy the ruling of the Speaker and the will of the House in order to go to an election? Is that what he is saying he is going to do? Is he going to defy the will of the House and go to the people on a vote? Is that what he is putting forward today?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not think I said any of those things. In fact, I think I said quite the contrary. The government seeks at all times to respect all of its obligations. To the extent that some of those obligations may be in conflict, there are reasonable ways to accommodate that, and we are open to reasonable suggestions in that regard.

  (1435)  

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, we understand that the Minister of the Environment has forwarded to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates documents related to discussions that his political director of regional affairs had last spring with Rahim Jaffer regarding some of Mr. Jaffer's commercial interests.
    Now that the minister has admitted that these meetings took place in the office of the former minister of state for the status of women, can he now confirm that some of these discussions and communications were related to the company RLP Energy Incorporated?
    Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear at the outset. None of the allegations that have been made in this place in recent weeks have seen any government funding or contract go to Mr. Jaffer. Let us be very clear on that.
    Let me also say that when it was brought to the attention of the Minister of the Environment that meetings had taken place, he did the right thing. He did the honourable thing. He collected that information and sent it to the independent authority who is responsible for ensuring high ethics.
    That is the right thing to do. That is the honourable thing to do. If the member opposite has any allegations or any evidence of the same, he should follow the example of the Minister of the Environment.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister has sent information to the committee, and he admits that his regional director met with Mr. Jaffer in the office of the former minister for the status of women. First, can he tell us what project was discussed? Second, what type of project was it? Third, how much money did Mr. Jaffer or his partner, Patrick Glémaud, ask for from the Government of Canada?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. Canadians can see the difference between the high ethical standards of this Conservative government and the scandal-plagued Liberals who preceded us. When we got emails from lobbyists, this government turned them over to the independent ethics commissioner and the independent lobbying commissioner. When the Liberals got emails from lobbyists, they turned over bags of cash to them.

Lobbying

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport, the man who proclaimed a so-called new era of accountability, will not even answer simple questions in the House. Accountability is not simply words. It is how one acts, answering for these actions and fixing one's mistakes.
    Since parliamentary secretaries do not fall under existing rules for lobbying, will the minister and his government fix this loophole immediately?
    Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. Canadians can see the difference. When the Liberal Party was in power, it turned over bags of money to the lobbyists. Then the lobbyists sent some of that money back to the Liberal Party. Then the Liberal Party got caught and it had to send some of that money back to the taxpayers.
    We got back $1 million that was stolen from taxpayers by the Liberal Party; $1 million down, $39 million to go.
    Mr. Speaker, why is the minister afraid of answering the questions? There is no better example of the culture of deceit than this.
    Ministers rise each day and talk about accountability, and all the while they refuse to answer for the actions, refuse to admit mistakes and refuse to fix the problems they knowingly created.
    There is a simple solution. Do what is right and close the loopholes. Why is the minister so afraid of doing that? Why the secrecy? Why the deceit?
    Mr. Speaker, this government is never afraid to do what is right.
    On the subject of doing what is right, what would be right, what would be in the interests of Canadian families, what would be in the interests of Canadian taxpayers would be for the Liberal Party to pay back the $39 million that is still missing.

[Translation]

International Co-operation

    Mr. Speaker, the primary causes of death in African women are childbirth and risks associated with pregnancy. In sub-Saharan Africa, one woman in 13 dies in labour, while in industrialized countries it is one woman in 4,100. Worse yet, 44% of the women worldwide who die each year following a back alley abortion are Africans.
    In light of such appalling numbers, does the government realize that its decision to no longer fund access to abortion in third world countries is a direct threat to women's health?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will continue to read from this news release:
    For groups like ours, who are working to make a difference in the lives of these millions of women and children, the upcoming G8 in Canada provides an historic opportunity to chart a course out of this desperate terrain.
    And yet, instead of pushing forward in support of an initiative that could benefit millions, we're allowing the potential for hope and opportunity to be swallowed up by a political debate about abortion that is stifling the potential for progress.
    It is very, very sad that these questions keep on coming in the way they are.

  (1440)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Montreal women's health centre, the Quebec federation for family planning, Doctors of the World Canada, the Quebec federation of women and the National Assembly of Quebec have all denounced this decision. Canada's stubbornness could end up derailing the G8 plan on maternal health.
    Does the government understand the tragic consequences its decision has for women's health, in Africa in particular?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it has been very gratifying to see the kind of progress that has actually occurred in Halifax under the leadership of the Minister of International Cooperation with the initiative that was put forward by the Prime Minister of Canada.
    The only way it can get derailed is if the unholy coalition decides it is going to continue to do this kind of demagoguery over an issue nobody wants to debate.

[Translation]

Securities

    Mr. Speaker, the president of the Autorité des marchés financiers has attacked the Conservatives' plan to establish a federal securities commission in Toronto. He is asking all business people in Quebec to strongly oppose this project, which will kill jobs in the financial sector. In Montreal, 100,000 people work directly in this industry.
    Why are the Conservative members from Quebec once again being doormats while the interests of Quebec are threatened?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the initiative with respect to a common securities regulator is an opt-in, voluntary situation. If Quebec or any other province chooses not to opt in to the Canadian securities regulator, that is its right. Work is being done on the draft legislation. Absolutely no decisions have been made with any of the willing participants with respect to the location of offices.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the president of the Autorité des marchés financiers is calling for the rejection of the Conservative project. He said: “We do not need a commission of this kind.” Is that not clear? He pointed out that Quebec SMEs benefit from having a regulator that is nearby, understands their concerns and serves them in French.
    Why does the government want to deprive our SMEs of a Quebec authority that knows them, recognizes them and already serves them very well and in French?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as we made clear several times, this is an opt-in situation. If Quebec or any other province wishes to continue with its own securities regulation in its own jurisdiction, then we respect the constitutional competence of that province.

[Translation]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, one of the documents submitted by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has a handwritten note that says “From Rahim, submit to department”.
    My question is simple. Who wrote that note on the top of the page of one of the proposals submitted by Rahim Jaffer?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, when information was brought to our attention, that information was immediately forwarded to the commissioner of lobbying. If the member opposite has any allegations or any evidence that she would like to suggest, we would welcome hearing it. If she also knows where the still missing $39 million is that the Liberal Party stole from taxpayers, I wonder if she might advise us in her supplementary question where that money is.
    Mr. Speaker, we had the courage to call for an inquiry, which the Conservatives refuse.
    It is a simple question, so I ask it again. On the documents the minister submitted to the committee, who wrote the note, “From Rahim, submit to department”?
    Mr. Speaker, this government has been very transparent. We brought in the Federal Accountability Act. We received information from lobbyists. When that was brought to our attention, we sent it to the commissioner of lobbying so it could be reviewed.
    If only we had seen that same standard from the Liberal Party. When the Liberal Party received emails from lobbyists, it sent them bags of cash, and we had to spend $50 million on a public inquiry to get to the bottom of that stolen cash. I say to the member opposite, do the right thing and tell us where that $39 million is.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will try again in the other official language. Who wrote that little handwritten note on the proposal submitted to the cabinet minister? Was it from the minister, the parliamentary secretary or a staff member? Was it from someone else?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. No money was given to this individual for any of the matters being brought to attention. What money was given was given by the Liberal Party to its friends. Some $40 million was stolen from hard-working taxpayers and Canadians. They want their money back. I say to the member for Hull—Aylmer, stand up in his place, do the right thing, and tell us where the $39 million is.
    Mr. Speaker, I even gave him multiple choices. Either it was the minister or the parliamentary secretary who wrote the note, thus proving they must have been directly lobbied by Mr. Jaffer. Or was it someone else and they still misled Canadians about what happened?
    Why the secrecy? Have the Conservatives not learned that they cannot hide information from the House and get away with it? Or will their culture of deceit continue?
    Mr. Speaker, we did the right thing. When this was brought to our attention, we forwarded all the information to the commissioner of lobbying, an independent officer of the House. I say to the member for Hull—Aylmer, he was sitting there, right in the middle of the government benches, when $40 million were stolen. He was right in the middle of it. Where is the $39 million? Tell us. Canadians want their money back.

Firearms Registry

    Mr. Speaker, sadly, the Liberal leader is whipping his members to ignore their conscience and their constituents and to vote for the wasteful long gun registry. He refuses to listen to rural Canadians, or anyone else for that matter, and put an end to this Liberal-sponsored boondoggle. Last Thursday, the Liberal leader had his members attempt to hijack the public safety committee's agenda and dictate the witness list for Bill C-391.
    Can the Minister of Public Safety please bring some reason to this issue and provide the House with an update?
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader is not fooling anyone with his proposals for unconstitutional amendments to Bill C-391. It is time to end the criminalization of our hunters and outdoor enthusiasts once and for all.
    I hope that those Liberals who voted for Bill C-391 will put the call of their constituents above the orders of the Liberal leader.
    We trust that the NDP will support the bill in its original form, instead of following the Liberal-led coalition of deceit.

International Cooperation

    Mr. Speaker, the government has settled on a completely irresponsible policy on women's and maternal health. This policy not only fails women abroad on the key issue of access to safe abortions, it is reopening a very divisive debate domestically and putting us at odds with our international partners. Both Britain and the Obama administration in the U.S. have been very clear that access to safe abortions must be part of the maternal health initiative.
    Why will the government not put the interests of our country and of women everywhere ahead of its own Conservative ideology?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to read the ideology of people who are actually involved in this. They say:
    With an investment at the community level, where women and children are best able to access health care, the G8 initiative can prevent the deaths and improve the health of millions of children and women. Providing families with access to proven low cost health interventions can ensure healthier pregnancies and prevent illness and death from such diseases as malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia.
    That is the ideology we are following.
    Mr. Speaker, it is not for the Conservative government to tell women in developing countries, or anywhere, what they can and cannot do to maintain their health.
    According to the World Health Organization, 13% of maternal deaths in poor countries are the result of unsafe abortions. Yet, while abortion services are available in Canada, the government refuses to advocate the same rights for women abroad. It is offensive, irresponsible and unacceptable.
    Will the government stop dictating its ideologically driven Conservative policies to women abroad?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will tell the member what is offensive and irresponsible. It is hearing the same question from all three members of the coalition. It is those members who want to create a debate in Canada that no one wants, no one.
    We want to get on with serving 8.8 million mothers and children who desperately need the help that Canada wants to give them, not another debate.

[Translation]

Appointment of Judges

    Mr. Speaker, as proof of the absurdity of the judicial appointment process, consider the example of Mr. Léger, a former president of the Progressive Conservative Party, who was appointed to the bench by the Conservatives in 2006. He currently sits on the Quebec Court of Appeal.
    Despite the fact that he was the Hells Angels' business lawyer, he was the man chosen by the Conservatives to replace the chief justice of the highest court in Quebec, who himself was a former political organizer for the Liberal Party of Canada.
    Why does this government continue to support a process that favours partisan appointments over merit?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, candidates for the judiciary are referred to me by one of the 17 judicial advisory committees from across the country.
    I should tell the House that all candidates undergo an RCMP screening process. So we have complete confidence in the process.
    I want to know from the Bloc members, why are they always attacking the judiciary? They are soft on crime and now they are after the judiciary. I am very disappointed.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the appointment of judges who do not understand French is another aberration of the system, according to former judge Claire L'Heureux-Dubé. Independent senators who are being courted by the Conservatives to block a bill requiring bilingualism do not see why judges should understand French, because as they put it, “about 70% of this country functions in English every day.”
    Is that the bottom line for the Conservatives: in Canada, French is just a second-class language that has no place in the courts?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is an absolutely ridiculous comment by the Bloc. To be fair, we have heard a lot of those coming from the Bloc.
    Bilingualism is very important. Legal competence is important.
    I can tell the hon. member about the particular bill he talks about. This bill just makes no sense. As retired Supreme Court Justice John Major said, “If they want to sacrifice competency for linguistics, well, it's just a mistake”.

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect the government to account for what is clearly political interference with the enabling accessibility fund. The minister has never explained why approximately 90% of all funding went to Conservative MPs' ridings. Remember, we are talking about a fund for the disabled. It is supposed to be for all disabled Canadians, but clearly it is not.
    Could the minister start by explaining how one single Conservative riding, one riding, received more projects than the provinces and territories of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Yukon and the Northwest Territories combined?
    Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the enabling accessibility fund, as we are of many other things we have done to help the disabled. This program allowed over 300 more facilities to become accessible, including Iona Church in the member's riding.
    These projects have taken place across the country and have built on what we are doing to make federal buildings more accessible. We have extended this program for the next three years so we can make even more buildings accessible to those who need to get into them and have the right to and deserve to.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister does not even care enough about the disabled to have an accessible riding office after six years in office.
    This Conservative slush fund is an insult to Canadians with disabilities, who are more likely to face barriers to success and are more likely to live in poverty. They deserve better than this. This culture of deceit abandons millions of Canadians who need help. It is inexplicable and it is offensive.
    Here is an easy question. How could it be that 26 individual Conservative ridings each received more projects than the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador?
    Mr. Speaker, let us be honest. We brought in the enabling accessibility fund. We have extended it. We brought in the funds to make federal buildings accessible.
    Prior to our becoming government, for 13 long years the Liberals ran not one but two offices for disability issues, and neither one of those national head offices was accessible. Our government changed that. We made both of them accessible. Not only that, we made them into one and it has become a showpiece for how businesses can learn to adapt their facilities to help the disabled, but the member voted against that.

  (1455)  

Workplace Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the government is failing Canadian workers. Worse, it is actually endangering workers' safety.
    A report released yesterday showed that while the provinces have cut the number of disabling workplace injuries by 25%, the number of serious injuries in federal workplaces like Canada Post and the trucking industry has increased. It is no coincidence that those rates rose at the same time the government cut the number of workplace inspectors.
    Will the minister commit to hiring more workplace inspectors to protect Canadian workers?
    Mr. Speaker, we have received the report, and officials in the department are currently reviewing it.
    As the member opposite is aware, the health and safety of Canadians is the top priority of this government. That is why I want to talk today about the National Day of Mourning, which has not been mentioned yet in question period today. I want to extend, on behalf of the government, our sympathies to the families and friends who have lost loved ones on the job.
    I know very well that no words can take away their sorrow, and the best way to pay tribute to those we remember today is to continue to strive for safer and healthier workplaces.
    Mr. Speaker, the best way to pay tribute is with real action.
    On this National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured at work, the flag of Parliament is flying at half-mast. The minister and other members attended the national ceremony, and some have said some touching things, but Canadian workers need much more than words and symbols. They need action from the government.
    I ask again, will the government commit to enforcing health and safety protections, hiring more labour affairs officers, and setting concrete targets for reducing workplace injuries?
    Mr. Speaker, as is known, any federally regulated workplace is expected to adhere to occupational health and safety codes as set out in the Canada Labour Code. It is no different from anywhere else in the country, and that is what we expect.
    The labour program works with employees and employers to better put in place occupational health and safety standards. But, quite frankly, given the fact that every time this government proposes anything in the House, that party votes against it, I doubt it would vote for anything to help workers in general.

Arctic Sovereignty

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are rightfully proud of our beautiful Arctic, the true north strong and free. Our government made a commitment to protect our sovereignty in the Arctic.
    Could the Minister of National Defence tell us what our government is doing to protect our ability to operate and protect our most northern territory?
    Mr. Speaker, Operation Nunalivut 10, the Canadian Forces' annual exercise in the high Arctic, was just completed.
    Our Arctic Response Company Group and the Canadian Rangers tested new equipment and themselves as they demonstrated their capability in safeguarding our high Arctic.
    During the exercise our search and rescue team saved the life of an Australian, Tom Smitheringale, from an ice floe, and we saw our CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft land for the first time on a gravel airstrip near Alert. A navy dive team conducted its longest underwater Arctic dive. The SAR techs parachuted in. Our troops trekked further north than ever before on the Arctic Ocean.
    What an expedition. Great work—
    The hon. member for Ajax—Pickering.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, by 2012, Conservative prison spending will be up 238%. That is the Conservatives' number, and it does not include billions in new bills.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer is working to expose the true cost, but in a culture of deceit the government is blocking him.
    The PBO had to dedicate more than six months to getting hidden government facts, basic facts like projected prison population which should have been handed over in a day. These are not cabinet confidences, they are Conservative secrets, embarrassing truths about a government chasing disastrous failed Republican plans to build prison cities.
    How about some truth in budgeting? Where are the numbers?
    Mr. Speaker, the protection of Canadians must come first. Part of keeping our communities safe is keeping dangerous criminals behind bars.
     We understand that the Liberal Party is opposed to keeping dangerous criminals behind bars. That is not our position. That is not the position of Canadians.
     We understand the cost to victims, and we are prepared to work on behalf of victims.

  (1500)  

[Translation]

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, on March 24, the House of Commons passed, at report stage, the Bloc Québécois bill that would eliminate the unpaid two-week waiting period that the government imposes on all workers who apply for employment insurance. This bill cannot be passed unless the government gives it the royal recommendation.
    Will the government abide by the will of this House and grant a royal recommendation to eliminate the employment insurance waiting period?
    Mr. Speaker, I repeat that we have put in place a number of measures to help workers get through the economic crisis. Every time we proposed measures to help those who needed them most, they voted against those measures. Instead of going ahead with two weeks of EI, we are proposing five, which is much better for all the workers who need EI.

Canada Elections Act

    Mr. Speaker, at a time when public confidence in our democratic institutions has been seriously eroded, we read in La Presse today that the Liberal Party has learned nothing from the sponsorship scandal. Even the Liberal Party members in Westmount—Ville-Marie cannot take any more and are filing a formal complaint.
    We all know that all the candidates for leadership of the Liberal Party used loans to get around the limits on donations. Now that practice is spreading to the ridings.
    Can the government tell us what it plans to do to put an end to these practices that threaten our democracy?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, to the Liberal member who has taken action, I am not going to speculate about what is going on in that Liberal EDA.
    I will draw the member's attention to a government announcement on political loans, which will occur in the foyer at 3:45 eastern standard time this afternoon.

Canadian Blood Services

    Mr. Speaker, the future of the Canadian Blood Services facility in Saint John has been a topic of much concern for all residents of New Brunswick.
    An all-party committee of the provincial legislature recently brought forward a report with recommendations.
    Could the minister update this House on the position of the government on this issue which is so important to health care delivery in New Brunswick?
    Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of Canadians will always be a priority of our government. Decisions on relocations are made by the CBS board of directors as well as by the provincial and territorial governments, which are at arm's length from Health Canada.

