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41st PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 192

CONTENTS

Wednesday, December 5, 2012




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 146 
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NUMBER 192 
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1st SESSION 
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41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayers


[Statements by Members]

  (1405)  

[English]

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

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Chai Lifeline

    Mr. Speaker, this Thursday night, an outstanding organization located in my riding, Chai Lifeline, is holding a fundraiser to support all the meaningful work it does.
    Chai Lifeline is an international organization that helps children and their families after a child has been diagnosed with a critical illness. When a child suffers from a critical illness, it is not only the child who suffers, it is also the child's family and the whole community.
    Chai Lifeline tries to make life better for those children and their families. It offers many helpful programs, including Camp Simcha, a summer camp for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, family counselling, family retreats and much more.
    Even though we may not be able to cure an illness, we must always do our best to improve the quality of life for those affected. As the father of nine-year-old twins, an organization like Chai Lifeline is certainly close to my heart.
    I ask all members to please join me in applauding Chai Lifeline and the essential contributions it makes to this world.

Halifax Harbour

    Mr. Speaker, our communities are a constant source of inspiration and pride, and our shared experiences and histories give us powerful tools to move forward and make life better. The riding of Halifax is no different.
    As a community working together, supporting one another, the people of Halifax overcame great tragedy 95 years ago after the Halifax explosion of December 6, 1917, a catastrophe involving the collision of two ships in our harbour.
    The explosion destroyed our harbour, wharves and ships. It flattened industrial districts and our neighbourhoods in the north end of the city. The explosion sent debris flying for miles. Thousands of people were killed or injured, thousands more were displaced and the economy and infrastructure of our city were levelled. The explosion and the incredible heroism seen during the crisis left an indelible mark on our community.
    The lesson learned that day and the months after was that we were a caring community and that, through our ingenuity, passion and great help from our friends, we triumphed over great adversity.
    I am so proud to represent a community like Halifax, a city with strong community roots that keeps us standing tall.

Rights of the Unborn

    Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, my daughter, Jennifer, and her husband were devastated when they lost their unborn child through a miscarriage. She cried herself to sleep for weeks, and maybe still does.
    My wife, Linda, and I experienced the same sense of loss and emptiness when we lost our first child to a miscarriage. People never really get over it.
    I know that many parents experience this same pain but what I cannot square and what I need someone to explain to me is why the loss is any less when a child is aborted. Why is the loss any less, why does the child become less just because it is not wanted?

Community Newspapers

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to recognize the value and importance of small community newspapers and newsletters in rural ridings across Canada.
    In my riding of Malpeque, we are fortunate to have publications, such as the Northern Star Newspaper, the County Line Courier, the South Shore Newsletter and the Coffee News to name a few.
    Their promotion of local businesses and events keeps the riding thriving, connected and helps preserve our sense of community. These papers remind us of the achievements happening every day within our communities. They tell a story of Islanders, of Canadians and their daily lives.
    If people want to be encouraged about their local communities, they should pick up a local paper today and be informed and inspired.
    On behalf of the House, I thank community newspapers across Canada for the great work they do.

International Volunteer Day

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to stand today on International Volunteer Day to pay tribute to the countless Peace Country residents who have given and who will continue to selflessly give their time and resources this Christmas season to make the season brighter for others.
    Mr. Speaker, you and many others in this House will have heard me say many times that I represent some of the hardest working and some of the most generous people in this country.
    This Christmas season, people of all ages will come together in the spirit of generosity. Men, women and children from our local rotary and elks clubs, the Salvation Army, local schools, food banks, friendship centres and churches will give of themselves to help others in need in our communities and around the world.
    Our community has been blessed, and this Christmas season many more will be blessed by the generosity of others in our community.
    On behalf of all Peace Country residents and on behalf of our government, I thank each and every volunteer from our community who will make Christmas special for others.

[Translation]

Roger Rondeau

    Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to pay tribute to a dearly departed friend.
    Roger Rondeau had a vivid imagination. If you needed a handyman, Roger was your man. He was an outstanding photographer, and he cultivated miniature roses and even bonsai trees. A few years before he died, Roger became homeless. Did the image in my colleagues' minds change when they heard that? Why?
    During this holiday season, let us think of the Rogers of the world. Conservative members and ministers must know how important it is to renew the homelessness partnering strategy in 2014 and to index, or even increase, its budget.
    Anyone can end up on the street, just as Roger Rondeau did. And there are at least 300,000 others just like him across Canada.
    Happy holidays, ladies and gentlemen. And farewell, Roger.

  (1410)  

[English]

Season's Greetings

    Mr. Speaker, this is my fifth Christmas as the member of Parliament for Calgary Northeast. On December 16, at 3 p.m., at Falconridge/Castleridge Community Hall, I will host my fifth Christmas open house and all are welcome to attend.
    Here in Canada, friends from many backgrounds bring many traditions. From Vaisakhi to Hanukkah, from Chinese New Year to Eid, from Diwali to Christmas, we are free to celebrate them all.
    As we are free to celebrate the new traditions together, we should also celebrate the old ones. In the spirit of the holidays, I wish my constituents and colleagues on behalf of the entire Shory family and from the bottom of my heart, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, one of the greatest success stories of our foreign diplomacy has been Canada's role in encouraging human rights and the rule of law.
    As president of the Canada-Mexico Parliamentary Friendship Group, I saw this first-hand last weekend as I accompanied our Governor General and our Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to attend the inauguration of Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto.
    The president devoted one-fifth of his inaugural address to the rule of law, and this is an area where Canadians, with quiet cost-effective work, have contributed to an astonishing turnaround.
    Mexicans have supported sweeping changes to move from a closed system of criminal justice to an open adversarial system where witnesses will, for the first time, be open to cross-examination.
    Welcomed enthusiastically by Mexico, Canadians are having a powerful impact. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Canadian judges, lawyers and police are working with Mexican counterparts to promote fairness and integrity in the Mexican system.
    In the words of our Governor General, “It's very important to Canada and the world that Mexico succeed”.
    In the area of human rights and the rule of law, we Canadians are doing more than our part.

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and to thank all those involved for the excellent research on social policy that it does.
    Under the very capable leadership of editor, Ed Finn, each issue of the CCPA Monitor is filled with well researched and thought-provoking articles. For example, in the October issue, author John Jacobs explains how the proposed free trade agreement with Europe could potentially, in his words, “clamp Ontario in a straitjacket” by removing tariffs on goods and services, preventing buy local initiatives, threatening public services and constraining government purchasing decisions.
    In last month's issue, Bruce Campbell outlined how Norway has been able to manage its oil wealth better than Canada.
    In the same issue of the Monitor, Allan Gregg, a former Conservative strategist, accused the current government of waging a war on reason declaring that “it's time to gather the facts and fight back”.
    I strongly urge my colleagues to read the CCPA Monitor and research papers. I thank all those at the CCPA for standing up for Canadian values.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, Canada always has been and always will be a trading nation. In fact, nearly 65% of Canada's economy depends on trade and one in five Canadian jobs are generated through exports.
    That is why our government is advancing the most ambitious pro-trade plan in Canadian history, a plan that includes a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union. This trade agreement is expected to boost our bilateral trade by 20%. I will put this into perspective. That is like a $1,000 increase to the average Canadian family's annual income, or 80,000 new jobs for Canadian workers.
    Free trade with the EU would bring new opportunities to workers and to their families from coast to coast to coast, including my home province of Ontario.
    While the anti-trade NDP continues to stand in the way of Canadian exporters, our government is focused on the opportunities for Canadians.

[Translation]

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, it has been almost 23 years since 14 young Canadians were brutally murdered simply because they were women. Tomorrow, December 6, will mark the sad anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal.
    On this occasion, I invite all members in this House to come together and to condemn all forms of violence against women in this country and around the world. Partisanship aside, we are duty bound to stand up and together condemn an enduring societal problem that is absolutely unacceptable.
     The 12 days to end violence against women campaign is currently underway, and I invite everyone to learn more about the problems of domestic violence, physical abuse, harassment, verbal abuse and all other forms of violence to which Canadian women and girls are still subjected.
    Let us stand together. Violence against women must be relegated to the past, eliminated from the present and never plague our future.

  (1415)  

[English]

International Volunteer Day

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House on International Volunteer Day. We are celebrating the invaluable work and countless hours of contributions made by volunteers in Canada.
     Our government is proud to stand up and recognize the hard work volunteers do, especially around the holiday season for those less fortunate. Close to 12.5 million Canadians volunteer their time to charitable and not-for-profit organizations. This equals a contribution of over two billion hours annually, the equivalent of more than one million full-time jobs. It is a spirit founded on values that our Conservative government shares. We believe that volunteers play an enormously important role in our collective responsibility for better communities.
    We are proud to work with organizations across Canada to support volunteerism. It is why we continue to invest in projects that connect individuals with volunteer opportunities and in our tax credit for volunteer firefighters.

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal

    Mr. Speaker, one of the truly nice things a member of Parliament gets to do is nominate distinguished citizens to be awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. By celebrating them, we pay tribute to Her Majesty's 60 remarkable years.
    It has been a great privilege to nominate outstanding Saskatchewanians who represent the wide range of talent, hard work, community service and excellence that typify our country. Among that group is Mr. Sam Gee. For years, Sam and his beloved wife Morley were pillars of the vibrant Chinese Canadian cultural and business community in Regina. They ran the most popular neighbourhood store. They contributed generously to Regina's rich multicultural mosaic. Always a proud Canadian, Sam played a vital role in drawing public attention to the sad legacy of Canada's Chinese head tax and in securing redress.
     It was a great honour to present the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal to Mr. Sam Gee today.

[Translation]

New Democratic Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to the carbon tax. The carbon tax is a tax that the NDP is proposing. We must not allow the NDP to play around with our economy by imposing a carbon tax.
    The carbon tax will take money out of Canadians' pockets, so we know that Canadians and families do not need a carbon tax. The carbon tax will increase the cost of electricity. The carbon tax will increase the cost of groceries. The carbon tax is an insult to families. The carbon tax will hurt Canadian households. The carbon tax will hurt seniors. Ultimately, the carbon tax will increase taxes.
    Canadians do not want the carbon tax and neither does the Conservative government. Only the Conservative government will do a good job of managing the economy without imposing a carbon tax.

[English]

    When I look in the eyes of the NDP members I see their obsession with the carbon tax!

The Senate

    Mr. Speaker, last night I had a nightmare of Dickensian proportions. I dreamt that the spirits of senators past, present and future rose up from the other place and were feeding upon the hard-earned dollars of Canadian taxpayers, millions upon millions, from poor, hungry and frozen waifs.
    These senatorial spectres were dressed in their Sunday best while busy emptying the wallets of the innocent, impoverished masses. Some of these ghastly senators murmured strange things, like, “What if all the maritime provinces turned into one big province?”, or, “I deserve to be paid for a secondary residence, even though I've lived here for decades. These are my entitlements”. The scariest of all was the two-faced man just behind them who was turning his eye from this unaccountable, unelected gluttony.
    The question is this: When will the Conservatives wake up from this fiendish nightmare and finally abolish the Senate?

  (1420)  

New Democratic Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, 'tis the season to be merry. I would like to wish all Canadians a very merry Christmas.
    Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It gives Canadians the opportunity to spend time with their families. It gives Canadians the chance to share gifts with loved ones. It gives Canadians the chance to enjoy a bit of time off.
    However, someone was very bad this year. Canadians must be warned of the grinch and his party's plan to try to steal Christmas by imposing a job-killing carbon tax on Canadians. The only thing the leader of the NDP wants to rekindle is his carbon tax plan to raise the price of everything, from turkey to cranberries to cookies and eggnog.
    Thankfully, Canadians elected our Conservative government to protect Canadians against such taxes. Our government will remain focused on the priorities of Canadians: jobs and economic growth. Our government will not let the grinch steal Christmas.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, every year more than 1,250 Canadians die as a result of drunk driving. In 2010, Conservatives proposed changes to the Criminal Code to allow for random roadside breathalyzer tests.
    Random breath testing has been studied by everyone, from provincial governments to legal scholars to members of Parliament. Evidence from countries like Australia, New Zealand and Ireland shows that random breath testing will not only save provincial governments money but will save at least 200 lives a year.
    Why has the government failed to act on its own proposal to prevent hundreds of deaths from drunk driving?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, this is a very serious issue the Leader of the Opposition has asked about. We are anxious to undertake any steps that will be effective in dealing with drunk driving. There are far too many deaths from this across the country. The government has brought in measures to deal with it.
     The government is always interested in doing whatever it can to deal with serious crime in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, constitutional experts, from Peter Hogg to the Law Society of Alberta, have said that random breath testing complies with the charter. In 2009, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights unanimously recommended random roadside breathalyzer checks. In 2010, the Minister of Justice himself put forward a plan for just that. However, the only mention of drunk driving we have seen from Conservatives since was in 2010. It was in a fundraising letter.
    Why will this tough-on-crime Prime Minister not crack down on the number one cause of crime-related deaths in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously the hon. member missed this, because this is probably his very first question in the justice area, so we can understand that. That being said, he might want to check out the Tackling Violent Crime Act in which we increased the penalties for impaired driving, particularly in instances when an impaired driver causes death or bodily harm. However, none of these measures had the support of NDP members.
     If they have had a conversion, that is a wonderful thing.
    Mr. Speaker, the government has been sitting on this for two years. It has not done anything. All the work that has been done is unanimous. The legislation has been drafted. The only mention members will find, and after question period we will be glad to supply copies of it, is in a fundraising letter.
    Is that what the Conservatives' tough-on-crime agenda is about: fundraising and letting Canadians die on the roads because they will not act?
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP has ignored these issues for decades. We have brought forward legislation to make it tougher on individuals who are impaired, either by alcohol or drugs, by reducing the number of defences with respect to the breathalyzer test and by getting tough on impaired driving. None of these measures had the support of the NDP. I hope those members have finally woken up and figured this all out. It is about time.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, for a week now, the Conservatives have been unable to answer a very simple question. The Minister of Finance's recent economic growth projections were lowered to 2.1% for this year. The latest data from Statistics Canada show that economic growth would have to be around 4% this quarter to reach this target. No one thinks that will be the case.
    Will the Prime Minister once again adjust the incorrect economic growth projections his Minister of Finance made just three weeks ago?
    Mr. Speaker, the budgetary and economic forecasts are determined through a survey of economic professionals. The government does not come up with these figures. These figures come from the experts. The government carefully monitors the state of our economy from month to month. We are always prepared to take action.