Access to Information

    Mr. Speaker, every time the current government has had a choice to come clean, to tell the truth, to share what it knows, it buries it. It covers it up and dumps it in a shroud of secrecy fed by a culture of deceit.
    When there are credible and serious allegations against a cabinet minister, they are hidden. When Parliament asks for documents on allegations of torture, they are blacked out. When the Parliamentary Budget Officer asks for basic information on the government's plan to build prison cities, he is shunned.
    Our democracy depends on free and open access to information. Why does the Prime Minister attack that principle at every turn?
    Mr. Speaker, what I might want to mention to the member is that the cost of allowing criminals to avoid the consequences of their actions is much greater than the cost of incarceration.
    The Liberals have shown that they have a fundamentally different view of what it means to be tough on crime. They believe that it is citizens who should be locked in their own houses while dangerous criminals are on the street. That is not the position of our party. We stand with the victims. We stand with the rights of Canadians even if he does not.

Omar Khadr

    Mr. Speaker, in January, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that every minute Omar Khadr sits in a U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay is a violation of his rights.
    Omar Khadr was a child soldier of 15 years of age when he was captured. The nature of his detention and the extreme interrogation techniques put to him would not be tolerated here in Canada.
    As his pretrial begins before a U.S. military tribunal, will the current government finally petition President Obama to send Omar Khadr home?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canada recognizes the independence of the U.S. criminal proceedings. We are aware of media reports indicating ongoing discussions between the prosecution and the defence, and I want to point out that the Government of Canada continues to provide consular services to Mr. Khadr.

[Translation]

Wood in Federal Buildings

    Mr. Speaker, the president of the Forest Products Association of Canada, Avrim Lazar, had asked all members to support our bill to promote the use of wood in the construction and renovation of federal buildings. Only the Conservatives voted against it.
    Will the government reconsider its position and support the bill, which would be an excellent way to revive the forestry industry?
    Mr. Speaker, this morning the president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada in Baie-Comeau—and I believe Baie-Comeau is in the riding of the member who just spoke—said he is not worried about the forced holiday, but he is anxious to see the market recover. It was the president of the plant's union saying that.
    We must respect the softwood lumber agreement in everything we do, which is what we will continue to do.

[English]

    That will bring to a conclusion our question period for today.
    I believe there is agreement among all parties that we hear now from five hon. members. I call upon the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Resignation of Member

    Mr. Speaker, this is not an easy day to say goodbye after all these years in this place. It has been 13 years since I was first elected and 34 years since I started in political life as a parliamentary intern.
    This has been my home away from home. It has been the place where my kids have grown up. Many members may remember my younger son at the age of 8 terrorizing the halls of Centre Block. That holy terror Joe is now a young man at the age of 21. He is here with his father today, and I want to thank him.
    I want to thank my husband of 38 years, who has been there through thick and thin, supporting me every step of the way. I want the House to know that contrary to popular opinion, he did not lose his hair because of me.
    I want to thank our special son Nick, who has taught me every step of the way why it is important to be in political life and about our responsibility to keep working to ensure that society does not ditch its responsibilities to the aged, the frail and people living with disabilities.
    I want to, of course, mention my mom and dad who are watching right now as we speak, Harry and Klazina Wasylycia, who are 91 and 87 years old respectively, and who told me that I was the perfect child until I started to talk. My dad is a proud veteran who met my mother in World War II in Holland, and next week they will together mark the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Holland by Canadians with great celebration and pride.
    This is a day of very mixed emotions. I have to say goodbye to my NDP family and to our tenacious and courageous leader who has actually changed politics in this country to the point where we are now just about on the verge of a three-way race.
    I have to thank all of my colleagues who are here today and those who came before, and another leader, Alexa McDonough, with whom I started politics in 1997.
    I want to thank my staff, especially those who have been with me from the beginning: Chuck Brabazon, who is here today, Jim Thompson in the riding, as well as Adam Moore, Judy Burns and Margaret Platte.
    I want to thank all of my colleagues whom I consider to be friends. We are all here for noble reasons, because we want to build a better world. We just may have some different ideas about what that world looks like or how we get there, but we are all on a noble pursuit to fight for what is right and to preserve democracy.
    Sometimes this place can be dysfunctional. Sometimes there can be a bit too much heckling, not by me though. But we know when it works, when we work together. When we collaborate and co-operate, it can be magic.
    I think about the unity we all had and showed when we adopted unanimously the bill to create the national Holocaust Remembrance Day. I think about everyone in this House wearing blue to mark Prostate Cancer Awareness Day. I think about the cheering in this place when we celebrated and welcomed our Olympians and Paralympians. These are wonderful moments. They are magical moments. We should never lose them or let go of them. There is so much more to be done.

[Translation]

    I would like to thank everyone who makes it possible for us to do our jobs, including the political staff of course, but also the clerks, the interpretation staff, bus drivers, technicians, security, the cooks and their staff, the Serjeant-at-Arms, editors, translators and of course the pages. I would also like to thank the press gallery staff and our friends, the journalists.

[English]

  (1510)  

    It has been an enormous privilege for me to stand in this House and to speak on issues of national importance, making a bit of difference on matters for which Canadians are deeply concerned, especially in the area of health care where I am proud to have stood in this House, time and time again, fighting for and standing up for a single payer, universally accessible, non-profit, quality health care system. One thing is for sure. Our fight, our work to defend, preserve, protect and strengthen medicare is not over and we must continue that battle.
    The greatest of all privileges I have had here over 13 years has been to serve the people of Winnipeg North, a remarkable, resilient people who have had so many challenges and have worked so hard to overcome them. We have seen, over and over again, the people of Winnipeg North overcoming adversity, working together, building on the strength of our diversity to translate that into acceptance and celebration of our differences, working together when the big banks left us virtually without any branches, to create alternative financial services, and when small convenience and hardware stores left the north end, working together to create the amazing Pollock Hardware Co-op, which is doing a remarkable, record-breaking business.
    It is with great sadness that I must say goodbye to some of this work and say goodbye to my friends. However, before I say my goodbyes, I should mention one more thing about Winnipeg. I must tell the member for Ottawa Centre that we have the longest skating rink in the history of the world.
    Lastly, I want thank the people of Winnipeg North for their support and, who knows, maybe one day I will be representing them again in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to pay tribute to the member for Winnipeg North and congratulate her on her decision to retire.
    The hon. member has spent the last 20 years of her life serving the people of Winnipeg North, the people of Manitoba and, indeed, the people of Canada. The member has served in cabinet in the Government of Manitoba as the minister of culture, heritage and recreation, and she has taken leading roles within her federal party. She has served as finance critic, health critic and caucus chair.
    She was the first and only graduate of the intern program to be elected as a federal MP. I am sure that with her comments today she would like to see that change and continue to grow.
    While serving in opposition, she has fought for and succeeded in putting the fetal alcohol syndrome warning labels on alcohol bottles. She has worked hard in approving safety standards and has been a strong proponent of the rights of persons living with disabilities, as well as presenting and pursuing elderly and caregiver issues. She has also played a tremendous role in the anti-smoking campaign and educating youth to stay away.
    Many, including myself, know the member as dedicated, hard-working and tireless in her efforts to improve the lives of Canadians. I will also remember her for her contagious laugh, her generosity in praise and concern for all around her. I will also remember her, and with the interesting articles in the paper, for speaking with a voice and looking with intent.
    I had the pleasure of travelling with the hon. member and her husband, Ron, a few years ago and the two things that stand out are her tremendous sense of humour and her devotion to her family.
     We on this side of the House wish the member for Winnipeg North, Judy, her husband, Ron, and their sons, Joe and Nick, good health, much happiness and best wishes in her retirement.

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, I too rise today to pay tribute to my colleague, the hon. member for Winnipeg North, who has had a long and distinguished career of public service. The hon. member has always been a strong and feisty voice for Manitoba, first as an MLA, then as Manitoba minister for culture, heritage and recreation and, as of 1997, a member of Parliament.
    She has been an effective voice for women, previously serving as the NDP critic for the status of women and, before her federal election in 1997, she played important roles as a coordinator of the women's directorate in the Manitoba government and as co-chair of Choices, Manitoba's social justice coalition.
    In her current role as the NDP critic for health and persons with disabilities, the hon. member has been a vigorous defender of our public health care system. She has also pushed for reform of Canada's access to medicines regime so that lifesaving drugs are more readily available to developing countries.
    The hon. member has also been a strong advocate for Israel and has stood alongside many other parliamentarians to denounce anti-Semitism. I had the honour of working with her to establish the Holocaust Remembrance Day on Parliament Hill in 2000 and, more recently, served with her on the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism. More recently, we travelled together to Poland with the friends of Simon Wiesenthal to visit the many sites preserving the physical remains of the Holocaust.
    As she moves on to her next challenge, we know that she will continue to be a strong spokesperson for the community she serves. We wish her well, we wish her family well and we wish her bonne chance.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, many members of the Bloc Québécois caucus were quite surprised to learn that the member for Winnipeg North was resigning the seat she has held since 1997. She has always been so eager to engage in parliamentary debates and to express her ideas.
    The member held a number of positions within her caucus. She made a major contribution to parliamentary debate and repartee, I must say.
    I worked with the member for Winnipeg North for several years on the Standing Committee on Finance, which gave me an opportunity to appreciate her uncommon ability to balance rigour and empathy. The member was always well prepared for committee meetings. She brought stacks of newspaper clippings with her to support her positions. She also cared deeply about helping society's most vulnerable and those left behind socially and economically.
    Even though we did not agree on the constitutional future of Canada and Quebec, I believe that we shared the same vision of the future of society, a future moulded on the principles of social democracy.
    In my previous life, I was very interested in the birth of the social democracy movement in Europe at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. I must confess that often, when the member for Winnipeg North let fly with her polished oratory and her fiery and heartfelt arguments, I was reminded of an early 20th century German social democratic activist, Rosa Luxemburg. I had no trouble seeing her in that role.
    Riopelle paid tribute to Rosa Luxemburg in one of his paintings. Unfortunately, he cannot do the same for the member for Winnipeg North, but I believe that he would have been pleased to do so.
    Naturally, I wish her all the best in her future endeavours. I may not be as naive as some. I do not get the sense that she will end up spending much time with her family, no matter how much they want her to.
    We wish her all the best in her future endeavours. On behalf of the Bloc Québécois and myself, I would like to thank her for all of her hard work.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, It is with all sorts of emotions that we rise to pay tribute to the member for Winnipeg North, who made a tremendous contribution to our caucus.
    On behalf of our caucus, our former and current MPs who worked with Judy, as well as our tens of thousands of members across Canada, I thank Judy Wasylycia-Leis for all her work and efforts, and I thank her family as well.

[English]

    It is with mixed emotions, naturally, that all of us in the NDP caucus are taking this time to celebrate a great parliamentarian because there is no question that we will miss her in so many different ways. However, this is an opportunity to thank the hon. member for Winnipeg North for the contribution she has made since well before she was a member of Parliament. In fact, she started out as a parliamentary intern many years ago. I will not say how many years ago but it was over 30 years ago in this place.
    I will just say that she was noticed by a new leader of our party at that time for her enthusiasm, her rather direct way of speaking about the issues, particularly about the importance of women in politics, about feminism and about creating a more equal world. That newly elected leader was Ed Broadbent. He said, “Look, I had better see if I can draw this enthusiastic person into our family here”. He reached out and she was brought on as the first women's outreach coordinator for our party, at which point she began to create somewhat of a revolution within the New Democratic Party of Canada, working with her sisters to the point where, and I will not go through the long history, we ended up with a caucus in the last election, in the previous House, where 43% of our caucus members were women. A lot of that was because of the member's tireless work.
    There are so many things to celebrate. We wish the member well in the future work that lies before her. I thank the House for all the tributes the members have shared today.
    All hon. members wish the hon. member for Winnipeg North well.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[Translation]

Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia

    Mr. Speaker, with leave of the House and pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I would like to table, in both official languages, the treaty known as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, signed at Denpasar, Bali, on February 24, 1976; the Protocol Amending the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, signed at Manilla on December 15, 1987; and the Second Protocol Amending the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, signed at Manilla on July 25, 1998.

  (1525)  

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 27 petitions.

Political Loans Accountability Act

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

Points of Order

Correction to Newspaper Article 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, on Monday, I referenced, in a preamble to a question, a particular point in an article dated November 2009 in the Investment Executive, Canada's newspaper for financial advisers.
    Later that same day, the article was changed online to remove reference to a particular point that was raised. I also received a letter from the Bankers Association stating that the assertion in that article was not correct.
    Therefore, I want to ensure, out of respect for my colleagues and, in particular, the Conservative finance services caucus and the chair of the Commons finance committee, that the record was corrected based on this new information.
    I apologize for any difficulties that this mistaken information may have caused. I am happy to table both articles as well as the letter from the Bankers Association if that is the will of the House.

[Translation]

Use of House Resources for Commercial Purposes  

    Mr. Speaker, I recently learned about an ad found on the Facebook page of the member for Lévis—Bellechasse.
    This ad, entitled “Come visit the national capital and meet your MP”, says:
—member for Lévis—Bellechasse and Les Etchemins, in collaboration with Voyages Paradis in Lévis, is pleased to invite you to take part in the 2010 trip to Ottawa on May 12 and 13.
    We are talking about a trip in a luxury coach, lodging at a hotel and a continental breakfast. The ad indicates that this price includes everything, except the dinner on May 12 and the lunch on May 13. The ad, which I will be tabling shortly, also states:
—all this for just $200 for double occupancy and $265 for single occupancy, payable at the time of reservation, and including all applicable taxes.
    I should have said that at the top of the ad are the House of Commons logo and a picture of a coach. At the bottom, it says that for information and reservations, people can contact Christiane Tanguay, the member's executive assistant. A telephone number, a fax number and an email address are also given. On the other side, people are asked to contact Ms. Nolin of Voyages Paradis Inc.
    Page 236 of O'Brien-Bosc states:
    The By-laws were first enacted by the Board of Internal Economy in 1993 and are a series of guidelines regulating the use of parliamentary resources made available to Members to help them perform their parliamentary functions. The term “parliamentary functions” is defined as “duties and activities related to the position of Member of the House of Commons wherever performed and includes public and official business and partisan matters”.
    Moreover, section 1 of by-law 102, the general limitation and application by-law, stipulates that:
    The funds, goods, services and premises provided pursuant to the by-laws are to be used for the carrying out of Members’ parliamentary functions or for matters which are essential or incidental thereto.
    This ad raises a number of questions. Why did the member for Lévis—Bellechasse decide to promote the commercial interests of Voyages Paradis over other carriers? What about the other companies that cannot use the resources of the House and the member to serve their clients?
    By using publicly funded resources—telephone lines, the fax machine in his riding office and a parliamentary email address—and by designating one of his employees paid for by taxpayers to provide information to and take reservations from clients of Voyages Paradis, in short, by running a travel agency out of his riding office, did the member for Lévis—Bellechasse follow the rules concerning the use of the resources made available to members to help them perform their parliamentary functions? I am asking you, Mr. Speaker. Is organizing a trip on behalf of a private company a parliamentary function? Did the member for Lévis—Bellechasse use the House's resources for commercial purposes?
    Before deciding whether I should refer this matter to the Board of Internal Economy, I would like to have the opinion of the Chair.
    In conclusion, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House to table the ad in question.

  (1530)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak. I would like to thank the member for showing that it is important to me to make the House of Commons, the Parliament of all Canadians and Quebeckers, accessible to everyone.
    If, in my enthusiasm to share just how wonderful Canada's parliamentary system is and how Canada's Parliament benefits Quebeckers and the people in my riding, I violated any rules, I offer you my full cooperation to guide you in your rulings, Mr. Speaker.
    You can count on my cooperation and that of my entire team to help you shed some light on what we have done, because we feel it is important that Quebeckers have access to the Canadian Parliament. I am at your service.
    The hon. member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord will, no doubt, take this up with the Board of Internal Economy, if necessary. The board will no doubt render a decision on the point he has raised.

[English]

Committees of the House

Public Accounts  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present, in both official languages, the following reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: the 10th report on the Public Accounts of Canada for the fiscal period ending March 31, 2009; the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Chapter 7, Emergency Management, Public Safety Canada, of the 2009 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada; and finally, the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Chapter 3, Income Tax Legislation, of the 2009 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests the government table a comprehensive response to all three reports.

Library of Parliament  

    Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the first report of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament, presented to the House yesterday, be concurred in.

  (1535)  

    Does the hon. member for Calgary West have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Freedom of Expression by Elected Officials

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties in the House and I believe if you were to seek it you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That all members of this House stand united in condemning any form of extremism that incites violence in Canadian society, and re-affirm the rights of elected officials to freely express their views without fear of personal intimidation.

[Translation]

    Does the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Petitions

Animal Welfare   

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I wish to table two petitions signed by people in the Montreal area, including people from my riding of Pierrefonds—Dollard.
    The petitioners call upon the Canadian government to support a universal declaration on animal welfare.

Employment Insurance  

    Mr. Speaker, again today, I am presenting a petition calling for the adoption of my Bill C-343, to provide assistance to victims of crime and to their families by extending the employment insurance eligibility period and by allowing victims' families to take leave from work and keep their job for an indeterminate period of time.
    Later this afternoon there will be a vote on this bill to refer it to committee. On behalf of the hundreds of people who signed this petition and all the victims' families, I would like to see a majority of hon. members in this House vote in favour of this bill.
    These 160 signatures, added to all the others, show the public's concern for what happens to victims' families and their desire for the government to take action as soon as possible.

[English]

Iran  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions I wish to present today.
    I had the honour of participating in Raoul Wallenberg Day in Winnipeg in January. The students there started off this petition. They got a number of signatures on campus, throughout the city and across the province.
    Essentially, the petitioners are calling on Parliament and the Government of Canada to take steps against the Iranian regime for what it has done on massive domestic repression against Iranian people, students and journalists.
    They are also calling on us to make sure that we talk about the leaders of Iran, how they have denied Israel's right to exist and have denied the Holocaust. President Ahmadinejad has said that Israelis should be wiped off the map. The petitioners are also concerned about the prospect that the Islamic Republic of Iran will access nuclear arms.
    They are calling upon the House to support Bill C-412, the Iran accountability act. They are asking government and Parliament to try to establish an international tribunal for the purpose of declaring Iran in breach of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide for state-sanctioned incitement to genocide.
    They are asking us to support the United Nations Security Council in adopting additional measures against Iran, and that we help Interpol exercise the warrant for the arrest of the alleged AMIA bombers from Argentina. They also request that we take a strong stance against Iran in its quest to access nuclear arms, its support for global terror, and of course Iran's massive domestic human rights violations.