[English]

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, four years ago, the Prime Minister worked together with Jack Layton to draft an historic apology to first nations for the residential schools tragedy. However, an apology is only words if it is not followed by actions.
    The Conservatives have failed to live up to their promise to build a new relationship with first nations. Yesterday, first nations leaders were on Parliament Hill calling for action.
    Will the Prime Minister take the first step by handing over the millions of documents currently being withheld from the residential schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission? Yes or no.
    Mr. Speaker, this government was very proud to deliver that long awaited apology for the tragedy of the residential schools. The fact is that the Government of Canada has already disclosed nearly one million documents to the commission. The commission is now seeking some documents, which the government believes are outside of its mandate, such as, for example, personal records of survivors given in confidence to the government. The government is certainly willing to let the courts decide what is appropriate in this matter.
    Mr. Speaker, in a recent speech, the Senior Executive Vice-President and Vice Chairman of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Jim Prentice, said that he thought the duty to consult on the part of the Crown with the first nations of Canada was a fundamental obligation that applied to the Government of Canada and could not, in fact, be subcontracted to any other agency and that the failure of the Government of Canada to recognize this threatened economic development right across northern Canada.
    Would the Prime Minister care to comment on that statement?
    Mr. Speaker, the government recognizes that the duty to consult, in many cases, is an absolute legal obligation of the government and the government is prepared to fulfill its legal obligations. The government's legislation in this area, its new comprehensive reforms to environmental and related processes, ensures that the government does just that.
    Mr. Speaker, that is quite nonsensical because in the northern gateway situation, in fact the government has delegated to the National Energy Board the responsibility to carry out the consultation. What this effectively means is that the first nations in Alberta and British Columbia are not being given the respect that they need and deserve. It is respect and dignity for which people are looking and it is respect and dignity that leaves people demonstrating outside, instead of being consulted by the Crown and by the federal Government of Canada.
    Why is the federal government not leading in this area?
    Mr. Speaker, I actually think it is the questions of the leader of the Liberal Party that are nonsensical.
    As he indicated in his own preamble, the government and its agencies take very seriously their responsibility under the law to fulfill their duties to aboriginal consultation and our reforms of law ensure those will be done in a comprehensive manner, in a more effective manner, frankly, than it has been done in the past.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the vast majority of negotiations between the federal government and Canada's aboriginal peoples have lasted over 11 years. In some cases, they have lasted over 20 years. To date, the government has not resolved the differences of opinion or found effective and fair solutions. That is why we are seeing conditions of inequality in aboriginal communities, which are not the same in any other country or any other part of Canada.
    Why does the government not understand that it must consult—

  (1430)  

    Order, please. The Right Hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not understand the question. First, the member said that we do not consult aboriginal peoples, and then he said that the consultations last too long. The reality is that the government is conducting consultations and is making progress.

[English]

    We have made important investments into education, into safe drinking water, into homes for families, into skills training, into negotiations of claims, reform of the specific claims agreement. In every case, the members of the Liberal Party have voted against these measures. We are very proud that we are making progress.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, first nations leaders came to Parliament Hill yesterday to speak out against the Conservatives' bad faith. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is being forced to use the courts to get all the residential school documents from the government. The apologies mean nothing if the relationship with the first nations is not based on respect.
    Will the Conservatives stop hiding information?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has just responded, we have responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We have turned over almost a million documents. We will fully comply by summer of next year, in terms of the documents that we are planning to turn over from 23 federal departments. We are being taken to court. We have a disagreement as to which documents are appropriate, but we are prepared to listen to the court's advice.
    Mr. Speaker, what about the library and archive documents? First nations have had enough of bad faith in the government. It is time to live up to our word.
    Four years a go that Prime Minister promised reconciliation with aboriginal peoples and all Canadians. However, dozens of chiefs are gathering in Ottawa to talk about the unfulfilled promises of section 35 rights. They want honest dialogue based on respect and recognition of rights.
    Will the Prime Minister respond in good faith, or will the Conservatives continue down the reckless path of ignoring legitimate concerns of Canada's first peoples?
    Mr. Speaker, in less than one year since the Crown-First Nations Gathering, we have made real progress for first nations communities. We have invested $275 million for additional funding for education, an addition $330 million to improve the safety of first nations drinking water, additional money for the family violence protection program and we have launched a joint task force on economic development.
    We continue to work with first nations in a productive enhancement of their quality of life.

Search and Rescue

    Mr. Speaker, the email trail about contracting out of marine medical emergency calls shows clear evidence of Conservative incompetence. The process is badly mismanaged. One military official said, “As we have seen in other high profile search and rescue issues, rational thinking does not apply”.
    Is the Minister of National Defence now willing to admit his Italian experiment was reckless, or will he at least have the decency to stand and explain why his department pushed this irrational move to have medical emergency calls answered in Rome?
    Mr. Speaker, the top priority of the Canadian Coast Guard is the safety of our mariners. There was an interruption in services, which has since been rectified. We have a contract with a Canadian company that is taking all the medical calls.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, closing the Quebec City search and rescue centre is another example of this government's improvisation. Francophone mariners still have no guarantee that services will be available in their language.
    The fiasco of medical emergency calls being answered in Italy came about because of the ill-advised closure of the St. John's centre.
    Will the Conservatives learn from their mistakes and forego plans to close the Quebec City centre, or will they continue to endanger the lives of our mariners?

  (1435)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I said, the safety of mariners is our top priority. We are confident that the changes we are making in Quebec City will have no negative impact on the ability to respond to distress incidents on the water, quickly, effectively and in both official languages.
    Mr. Speaker, rerouting marine medical emergency calls to Italy is simply outrageous. How can the Conservatives not get this? How was this not obvious?
    When this was first raised, Conservatives claimed this was an interim measure. We now know that was wrong. National Defence wanted the policy changed permanently. It took an emergency at sea to change its ridiculous plan.
    Will the Minister of National Defence stand and take responsibility for this failed policy, or will he continue to allow his department to make senseless decisions that put the lives at mariners at risk?
    Mr. Speaker, the safety of mariners is our top priority and I can assure the hon. member that the policy is that a Canadian company will take all medical calls.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, not so long ago, everything was going well in the Conservatives' little F-35 fantasy world. But that was before the technical problems and cost issues came to light.
    The Conservatives thought they could buy 65 planes for $9 billion. That is impossible. Furthermore, the Prime Minister and the entire Conservative cabinet knew that.
    Why did they try to convince Canadians that the F-35 was the right kind of plane, when all the documentation proving otherwise was in Conservative hands all along?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is important to note that no funds have been spent on the acquisition of any new aircraft. In fact, the government has made a decision to press reset on this process.
    We have set up a secretariat to do the due diligence necessary and do a full options analysis before we spend any funds on replacing the CF-18s.
    “Reset” and “refresh” are the new spin words, Mr. Speaker. However, not so long ago the Minister of National Defence was unwavering in stating, “This is the right plane, this is the right number, this is the right aircraft for our Canadian forces and Canada”.
    Now he has lost that loving feeling. Gross Conservative mismanagement has caused it all to come crumbling down around him and he sits and sits.
    Will any minister stand up and apologize for deceiving Canadians?
    Again, Mr. Speaker, the member knows full well that no funds have been spent on the acquisition of any new aircraft. The member agrees with me, I know, and everyone in the chamber I am sure does, that we do need to replace our aging fleet of CF-18s. However, before we do that, we have set up a process to make sure that all of the costs for the F-35 are verified, that this be public and there be full transparency in this process.
    All options are on the table and we will make sure that we take all of those steps before making any decisions to replace the CF-18.
    Mr. Speaker, and still he sits, with cover gamely provided by the Minister of Public Works. Yet here is what she once had to say about holding a competition to replace the CF-18, that it “would risk the future of our aerospace industry because any delays, frankly, would be slamming the door shut on Canadian jobs”. Yet today the Conservatives have committed just shy of a billion dollars to the joint strike fighter program and Canadian companies have received less than half of that in contracts. Billions of dollars in industrial benefits have been forgone.
    Are they finally prepared to start an open and transparent process?
    Mr. Speaker, that open and transparent process started right after the Auditor General's report. We accepted his recommendation and we put in place a process to ensure there is full due diligence and transparency—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The hon. Minister of Public Works has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, when we became aware of the concerns raised by the Auditor General, we immediately pressed reset on this process, and we have set up a secretariat to ensure that there is maximum oversight and due diligence, including independent oversight. Again, no funds have been spent on the acquisition of any fighter aircraft and no funds will be spent until we do the due diligence necessary.

  (1440)  

Standing Committee on Public Accounts

    Mr. Speaker, my question is for the chair of the public accounts committee.
    On March 6, 2012, the public accounts committee agreed to a public hearing on chapter 5 of the 2011 fall report of the Auditor General entitled, “Maintaining and Repairing Military Equipment—National Defence”. This is an important audit of the Department of National Defence. A public hearing on this chapter was scheduled, but postponed.
    Will the chair of the committee please inform the House as to the status of rescheduling this public hearing on chapter 5?
    Mr. Speaker, chapter 5 of the fall 2011 Auditor General's report is indeed an important audit of the Department of National Defence. That is why the committee chose that chapter. That is why we actually scheduled a public hearing. We set aside the public hearing and postponed it to allow the committee to work on the Auditor General's report on the F-35. We have now completed that work and that study and have tabled the report here in the House. Chapter 5 remains on the committee work plan and it is my hope that public hearing will be rescheduled for the very near future.

[Translation]

Government Services

    Mr. Speaker, long after the Conservatives are no longer in power, people will remember that the Conservatives created the largest deficit in Canada's history. They will also remember that, because of the Conservatives' financial incompetence, our veterans lost the right to a proper burial, people who lost their jobs were unable to access employment insurance, and the safety of the food we eat was compromised.
    Why do all these people have to pay the price for the Conservatives' financial incompetence?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we continue to move forward with a plan that ensures that we will eliminate the deficit in the medium term and continue to make the investments that are necessary for our economy, job creation, research and development and commercialization of that research and development, training and making sure we have the properly skilled people in the right jobs across this country. This plan is working. We will continue with this approach. This is the approach that has been lauded across the world as the best approach not only for Canada but also the rest of the world.
    Mr. Speaker, irresponsible Conservative financial management has led to a record $600 billion debt and now vulnerable Canadians are paying the price. Cuts to front-line services at immigration offices, Veterans Affairs and Service Canada mean that real people with real problems cannot get real help. A single parent searching for information on a child tax benefit cannot wait on hold for three hours on a 1-800 number.
    Why are vulnerable Canadians being punished by this irresponsible Conservative financial management?
    Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that we have made sure that essential government services to the public have been ring-fenced and protected from our budget reviews, because we know that we have to deliver excellent public services to Canadians.
    At the same time, we look for waste and inefficiencies. We remove these things from the budget. We make sure that we do better for less. That is what Canadians expect. They do not want the failed high tax and high spending policies of former Liberal governments.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, thanks to Conservative incompetence on the economy our national debt is an astonishing $600 billion. Yet despite the spending, all the environment sees is cuts. The government is cutting 30% of scientists at Parks Canada, mothballing the ELA, cutting ozone research, downloading waste management to the provinces, reducing air and water quality monitoring, and the list goes on.
    When will the government stop making the environment and the health of Canadians pay for Conservative incompetence on the economy?
    Mr. Speaker, the list does go on. We have increased the amount of parkland protected in this country by more than 50%. We have the cleanest air in the world. We have cleaned up Lake Winnipeg and Lake Simcoe. We have enacted a world-class chemical management plan. For the first time, we are seeing a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while our economy grows.
    By contrast, the Liberals tell Alberta MPs to go home, to go back to where they came from. Under the Liberals' tenure, greenhouse gas emissions rose by 30% and they proposed a $15 billion carbon tax.
    Our government is getting it done when it comes to the environment.

  (1445)  

Public Works and Government Services

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Public Works suggested that her new anti-corruption measures would address any subcontracting problems or illegalities, including under the SNC-Lavalin management contract.
    While I appreciate her generous offer for a briefing, which I am certain my colleagues at the Standing Committee on Government Operations would enjoy, could she clarify today how precisely these measures will be made retroactive to existing contracts and subcontracts, and are they being applied and enforced by the government or by contractors?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday in the House, our contractual obligations are with the general contractor. In this particular instance, the contract with this general contractor is for the operations and maintenance of our federal buildings. Our objective is always to have high quality work done at the lowest cost to taxpayers. This general contractor did put in the lowest compliant bid.
    In terms of this general contractor, when specific allegations were made we brought in PricewaterhouseCoopers. We have implemented all of the auditor's recommendations with this general contractor.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we are talking about a company that has seen its former chief executive and another former top executive arrested, a company about which there are serious doubts in cases involving corruption and kickbacks. There is even one case in Quebec, and that is the case of the McGill University Health Centre, which was run by a good friend of the Conservatives, André Arthur, who now lives in the Bahamas.
    It is time to be transparent and force SNC-Lavalin to hand over all the documents related to the subcontracting of federal building maintenance.
    How can the Conservatives overlook the fact that SNC-Lavalin and other companies are lining their pockets by using our money to subcontract?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, again, our contractual obligations are with the general contractor. In the instance of this general contractor, our contract with them is covered by our integrity framework. We have all of the measures in place to protect taxpayers' dollars in regard to our contractual obligations with the contract for operations and maintenance of federal buildings.