  (1540)  

Post Offices  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I wish to present is in support of our rural post offices.
    The petitioners request that the Government of Canada and Canada Post in particular respect the moratorium on the closure of rural and small town post offices, and that we work to maintain and improve the network of post offices, and that they continue to consult with the public in a more timely manner than is currently in place.

[Translation]

Omar Khadr  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud today to present to the House a petition prepared and signed by more than 300 students at the École Clément-Cormier in Bouctouche.
    The school offers a course in economic, political and legal institutions. The teacher, Ms. Gagnon, has invited me a number of times to meet with her students. During one discussion a few months ago, the students told me they were concerned about what would become of Omar Khadr. The young people from this area of Kent County, New Brunswick, asked me what they could do in support of Omar Khadr's return and how to go about asking the government to repatriate Omar Khadr.
    As hon. members know, over the past few days, the situation of the young Canadian, Omar Khadr, has been widely reported in the news and in the media. This petition signed by the young students at École Clément-Cormier is rather timely. The students are calling on the government to repatriate Mr. Khadr to Canada as soon as possible. I am very proud to present this petition.

[English]

Human Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to present a petition signed by 96 people from my riding of Red Deer, Alberta.
    The petitioners urge the federal government to honour its commitment to the UN protocol by providing adequate funding to set up safe housing for the victims of human trafficking.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present three petitions today.
    The first petition is in support of the universal declaration on animal welfare.
    The second petition is on the subject of animal transportation regulations.

Post Offices  

    Mr. Speaker, my third petition is on the subject of maintaining and improving the network of public post offices consulting with the public here in Canada.

Medical Equipment Purchases  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table a petition in the House which calls on the government to allow hospitals and their contracting firms that collect GST in and on their hospital property not to remit the GST collected to the Canada Revenue Agency but rather to forward the money to the foundation of the hospital where it was collected so that the funds may be used for the purchase of medical equipment.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 23, 128, 130, 131 and 132.

[Text]

Question No. 23--
Mr. Scott Simms:
    With regard to the government’s food aid to North Korea: (a) what is the government’s current commitment of food aid to North Korea; (b) is all food aid channelled through the World Food Program; and (c) what actions has the government taken to urge the North Korean government to ensure that food aid is distributed to those most in need?
Hon. Bev Oda (Minister of International Cooperation, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, in resonse to (a), in the last three fiscal years, the Canadian International Development Agency, CIDA, provided $7.6 million in support of the World Food Programme’s, WFP, operations in North Korea: Fiscal year 2007-08: $1,500,000; Fiscal year 2008-09: $6,100,000; Fiscal year 2009-10: $0 Total: $7,600,000.
    CIDA has no outstanding financial commitments with WFP with regard to its operations in North Korea.
    In response to (b), since fiscal year 2006-07, all Canadian food aid destined for North Korea has been channelled through WFP.
    In response to (c), CIDA currently provides food aid to North Korea through WFP, and has not engaged directly with the North Korean government. WFP has an office in North Korea, and it assesses needs and monitors the distribution of their food aid in North Korea. CIDA has regular discussions with WFP regarding its operations in North Korea.
Question No. 128--
Mrs. Michelle Simson:
     With regard to the preparation of the Speech from the Throne, which opened the 3rd Session of the 40th Parliament: (a) what is the total number of hours paid for by the government, in employee or contract services, in preparation of the Speech and what is the cost associated with those hours of work; (b) how many copies of the Speech were printed, for what cost and by which company; and (c) what is the distribution cost of the Speech?
Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, in regard to part (a) of the question, the Privy Council Office, PCO, is unable to provide accurate statistics on the hours or costs of permanent full-time employees allocated to preparation of the Speech from the Throne, SFT. The PCO employees involved undertook a range of other duties in addition to preparation of the speech since initial production began in January 2010. The department does not track the person-hours dedicated to specific tasks or projects. The time and costs associated with the translation, design and revisions for the SFT by outside contractors are as follows:
    Translation: 27 1/4 hours, total $ 2,302.63; Writing and editing services: 32 hours, total $2,720; Costs for initial design concepts (3+): 88 hours, total $7,875; Revisions to concepts: 24 hours, total $2,700; Treatment of thematic intro pages for the SFT booklet: 50 hours, total $2,550.
    In regard to part (b) of the question, 6,000 copies of the speech were printed. The total cost was $21,505.38. The company contracted for printing and distributing the SFT was Lowe-Martin Company Inc. from Ottawa, Ontario.
     In regard to part (c) of the question, the cost for distributing the SFT was $4,145.60.
Question No. 130--
Mrs. Michelle Simson:
     With regard to the Justice Minister’s announcement on February 24, 2010, that the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) were under review: (a) why is the government reviewing these regulations; (b) what briefing materials were given to the Health Minister and Justice Minister before the decision was made to review the regulations; (c) who will the government consult with during this review; (d) has any consultation already been completed; (e) what does the government expect to learn from this review; and (f) what short- and long-term plans does the government have for the MMAR and the usage of marihuana for medicinal purposes in Canada?
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of Health, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), on January 14, 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada, SCC, dismissed the Government of Canada’s request for leave to appeal in the British Columbia Supreme Court decision in R v. Beren and Swallow. The Government of Canada has amended the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, MMAR, in response to this ruling.
    As well, the Government of Canada is considering longer-term options for reform of the marijuana medical access program, MMAP. The regulations governing access to marijuana for medical purposes will continue to balance reasonable access to the product with the government’s responsibility to regulate it as a controlled substance, and to protect the health and safety of all Canadians.
    In resonse to (b), a briefing note was provided to the Minister of Health on the possible impact of the January 14, 2010 SCC decision. Health Canada provided verbal information to Justice Canada officials.
    In response to (c), at this time, Health Canada is still in the process of developing options which include consultation strategies.
     In response to (d), no consultations have occurred at this time. When a formal consultation strategy is finalized, details will be made public.
    In response to (e), Health Canada considers the views of Canadians to be paramount in the development of laws that protect their health and safety. It is expected that any consultations undertaken will provide input, evidence and advice to the department on issues such as health, safety, medical usage, environmental risks and concerns of Canadians.
    In response to (f), given that options are currently being developed and considered, Health Canada cannot comment at this time on any short- and long-term plans regarding potential changes to the regulations governing marijuana for medical purposes in Canada.
Question No. 131--
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia :
     With respect to unremediated federal contaminated sites: (a) where are those sites located; (b) which federal departments have line responsibility for these sites; and (c) which specific sites have been tested for possible groundwater contamination?
Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of the Environment, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to questions (a) and (b), the Treasury Board Secretariat has established the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory, FCSI, available to the public since 2002 at the following web address: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/fcsi-rscf. This inventory includes information on all known and suspected federal contaminated sites--over 19,000--under the administration of federal departments, agencies and consolidated crown corporations. The FCSI also contains information on the location the sites, the responsible federal organizations, the nature and severity of the contamination, and the progress made to date in identifying and addressing the contamination.
    The inventory is maintained by the Treasury Board Secretariat and is updated at least once a year by the responsible federal organization.
    With respect to question (c), the inventory also displays federal contaminated sites by contaminated medium, e.g., groundwater, soil, surface water, et cetera. However, to obtain information on whether a site has been tested for possible groundwater contamination, please contact the responsible federal organization for that particular site. Contact information is available on the website.
Question No. 132--
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
     In respect to sewage treatment in the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes: (a) how many Canadian cities in each waterway have achieved primary, secondary and tertiary treatment of wastewater effluent, respectively; (b) what is the comparable data for cities on the U.S. side of these aforementioned waterways; and (c) specifically, which Canadian cities fall into the three categories mentioned in (a)?
Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of the Environment, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), this is a provincial jurisdiction; the province collects the information and makes it available. Environment Canada does not collect this information because it would be a duplication of effort.
    In response to (b), this data is U.S. jurisdiction; however, the information may be obtained through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
     In response to (c), this is a provincial jurisdiction; the province collects the information and makes it available. Environment Canada does not collect this information because it would be a duplication of effort.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

     Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 127, 129 and 134 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 127--
Mrs. Michelle Simson:
    With regard to applications for permanent residence processed by the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi: (a) how many spousal sponsorships, parental sponsorships and independent applicant cases have been received since the 2007-2008 fiscal year up to and including the current; (b) how many of the spousal sponsorships, parental sponsorships and independent applicants since the 2007-2009 fiscal year cases (i) were accepted, (ii) are still in process, (iii) have been refused, and for what reason; (c) what is the current length of time required to process the applications for (i) spousal sponsorships, (ii) parental sponsorships, (iii) independent applicants; (d) how many cases are in backlog and are or were the subject of enhanced security background checks; (e) how many staff are employed to process applications; and (f) what additional resources have been allocated to process the case backlog?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 129--
Mrs. Michelle Simson:
     With regard to Variety Village, a charity in the constituency of Scarborough Southwest: (a) on what grounds was its application for funding under the Recreational Infrastructure Canada program denied; (b) on what grounds was its application for $1,633,137 in federal funding under the Infrastructure Stimulus fund denied; and (c) does the government have any intention to allocate funding to Variety Village before it hosts events for the 2015 Paralympics Pan Am Games?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 134--
Mr. Robert Oliphant:
     With regard to potential transfer of Ste. Anne’s Hospital to the provincial government: (a) how many veterans are currently occupying beds in the hospital; (b) how many total beds are currently being unused; (c) what assurances are being given to veterans that their medical care needs will take precedence over non-veterans at the hospital after the transfer; (d) what precedence is given to allied veterans who are now Canadian citizens; (e) what precedence is being given to veterans who served in Korea, as Peacekeepers, and in Afghanistan at this medical facility; (f) what consultations has Veterans Affairs Canada undertaken with Ste. Anne’s residents, staff, local officials, and veterans organizations; (g) when did these consultations occur; and (h) what Veterans Affairs Canada officials were in attendance for these consultations?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

Motions for Papers

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

Official Report

  

    Mr. Speaker, I am rising to correct the record, with regard to my speech at second reading on Bill C-5, An Act to amend the International Transfer of Offenders Act.
    In my speech, I stated that not one offender, who has been granted a transfer back to Canada to resume and serve his or her sentence, has ever reoffended.
    I misquoted that statistic. In fact, of 620 Canadians transferred back to Canada between 1993 and 2007, four were re-incarcerated for a new offence within two years after the expiry of their sentence. This represents a recidivism rate of 0.6% for Canadians transferred under this legislation, which compares to a recidivism rate of approximately 25% for offenders in general.
    Of course we cannot compare it to the rate of offenders who are not transferred but return to Canada after serving their sentence abroad because those offenders re-enter Canada with no monitoring or record of their foreign convictions. So we do not know what those numbers are.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to correct the inaccuracy in the record. Although my point is nevertheless valid, I regret any confusion I may have caused.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

  (1545)  

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Investment Canada Act  

    That, given the government's failure to act in the best interest of Canada when it allowed the sell-off of Inco, Falconbridge, Stelco and Nortel, the government should act immediately to protect the interests of Canadian workers, their communities and the strategic and long-term interests of the Canadian economy, by improving its review of foreign takeovers that involve key Canadian resource, manufacturing, high tech and, potentially, telecommunications companies, by strengthening the Investment Canada Act by: (a) lowering the threshold for public review; (b) ensuring public hearings are held in affected communities; and (c) requiring publication of the reasons for decisions and conditions to be met by approved foreign owners.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Timmins—James Bay, and I would like to thank my colleague from Windsor West for his invaluable contribution.

[Translation]

     Today, this House will be debating a motion that speaks to one of the main reasons I have pursued public life: the need for this Parliament and for this government to protect the resources that belong to the Canadian people and their communities.

[English]

    Having spent my whole life in northern Ontario, I can tell my hon. colleagues in this chamber that my community is living proof of the current government's and previous government's failures to protect the interests of Canadian workers, their communities and the strategic and long-term interests of the Canadian economy as a whole.
    To be clear, the NDP is not against foreign investment. We are opposed to the kind of foreign takeovers we have witnessed in my community of Greater Sudbury. I will come back to this point later.
    At a critical time of increasing global energy needs due to growing economies, country after country has begun to view its supply of natural resources as an issue of national security. China, for example, is investing in iron ore, gold, silver, copper, aluminum and coal in countries around the world. Others such as Vietnam, Russia and India are following suit. Indonesia, an exporter of coal, has begun scaling back its exports.
    It begs the following question. Why is Canada not assessing its key sectors, such as natural resources, manufacturing, high tech including green technologies, and telecommunications, through the filter of long-term strategic need?

[Translation]

    Canada, it seems, is heading in the opposite direction of many countries by increasing significantly the minimum threshold upon which a federal review of a foreign takeover takes place.

[English]

    In other words, the government is telling the world to help itself to our natural resources, our technologies and our intellectual property. While it is at it, it is also signalling them not to worry about those conditions of sale the federal government imposes, because the federal government will not pursue them even when they break their contract.
    One only has to look at the government's disgraceful behaviour during the Vale Inco strike in my community. In Greater Sudbury 3,200 workers, members of the United Steelworkers Local 6500, remain on strike because Brazilian-owned Vale Inco has refused to return to the negotiating table.
    The government just stays silent and claims it is provincial jurisdiction, all the while meeting with Vale Inco representatives 25 times since 2008. So much for this strike being a purely provincial matter.
    The strike at Vale Inco is a perfect example of why we need the House today to support the motion, which seeks to strengthen the Investment Canada Act to prevent the very situation that community after community is facing across Canada today.
    Briefly, the motion calls for lowering the threshold for public review of foreign takeovers, ensuring public hearings are held in affected communities, and requiring publication of the reasons for decisions and conditions to be met by approved foreign owners.
    Here is a fact. There have been more than 13,500 foreign takeovers in Canada, 334 in the last year. Here is another fact. The federal government has disallowed only one. That is right, one. That was due in large measure to the work of the NDP caucus and former NDP member, Peggy Nash, in particular.

  (1550)  

[Translation]

    Here are some more facts:
    In 2007, for the first time since 1999, foreign-controlled companies operating in Canada held 52.8% of manufacturing assets, up from 46.8% in 2006.
    Statistics Canada reported that the increase “was due largely to foreign acquisitions of Canadian-controlled firms, especially in the primary metals and wood and paper industries.”
    In 2007, foreign-controlled firms held 38.5% of Canada’s oil and gas industries, 48.8% of operating revenues, and 44.6 % of operating profits.
    In one year alone, 2006, foreign control of Canada’s mining sector rose from 12% to 40%.
    This issue that our caucus has laid before this House today is both timely and critical.

[English]

    On the motion's second point, stakeholder and community consultation, it remains deeply perplexing to me why the government has not conducted such consultations prior to making a decision on a proposed foreign takeover.
    If the government had consulted with the community of Greater Sudbury, a community that has had decades and decades of experience with mining, it would have heard about people's concerns as to whether Vale Inco understood the community's history with mining, or our strong labour roots, or the importance we place on trust and good faith in negotiations.
    Vale, in turn, would have gleaned some insight into the fact that union busting was a non-starter in northern Ontario.
    I want to stress, though, that this is not just about northern Ontario. It is about all of Canada. Every community, including our northern and first nations communities, must have a say in the development of key resource sectors.
    Finally, I want to touch on the third element of my motion, and that is transparency. The government and previous governments have been ignorant or blind to the fact that a foreign entity does not buy our natural resources. It is merely leasing them.
    Those resources belong to the people of Canada.

[Translation]

    Canadians have the right to know the decisions that form the basis of approval by their government and the key conditions that must be met by foreign companies when they take over a Canadian company.
    We are not asking for 100% disclosure. We understand the need for protecting certain information. But there has to be greater transparency. The status quo simply will not do.

[English]

    We need only to ask those employees who have been laid off despite company commitments to protect those jobs.
    I want to be clear that the motion is about protecting Canada's long-term strategic interests. It is not about stopping foreign investment in Canada, but it is about stopping foreign takeovers that are not a net benefit to Canada, for example, those companies that seek to come into a community, conduct high grading of our purest forms of key resources and then pack up and leave when they are done.
    We support and welcome foreign investment in Canada because our companies are also investing in other countries. It makes good business sense. In 2008, for example, Canadian direct investment abroad totalled $637 billion and foreign direct investment in Canada totalled $505 billion.

[Translation]

    Keep in mind that at least 15% of investment overseas by Canadians, or almost $100 billion, went to tax havens, like the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands—which have no income tax)—, an amount several times greater than the GDP of those countries.
    Therefore, before my Conservative colleagues across the way spring these numbers, I would want them to acknowledge that tax evasion is not foreign investment—it is simply tax evasion.

[English]

    In this competitive global environment, we need to balance the strategic interests of our country and its people with the need to foster a fair and level playing field for both Canadian and foreign companies wishing to invest in Canada. The status quo is failing Canadians. The government has yet to articulate exactly what its net benefit test is when it approves takeover after takeover. This motion addresses some of the key weaknesses of the current system.
    I hope that, together, we as parliamentarians can begin to address this imbalance by protecting the interests of Canadian workers, their communities and the strategic and long-term interests of the Canadian economy.