[Translation]

Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism

    Mr. Speaker, one would think that the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism would have learned from his difficulties and would be more careful in the future.
    After all, he already lost his job for leaving secret documents at his girlfriend's house. But no. He allowed a French camera crew to film him hiding his car keys. But now that the whole world has seen the video, his hiding place is no good any more.
    What is more, yesterday, he told us that it was just a joke. Generally speaking, people who repeatedly show a lack of judgment are not very funny.
    Is this really acceptable behaviour for a minister of the Crown?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, the opposition is trying to create a tempest in a teapot.
    I would like to reassure my opposition colleagues that I never carry government documents in my personal vehicle. I would also like to tell official opposition members that my staff and I follow all the Government of Canada document security guidelines.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what we have seen from this cabinet is a Prime Minister who has established no standards for the ethical accountability of his ministers.
    Enter exhibit A, the member for Beauce. He has already been bounced out of cabinet once for losing sensitive documents, and we now find that when he goes jogging, he leaves the keys to a minister's car on top of the car, and he does it on international television.
    For God's sake, will the Prime Minister at least appoint a ministerial nanny to keep him from getting into any more trouble?
    Mr. Speaker, the opposition is making a mountain out of a molehill.
    I want to be very clear and reassure the members of the opposition that I never carry any government documents in my private car. My personnel and I follow all of the directives concerning Government of Canada documents.

  (1450)  

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been concerned regarding recent events near the border crossing at Stanstead, Quebec. Numerous van loads of asylum seekers have clandestinely crossed the border.
    Could the Minister of Public Safety please update this House on the measures he is taking to protect our immigration system and to ensure that the generosity of Canadians is not taken advantage of?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada is well known as a tolerant nation, accepting of newcomers who want to work hard and play by our rules. Unfortunately, that generosity also makes us a target for criminal organizations that traffic in misery by carrying out human smuggling operations.
    Today I designated five groups of migrants who illegally crossed the border near Stanstead, Quebec as irregular arrivals. This designation carries with it certain consequences.
    Human smuggling is a dangerous and despicable crime. Our message is clear to those who contemplate a human smuggling operation: do not do it.

[Translation]

Arctic Council

    Mr. Speaker, international Arctic experts are worried about Canada's priorities as our country prepares to chair the Arctic Council for the next two years.
    Canada wants to focus solely on resource development, which is not at all compatible with the priorities of the other member nations of the Arctic Council. Major issues must be addressed, such as the melting polar ice cap, transportation, oil spill prevention and fisheries management.
    What are Canada's priorities for the Arctic Council?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the member that Canada will take over the chairmanship next year. We will work with northerners to develop a solid agenda that represents the interests of northerners.
    While we are out consulting and investing in northerners, the member for Western Arctic is voting against things like the Inuvik-Tuk highway and any investments in northern health care.
    If the opposition members are concerned about the north, then perhaps they could start voting in favour of the north.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not really have to answer any of those things.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, the hon. member for Western Arctic has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, St. Jerome's University Professor Whitney Lackenbauer, UBC research chair Michael Byers and former Canadian circumpolar ambassador Mary Simon have all raised concerns that the government will promote resource development only, rather than working with its international partners on vital issues, as my colleague has indicated.
    Mary Simon has said that “The issues have just escalated when you look at what’s happening now with climate change”.
    When will the Conservatives realize that their nationalistic, head-in-the-sand approach to the Arctic is counterproductive?
    Mr. Speaker, the experts on the north that the member is quoting are not even from the north. Our government is going to listen to the true experts of the north. That is why I have been consulting with a wide range of northerners.
    I guess we should not be too shocked that the member for Western Arctic would not want us to listen to northerners. After all, he voted against the wishes of his own constituents when he voted against a number of investments for the north, including abolishing the gun registry.

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, the independent Atlantic inshore fishery is at risk again.
    Controlling agreements are arrangements that compromise the owner-operator and fleet separation policies set to expire in March 2014. We now understand that two Conservative members from Nova Scotia have appealed to the minister and requested that these agreements be grandfathered. This flies in the face of what Atlantic fishermen and their communities are asking for.
    Will the minister stand by the earlier commitment made by the minister and protect the owner-operator and fleet separation policy?
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans did stand in this place and tell this House that we would uphold the owner-operator and fleet separation policies.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, there can be no ambiguity here. This is about the survival—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, the owner-operator and fleet separation policies protect the independent fishery as we know it, and controlling agreements compromise those very policies.
    I ask the minister once again, will she assure us here today that she will ensure that controlling agreements will in fact expire in March 2014?
    Mr. Speaker, we have said that we will uphold the owner-operator policy. We have said that we will uphold the fleet separation policy. A former minister of Fisheries and Oceans adopted PIIFCAF, which makes it illegal to have these controlling agreements.

Search and Rescue

    Mr. Speaker, Vancouver police and fire chiefs have now written the Prime Minister protesting the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard base next May, saying that it would compromise safety and endanger lives. They join a growing list of provincial and municipal governments, mariners, maritime shippers and citizens protesting the closure of the base.
    It is Conservative incompetence that caused the debt to skyrocket and led to deep cuts in services to Canadians that sacrifice human life in the name of ideology. Did the Conservative government learn nothing from the Walkerton tragedy?
    Mr. Speaker, the top priority of the Canadian Coast Guard is the safety of our mariners. In fact, the Coast Guard is in the process of establishing a new inshore rescue boat station for the summer season in Vancouver. We continue to strengthen our partnerships with the on-water research and rescue responders. We have invested billions of dollars in Canadian Coast Guard assets. There are more assets in Vancouver harbour than in any harbour in the country.
    When this member's party was in government, the Coast Guard was tied to the wharf, rusting and underfunded.

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to punish Canadians with service cuts, cost recovery and privatization as a result of driving the debt to $600 billion. As shocking as it seems, the Minister of National Revenue does not realize that transferring tax file storage facilities to low-wage employers puts Canadians' sensitive medical information at risk.
    Why are Canadians being asked to pay the price in every way, including the security of sensitive medical files, to pay for the financial incompetence of the Conservative government?
    Mr. Speaker, we store tax information, generally not medical files.
    Our government's top priority is the economy and this includes making sure that Canadians' tax dollars are spent wisely. This change will ensure the privacy and security of taxpayers' records, and will do so at a lower cost for Canadian taxpayers.

[Translation]

International Co-operation

    Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of International Cooperation truly understood his files, he would know about the Paris Declaration principles. He would know that CIDA's aid effectiveness practices are founded on these principles. Yesterday, at the parliamentary committee, he candidly admitted that he is not familiar with these principles.
    How can Canadians have confidence in a government whose ministers do not know what they are talking about?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is a classic example of misstating facts. The member does not know what she is talking about. This declaration was meant to make assistance—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. Minister of International Cooperation has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, this declaration was meant to make assistance more effective, and we are doing exactly that. Under our government, we are achieving real results. For example, 7.8 million chronically food insecure people have been given food in Ethiopia, 900,000 farmers and small business owners earn higher incomes in Bangladesh, and 7.8 million children have been vaccinated against polio in Afghanistan.
    The opposition voted against our efforts at every opportunity. We will continue to do the good work that we are doing.