  (1555)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, given the time, I will not have the opportunity to speak to the NDP motion, but I can say that the Bloc supports it.
    The motion moved by my NDP colleague highlights the fact that many foreign acquisitions of Canadian firms have proven disastrous for the Canadian economy.
    Does the hon. member believe, as the Bloc does, that Conservative economic policies are based on blind ideology and dogma, rather than on measurable, tangible realities?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. I do not think the Conservatives have a clear picture of foreign investments in Canada. I am convinced that they have no idea what is happening in Sudbury relating to Vale Inco and Xstrata.
    I thank the Bloc for its support.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague from Nickel Belt probably knows, I am from Labrador. We have Voisey's Bay in Labrador, where 350 workers have been on strike for more than nine months. They have offered good-faith negotiations with Vale Inco. Either those negotiations have been rejected or the company has come to the table with certain conditions that could not be accepted by the workers.
    We get emails from single-parent families. Many of the workers who formerly worked and are on now on strike are aboriginal. It took a tremendous amount of effort to make sure we hired aboriginal people, Inuit, Innu and Métis, on site. These were good paying jobs. The Conservative government hides behind provincial responsibility and the Investment Canada Act every time the issue is raised in the House.
    I want to thank the member for bringing this issue forward. I want him to comment on the fact that every time we raise the Investment Canada Act, the Conservatives say they cannot change it. They cannot give us the details behind the foreign takeovers, and there is no transparency. What more can we do in the House to encourage the Conservative government to be more transparent and to make good changes to the Investment Canada Act?
    Mr. Speaker, he is right. I said a while ago that this is not only about my community. It is about Voisey's Bay, Port Colborne and every resource across Canada.
    What can we do to make the government more transparent? I think we have tried everything. I think the best thing we can do is to vote it out at the next election. That would certainly do it for me. I think that is the best thing we can do. If we want a transparent government, we have to change the government.
    Mr. Speaker, I will pose a question and then give a bit of background to it.
    What is the member's definition of free trade? What I mean by that is the following.
    If I ask people generically who are believers in free trade if they believe in free trade, their hand will automatically go up. However, if I nuanced that with regard to the Cold War with the west and the Soviet Union and asked them if they believed in free trade regardless of any circumstances and then I asked if they believed in free trade when it comes to precision small ball-bearings, those people might say yes. However, if they then found out that precision ball-bearings were used by the Soviets for their MIRV missiles so that those missiles could more easily target things in North America, all of a sudden those people became concerned and did not like the idea of selling precision small ball-bearings.
    Free trade sometimes sounds good but if it is done with strategic assets that can be used or abused by enemies in a military context, that is a problem.
    I am wondering what the member's definition of free trade is.

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that this motion is not about free trade. It is about fair foreign investment. We are not against foreign investment. We are against foreign takeover. This is not about free trade. It is about foreign takeover of our companies.
    We are interested in having foreign companies invest in Canada. A good example is De Beers in northern Canada which has invested in the north and has consulted with first nations, communities and its employees.
    We are interested in foreign investment not in foreign takeovers.
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to speak in the House today to this motion, with the work of my colleague from Nickel Belt and, in particular, the work of my colleague from Windsor West who has raised these issues again and again.
    I am also proud to stand here as the member for the riding of Timmins--James Bay. My grandfather, Charlie Angus, came to Timmins from the Hawkhill tenements of Dundee and he died on the shop floor at the Hollinger mine. My mother's father, Joseph MacNeil, left with the waves of Cape Bretoners to work underground in Timmins. He broke his back in a fall of ground, which, in those days, was not even commented upon in the newspapers because life was cheap.
    When my grandfathers were working underground, the average life expectancy for an east European man was 41 years of age, and that was considered a norm and considered perfectly okay by industry. I am here today to say that my grandparents' generation fought so that our communities would benefit and there would be a decent way of life in the mines in northern Ontario. We are not about to turn back the clock at this point, in 2010, and allow companies like Vale Inco and Xstrata to run our resources into the ground, and that is what this motion is about.
    This motion is about the Conservative government's absolute failure to stand up for national interests. We have to condemn it for what has happened at Stelco, at Nortel, at Xstrata and at Vale Inco because that will be the template it uses on industry after industry, and Canadians need to see what is coming down the pipe.
    I would like to say at the beginning that this is a very clear discussion. This is not about foreign investment. This is about scrutinizing foreign takeovers. I will give an example.
    This week, the first diamonds ever from Ontario went on sale from the Victor diamond mine on the James Bay coast. I will tell the House about De Beers. De Beers came and built a billion dollar mine. It hired people and signed impact benefit agreements with first nations communities. I know there are people in some of my James Bay communities who do not believe that they got the best deal they could out of it, but I have worked with De Beers and when we won the fight to get a school in Attawapiskat, the CEO of De Beers called me that day and asked how his company could help.
    That is foreign investment. That is something that we must welcome on all sides of the political House. We need to have an investment climate that welcomes companies to come in, invest and see the potential. However, there is something fundamentally different between the behaviour of De Beers and Vale Inco. There was a brutal, nasty, nine-month needless strike when the price of nickel would give Vale the kind of profits that its shareholders could be pleased with. Even more striking for me is that this week Xstrata is moving to shut down the copper refining and zinc refining capacity of Ontario.
    This has to be really understood because the Conservatives were warned about this. Xstrata had a less than stellar record. In 2006 we were on the verge of seeing the merger of Inco and Falconbridge, which would have created, out of two world-class mining operations, a world-class super-operation. At the time, there was a lot of excitement and interest in the mining industry because of the synergies between Inco and Falconbridge, the kind of technical expertise. These were the most productive base metal mining companies in the world and they were on the verge of merging, but they were held up in a regulatory hurdle. That is when Xstrata, this corporate raider, came along to try to take Falconbridge.
    At that time we pushed the government for a simple thing. We were not asking it to stop Xstrata. We were asking it, as government, because of the interest of these national resources, to hold off on allowing Xstrata to run away with Falconbridge until both bids were on the table. In June 2006, I asked the then industry minister a very clear question about the issue, of needing to have both bids on the table, and I spoke specifically about the fact that we were talking about the infrastructure of Canada's copper industry being picked off by this company that was set up in an unaccountable Swiss canton.
    My colleague from Windsor West and the industry committee passed a motion calling on the government to hold off until both bids were on the table but the government, of course, laughed it off. In fact, the industry minister had quite a little chuckle at the time and said that he had not heard any rumours that it was going to get up and move the mines.
    It shows how little the government understands the mining industry. No, it was not going to move the mines but it could move the copper ore, and that is exactly what is happening with Xstrata right now. Xstrata has come in and has sent a clear message. It is not interested in the traditional compact that we have had with industry, that it is going to develop the resources and process them in Ontario. It has very clearly said that it will not meet the environmental standards. It will shut down Sudbury if it wants to. It is shutting down Timmins and, unfortunately, I am warning my colleagues from Quebec, it will be shutting Rouyn-Noranda next. This is about moving copper to China and other places for processing.

  (1605)  

    This is a complete failure by the government. If we talk to anyone in the mining industry, they will say that what was allowed to happen under the present government with Falconbridge and Inco is the equivalent of the Avro Arrow. The development of the Sudbury basin will be permanently impacted because of the short-sighted lack of understanding of what was at stake here.
    In my community of Timmins right now, 1,000 jobs are being lost right off the board and 4,000 jobs in the region. The loss of this refinery is sending a very clear message, and it is a message the government kind of likes, that our resource regions will now be treated like any third world jurisdiction because being open for business, it wants us to be open for the bad players as well as the good players. That is not the way we need to do business in this country.
     My colleague from the Bloc spoke about ideology. The Conservatives are blinded, as G.K. Chesterton said, by the horrible mysticism of money. They believe that capital being allowed to do whatever it wants is the only social good. Therefore, if Xstrata comes in and tells our communities that they are just another third world jurisdiction, that it does not have any obligation to process resources and that it will ship it out, the government says that is fine because capital speaks.
    If Vale comes in and tells the most productive mining workers in the world at Port Colborne, at Voisey's Bay and at Sudbury that they are now a disposable workforce, the government says that is perfectly okay. However, we know it is not okay. If we are going to see this complete lack of due diligence from the government on key sectors like mining, then what will happen when it starts to sell off our telecommunications and our tar sands lock, stock and barrel to the Chinese so they can just move the bitumen out and process it elsewhere? It is a lack of a national vision on which the government has to be held accountable.
    The other day we lost the third largest OSB manufacturer in North American, Grant Forest Products. When our leader asked the Minister of Industry where the net benefit was to Canada, the minister could not even stand up and give us an answer on his own. He had to read from a press release put out by Georgia-Pacific. We are not Georgia. This is Canada. The government has an obligation when it reviews a sale, and that is not to say a sale will not happen, to ensure that the people who are buying up these resources will do so to the net benefit of Canada. It is a simple thing. I do not see why it has been so hard.
    The motion before us today is very clear. The government needs to be held accountable because it blew it. I am calling on my colleagues from all parties to stand with us and say that what has happened at Vale, what has happened at Xstrata, what has happened at Stelco and what has happened with the tearing apart of Nortel has been a national tragedy and the government needs to take responsibility for it. It must learn the lessons of this and Canadians need to learn the lessons of ensuring that when we are dealing with our resources that there is a net benefit.
     Canada has now dropped to 14th out of 17th in western countries in terms of industrial innovation. It is no wonder, because when we are a branch plant economy, the investments are not made. Statistics Canada tells us that Canadian operations are twice as profitable as the ones owned by foreign companies in Canada because we are just a branch plant economy. We have to do better than selling off our natural resources to the detriment of our communities. Our regions and our people have a right to benefit from those jobs, which is why our country needs to stand up for this principle. That is why the New Democrats put forward this motion. We are calling on all members of the House to work with us.

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will pose the question in a different way for my colleague across the way.
    There is an old expression that says “you don't sell a rope to an opponent who wants to hang you with it”. So, if we were allowing, for example, one private enterprise to buy other private enterprises, most people would say that was probably a good idea. However, if we allowed another state's enterprises owned by the state to buy our private sector enterprises, some people may raise issues with that. However, some people might ask about the case of Norway or France which are friends of NATO. What if we had other state owned enterprises, which were open military threats to our way of life, that wanted to buy those private assets in our country?
    The question then becomes: Do we sell the opponents the nickel to harden their missiles to hit us with or do we sell our opponents the telecommunications to go ahead and spy on us with? I pose those questions for my colleague.
    Mr. Speaker, I welcome my colleague's question, because I think it is very pertinent. Before Xstrata was allowed to walk off with Falconbridge, China Minmetals attempted to walk out, and my colleague is very aware of that file. We raised that question then. The Liberal government was going to allow that sell-off, and doing so would clearly have been a detriment. This had to be looked at.
    We have to look at Vale as well. Vale is part of the Brazilian government. When we look at Vale's plan for Sudbury, they are saying we now have to be like Brazilian workers. We have to go down to their standards.
    There are some serious questions that have to be addressed, and certainly when we are talking about telecommunications, as my colleague pointed out, there is a national security interest. Telecommunications has been identified as a national security priority for 20-some years in this country.
    These are questions that have to be reviewed. That is not to suggest that when sales happen they will not be allowed, but they have to be reviewed, and they have to be reviewed with due diligence.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his passionate speech on this particular issue. I know it is important to him and the people back in his riding, as the issue is important to me and the people I represent back in Labrador.
    It would seem to me that the member has articulated that the Conservative government abdicated its responsibility to protect our natural resources and to protect our workers and that it has not done enough to make sure that our labour standards are being respected by companies that come in here and take over Canadian companies.
    I would ask the member if he would agree with that particular statement, and how he would see this motion helping to improve the situation for Canadian industries, natural resources industries and Canadian workers. I particularly want him to speak to workers in Voisey's Bay and those hired by companies like Vale Inco.
    Mr. Speaker, very quickly, the point of this motion is that we have to put up a warning signal to other communities: the people in Voisey's Bay who are suffering, the people in Sudbury who are suffering, and the people in Timmins who are seeing the copper-refining capacity of Ontario permanently removed. It will never come back.
    We never would have thought this possible. We never would have thought a government would abandon our regions and our economy so badly as has happened under this government. That is why a signal has to be sent to other parts of this country to say that their sectors are next, because this government is sending out a clear signal that it is open to selling whatever off to whoever wants it, and they can come in and take it. It will be an awful fire sale, and it will affect every one of our communities.

  (1615)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as we have seen when it comes to free trade agreements, the Conservatives clearly do not do any impact studies. Now they want to allow sales or transfers worth up to $1 billion to foreign interests, without examining the impact on local and regional economies In Quebec and Canada.
    Does the member not think they are going too far in raising this threshold to $1 billion without examining the consequences and with no action plan to determine whether jobs and investments will be protected?

[English]

    Quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, it is a joke. A billion dollar threshold is a joke. The Conservatives are just thumbing their noses at their responsibilities. At $400 million we have already seen them rubber-stamp and allow major industries to be sold off. They are sending the signal that Canada is up for sale, end of story.
    Mr. Speaker, let me begin by stating that foreign investment plays an important role in the Canadian economy.
    Foreign investors bring with them knowledge, capabilities and technology that can increase the productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of Canadian firms. These investments frequently help Canadian-based companies to expand and create jobs for Canadians.
    Recognizing the importance of investment flows into the country, Canada has a broad framework in place to promote trade and investment while at the same time protecting Canadian interests. It is important to note that investment flows both into and out of Canada. In fact Canadian international acquisitions exceeded the value of foreign acquisitions over the past several years.
    According to one of Crosbie and Company's quarterly M & A reports, 204 Canadian companies acquired foreign companies in 2009 compared with 83 foreign companies acquiring Canadian firms.
    In order to ensure that Canadian firms continue to have access to investment opportunities abroad, it is important for Canada to maintain a global investment climate that encourages the free flow of investment.
    The Investment Canada Act provides a mechanism to review significant acquisitions of Canadian enterprises by non-Canadian companies to determine if they will be of net benefit to Canada. It also provides a mechanism to review investment that could be injurious to national security.
    I would like to take this opportunity to describe how the Investment Canada Act works and how decisions are taken by the minister.
    First, the administration of the act is shared between two ministers and their respective departments. The Minister of Canadian Heritage is responsible for the review of investments involving cultural businesses. The Minister of Industry is responsible for the review of all other investments. The Minister of Industry is also responsible for all other aspects of the administration of the act, including initiating enforcement measures.
    My comments today will focus on only those investments that are the responsibility of the Minister of Industry. When a foreign investor proposes to acquire a Canadian business, the investor has certain responsibilities under the act.
     Foreign investors must file either a notification or an application for review. An investor must file a notification when a new Canadian business is established or when there is an acquisition of control of a Canadian business with assets below the established threshold.
     For an investment that is not subject to a net benefit review under the act, where an investor has provided the information required by the Investment Canada regulations, the investor has met its obligations under the act. No further action is required on the part of the investor. Information required under the regulations includes the names of the investor and the Canadian business, their respective addresses, a description of the business of the latter, and its level of assets.
    Where a proposed investment is subject to a net benefit review under the act, the investor cannot implement the transaction without the approval of the minister responsible for the act. The investor must provide certain information as part of the filing of an application, including its plan for the Canadian business.
    An acquisition is subject to review when the assets of the Canadian business to be acquired are equal to or above the thresholds established in the act. The threshold that applies to WTO members is adjusted each year by an amount equal to the change in the nominal gross domestic product. The threshold is $299 million for 2010. The threshold for cultural businesses remains at the level established in 1985. It is $5 million for direct acquisitions or $50 million for indirect acquisitions.
    The act provides the minister an initial 45 days to complete the review of a proposed investment and to make a determination of net benefit. The minister can extend the review period if necessary by 30 days. The review period can be extended further if both the investor and the minister agree.
    The Minister of Industry approves an application for review only where he is satisfied, based on the plans, undertakings and other representations of the investor, that the investment is likely to be of net benefit to Canada.
    In making his determination of net benefit, the Minister of Industry must consider the factors listed in section 20 of the act. These include the effect of the investment on the level and nature of economic activity in Canada; the degree and significance of participation by Canadians in the Canadian business or new Canadian business; the effect of the investment on productivity, industrial efficiency, technological development, product innovation and product variety in Canada; the effect of the investment on competition within any industry or industries in Canada; the compatibility of the investment with national, industrial, economic and cultural policies; and finally, the contribution of the investment to Canada's ability to compete in world markets.

  (1620)  

    As part of the review process, the investment review branch of Industry Canada consults with federal government departments with policy responsibility for the industrial sector involved in the proposed acquisition, with the Competition Bureau, and with all the provinces in which the Canadian business has substantial activities or assets. The purpose of the consultation is to engage sector specialists at both the federal and provincial level, to identify any policies that should be considered in the review and to obtain the views and concerns of the consulted parties relating to the acquisition.
    Industry Canada's investment review branch relies on consulted parties to identify areas of concern for the sector and the specific Canadian business. Once the consulted parties have provided their input, discussions take place with the investor, and legally enforceable undertakings are discussed with the investor to address the concerns of the consulted parties.
    Industry Canada's investment review branch staff also perform an independent analysis of the acquisition. To do so, they examine financial statements and annual reports for both the investor and the Canadian business. This information provides an indication of the strategic marketing, operating and financial strengths of each party and assists in the analysis of how the two companies fit together. In addition, the investor is frequently requested to provide additional information to make better understood the plans it has for the Canadian business.
    In 2009, the investment review branch of Industry Canada received and processed 415 notifications. In addition, the Minister of Industry approved 22 applications for review. The motion before us asks that the government act immediately to protect the interests of Canadian workers and their communities and the strategic and long-term interests of the Canadian economy by:
improving its review of foreign takeovers that involve key Canadian resource, manufacturing, high tech and, potentially, telecommunications companies, by strengthening the Investment Canada Act by: (a) lowering the threshold for public review; (b) ensuring public hearings are held in affected communities; and (c) requiring publication of the reasons for decisions and conditions to be met by approved foreign owners.
    As I have mentioned, under the Investment Canada Act, where an investment is subject to review under the act, the minister must approve an investor's application for review before an investor can implement an acquisition. The minister approves applications only where he is satisfied, based on the plans, undertakings and other representations of the investor, that the investment is likely to be of net benefit to Canada. Under the act there is a rigorous review process that involves careful analysis and extensive consultations with government departments and the provinces.
    Let me take a moment at this time to explain the confidentiality provisions of the act. These provisions do not permit the minister to make comments about specific investments without the investor's prior agreement. Divulging confidential information outside of the narrow exceptions of the act is a criminal infraction.
    Some of the members of the House have asked why the confidentiality provisions of this act are so strict. The confidentiality provisions of the act reflect the fact that information shared by investors with the government is often commercially sensitive information, which, if disclosed, could harm the competitive position of the investor and its partners, including, for instance, its suppliers.
    Unless they are assured that their information will be protected by the government, investors will be reluctant to share information that is critical to the rigorous review process. To ensure that the minister can obtain the information he requires to make his net-benefit determination, very strict confidentiality provisions have been included in the Investment Canada Act, and these must be followed.
    During the review process, investors generally provide plans and undertakings to support their position that investments are likely to be of net benefit to Canadians. All approved investments are subject to monitoring to determine the extent to which the plans and undertakings provided by the investor have been implemented.
    An evaluation of the implementation of the plans and undertakings provided by the investor is ordinarily performed 18 months after the implementation of the investment. Additional evaluations are performed based on the duration of the plans and undertakings.
    The act provides for remedies where a non-Canadian investor implements an investment on terms or conditions that vary materially from those contained in an application or where the investor has failed to comply with a written undertaking. The decision to take enforcement measures under the Investment Canada Act is based on the overall performance of an investor in implementing its plans and undertakings.
    Decisions to take enforcement measures are made on a case-by-case basis by the minister, based on the specific circumstances of the transaction. The process for enforcing plans and undertakings provided by an investor during the review process includes seeking an order from a superior court to remedy any gap in the implementation of plans or undertakings.

  (1625)  

    The government has recently completed a review of the act, and has implemented amendments to ensure that the act will apply to the investments that are most important to the Canadian economy and that will increase the transparency of the act.
    In July 2007, the government appointed the Competition Policy Review Panel, chaired by Red Wilson. As part of its mandate, the panel reviewed both the Investment Canada Act and the Competition Act. In June 2008, the panel released its final report, entitled “Compete to Win”, with recommendations to enhance Canada's competitive performance.
    The panel concluded that Canada benefits from being open to the world and that attracting greater foreign investment is in Canada's interest. Accordingly, it concluded that the Investment Canada Act should be applied to fewer cases, where the market importance of the transaction is the greatest. To achieve this, it recommended, notably, that the threshold under the act be increased.
    The panel also recommended measures to improve the transparency and accountability of the Investment Canada Act while recognizing the importance of preserving commercially sensitive information. Finally, the panel endorsed the creation of a new review mechanism for national security.
    In March 2009, the government made a series of amendments to the Investment Canada Act that resulted in the adoption of the panel's core recommendations and conclusions. These amendments were by far the most important legislative changes to the Investment Canada Act since its adoption in 1985. The government recognizes that global markets have evolved and so too must our framework policy.
    The amendments ensure that reviews of proposed investments will apply to those investments that are the most important to the Canadian economy and will continue to allow foreign investors to create jobs in Canada by investing here. These amendments also improve transparency in the administration of the act, so that Canadians and foreign investors alike can better understand the workings of the act and its objectives.
    More specifically, the amendments reform the act by changing the basis for the general review threshold from the book value of the gross assets to enterprise value. Regulations are required to bring this change into force. Furthermore, the amendments reform the act by raising the general review threshold to $1 billion over a four-year period; it currently stands at $299 million in gross assets.
    The amendments also eliminate the application of the lower review threshold in identified sectors, for example, transportation services, financial services, and the uranium production sectors.
    The amendments require the minister to justify any decisions to disallow an investment, and allow the minister to disclose administrative information on the review process. Moreover, they require the publication of an annual report on the operations of the act and, finally, they authorize the government to review investments that impair or threaten to impair national security and, if necessary, to take appropriate action.
    These amendments will help Canada attract more foreign investment, a key driver of growth, by improving Canada's access to know-how and technology, by enhancing Canadians' ability to innovate and reach global markets, and by continuing to employ Canadians throughout the country.
    In conclusion, the act provides a mechanism for the review of significant investment proposals to determine whether they are of net benefit to Canada. The government has examined the act and has introduced amendments to ensure that it applies to the investments that are most important to the Canadian economy, and to improve the transparency of its administration.
    The government also has enforcement measures at its disposal, which it can invoke where the minister was not satisfied that investors have fulfilled their obligations under the act.

[Translation]

    It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, Broadcasting Industry.

  (1630)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member very clearly indicated the wording of the Investment Canada Act. However, when he was talking about the wording, he was not talking about the effects. Here is how the Investment Canada Act has worked in my community.
    About a year and a half ago, Xstrata laid off 686 workers seven months before the three-year agreement expired. Xstrata is closing down the copper refinery in Timmins. Vale Inco has laid off over 400 workers. They have been on strike for 10 months. That is now affecting the mining supply and services sector, meaning that 17,000 employees in Sudbury have gone from 40 hours a week to about 21 hours a week. Hopefully, some of them are still working. This is also affecting jobs in the retail sector.
    Therefore, we are trying to find out what the net benefit is. What is the net benefit to Timmins, Voisey's Bay and Port Colborne? What is the net benefit to Sudbury, and what is the net benefit to Canada when we continue to lose jobs and to export these jobs to China and other third world countries when all along we see people pointing fingers at other governments or not taking responsibility? What is the net benefit of this Investment Canada Act for the people in northern Ontario?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member attributes the results of a global economic slowdown to changes in the Investment Canada Act. I would note that as this global economic slowdown has affected countries around the world, commentators worldwide have pointed to Canada as a leader because of our approach in this regard.
    I would also point out that the NDP ideology would seek to build a wall around Canada; nothing would get in, nothing would get out. Canadian companies would be unable to grow beyond our borders. Canadian companies would be unable to sell their products around the world.
    The NDP protectionist ideology would be devastating to Canadians, devastating to Canadian companies, and devastating to Canadian consumers. Most importantly, it would be devastating to Canadian workers.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow-up the comments of the hon. member for Sudbury because the question really does affect northern Ontario, an area that I am very close to and, in fact, live in.
    We were supposed to have foreign investment. When we think of foreign investment, we usually think of companies coming into Canada and investing capital and doing research and development.
     However, what we have in northern Ontario are mines. We have forestry products. We have natural resources. My question for the parliamentary secretary is what do we do in northern Ontario when we basically open up Canada to foreign companies, who want to come in and basically rape, pillage, and plunder our natural resources without putting anything in. We are basically allowing them to come in, take what they want, and leave as they wish.
    Maybe the hon. member could tell me what the government is doing? Is it just sitting back and letting anybody in to do whatever they want with our natural resources, while our people are unemployed, waiting for jobs and begging with cap in hand?
    Mr. Speaker, once again I would reiterate what I said in my speech.
    Specific criteria are used to define net benefit to Canada. Virtually every economist in the world would point to foreign investment as a key driver of growth, better jobs, and better quality of life in terms of technology and all of the different things that we benefit from.
    I would also point out that the number of Canadian companies and champions that are buying companies in other countries is significantly higher than vice versa, contrary to what the opposition parties would have us believe.
    Canada is uniquely positioned in the world among industrialized countries as we come out of this global slowdown, as indicated by the commentary from the IMF, the OECD, and the World Economic Forum. Virtually every knowledgeable foreign economic organization has pointed to Canada as a world leader coming out of this global slowdown.

  (1635)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the member.
    Does he realize, as evidenced by the cases mentioned in the NDP motion, that sometimes foreign ownership is synonymous with closures, layoffs and violations of agreements signed with the government? That is what will happen if there is no review process for transactions of up to $1 billion, which represent a huge number of jobs.
    We have heard that people come to exploit our resources. We know that it takes secondary and tertiary processing of our resources to see economic development.
    If we cannot have an impact assessment on transactions under $1 billion, the risks will increase with the number of companies that will avoid having to undergo such assessments. There is also the risk of companies moving, which causes us to lose more and more business and development opportunities.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would point out that under the Investment Canada Act, the changes that were made were largely put forward by a panel of renowned experts from across this country. These changes have been widely accepted as ones that would benefit Canada significantly economically, especially given the fact that we are a trading nation.
    I would also point out in terms of the net benefit review and the undertakings by different companies, and here we are talking about several different companies named by the members opposite in the motion, that in every case the undertakings are very different. In some cases, the challenges faced by those companies are largely due to the circumstances that are coming out of this global economic slowdown that we have talked about and that everybody is aware of.
    In one particular case, of course, in the judgment of the minister, a company had not met its requirements according to its undertakings. That case is now before the courts.
    Mr. Speaker, I am just amazed at the economic illiteracy of the current Conservative government. It is not surprising. We have a Prime Minister who learned his economics from a textbook. He never had to meet a payroll in his entire career before coming to the House.
    What the parliamentary secretary obviously does not know is that every single bilateral agreement the government has signed has actually led to a reduction in exports. The government members do not even check their facts. It is absolutely appalling.
    The other thing that the parliamentary secretary obviously does not know is that in the last 20 years the real income of most Canadian families has declined, not gone up. The wealthy, of course, are wealthier than ever. If one is a banker or a corporate executive, yes, one's income has gone up. It has skyrocketed for the wealthiest 20%. However, for most Canadians watching this debate today right across this country, their real income has declined, in large part because of the do-nothing attitude of the previous Liberal government and the complete incompetence of the current Conservative government on economic issues.
    The question is very simple. Why do the Conservatives not take the stewardship of the economy in hand, so they can ensure that when foreign investment comes into this country, it is actually in the interests of Canadians, both in northern Ontario and everywhere else in the country? Why do they not do their job?
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the dozens of Canadians who are tuned in right now are having a hard time hearing my answer, because they are laughing hysterically at the NDP member's speech on economics.
    Let us take a look at what the experts have had to say about Canada's approach.
    Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said:
    We need to learn from those countries that evidently did it right. And leading that list is our neighbor to the north. Right now, Canada is a very important role model.
     Patricia Croft, from RBC Global Asset Management, had this to say:
    In terms of the global comparisons, Canada is the envy of just about every other country in the world.

  (1640)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the member for Nipissing—Timiskaming.
    I am pleased to rise today to speak to the motion from my NDP colleague regarding the Investment Canada Act. The Liberal Party will vote for the principle behind this motion, that we must review the Investment Canada Act so there is more transparency and accountability for the good of Canadians.
    In light of the fire sale of Inco, Falconbridge, Stelco and Nortel, the current government is responsible for an unprecedented loss in Canadian industrial leadership.
    Take Inco, which was already a leading nickel and copper mining development company in northern Ontario. It was purchased in 2006 by Brazilian company CVRD, or Vale. The merged company, Vale Inco, which had sales in the neighbourhood of $8 billion in 2009, is now the second-largest nickel producer in the world.
    Workers at Vale Inco in Sudbury have been on strike for more than 10 months. The parties cannot agree on the nickel bonus or changes to the pension plan. Local workers and the NDP have repeatedly called on the federal government to publicize Vale's agreement when the Brazilian company acquired Inco under the Investment Canada Act. We are especially interested in the conditions of employment and investments.
    Then there is Falconbridge. It is another prominent Canadian company that mines nickel and copper in northern Ontario. It was bought by Xstrata in 2006. This Swiss company was recently scrutinized after it announced that it was cutting 700 jobs at its metallurgical site in Timmins.
    Next we have Stelco. This major steel producer in the Hamilton area was bought by US Steel in August 2007 for $2 billion. In early 2009, Stelco/US Steel announced that it was shutting down its Hamilton and Lake Erie steel plants, putting some 700 people out of work. Stelco/US Steel then said that excessive production costs were behind their decision to shut down these two steel plants and move their steel production to the United States.
    We were told that this decision was related to American legislation encouraging the purchase of American products and under which US Steel would be eligible for stimulation funding, but only if it produced steel in the United States.
    On May 7, 2009, the Minister of Industry sent a demand letter to Stelco/US Steel, calling on it to reopen the two steel plants because the closures went against US Steel's commitment when it bought Stelco. On June 13, Stelco/US Steel reopened the Hamilton steel plant. However, nothing has happened with the plant in Lake Erie.
    Let us move on to Nortel. In 2009, after years of turmoil, Nortel sought protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. Since then, Nortel has sold off a number of its subsidiaries, including its wireless communications branch, its optical businesses and technologies, and its foreign companies.
    Around the time of the sale of the wireless technology division, Waterloo-based RIM and Nortel submitted a proposal to the federal government for a partial merger to create a new Canadian company specializing in wireless technology, a company that would benefit from pooling each partner's leading-edge technology. The Conservative government decided not to approve the proposal and, in defiance of the spirit of the law, even refused to consider the sale of the division.
    As a result, there was a transfer of knowledge and intellectual property with respect to Long Term Evolution or LTE wireless technology.

  (1645)  

    LTE technology is without a doubt the way of the future. It could be worth billions. Major European and American corporations, whose subscribers represent more than 50% of the wireless communications market, have announced that they are beginning to convert their systems to LTE technology.
    Now, back to the NDP motion, which raises the issue of whether the Investment Canada Act gives the federal government the tools it needs to protect Canada's interests by strengthening the economy and protecting jobs and our valuable intellectual property.
    The Liberal Party supports the NDP motion. The Investment Canada Act must be amended to ensure greater accountability and transparency. However, Liberal opinion may differ with respect to specific amendments.
    The Liberal Party believes that the government must play a positive leadership role in creating networks and finding solutions to strengthen Canada's economy. With Inco, Falconbridge, Stelco and Nortel, the federal government could have shown some leadership by bringing stakeholders and business leaders together to create Canadian companies able to compete in the global marketplace. It could have neutralized negative factors, such as the buy American policy. Unfortunately, the Conservative government did not show that kind of leadership.
     In short, because of the Conservatives' laissez-faire attitude, Canadian resources and advanced technologies that could have produced billions of dollars in economic spinoffs and created thousands of jobs for the economy are no longer Canadian-owned.
    This federal government could have shown some initiative and merged Nortel and RIM to create a new Canadian giant of innovation. But it chose not to.
    The federal government should have fought every day in all the offices of the U.S. Congress, the Senate and state governors to challenge the Americans' national preference policy and prevent the US Steel plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke from closing. But it chose not to.
    The federal government could have shown some initiative and merged Inco and Falconbridge to create a new globally competitive Canadian mining giant. But it chose not to.
    Any other country in the world would have examined those sales and questioned the companies, but the Conservative government stood idly by and did nothing.
    Canadians want their government to defend their interests and help build Canadian champions. The Conservatives chose to do nothing.
    The Liberal Party is all for foreign investments and encourages Canadian companies to invest abroad. But unlike the Conservatives, who prefer a laissez-faire approach, the Liberal Party believes that the government must play a leadership role in order to create networks and find solutions to enhance the Canadian economy.
    This country could do great things with a government that is ready to show some imagination and leadership. Unfortunately, that is not the case at this time.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the issue before us is that if we do not learn the lessons from the debacle that has happened, it will have serious impacts when the government starts its fire sale of our telecommunications, our oil and gas sector and shipping our raw bitumen off to China.
    When the government is challenged on the mistakes that it has made, I have noticed that getting a straight and honest answer is sometimes difficult. For example, when the government was challenged on the fact that it absolutely, totally, 190% blew it with Vale and we have a national tragedy unfolding in Sudbury, the industry minister claimed that at the time of the Vale takeover, when nickel prices were the highest in memory and there was a massive bidding war, that Sudbury “was in the valley of death and Vale had to come along and save the poor people of Sudbury because they were going to lose their future”. It was a complete misrepresentation. That was only three years ago.
     Why does my colleague think the minister could not have done the honest thing and stood up and said that he should have done better, that he should have paid attention to the file and that he should have known that industry but that he did not and he blew it?

  (1650)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member summarized it very well. The reality is that the minister, when he talked about the valley of death, was speaking his mind, perhaps far too candidly for the occasion, and did not appreciate the difficulties and, in fact, the anguish that people in northern Ontario are going through.
    Let us face it, we have a government that believes in free markets and does not believe in looking at the specific circumstances of different regions of our country and of different industries and adapting to those circumstances, realizing what is at stake. We have a government that signed up, read free market 101 and follows that blindly.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member has identified himself as one of the good Liberals and not one of those bad Liberals from the past where, under successive Liberal majority governments, not a single foreign takeover was blocked or even came under review. However, I am glad they are onside on this motion and I really did enjoy the member's comments.
    In 2007, for the first time since 1999, foreign control of companies operating in Canada held more than half, 52.8%, of the manufacturing assets, up from 46.8% in 2006. Statistics Canada says that the increase was due largely to foreign acquisitions of Canadian-controlled firms, especially in the primary metals and wood and paper.
    Does the hon. member believe that this is a matter of strategic importance for Canada and that this trend would ultimately have a hugely detrimental effect on this country's key industries and its future economic growth?
    Mr. Speaker, I will highlight the fact that the member spoke of strategic interests.
     I want to mention today that I was involved as a witness at the time when MDA, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, was being reviewed under the Canada Investment Act as to whether it would be of net benefit to Canada for this company to remain in Canadian hands or not. I was one of the witnesses who argued that it should remain in Canadian hands, largely because of my knowledge of the space sector and realizing the strategic importance of MDA to Canada's interests.
     Although it represented the only instance where a foreign acquisition was turned down, the member has highlighted a very central point, which is that there has to be a strategic element brought into the Canada Investment Act when we review possible foreign takeovers. National security can be one of those, of course, but there are other strategic interests that come into play, depending on what industrial sector we are talking about. It is important to have that approach when we are considering whether or not a company can take over a Canadian company under the Canada Investment Act.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the chance to take part in this important debate in the House this evening.
    I would also like to thank the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie, who gave a very good speech. He covered a number of important topics that affect all Canadians.

[English]

    My Liberal colleagues and I firmly believe in the principle behind this motion, that the Investment Canada Act must be reviewed to give Canadians more transparency and accountability.
    The Conservative government could have shown leadership in bringing Nortel and RIM together to create a new Canadian innovative giant, but it did not. The Conservative government should have fought every day in every U.S. congressman's, senator's and governor's office to fight buy America and prevent the closure of U.S. steel plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke, but it did not.
    The Conservative government should have shown leadership in bringing Inco and Falconbridge together to create a new globally competitive Canadian giant, but it did not. Any country around the world would review these sales and hold those companies accountable, but the Conservative government did not.
    Canadians want their government to stand up for Canada and help build Canadian champions. The Prime Minister and his Conservative government are abandoning our future, plain and simple.
    Canadians want a government that offers a plan, a government that offers a vision: a vision of where we want Canada to be in 5, 10, 20, 30 years from now; a vision that looks to protect our jobs, our children's jobs and our grandchildren's jobs; a government that does not allow indiscriminate selling off of our resources, leaving us as serfs on our own home soil.
    The Conservative government does nothing more than react to the latest crisis, selling off whatever comes up so that it can get it out of the way, hoping that it does not stick to them. Is it doing what is best for Canadians in the long term or simply doing what is expedient in order to get it through the next quarter? We know this is not a way to build a corporation. We have seen what happens when people take a short-term outlook into a corporation. Everything falls apart. It is certainly not a way to build a strong country.
    On this side of the House, the Liberal Party supports foreign investment and encourages Canadian companies investing abroad. Unlike the Conservatives, the Liberal Party believes in the positive role of government to lead, to create networks and to find solutions to strengthen the Canadian economy.
    In order to understand the significance of the motion that has been put forward today, we should outline some of the history and background that has led to this point.
    Inco, once a leading nickel and copper mining company in northern Ontario, was bought out in 2006 by Brazilian CVRD, or Vale. They merged, and Vale Inco is now the second largest producer of nickel in the world with sales of approximately $8 billion in 2009.
    Workers at Vale Inco in Sudbury and in Voisey's Bay have been on strike for over 10 months, deadlocked over the issue of nickel price bonuses and pension reform. Local workers, as well as Liberals and the NDP, have pushed hard for the federal government to reveal the agreement and conditions for jobs and investment made under the Investment Canada Act when Vale purchased Inco. The Conservative government gave us nothing.
    Falconbridge, also once a leading Canadian nickel and copper mining company in northern Ontario, was bought out by Xstrata of Switzerland in 2006. Xstrata most recently came under scrutiny when it was announced that Xstrata was eliminating 700 jobs from its Timmins facility. The Conservative government did nothing.
    Stelco, once a major producer of steel in the Hamilton region, was purchased by U.S. Steel for $2 billion in August 2007. In early 2009, Stelco-U.S. Steel announced it would close its Hamilton and Lake Erie plants, laying off some 700 employees. Citing cost concerns, Stelco-U.S. Steel claimed at the time that it would be closing the two plants and transferring the production south of the border. This has been linked to the U.S. buy American clause, requiring stimulus funds to be used for only U.S.-produced steel.
    On May 7, 2009, the industry minister actually did something this time. He sent Stelco-U.S. Steel a demand letter to reopen two plants, claiming the closure violated U.S. Steel's commitment when it took over Stelco. On June 13, Stelco-U.S. Steel reopened its Hamilton plant, but no change was made to the Lake Erie plant. He should have kept going. He did not go after it. He did nothing.