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, it seems that the minister's primary focus is having CIDA do PR work for the mining industry.
    The last time CIDA partnered with the corporate sector was under the INC program and it was a disaster, yet the minister is intent on pursuing this failed approach.
    CIDA is legally obliged to ensure that Canadian aid contributes to poverty reduction. Does the minister really understand his responsibilities?
    Mr. Speaker, the answer is, yes, I do. We are focused on achieving tangible results for those most in need.
    We know that the NDP is anti-investment, anti-business and anti-trade. Now we have learned that the NDP is also anti-international development.
    While the NDP is focused on a $21 billion carbon tax, we are focused on helping those most in need.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian armed forces are contributing to our government's fight against illegal drugs both here at home and abroad. Our armed forces deploy regularly in the Americas to assist our allies in the detection of illicit and illegal activities.
    Would the Minister of National Defence provide an update to the House on the activities of the Canadian armed forces in the Americas?
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke is right. The contribution of Canadians to fighting illegal smuggling in the Americas is well-known and well-respected.
    I am proud to inform the House that our Canadian armed forces personnel aboard the HMCS Ottawa, who are deployed as part of Op CARIBBE, assisted the U.S. coast guard recently in a boarding and seized over 1,000 kilograms of cocaine worth $32 million.
    In one week in November alone, the Canadian armed forces crews have assisted in seizing over $145 million in illegal drugs.
    The actions of Commander Van Will, his crew and the Royal Canadian Air Force members involved in this seizure demonstrates Canadian leadership abroad and at home. They are making our—
    The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.

International Co-operation

    Mr. Speaker, it is an axiom of the law that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
    Yesterday, the CIDA minister demonstrated that he had no idea that he was bound by the Paris declaration on the effectiveness of aid. He also appears to be unaware that this Parliament passed unanimously the better aid bill that binds his actions.
    The minister was a cop and knows ignorance is no excuse. Why is he prepared to excuse himself as a minister when he never would have excused himself as a cop?
    And a proud one at that, Mr. Speaker, for 40 years.
    Under our government, we are achieving real results: 7.8 million chronically food insecure people have been given food in Ethiopia; 900,000 farmers and small business owners earn higher incomes in Bangladesh; and 7.8 million children have been vaccinated against polio in Afghanistan.
    We will continue to deliver real results for taxpayer investments and not go the rhetoric route as the Liberals have.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, federal institutions, like port authorities, are not paying their property taxes. Even the Supreme Court said that they must pay up. These tax dodgers are costing communities tens of millions of dollars. In Vancouver, the port authority owes $50 million to the good people of Vancouver. In Toronto, it is $58 million.
    When will the minister enforce the law and order these laggards to pay up?
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear that the Minister of Transport has to enforce a law in organizations that are arm's-length from the government. This is between the municipalities and the organizations. We will ask them to do what they need to do in respect of all the laws, as we have always done.

Budget Implementation Legislation

    Mr. Speaker, while our Conservative government is focused on economic growth and job creation, yesterday, the opposition tried to play risky partisan games to kill key measures to grow the economy. Last night, the NDP-Liberal-Bloc-Green coalition united to force hours of voting on the budget implementation bill in an attempt to deny Canadians economically critical support they are depending on.
    Despite the opposition's reckless attacks, could the hard-working Minister of Finance please update the House on the status of the jobs and growth act?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, last night the jobs and growth act passed unamended at report state. We will vote on the bill at third reading later today. I look forward to the vote.
    However, Canadians should be disappointed in their NDP members and their reckless opposition allies in their tactics trying to delay Bill C-45, the jobs and economic growth bill. With global uncertainty facing the economy and a fragile global economy, our government will move ahead with the economic action plan to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

[Translation]

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, even though the Conservatives made promises about Revenue Canada, their disastrous management of this agency will hurt the economy of the Mauricie and Saguenay areas. It also casts doubt on their ability to protect personal information.
    The announced layoff of about 60 employees in Shawinigan and Jonquière will directly affect telephone services and storage of confidential documents. There will be even fewer services and even less security. The Conservatives are leaving the door wide open to identity theft.
    Why is the government not making the protection of personal information a priority?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our top priority is the economy and this includes ensuring that we spend Canadian tax dollars wisely. This change will ensure the privacy and the security of taxpayers' records and will do so at a lower cost to taxpayers.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Ottawa's response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nothing short of immoral. All of the key players, even Israel's allies, have condemned the resumption of settlement activity, but Canada has not said a thing.
    What will spur the government to adopt a more balanced position like the one adopted unanimously by the National Assembly yesterday, which urges the Canadian government to acknowledge the UN vote and maintain its financial aid to Palestine?
    When will Ottawa support a negotiated settlement that honours both Israel's right to live in peace and the Palestinians' right to create their own state?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have been a strong supporter of the peace process. We have been a strong supporter of economic development and security relations in the West Bank through our humanitarian and foreign aid developments with respect to the Palestinian Authority. However, the PA's action and provocative rhetoric at the United Nations would obviously elicit a response from Israel. Neither is helpful to advancing the cause of peace and we do not support either.

[Translation]

Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, during question period, fond memories of the former MP for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier came to mind and came out in my question. Since I certainly would not want to tarnish his reputation, I must correct the facts: the name of the former CEO of the McGill University Health Centre is Arthur Porter.

[English]