  (1655)  

    Nortel, after years of turmoil, entered bankruptcy protection in 2009. Since that time, Nortel has sold many of its constituent parts from its wireless enterprise and optics division to foreign companies. In the sell-off of its wireless technology division, the federal government was presented an opportunity to bring together Nortel and RIM of Waterloo to create a newly merged wireless company with RIM and Nortel cutting-edge technology. The Conservative government chose not to do so and refused to review the sale of Nortel's wireless division to Sweden's Ericsson, despite the fact that the Investment Canada Act clearly defined that a review was required. Once again, the Conservative government did nothing. The result was significant.
    Expertise and intellectual property with regard to the next generation, as mentioned earlier by my colleague, the long-term evolution, LTE, technology was transferred to Ericsson. LTE is without a doubt the key to technology worth billions of dollars. Significant European and U.S. companies with more than 50% of all global mobile subscribers have declared they are moving to LTE. Among them are Verizon Wireless and AT&T in the U.S., NTT DoCoMo in Japan, China Mobile, Chunghwa in Taiwan, TeliaSonera in Sweden, Telenor in Norway and Sweden, and Bell, Telus, Vodafone, Nokia and Ericsson.
    The motion we are debating today specifically challenges whether the Investment Canada Act, which I will refer to as the ICA, empowers the federal government with sufficient tools to ensure Canada's best interests of strengthening the economy and protecting jobs and valuable intellectual property.
    A more recent example in the riding north of mine, Timmins—James Bay, the member for which spoke earlier, affects my riding directly because many of the people who used to work at Grant Forest Products live in my riding. Grant Forest Products is in the process of being taken over by Georgia Pacific. Is this a good idea? I do not know. Will it work out well? Is there a net benefit? I would like to think so, but the minister looked at things from a distance and what did he do? He did nothing. He did not check it out. He did not review it.
    My NDP colleagues and I agree with the motion before us today that the Investment Canada Act must be reviewed to ensure greater accountability and transparency. We may differ on a few specific changes, but overall we believe it has to be reviewed.
    One of the areas that really perturbs me is that every time we bring something up, it is mentioned that we have the Red Wilson report and the Conservatives say that all the economists will tell us that foreign investment is the way to go. Economists have different views and they will tell us what they believe in, but being an economist is one of the few professions where, if an economist is right just once, the economist becomes a genius and a guru in the field. The reality we have to look at is, what is it doing for our communities? What is it doing for Canadians?
    Unfortunately, the Conservative government is not taking the Investment Canada Act seriously and is going by ideology as opposed to following the rules on what they should do, making sure there is a net benefit to Canadians. In short, the Conservatives have proven inept in their ability to keep foreign companies accountable for job commitments.
    While my Liberal colleagues and I support foreign investment, we do not support takeovers that cut jobs indiscriminately. Unfortunately, the Conservative government fails to recognize the fundamental difference between foreign investment and foreign takeover.
    I am out of time and will not be able to say everything I wanted to say. I just want to reiterate how important it is that we have an Investment Canada Act that allows Canada to protect what we have when it comes to natural resources, jobs and what we can offer to Canadians so that our standard of living does not fall to the lowest common denominator on a global basis.

  (1700)  

    Mr. Speaker, Mike Milinkovich, the mayor of Black River-Matheson, has become known in many circles as a passionate fighter for the Nortel pensioners. When people talk about what happened to that great company with Mike, his eyes fill with tears. He cannot believe that something that was such a Canadian cornerstone of an innovative agenda was allowed to be sold off like something at a fire sale, and of course the workers were totally betrayed on their pensions. We have seen nothing but indifference from the government.
    If my hon. colleague talks to people in the mining sector out of North Bay, Sudbury and Timmins, the epicentre of international mining, about what has happened at Falconbridge and Inco, they will say that they never would have believed that a tragedy like this would have been allowed to happen with such an immense treasured resource that we have in northern Ontario. They will say that they will never recover from what the government did.
    My hon. colleague knows people in the mining sector across the north. What are people telling him about the government's complete failure to understand the need for due diligence over the sales that have been undertaken on its watch?

  (1705)  

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Timmins—James Bay is absolutely right.
    When we look at where assets like Nortel started from, they did not start on their own. I spoke earlier about vision, about being able to see where we want to be down the road. Nortel is a prime example of where the federal government was involved right from the beginning. The federal government helped to develop it, helped to get it on its feet and going.
    What we see on the other side of the House is a Conservative government that says, “Don't worry about it. Let the market take care of things. Leave it wide open. Don't worry about. The market forces will take care of it.”
    Adam Smith is their hero, but Adam Smith lived hundreds of years ago. Things have changed a bit since the day when people went around in horse and buggies. We have changed. Technology has changed. Our needs have changed.
    Leaving it wide open really destroys it and allows big multinationals to come in and basically take what they want and leave the rest. That does not benefit people in northern Ontario.
    What I am hearing is that allowing large foreign nationals to come into northern Ontario without checking what they are going to do eliminates the vision that a Canadian government should be providing. The Conservative government is not providing any vision.
    Mr. Speaker, this is just a comment.
    I would like the debate in this House to be factual. It is not often that that is not the case.
    I want to reference the Stelco situation, which the member may not know about. Stelco was in bankruptcy and was looking for a buyer for a number of years. It was threatening to close down and everyone would lose their jobs.
    U.S. Steel came along to bail it out and purchase Stelco. U.S. Steel ran into some difficulties. We had an agreement through the investment plan to allow U.S. Steel to buy it and it would guarantee employment. U.S. Steel did not follow through on that, and we have taken it to court on that. We have followed through on the commitments made.
    In addition, members should know that the steel union did not comment on the buy American piece because those restrictions on structural steel in the U.S. had been in place since 1971 and had not changed. In fact, the president of the steel union for North America is actually a Canadian.
    Mr. Speaker, I just want to tell the hon. member that I will be in Burlington this weekend and I am looking forward to seeing his fine city.
    As far as Stelco goes and the two locations, it is important to note and I did mention it, that the minister actually did write a demand letter asking them to open both locations, or demanding that they open both locations.
    What we are looking at is how effective the minister was. They complained about the softwood lumber agreement saying, “We are spending all our time in court and we are not getting any action”. The Conservatives basically gave away the softwood lumber industry to the United States, and we had to kowtow to the Americans on that one.
    All of a sudden they are saying that being in court is not such a bad idea when it applies to them. What are the actions? One of them opened up, the other one did not. There are Canadian jobs that do not exist in the steel manufacturing sector because of the government.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would have liked to ask a question of the Liberal member who just spoke. I would have liked to know how he distinguishes between foreign investment and foreign ownership.
    During questions and comments, I was able to share some thoughts, but I talked mainly about the position of the Bloc Québécois, which will support the NDP motion.
    The motion contains names of companies that have been affected by foreign takeovers. Many of these Canadian companies were subject to foreign takeovers that ultimately had a disastrous impact on the Canadian economy.
    The Conservatives' economic policy is easy to define. It is based on doctrine and blind dogma, not on tangible, measurable realities.
    To the Conservatives, foreign investment automatically means more modern equipment and increased productivity. To the Conservatives, putting a stop to foreign ownership means putting a stop to economic growth. Yet we know that this is completely false.
    Unfortunately, though, as we can see from the examples in this motion, sometimes foreign ownership means closures, layoffs and breaking agreements with governments.
    We support the NDP motion for several reasons, but since I am short of time, I would like to mention one in particular. The other parties talked about the resources of some of the companies that were named. I want to talk about telecommunications, because it is also mentioned in the motion. In committee, we are analyzing Globalive's purchase of a portion of the spectrum. The CRTC considers Globalive to be foreign interests that go beyond the allowable limit of foreign ownership.
    What happened was that the government sold Globalive spectrum licences for $442 million without knowing whether the company qualified for licences. The industry minister testified before the committee. I would like to read a short quote that says a lot: “Before issuing spectrum licences, Industry Canada must confirm compliance with these ownership and control requirements.”
    Long before the CRTC made its ruling, spectrum licences had been sold to Globalive, but no verification had been done nor had the CRTC been asked to weigh in. The CRTC made its ruling and the Minister of Industry issued an order to make everything quasi legal. We know full well that this is a roundabout way of opening the door to foreign ownership and liberalizing telecommunications.
    The chair of the CRTC also testified. He proposed two rules to liberalize foreign ownership:
    
    Here is the simple approach consisting of two rules that we propose: First, no foreign entity should be allowed to own, directly or indirectly, more than 49% of the issued voting shares of a Canadian communications company. Secondly, no foreign entity should have “control in fact” of a Canadian communications company.
    The CRTC's position is clear. Major companies also testified in committee. A number of them are completely in favour of liberalization.

  (1710)  

    Others, such as Bell Canada, agree—in part, not completely—with the chair of the CRTC that foreign ownership of the issued voting shares be limited to 49%.
    With respect to communications, the first bill introduced stated very clearly that it was a matter of sovereignty and identity. Given the convergence of telecommunications, it becomes difficult to separate telecommunications and broadcasting. That is why the Bloc Québécois introduced a private member's bill in the House calling for the creation of a “QRTC” a Quebec radio-television and telecommunications commission precisely to protect what the Conservative government does not want to protect with regard to foreign ownership: sovereignty over identity and culture for Quebec.
    The Bloc is in favour of this motion.

  (1715)  

    It being 5:15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the supply proceedings.
    The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Call in the members.

  (1740)  

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

(Division No. 37)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Asselin
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Bonsant
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brison
Brunelle
Byrne
Cannis
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coady
Comartin
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhalla
Dion
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dryden
Duceppe
Dufour
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Garneau
Gaudet
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Hall Findlay
Harris (St. John's East)
Holland
Hughes
Hyer
Jennings
Julian
Kania
Karygiannis
Kennedy
Laforest
Laframboise
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard
Mendes
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Oliphant
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paillé (Louis-Hébert)
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Regan
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simson
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Tonks
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wrzesnewskyj
Zarac

Total: -- 144

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Armstrong
Arthur
Ashfield
Baird
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boucher
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Cadman
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Généreux
Glover
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mark
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menzies
Merrifield
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Paradis
Payne
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Richardson
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shory
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson
Toews
Trost
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young

Total: -- 136

PAIRED

Members

Bellavance
Benoit
Blais
Lalonde
Oda
Paradis
Roy
Tilson

Total: -- 8

     I declare the motion carried.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Italian-Canadian Recognition and Restitution Act

    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-302 under private members' business. The question is on the motion.

  (1750)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 38)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Andrews
Angus
Arthur
Ashton
Asselin
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Bonsant
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brison
Brunelle
Byrne
Cannis
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coady
Comartin
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhalla
Dion
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dryden
Duceppe
Dufour
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Garneau
Gaudet
Godin
Goldring
Goodale
Gravelle
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Hall Findlay
Harris (St. John's East)
Holland
Hughes
Hyer
Jennings
Julian
Kania
Karygiannis
Kennedy
Laforest
Laframboise
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Mark
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard
Mendes
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Oliphant
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paillé (Louis-Hébert)
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Regan
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simson
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Tonks
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wrzesnewskyj
Zarac

Total: -- 147

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Baird
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boucher
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Cadman
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Généreux
Glover
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menzies
Merrifield
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Paradis
Payne
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Richardson
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shory
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson
Toews
Trost
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young

Total: -- 134

PAIRED

Members

Bellavance
Benoit
Blais
Lalonde
Oda
Paradis
Roy
Tilson

Total: -- 8

    I declare the motion carried.

Canada Labour Code

     The House resumed from April 23 consideration of the motion that Bill C-343, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Insurance Act (family leave), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-343 under private members' business.

  (1755)  

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

(Division No. 39)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Asselin
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Bonsant
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brison
Brunelle
Byrne
Cannis
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coady
Comartin
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhalla
Dion
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dryden
Duceppe
Dufour
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Garneau
Gaudet
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Hall Findlay
Harris (St. John's East)
Holland
Hughes
Hyer
Jennings
Julian
Kania
Karygiannis
Kennedy
Laforest
Laframboise
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard
Mendes
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Oliphant
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paillé (Louis-Hébert)
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Regan
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simson
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Tonks
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wrzesnewskyj
Zarac

Total: -- 144

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Arthur
Ashfield
Baird
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boucher
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Cadman
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Généreux
Glover
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mark
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menzies
Merrifield
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Paradis
Payne
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Richardson
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shory
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson
Toews
Trost
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young

Total: -- 137

PAIRED

Members

Bellavance
Benoit
Blais
Lalonde
Oda
Paradis
Roy
Tilson

Total: -- 8

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

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

  (1800)  

[English]

Quebec Bridge

    The House resumed from April 27 consideration of the motion.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion No. 423 under private members' business.

  (1805)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 40)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Andrews
Angus
Arthur
Ashton
Asselin
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Bonsant
Bouchard
Bourgeois
Brison
Brunelle
Byrne
Cannis
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coady
Comartin
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhalla
Dion
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dryden
Duceppe
Dufour
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Eyking
Faille
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Garneau
Gaudet
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Hall Findlay
Harris (St. John's East)
Holland
Hughes
Hyer
Jennings
Julian
Kania
Karygiannis
Kennedy
Laforest
Laframboise
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McTeague
Ménard
Mendes
Minna
Mourani
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Oliphant
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paillé (Louis-Hébert)
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Regan
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Siksay
Silva
Simson
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Tonks
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wrzesnewskyj
Zarac

Total: -- 141

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Baird
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boucher
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Bruinooge
Cadman
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cummins
Davidson
Day
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Généreux
Glover
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mark
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menzies
Merrifield
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Paradis
Payne
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Richardson
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson
Toews
Trost
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich

Total: -- 133

PAIRED

Members

Bellavance
Benoit
Blais
Lalonde
Oda
Paradis
Roy
Tilson

Total: -- 8

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

    It being 6:08 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private member's business as listed on today's order paper.

  (1810)  

Climate Change Accountability Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to Bill C-311, the climate change accountability act, before its final vote here in the House of Commons. It is a private member's bill and should be non-partisan. It has taken a long time to get here. Essentially, we are in the same place, deciding on the climate change bill, as we were two years ago before the 2008 election killed Bill C-377.
    We have lost many valuable years, years in which action could have been taken, years in which Canadian businesses could have had some sense of direction from the government, something they have been demanding for a long time, years in which Canada's international reputation could have been enhanced instead of damaged, years in which we could have shifted beyond stagnant questions like, “Is there really a problem”, or “Will we set science-based targets and timetables”, to “How will we meet targets in a timely fashion?”
    A month ago Canada joined 126 other countries in the fourth global Earth Hour, where we turned off electric lights for one hour. However, it is not just about saving electricity. The annual event was started just a few years ago to send a message to leaders to get moving on tackling climate change. It has grown quickly, with just two million people taking part in 2007 to this year when more than a billion people took part. They include millions of Canadians in more than 300 municipalities. In towns and cities, large and small, there were concerts, candlelight parties, educational events and all manner of people getting together across Canada to send us, here in this House, a message to please show leadership on climate change.
    These events are becoming more common and they will not stop. A few months ago Canadians joined in a global day of climate action in every major city. A clear majority of Canadians demand action. Naysayers and cynics will not stop them. A minority prime minister intent on delay and obfuscation will not stop them either.
    I sincerely hope that a clear majority of members will stand in favour of action on climate change. I also hold out hope that Conservative members who disagree with the Prime Minister on this issue will demand a free vote and vote in favour of a sustainable energy future. Historically, private members' bills such as this are not whipped votes.
    Many members are weighing their options on what legacy they will leave, how they will be judged by history. Regardless of the rhetoric on either side of the debate, members must decide if the right choice is to stand up for action on climate change, even if they are unsure of some of the scientific details, while considering the consequences of making the wrong decision.
    Here are the choices. Climate change is either substantially caused by human activity, or it is not. The vast majority of scientists, most Canadian citizens and, indeed, most of the world, now agree that humans have influenced the climate. However, for the sake of argument, let us entertain some of the remaining naysayers in this House who cling to the belief that it is purely a natural phenomenon.
     Faced with these two possibilities, that human-caused climate change is either the scientific truth or it is not, there is something we do control. We can either act or not act. That is the real question before us in this House.
    Imagine a chart or a table with the intersection of two rows versus two columns, with action versus non-action on one axis; and climate change, true or false, on the other axis. Thus the risk and benefits could be reduced to four possible outcomes. First, human-influenced climate change is real, and we take decisive action. Second, climate science is wrong, but we take decisive action anyway. Third, the science is wrong, and we take no action. Fourth, it is here, it is real, but we do not act.
    Each of the four scenarios is a window to a different Canada of the future. Because the fate of our country and indeed the world is potentially held in the balance by this decision, it is important to consider objectively each of the four future possibilities for our country in turn.
    Here is the first scenario. Consider the option that the science is reasonably accurate and humans could have, and have, influenced the climate. Canada and other countries move to take decisive action. It costs money and resources. Our economies are transformed with new industries, and consumption habits change. The world is a different place and it is a lot more sustainable. It took hard work, and sometimes we stumbled along the way, but we averted disaster.

  (1815)  

    Will it have been worth it? We would end up with a liveable, comfortable, and prosperous Canada to leave to future generations. In the face of possible dangerous and destabilizing climate change, the majority of citizens, scientists, and businesses believed that it was the logical thing to do.
    Here is a second scenario. What if the world's economies devote serious resources to mitigating climate change, but they do not have to? Science is imperfect, and there is a tiny possibility that human influenced climate change might not be significant. Yes, if this scenario is realized, there is no question there will be changes to our economies.
    Our Prime Minister has argued that these changes would be unaffordable, while other countries, like the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, and a growing pantheon of other nations, see them as more of an economic opportunity.
    However, even if we took action that we did not need to take, what will we have done? We will have increased fuel efficiency standards and improved energy conservation. We will have reduced our dependence on coal, and oil and gas, and increased our use of clean renewable energy. We will have shifted from old industries to new green technologies and have been able to compete in the global economy of the future. We will have reduced waste and pollution. We will have increased our national productivity and efficiency. Will that all be so bad? These things are worth doing even if we did not have the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.
    Our final two scenarios paint bleak pictures of the Canada of the future. They are what will come about if we continue to do nothing to tackle the threat of climate change.
    The third possible future, for the sake of argument, is that climate change is a vast scientific conspiracy, aided and abetted by everyone from industry to three Liberal provincial governments, to conservation organizations, to ordinary citizens, both in Canada and the world. Maybe 99% of the world's climate scientists have all read their graphs upside down by mistake.
    Either way, the Government of Canada would be one of the few governments in the world that continued to do nothing, and in this hypothetical scenario, they would happen to be right. In that case, we would still have to deal with our drooping economic productivity and the problems associated with peak oil, while most other countries will have greened their economies. It is obvious that this scenario is where our Prime Minister is placing his bets, but then our Prime Minister seems inclined to place the demands of big oil ahead of the needs of Canadian citizens and a truly sustainable Canadian economy.
    Finally, the fourth possible future is that climate change is real, but we do not act. The consequences we have all heard about will be disastrous: drought; famine; skyrocketing food prices; new pests; coastal cities drowned; fire storms decimating our forests; and worldwide, millions will become desperate refugees; bloody wars will be waged over dwindling resources; and there will extinction of countless species. Future generations will look upon us with dismay and disgust. We knew the consequences, yet selfishly and indecisively, we did nothing. We feasted on oil and gas and coal and passed the bill along to our grandchildren.
    Considering all of these options, there is only one thing we can control: we can choose to act or not to act. Let us consider taking action. By acting, we either devote the effort and resources to get a liveable and more productive Canada if climate change is not as serious as most fear, or we devote the effort and resources to build a prosperous, green and efficient Canada that has averted catastrophe, if what science has told us is real. Either way, Canada would be a productive country that we could feel proud to pass on to our grandchildren. Yes, there is a small possibility that we were misled in our good intentions, but let not history say that we were malicious or cowardly.
    Let us consider inaction. By not acting or by delaying, we would continue the steady increase in greenhouse gas pollution that previous governments have delivered for 20 years. If human influenced climate change is not real and we do not act, then the best that may happen is that we will be way behind other nations in the competitive industries of tomorrow. The worst case scenario of inaction, the one that science tells us is most likely, is truly catastrophic. It would be an economic and ecological disaster.

  (1820)  

     I would urge parliamentarians to do everything they can do to avoid this scenario even being a possibility for us. The only way to eliminate this terrible outcome from our future is to act, and to act now. Decisive action is the only logical thing to do. It is the most economical thing to do and it is the only moral thing to do.
    In one week, we will face a choice here in the House. We can vote at third reading to take the first steps with this private member's bill, Bill C-311. The bill gives us clear targets. It requires the government to ensure that Canada reduces its absolute greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. It introduces real accountability by requiring the government to publish five-year target plans, starting in 2015, and report on progress every two years. The independent National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy will review and report on the feasibility of each and every target plan.
    This bill gives us flexibility. The government will have the option of setting flexible interim targets, if changes are needed. The bill gives us certainty, with published plans, long timelines, and much greater predictability for business and industry. It gives municipalities less risk and enhances investor confidence.
    In the complete and total absence of any government plan, Bill C-311 remains the only climate change legislation the House is considering and voting on. Unfortunately, it was held up for half a year, when some Liberals voted with the Conservatives to delay the bill at committee until after the Copenhagen summit.
    That being said, during the better part of a year of committee deliberations, no party proposed any amendments to the bill before it was finally returned to the House. I hope this means that the official opposition is satisfied with it as is. I hope all opposition parties will be fully present for the vote to ensure that this most vital legislation is passed.
    The choice is up to us in this Parliament what Canada we want in the future. Yes, there have been a few isolated incidents in the research that do raise questions, but when thousands of scientists build any complex scientific picture of a world, there will undoubtedly be a few gaps, misperceptions, and mistakes that are made. Cynics will focus on specific incidents and bits of data rather than the bigger picture.
    As a scientist, I realize that most citizens and many politicians want proof and certainty from science. Unfortunately, science can never conclusively prove or disprove anything. The best it can do is to give us a probability that we almost proved or disproved something. Even that requires an experimental design that has dozens of replications and many controls.
    However, fellow members of the House, we have only one earth, with no replications and no experimental controls. We never know the future of climate change with certainty. The best we can do is to make educated predictions and then err on the side of caution and survival. Last year, the prestigious magazine, The Economist, said, “The doubters are right that uncertainties are rife in climate science. They are wrong when they present that as a reason for inaction.” It continued that most research supported the idea that warming was man-made, and that while uncertainty remained, that argued for—not against—action. Moreover, while the range of possible outcomes was huge, with catastrophe one possibility, The Economist noted that the costs of averting climate change were comparatively small.
    It is not too late. We can still leave better options and a better Canada for our children and grandchildren, but we must take the first real steps now. The costs of inaction, on the other hand, are likely so great that if we fail in this one moment of truth, we will have broken our sacred duty that all parents have to their children and grandchildren to leave them better options and a better world.
    I encourage the members of the House to show up for the vote on the third reading of this historic bill next week, and to vote for the climate change accountability act.

  (1825)  

    Madam Speaker, I listened to my colleague across the way and appreciate his dream of seeing a cleaner environment. He made a very important statement. He said we can choose to act or not. He is actually very right.
     Unfortunately, Bill C-311 is all about a photo op, a publicity stunt. It does not act on the environment. The fact is, the Liberals called it the “tiddlywinks bill”. They said at committee it was so bad that we should just sent it back to the House because it was not supportable and not even bother amending it. That is how bad it was.
    We heard from scientists at committee that what we needed was a continental approach, as Europe had a continental approach by tackling climate change and setting targets, and that is exactly what the government is doing. We are acting aggressively. Every year the NDP votes against the good environmental programs, which makes no sense and again shows this is just about photo ops and publicity stunts.
    Why would the members support Bill C-311, which is now no longer relevant? Canada has moved on to the Copenhagen accord. The Kyoto accord is over. Why would he support something that is just a photo op?
    Madam Speaker, many Conservative members have come to me and said they would love to vote for the climate change bill. They believe in it. However, it is a whipped vote, and the Prime Minister and top brass in the party have decided they will represent the interests of big oil and Alberta, at best, and the interests of the United States at worst. That is unfortunate, but I remain hopeful that, on this private member's bill, some Conservative members will have the courage to stand up and vote for it.
    Madam Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North for his incredible persistence and his eloquence today in the House. I applaud him for his very cogent final speech on the bill. It certainly has touched me.
    He raised the issue that, in my mind as a lawyer, is really the issue of the precautionary principle. I would be interested to hear his response to the fact that the Government of Canada is actually bound by the precautionary principle. The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld that Canada is bound by the precautionary principle. The member talked about the whole issue that we do not necessarily have to have a definitive answer in science. In fact, as I recall, our federal legislation leads us to that determination.
    There is also the issue that if we actually began to reduce the major sources of emission of greenhouse gases and moved toward cleaner forms of energy, we would deal with other problems as well, including smog and the depletion of our water resources.
     I would appreciate the member's response to those questions. The final one, if he has a chance, is the matter that has been coming before the natural resources committee. We have been hearing testimony after testimony to the effect that we have lost ground on the renewable clean energy sector because of the government's profound disregard for the value of that industry in addressing the problem of greenhouse gases.

  (1830)  

    Madam Speaker, those are quite the questions for the remaining minute or two.
     I profoundly believe that this is an opportunity for Canada. It is an opportunity for the energy industry. It is even an opportunity for Alberta. So we can be like the horseshoe-makers guild and the horse salesmen of a century ago who thought the newfangled automobile was a fad and a threat, or we can shift our economy, our ecology and our public.
    Those who want to cling to the politics of the past, the economies of the past and the technologies of the past will vote against the bill. Others will want to shift to a new, brighter, cleaner, greener future that will make a better and more sustainable world for us, whether or not it is a catastrophe for climate change. I believe it is, but even if it is not, as I said in my speech, how can it be a bad thing to have a cleaner, safer, more sustainable world?
    I thank the member for the question and I hope some Conservatives will vote for the bill.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this debate. I am going to lay out the effective systematic measures our government has delivered to deal with climate change.
    Internationally, Canada joined the Copenhagen accord, a significant breakthrough. Thanks to Canada's efforts, major emitters have committed to climate change action for the first time in history. Canada pledged in the accord economy-wide emission reductions by 2020 of 17% below 2005 levels.
    Copenhagen may have generated the most public attention, but it is only one part of our government's strategy to combat climate change, which includes extensive work from the departments of the environment, transport, industry, public works, agriculture, foreign affairs and natural resources.
    Another crucial part of our approach to climate change is our government's ambitious conservation initiatives. Parks are not only a spectacular part of Canada's natural heritage and a habitat for many species but they also help to combat the effects of greenhouse gases.
    We recently created a new 11,000 square kilometre national park at Mealy Mountain in Labrador. Last year we expanded Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories by more than 30,000 square kilometres. Our close partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada has already resulted in the protection of more than 300,000 hectares of sensitive areas across the country.
    The government's view is that Canada's ability to forge a strong national policy is significantly enhanced if we equitably accommodate differing energy and environmental profiles across our vast land. That means ensuring that provinces and territories can implement whichever initiatives work best for their circumstances, as long as they avoid measures with adverse environmental or economic consequences.
    We have also consulted representatives from a wide range of industry associations and environmental groups, and we consult with first nations communities on all projects that affect them.
    To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles, we have introduced tough regulations that align with the U.S. standards beginning with the 2011 model year. This will create significant emission reductions, since transportation accounts for over one-quarter of Canada's total emissions.
    Canada has long been committed to increasing energy efficiency. Building on the success of the eco-energy initiative, which was an investment of $4.1 billion, Canada achieved significant improvements in energy efficiency in every sector.
    The eco-energy efficiency initiative, for example, is investing more than $675 million to promote smarter energy use in our homes, in our buildings and on the road.
    In 2009 alone, the government earmarked $1 billion over two years to support renovations and energy retrofits to make social housing more energy efficient. We also introduced energy efficiency standards for a number of new products and set higher standards for several existing products.
    Canada is a world leader in the use of renewable energy. Our electricity supply is the cleanest and the most renewable in the world. Renewable hydroelectricity accounts for 60% of our electricity generation, making Canada the world's second largest producer of hydro power. Our government is deliberately building that capacity.
    Canadian federal and provincial governments have committed $11 billion to support clean energy and technology, just since 2008. Since 2005, annual federal investment in clean energy and technology has increased by about 50%.
    A big part of Canada's stimulus spending in 2009 focused on developing and deploying clean energy technologies in areas where Canada can make the greatest contribution. These include carbon capture and storage, electricity grid efficiency, fuel-efficient vehicles, bio-energy and renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal.
    We invested $1.5 billion in the eco-energy for biofuels program to encourage the development of a competitive domestic industry for renewable fuels. This provides an operating incentive to facilities that produce renewable alternatives to gas and diesel.

  (1835)  

    Canada's federal and provincial governments have committed approximately $3 billion in funding for carbon capture and storage alone.
    We are going to support large-scale CCS demonstration projects in Canada. One of these will be the construction of one of the world's first fully integrated CCS projects, in partnership with the province of Alberta. The world is counting on Canada to make carbon capture and storage work.
    Other federal investments in clean energy technology include $500 million to establish commercial-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels; $1 billion over five years for improved public transit, sustainable energy and waste-management infrastructure; $1 billion over two years to support renovations and energy retrofits; and $3.4 billion for eco-energy initiatives, helping Canadians use energy more efficiently, boost renewable energy supplies and develop cleaner energy technologies.
    We share a common environment with the United States. Our efforts will be harmonized, consistent with the close integration of our economies and our geographic proximity.
    We have worked closely with the United States and launched the Canada-U.S. clean energy dialogue in February 2009 to collaborate in the development and deployment of clean energy technologies to reduce greenhouse gases.
    On the continental stage, Canada is engaging with the United States and Mexico on key climate change programs. At their summit in August 2009, the leaders of our three countries agreed to collaborate in areas such as carbon capture and storage, gas flaring and energy efficiency. They also agreed to work toward a 21st century continental smart power grid.
    We are also working actively with other international partners through multi-lateral channels, such as the G8 and the major economies forum and through bilateral agreements. For example, Canada and China signed a memo of understanding on climate change on December 6, 2009. This strengthens Canada-China co-operation in energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy, CCS, methane recovery and sustainable land management.
    Canada is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, a public-private partnership of seven countries that will accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. To date Canada has pledged $12 million to 28 projects under the APP.
    We are also helping developing countries adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. The government has made significant contributions to adaptation, including $318 million under the global environmental facility trust fund between 2002 and 2010. About one-third of this funding went to climate change activities. One hundred million dollars was allocated to the World Bank's pilot program for climate resilience between 2008 and 2010 alone. This makes Canada the largest donor to that program.
    The Copenhagen accord provides significant international adaptation funding, including a commitment by developed countries to provide new resources approaching $30 billion U.S. for the 2010 to 2012 period, focused on those who need it most.
    The accord also established the Copenhagen green climate fund to mobilize $100 billion U.S. per year by 2020 in public and private investments for the adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries.
    Canada will deliver its share. We will continue to support action that strengthens the capacity of the most vulnerable to adapt to climate change.
    The challenges posed by climate change are very real. As a developed northern nation, Canada embraces its leadership role in addressing them. It is a long-term undertaking. There are no quick and easy fixes, especially when it comes to balancing the needs of the environment and the economy.
    The government is confident in its strategy. I would rather have this kind of concrete action than a thousand empty target-setting exercises such as those proposed in Bill C-311. I urge the House to reject this misleading and ineffective bill and join us in delivering the real solutions Canadians want.

  (1840)  

Business of the House

    Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I apologize for interrupting the next speaker.
    There have been discussions among the parties and I believe that if you seek unanimous consent you will find there is agreement for the following motion. I move:
    That, at the conclusion of tomorrow's debate on the motion to concur in the First Report of the Standing Committee on Transport (recommendation not to proceed further with Bill C-310, An Act to Provide Certain Rights to Air Passengers), the question be deemed put, a deferred recorded division be deemed to have been requested and deferred to Wednesday, May 5, 2010 immediately before the time provided for Private Members' Business.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to present this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): 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)

Climate Change Accountability Act

     The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-311, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change, be read the third time and passed.
    Madam Speaker, of course I would like to welcome my hon. colleague back to the House. I know he had some health challenges at one point. He is looking fantastic, and he gave a vigorous speech in defence of his bill.
    Climate change is a huge challenge. It is a complex problem, and as parliamentarians and as a society, when we are called upon to deal with complex problems like climate change, what is really important at the very base of everything is truthfulness. This is not just a platitude. By truthfulness, I do not mean simply avoiding the spreading of flagrant falsehoods. I mean ignoring the temptation to indulge in political spin aimed at convincing people of the rightness of one's position. I am talking about the need to avoid specious arguments for the sake of political gain.
    In my view, the climate change debate illustrates why truthfulness is important, and why avoiding the temptation to spin facts in an effort to reach one's political objective more quickly is counterproductive and harmful to the greater good.
    I would just like to set the record straight on one issue, and again I commend the hon. member on his bill. However, I recall that in the fall, the NDP was spinning in overdrive as the Copenhagen conference neared. Again I do not say this with any rancour. I congratulate the member on his work, and we have a very good NDP member on the environment committee. However, the NDP was in overdrive when it kept telling us that we had to pass this bill before Copenhagen or the world as we knew it would end. That came complete with a protest in the gallery, an interruption of parliamentary debate, which we could even call a mini-prorogation during that moment of protest during question period.
    If we look at the situation a little more closely, we see that it was not absolutely imperative to pass this bill before Copenhagen. First of all, if the bill had passed the House of Commons, it would still not be law, because it could never have passed in the Senate before Copenhagen. Second, anyone who was observing the goings on, the negotiations and the deliberations at Copenhagen would understand that President Obama and the leaders of great nations such as China and India had a lot of things to deal with and a lot of things on their minds other than a private member's bill by the fourth party in the House of Commons. That was an unfortunate spin, because it created a kind of cynicism about the environmental movement.
    However, now I would like to move on to the spin that comes from the other side of the House, the spin of the climate change deniers. That is even worse, because it is creating this false belief within public opinion that we do not have a problem, and we do have a problem.
    As the hon. member from Thunder Bay mentioned, science is never exact. It is a question of probabilities, but the fact that we do not have absolutes in climate change science does not mean that we should not do anything. It is very important that we address the issue of climate change denial, and many members on the other side can be said to be climate change deniers.
    During the debate on this bill that preceded Copenhagen, I remember driving home to Montreal, listening to the radio in my car and hearing advertisements by a group called Friends of Science which claimed, in very strong, baritone voices, that climate change is just a myth, that global warming is caused by the sun. At one point I thought I was listening to an outtake from Saturday Night Live and I was not sure whether to laugh or cry, but unfortunately it was a serious attempt to derail public opinion against action on climate change.