Concurrence Vote on Bill C-45  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order today to ask you to revoke the illegitimate final vote that took place last night on the report stage of Bill C-45. The motion put to the House was moved by a member who was not in his place and was, therefore, indisputably out of order, preventing a legitimate vote from being held.
    Mr. Speaker, as you are well aware, motions form the basis of all debate and all decision making in the House. Without them, we simply cannot function.
    The House of Commons Procedure and Practice second edition, is clear on this matter. It states:
    The most basic components of this process are the “motion” and the “question”—the motion being a proposal that the House do something or express an opinion with regard to some matter; the question being the mechanism used to ask the House if it agrees with the motion.
    It goes on later to say, “Without a motion and a question, there can be no debate”. I would add that neither can there be a vote, which is a decision on that motion.
    The admissibility of a motion is a rule that is fundamental to the proper order and practise of our work. There are clear rules set out for all members to follow in terms of how motions must be constructed and proposed so that we are all working on a level playing field. Those rules even apply to a Minister of Finance.
    Parliamentary Rules and Forms, sixth edition, states clearly:
    Every motion that is duly moved and seconded is placed before the House by the Speaker as a question for the decision of the House.
    The logical result of this rule in the negative is that a motion that is not duly moved cannot be placed before the members of this place for a decision. If a motion “finds no seconder”, it is dropped immediately. That is the result in the absence of a seconder. Therefore, the result for the absence of a mover can be no less severe. I am sure you will agree, Mr. Speaker.
    O'Brien and Bosc, on page 556 and 557, states:
...the Speaker will first ensure that the Member wishes to proceed with the moving of the motion. If the sponsor of a motion chooses not to proceed (either by not being present or by being present but declining to move the motion), then the motion is not proceeded with and is dropped from the Order Paper, unless allowed to stand at the request of the government.
    No such request was made last night by the government. When the member is not present and a motion is not moved on his or her behalf, the Speaker can have no option but to conclude that the member no longer wishes to proceed.
    Erskine and May clarifies this process in Parliamentary Practice, twenty-first edition, where it states in chapters 17:
    A motion of which notice has been given may be moved by one of the Members in whose name it stands....
    But a motion standing in the name of a Minister may be moved by any other Minister in accordance with the constitutional practice which permits the Ministers to act for each other on the grounds of the collective nature of the Government.
    There is no problem with this rule, to be perfectly clear, and had one of the colleagues of the Minister of Finance moved the motion on his behalf, there would be no problem at all. However, this did not happen last night. The theoretical procedural possibility of something is not the same as it actually happening itself.
    I was witness to what happened and I have reviewed the tape from last night and the facts are 100% correct. The Speaker moved the motion for report stage on Bill C-45, unamended, in the name of the Minister of Finance, but he was not in his place to move that motion. If the Minister of Finance had bothered to stay for the last few votes, this would not be an issue. If he had bothered to arrange with a colleague to move the motion in his name, this would not be an issue.
    I have two final things to say. I note that Journals from yesterday reads that the government House leader did in fact somehow move the motion on behalf of his absent colleague. If you review the video, Mr. Speaker, and the Hansard from last night, the official record of Parliament, I am sure you will agree with me that it is not the case. Journals is not correct.
    I am aware of my obligation to raise such questions at the earliest opportunity. To be clear, my colleague, the chief opposition whip, raised this with the Table as soon as was possible last night. She could not interrupt the Table during the vote and the House then moved to adjournment proceedings immediately after the vote because of the late hour.
    As you know, Mr. Speaker, when the House entered the adjournment proceedings, there was no longer an opportunity to raise this issue and, therefore, this is my first chance to do so.
    The government has been let off the hook for not following the letter as well as the spirit of too many rules too many times in Parliament: systematic curtailing of debate using time allocation; the absurd creation of a flawed system for more than one committee to study Bill C-45; the total denial of opposition amendments to all respects of its bills; and finally, the minister responsible for a bill could not be bothered to sit with his colleagues in the House while his motion on report stage was being dealt with.
    The remedies are a few. The concern is that, in a few moments, debate will begin on the next stage of the bill.

  (1510)  

    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Nathan Cullen: I will thank my colleagues to hold their comments until they actually have something of value to say.
    For the next debate of the bill that was passed erroneously from the vote last night, a potential remedy is to conduct a vote immediately and properly with the Minister of Finance in his place to move the motion on his budget bill, but the remedy is entirely up to you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker, as you know, the process on voting is very much in the hands of the Chair and the Chair clearly interpreted properly, as reflected in the record of House, the intention of the government. It was obviously the intention of the government that the report stage of the bill be moved. The record, as the opposition House leader indicated, reads as follows:
    Pursuant to Standing Order 76.1(9), Mr. Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons) for Mr. Flaherty (Minister of Finance), seconded by Mr. O'Connor (Minister of State), moved, — That the Bill be concurred in at report stage.
    We had been through the process of time allocation and of setting up the votes to take place that evening on the very multiple motions in amendment put forward by the opposition, which took a considerable amount of time and which did cause inconvenience to members of the House that made it impossible for the Minister of Finance to be there for the entire duration. There are people who have legitimate issues and reasons why they cannot be here at all times for such votes. We recognize that people face those issues from time to time.
    However, in this case, it was understood by everyone that the government was moving report stage of the bill. The government is represented amply by a number of cabinet ministers in the House, including the House leader who, as the record indicates, in my role I was content to move on behalf of the Minister of Finance, as was the intention of the entire government, report stage concurrence in the bill.
    It is also very important for us to look at this intervention in the context in which it arrived, a context in which the opposition has chosen to attempt to delay every possible effort to move forward with the bill.
    You, as Speaker, have a responsibility to ensure the orderly continuance of the work of the House, notwithstanding the efforts by the opposition every way possible to try to disrupt the work of the House. In that spirit, I expect you to consider this question.

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of collegiality, I thought my colleague had a procedural point to make rather than one of debate.
    The point that we made very clearly and he did not address this, was that the record of Journals was not the record of this place, and he knows that. Hansard and the video from last night clearly show that there was a mistake made, that the finance minister was not present to move an important motion. He actually did not have to be there for many of the other votes that my hon. colleague complained so much about, but the vote under his name, he did. To have a vote conducted in this place without his being there, is absolutely critical to the function and practice of this place.
    We quoted the text quite extensively and the government did have some options, as the he will know, that another minister of cabinet could have moved the motion in the Minister of Finance's stead. It chose not to do that. It was under his name and read as such into Hansard and on video record, which I am sure, Mr. Speaker, you have access to as well as the hon. House leader for the government.
    Clearly, the Conservatives are not rising on any procedural strength. They are simply rising on what their intention was. There are a lot of places paved with good intentions, but what stands in this place is our ability to conduct ourselves in a regular and proper fashion when moving through important legislation. I would think the budget would be one of those things the government would seek to do it on.
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure all of us can agree that this issue is at least as important as the question of where the Minister of State for Small Business left his car keys. We have to recognize there are issues of form and there are issues of substance.
    On a matter of form, there is no dispute or no debate with respect to the overall fact that none of the votes that were held last night were won by the members on this side, including members of our party. It is difficult to believe that anyone thinks that whether or not the Minister of Finance happened to be in his chair or not, the result of that vote would have been any different in any way shape or form.
    On the other hand, there is a substantive issue with respect to how the Journals were changed, which is something we have to clear up. However, on a matter of substance, either the House can vote again on the same issue and reach the same conclusion and the same result, otherwise let us get on with the debate on third reading.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, I feel the need to correct one matter that the opposition House leader represented that was not accurate, and that was what the official record was of this place. He indicated that Hansard was. In fact, Debates is indicated as the transcribed, edited and corrected record of what is said. Journals, according to O'Brien and Bosc, is the official record of what is done in the House. I thought that should be corrected. It was Journals that recorded the motion was made properly.
    I appreciate all of the interventions made. This is a very interesting question for the Chair to consider. I understand there is some urgency for a decision on this, so I will get back to the House very quickly with a determination of the best way to proceed.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[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 50 petitions.
    Since I have been recognized, I move:
    That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.
     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 Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Speaker: Call in the members.