  (1845)  

    I will address the scientific issues as well as I can as a non-scientist. It is very clear that human activity since the industrial revolution has been adding to CO2 in the atmosphere. There are measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere. I think we are now at 385 parts per million, whereas for 10,000 years we were at 280 parts per million. When the industrial revolution came along in the 1750s, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere started to rise. It is measurable and this is fact.
    We also know that temperatures are rising. We can measure that. There is a hockey stick phenomenon, as we all know, in which CO2 was level until we hit the industrial revolution, and then it went up quite drastically and, of course, we see temperatures going up.
    The climate change deniers say that we do not have really good readings of temperatures because the temperature monitoring stations are in urban areas, and urban areas are hot spots, and therefore the readings are all wrong. However, that myth has been put to rest, because we see that the readings in urban areas are really no different from the readings elsewhere.
    There is another intervening factor, of course, because it is not as simple as saying that there is more carbon and, therefore, the temperature goes up as a result of the carbon in the atmosphere. There is another greenhouse gas that affects temperature readings and, of course, that is water vapour. Water vapour means the planet is heated up more than it otherwise would be based on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. These myths have been put to rest, and I think the climate change deniers, many of whom sit on the opposite side, are doing humanity and the planet a great disservice by persisting with these arguments.
    I do not believe that these targets can be achieved if we have a Conservative government in Ottawa much longer. We are voting for the targets, but, let us face it, every day the Conservative government is in power makes it less probable that we will reach these targets. In fact, the targets right away are very different from those being proposed in the United States. What is being proposed in the United States is a 3% to 6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a baseline at 1990 by the year 2020, whereas we are talking about 25%.
    We in the Liberal Party are supporting this bill because it is important to put pressure on the government. It is important to start somewhere. In fact, that is why the Liberal government signed Kyoto in the first place. It did not put all the measures in place and did not know exactly how it was going to get from point A to point B, as is the case with any great endeavour, such as the space program. On the day that John F. Kennedy called for putting a man on the moon, the scientists did not have it all worked out in advance. They did not wait until they had it all worked out in advance on sheets of paper before making the commitment and effort.
    By signing the Kyoto agreement, a Liberal government got Canadians talking about climate change.
    Mr. Stephen Woodworth: That's all.
    Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: We have been debating the issue to the point where Canadians are better versed on the issue of climate change than Americans are, because we have been dealing with it.
    Let me go back to the second thing the Liberal government did. I will remind the hecklers on the other side of what the Liberal government did and what transpired around that action.
    Mr. Peter Julian: Nothing.
    Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: The hon. member was here at the time, so he should know that.
    The Liberal government decided to put greenhouse gases under CEPA. I do not know if the hon. member remembers, but at that time, the Conservative opposition said that was a carbon tax and it was going to defeat the government for putting greenhouse gases under CEPA. I think the NDP was toying with joining the Conservatives and defeating the government on that, but I cannot recall for sure.
    The third thing the Liberal government was about to do when it was defeated by the NDP, the Bloc and the Conservatives was to issue a regulatory plan for different industries in Canada to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, events transpired to prevent that from happening.
    I congratulate the hon. member on his bill, and I look forward to the vote.

  (1850)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the very important Bill C-311 today. I will probably not take all the time I am allowed, because I want to give more of my colleagues the opportunity to speak.
    This bill is very crucial because it is part of a strategy to fight climate change. Yes, it is a Canadian strategy, but it is first and foremost an international one.
    I remember when Canada ratified the Kyoto protocol in 1997. A few years later, the protocol was consolidated by the introduction of Bill C-288 by the Liberal Party. Countries like Canada must not just sign international agreements or an international protocol on climate change. They must follow up with legislation supporting these agreements. That was the reasoning behind Bill C-288, introduced by our Liberal colleague at the time.
    With only months before the important conference on climate change to be held in Cancun in December, Canada must wake up and be a leader on the international stage. The government must immediately invite its counterparts to discuss climate change at the G8 and G20 summits. Discussions will focus on three aspects—financial reform, banking reform and international assistance—but the issue of climate change must also be addressed.
    For that reason, the Minister of the Environment must invite his G8 and G20 counterparts to a meeting as soon as possible to discuss the issue of climate change. Why? Because the discussions prior to a conference of the parties on climate change are vital. If the major players—the industrialized countries or the emerging countries—are unable to come to an agreement in the weeks or months ahead, the success of the Copenhagen summit will be compromised.
    We must also send a message to Canadians and Quebeckers indicating that we are prepared to adopt legislative measures to fight climate change. A law must be passed to engage in this fight. Section 5 of Bill C-311 provides all that is needed to send a clear message.
    First, we must prevent temperatures from rising more than 2°C above industrial era temperatures. This must be very clear because a number of international studies, in particular those conducted by the IPCC, no longer refer to a 2° increase in temperature, but an increase of 4°C or 5°C. We must make it very clear to our partners, and to all those concerned, that we must prevent temperatures from increasing by more than 2°C.
    Now, how can we limit that increase? By setting clear objectives and specific targets. Bill C-311 goes beyond other bills that I have read or motions that have been passed in the House. It does not just set a long-term goal like 2050. An 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 is fine, but there need to be short- and medium-term goals. The proposal is for a 25% reduction by 2020, in relation to 1990 levels.
    This is what experts and scientists are recommending in order to limit the increase in temperature. The bill has the advantage of using all available options to reach these objectives.

  (1855)  

    One of these options is the creation of a carbon exchange to cap greenhouse gas emissions. We have been proposing this for a decade or so.
    The entire Montreal market was ready. At the end of the 1990s, when an agreement was signed with the Toronto Stock Exchange and Montreal decided to specialize in derivatives, some specialists in the Quebec financial sector brought up the carbon exchange. They knew that it was an attractive derivative and that Montreal could make a significant contribution to this specialization. And that laid the foundation for the Montreal climate exchange.
    Then two weeks ago, the government announced that we would have to wait at least a year, if not two, before a carbon exchange could be set up in Canada. Two years ago, the environment minister at the time was so pleased with himself when he launched the Montreal climate exchange. Two years later, his successor announced that the whole thing was being put on hold. The government has refused to set targets that respect scientific recommendations and has decided to ignore all of the options set out in the Kyoto protocol. Yet it is allowing some large groups to contribute to the fight against climate change. Basically, this government has decided to give up.
    I remember making similar speeches in the House in the 1990s. I was sitting in more or less the same place, but about four rows back. Back then, Reform and Alliance MPs said that climate change was a natural phenomenon and that there was no link between human activity and rising temperatures.
    Now we are back at square one. We are back to having to discuss the issue yet again. How long will that last? Nobody knows. But one thing is for sure: the G20 summit in June will provide a golden opportunity to put this issue on the agenda and to make sure that the G20, which is made up of important partners, can agree on a plan for the Cancun conference in December.
    That is why I see this bill as part of a comprehensive strategy to fight climate change that starts with getting the G8 ministers together as soon as possible and ensuring strong support in the House for Bill C-311.
    I thank my colleague for introducing this bill. We will be very happy to vote in favour of it.

  (1900)  

[English]

    The hon. member for Halifax. I should advise the hon. member that I will have to interrupt her in a little less than six minutes.
    Madam Speaker, we are at a critical point where we need to confront climate change head on but we are also at a critical point where we as a country can seize this moment and see it as an opportunity.
    My friends across the House have tried to scare Canadians into believing that committing to reducing greenhouse gases will be bad for jobs, bad for communities and bad for the economy. They are very carefully constructing a culture of fear. We know this has to be a fear campaign because making a commitment to fight climate change is actually an opportunity.
    It is an opportunity to grow our economy, to foster innovation and to be leaders when it comes to research and development of renewables, energy efficiency and other green technologies. We know historically that certain technologies have created waves of innovation and that if nations can position themselves strategically within these dynamics, they will achieve economic performance.
    The moment is happening right now. This is a period of change when new technologies break through. An event like this is an opportunity to position Canada for the next wave of innovation and the next wave will be one based on ecologically friendly technologies. It needs to be if we are going to avoid catastrophic climate change and it will be because we are seeing governments take bold action around the world. This is where Canada should be: building new knowledge and expertise and encouraging entrepreneurship.
    I am one of the younger members of the House. Not many of us are under the age of 40 and we have only two members under the age of 30. That means that we often talk about subjects that leave out youth and we leave out subjects that youth often talk about. We talk about pensions all the time but when do we talk about post-secondary education, about jobs for youth or the fact that the next generation is the generation that will inherit a planet on the verge of catastrophic climate change?
    This is a matter of intergenerational equity. Our governments are making decisions that those decision makers do not have to live with. We are being left with the legacy of those decisions: a crumbling education system, scraps of a social safety net and a poisoned planet. Young Canadians deserve better than this. All Canadians deserve better than this and Canadians want better than this.
    One of the most exciting things about this bill has been that it has captured the hearts and minds of Canadians. Since this bill was introduced, I have been getting emails and phone calls non-stop from people asking how they can help to get this bill passed. The result has been such an incredible demonstration of what democracy is all about.
    I have been cc'd on letters to the Prime Minister and opposition members asking for swift passage of this bill. I have read countless letters to the editor by concerned constituents. I have attended panel presentations, workshops and information sessions hosted by concerned citizens and grassroots organizations, all of whom are trying to educate their neighbours about this bill and are working together as a community to try and get it passed. I have been a part of marches, candlelight vigils and church services, all in the name of Bill C-311.
    Change happens when a variety of communities work together to demand it. We need lawyers to challenge unjust laws. We need artists to tell our stories. We need organizations mobilizing communities around issues. We need citizens writing letters to the editor. We need street theatre, protest songs, articles, chants, teach-ins, policy debates and film screenings, and we need elected officials introducing good legislation, raising the level of debate and speaking the truth. I support Bill C-311 because it speaks the truth.

  (1905)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank all the members who have commented today and at other times. I especially thank the member for Halifax for her insightful and eloquent words.
    Members' consideration is very important, given the urgent climate crisis that our country and the world faces. I was dismayed to hear the speech from the Conservative side, which had a number of non sequiturs, but I will pick just three. One was the idea that somehow carbon capture and storage has the potential to obviate the need for Bill C-311. I do not get that.
    If the Conservatives truly believe that carbon capture and storage will be effective, then they should not be worried about the bill. It would be the way the bill was implemented. The bill says nothing about how we are going to do it. It sets targets, timetables and processes in place to set those targets and if carbon capture and storage can help do it, more power to us all.
    The second one was when he talked about all the wonderful things that various departments are doing that eliminate the need for the bill. He specifically mentioned eco-energy. Unfortunately, we had expert testimony from the departments that actually put eco-energy into place. They made it very clear that they would be continuing the eco-energy program because it was a real winner, except that the government decided to remove and eliminate the funding. The Conservatives killed the program they are talking about. If they are really proud of it, they should reinstitute that funding.
    The thing that bothers me the most is when I hear, again and again, the Conservatives say that they will just rubber stamp, although they do not use those words, but it amounts to rubber stamping U.S. policy. I find that particularly ironic given that the first prime minister of Canada, who was a Conservative, fought to keep other weaker-kneed politicians from allowing the Americans to build the Trans-Canada railroad and build the Canada that we have today. John A. Macdonald fought hard every time other parties and other people tried to say, “Just let the Americans do it, it will be easier”. It has been a while since we have had a prime minister with the courage to stand up to the Americans. I hope we get one soon.
    As I mentioned in the House when I introduced this bill over a year ago, we need to have a clear destination if we want to get anywhere. The destination that Bill C-311 gives us is a temperature rise of 2°C or less. That is what the science tells us we need in order to avoid the truly disastrous effects of climate change.
    We need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in a prompt and orderly fashion if we hope to keep to that 2° limit. The bill legislates achievable targets and keeps the government accountable to them.
    Canadians do not want more delay. They know they will not reach the needed reductions if we do not start soon. The bill requires immediate action. Interim targets will need to be in place within six months of the bill being adopted after it passes.
    I was pleased to hear in the House and over the many months that the bill was in committee that just about all members spoke about the need, even members on the Conservative side, for real action to tackle climate change. I, personally, have taken a constructive approach with this private member's bill, open to working with all parties on possible amendments and ways forward. After all, climate changes poses such a huge threat that we cannot afford to slow or sacrifice the only climate change bill before Parliament to mere partisan politics. This issue is just too important to the future health and prosperity of all Canadians.
    As I mentioned earlier, we can never be 100% scientifically sure of anything, certainly not something as complex as climate science, but what we can do is make an ethical choice using the abundant evidence we already have and err on the side of caution. We can weigh the costs and benefits of the thing we do to control, which is our response. Do we act or not act?
    We need to transform our economy to one that is more efficient, more productive, more competitive and less carbon-intensive. Investments that will see our economy grow almost as much as if we continue with business as usual. I think most of us know what will happen--

  (1910)  

    I regret to interrupt the hon. member, but it being 7:11 p.m., the time provided for debate has expired.
    Accordingly, 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): Pursuant to Standing Order 98, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, May 5, 2010, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Adjournment Proceedings

[Adjournment Proceedings]
    A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

[Translation]

Broadcasting Industry 

    Madam Speaker, I would like further clarification on a question I asked in the House on March 24. I doubt many people are watching us at home at this time. The Montreal Canadiens hockey team is about to play and win game seven in Washington. I have a feeling we are all alone tonight.
    Nevertheless, I would like to speak for those interested in the arts who are watching us at this time. However, appreciating the arts and enjoying hockey are not mutually exclusive. Personally, I like both.
    On March 24, I asked the Minister of Canadian Heritage a very serious question. I talked about the CRTC's new regulatory policy for television. This policy recommends reducing Canadian and Quebec content requirements for broadcasters. I said that reducing those requirements simply because they are too hard to respect was not a good idea. Instead, we should be helping people meet those requirements, especially when the objective is something as important as Canadian and Quebec culture.
    I asked the minister whether, just for once, he could defend culture and artists. I asked him to ask the CRTC to review its decision, which the government did quite recently regarding foreign ownership. His reply was non-committal. He told me to call the CRTC and speak to the president, Mr. Von Finckenstein. He ended by saying that his government kept its promises. I do not know what promises he was talking about, because I have not heard the government make any promises about arts and culture. During the most recent election campaign, I did not hear any. The only promise the government made was to cut $26 million from funding for artists.
    In the three throne speeches that have followed—in November 2008, February 2009 and March 2010—the government has made just one small promise: to introduce new copyright legislation. It made this promise a year and a half ago, and we still have not seen any legislation.
    I am again asking the minister to stand up for the artists and craftspeople and defend them every time they are attacked in one way or another or when they need help. Far too often he tells artists that he does not want to hurt consumers. As far as the media fund is concerned, he says we have to focus our attention on consumers. When we talk about royalties on MP3s, he says consumers do not like that.
    Is he the Minister of Canadian Heritage or the minister for consumers? There must be another minister responsible for consumers. We expect him to tell his caucus or cabinet that by doing this or saying that harm will come to the artists, craftspeople and creators. He says nothing to artists. It is easy to see that he does not understand the arts, he does not appreciate the arts and he does not like the arts.

  (1915)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here this evening to speak to this issue.
    I would like to join the member in wishing the Montreal Canadiens and the entire Montreal Canadiens' fan base well this evening. Obviously, I would love to see another Canadian team continue in its drive toward the Stanley Cup championship. So, for everybody watching in Quebec and elsewhere, in places like Peterborough, where there are strong connections to the Montreal Canadiens, I wish them well this evening.
    In response to the issues brought forward by the hon. member, there are a couple of things that we need to note.
    First, the CRTC is responsible for regulating and supervising all aspects of the Canadian broadcasting system. It is the CRTC's responsibility to establish Canadian broadcast regulations, such as Canadian content thresholds, for all broadcast distribution undertakings.
    Canadians are increasingly seeking content on multiple platforms.
    The CRTC's new approach is designed to give broadcasters greater flexibility to offer high-quality programs that are of interest to Canadians and seeks to emphasize the creation of Canadian programs rather than prescribing where and when they should be shown.
    The group licensing approach that the member spoke to applies only to the large English language private conventional and discretionary television stations, namely, CTVglobemedia, Canwest television and Rogers, or Citytv.
    While the lowering of Canadian content from 60% to 55% of the broadcast year applies to all conventional television stations, the CRTC has maintained the current requirement that stations devote at least 50% of the evening broadcast, from 6 p.m. to midnight each night, to the broadcast of Canadian programs.
    In 2011, however, the CRTC will turn its full attention to the French language market when it reviews the licences and the obligations of TVA and V, formerly TQS.
    The interests of Canadians, including Quebeckers, are well served by the existing legislative and regulatory framework. It enables French language communities in Quebec and elsewhere in the country to participate in and contribute to the development of a broadcasting system that reflects their needs, circumstances and expectations.
    On other issues brought forward by the member, in addition to this question, she talked about support for the arts more broadly and whether or not the minister appreciates the arts. I do not think there is any question about that, given the minister's record and this government's record in fighting for the arts, in fact, in devoting record spending and record investment in the arts. That is what it really is, investment in one of the country's largest drivers of the economy.
    The arts sector is a massive driver of the economy. It is also a big part of our soul as a nation. That is why we have stepped up and have provided record funding for things like the Canada Council. That is why we have provided record funding for the Canada music fund and, by the way, made a five year commitment to that fund. It is also why we have created the new Canada media fund.
    In these things and other things we have just continued to emphasize our government's commitment to the arts here in Canada. It is a big part of our culture, a big part of who we are as Canadians. That is why we support it.

  (1920)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary just proved my point. Instead of talking about his love for the arts, instead of saying he was in awe of the creativity of our artists, he spoke about funding and investments.
    But where was the Minister of Canadian Heritage when Google went after editors and told them it had digitized all their books and that they could sue if they were not happy? Where is the Minister of Canadian Heritage in the foreign ownership debate?
    Members will recall that in 2002, Liberal heritage minister Sheila Copps fought and defended artists against her colleague, then-industry minister Allan Rock, to prevent telecommunications companies from being taken over by foreign companies.
    The same thing is going on now, but this Minister of Canadian Heritage is not defending artists.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, of course, we look forward to working with artists and companies like Google to seek out the opportunities that are there for Canadian artists expanding into new markets. We know that new platforms are emerging. The way that Canadians and people around the world wish to enjoy and take in the arts, appreciate music, programs, shows, books, and other things is changing. Those platforms are changing. They are emerging. One of the great potentials for this country is to get on the front side of that curve. To meet that challenge, we are going to need a number of things to happen.
     The participation and support of the opposition would go a long way in assisting us. Also, we need to ensure that whenever possible we are providing the support through initiatives like the Canada music fund, like the Canada media fund, like our support of the Canada Council for the Arts. This is what our government is doing to ensure that we are meeting this new emerging platform.

[Translation]

    The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 7:21 p.m.)
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