  (1600)  

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

(Division No. 569)

YEAS

Members

Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
Paradis
Payne
Penashue
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 150

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hassainia
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rafferty
Ravignat
Raynault
Rousseau
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Tremblay
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 132

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Points of Order

Concurrence Vote on Bill C-45--Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    The Chair is now prepared to rule on the point of order raised a few moments ago by the House Leader of the Official Opposition with regard to the manner in which the motion for concurrence at report stage of Bill C-45 was moved yesterday evening.
    I have looked into how events transpired last night and can report to the House that there was indeed a clerical oversight in the moving of the motion for concurrence at report stage. However, members will know that our practices do provide for this.
    As is stated at page 440 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition:
    A government bill standing on the Order Paper in one Minister’s name may be moved on his or her behalf by another Minister since the bill is considered an initiative of the entire Cabinet.
    Members will know that it routinely happens that sponsoring ministers are not present when their bills are either introduced or are proceeding through the various stages of the legislative process. When that is the case, staff assisting the Speaker with forms will note the absence, insert the name of another minister, and the Chair carries on, indicating that one minister is moving a motion on behalf of another.
    Last night, the staff had duly noted the Minister of Finance as moving the motion for concurrence, but when the time came to move the motion last evening, the minister had stepped out, and neither the staff nor the Chair noticed his absence, nor, might I say, was that raised by any member.
    This kind of occurrence is, in my view, a minor oversight. It is our practice to consider that this progress of government bills represent the will of the cabinet. I will again refer the House to page 440 of O'Brien and Bosc. One minister is often cited by the Chair as moving a motion for the sponsoring minister who is absent.
    That is how events are recorded in Journals, since the absence of the minister was drawn to the table's attention after the fact by a member. As it usually does, the table followed our practice and the Journals were drafted to indicate that the government House leader, who we knew to have been present, had moved the motion for the Minister of Finance.
    Accordingly, at this time I cannot find in favour of the opposition House leader. I find that the House can proceed with debate on third reading of Bill C-45.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

  (1605)  

[English]

Jobs and Growth Act, 2012

Hon. Peter Van Loan (for the Minister of Finance)  
     moved that Bill C-45, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, be read the third time and passed.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-45, the jobs and growth act, 2012, which is legislation to implement the next phase of Canada's economic plan.
    Our plan will help Canadian workers and their families. It will help them by creating a pro-growth environment that will create jobs and long-term prosperity from coast to coast to coast. The measures in today's act are key to achieving this goal.

[Translation]

    Indeed, the bill before us today includes wonderful initiatives to grow our economy, create jobs, support Canadian families and communities when they need it most, promote clean energy and enhance neutrality in the tax system, while at the same time taking into account the taxpayers' ability to pay.
    So far, our action plan is working very well. Since July 2009, for instance, over 820,000 jobs have been created in Canada. That is the strongest job creation record in the G7, and 90% of the jobs created are full-time. But that is not all.

[English]

    The World Economic Forum states that our banks are the soundest in the world. The OECD and the IMF predict that our economy will be among the leaders of the industrialized world over the next several years. Our net debt to GDP ratio remains the lowest in the G7, by far. All three of the major credit rating agencies, Moody's, Fitch and Standard and Poors, have reaffirmed Canada's top credit rating.
    Only recently, respected head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, told The Globe and Mail the following:
    Canada is...faring relatively well because of its fundamentals...and the way in which it has been properly supervised and regulated and organized over the course of the last few years.... Canada is doing a lot better than other advanced economies.
    However, as we all know, it is not enough to simply maintain Canada's advantage among the major advanced economies. As we have said all along, Canada is not an island. We are not immune to global weakness from beyond our borders. There is no question that Canada will be impacted by ongoing global economic turbulence, especially from our biggest trading partners in the United States and Europe. That is why we must move quickly to implement the pro-growth, job-creating measures contained in economic action plan 2012 by enacting today's legislation.
    For instance, today's act would help build a strong economy and create jobs by extending the job-creating hiring credit for small business, which will benefit over 500,000 employers and help them to create jobs. It would also promote interprovincial trade, improve the legislative framework governing Canada's financial institutions, facilitate cross-border travel, remove red tape and reduce fees for Canada's grain farmers. Supporting Canada's commercial aviation sector is a priority in this legislation.
    This legislation also supports families and communities by improving registered disability savings plans, helping Canadians save for retirement by implementing the tax framework for pooled registered pension plans, improving the administration of the Canada pension plan and strengthening the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It would also promote clean energy, enhance neutrality of the tax system by expanding tax relief for investment in clean energy generation equipment and phasing out tax preferences for the mining and oil and gas sectors. It respects taxpayers' dollars through changes, such as, taking landmark action to ensure the pension plans for federal public sector employees are sustainable and financially responsible and by closing tax loopholes and eliminating duplication.
    It is true that the jobs and growth act, 2012 is comprehensive and ambitious. As we all know, the challenges that our economy face are neither small nor one-dimensional. In a fast-paced and uncertain global economy, where we face increasing competition from rapidly growing emerging markets like Brazil and India, we must move quickly to implement vital economic reform. However, as is becoming all too familiar, we have heard the same tired complaints from opposition members. They say, “Let us not move forward on economic reform. Let us not support the economy”. They say, Let us play partisan politics instead”. I say shame on them.

  (1610)  

    At a time of global economic turbulence, the opposition's amateurish political games and desperate delay tactics to block our government's continued support for the economy will do nothing but hurt Canadians. Make no mistake about it.
    We are proud of economic action plan 2012, and we are proud of today's act. We are not afraid to debate it.

[Translation]

    In addition to the many hours of debate in this House, our government led a comprehensive study of this bill. No fewer than 10 House committees, in addition to the Standing Committee on Finance, took part and held hearings on various parts of the bill. Over the past few weeks, those committees heard from countless witnesses who shared their opinions with parliamentarians and the public.
    I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the committee members and chairs, especially the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance, the hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc, for all of their hard work.

[English]

    I would especially like to thank the members and chairs of these committees for completing their study in a timely manner to ensure that swift implementation of job-creating measures to secure our economic growth happen here.
    In my time remaining, I will speak specifically to those job-creating measures, which become increasingly important with each passing day.
    As I mentioned before, the global economy is all too fragile, as recent headlines can attest. Only two weeks ago, we learned that Europe entered a second recession. South of the border, the United States is edging closer to its so-called fiscal cliff. It is at times like this that our government must stay focused on the economy. This is when we must turn our attention to the needs of everyday Canadians in communities across the country so that they can continue to rely on a strong Canadian economy to support their families and grow their businesses.
    We must stay the course with our plan for jobs and growth, which is widely considered to be a model for the world. It is this fiscal discipline that has served us so well, earning us the lowest net debt to GDP ratio in the G7. Indeed, this has been recognized time and time again by international leaders. Only recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised our government's approach, saying:
    Canada's path of great budgetary discipline and a very heavy emphasis on growth and overcoming the crisis, not living on borrowed money, can be an example for the way in which problems on the other side of the Atlantic can be addressed.... This is also the right solution for Europe.
    I am so glad that the Minister of Foreign Affairs agrees wholeheartedly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
    It is this emphasis on growth I would like to highlight in my discussion of today's act, and in particular, the hiring credit for small business to help small employers all across Canada defray the cost of hiring new workers.
    I am pleased to tell Parliament and all Canadians how well the credit has been received by Canadian small business owners. For example, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, representing over 100,000 Canadian entrepreneurs, explains exactly how the hiring credit helps their members:
    The Hiring Credit for Small Business...is a popular measure among all SMEs but is particularly important among growing firms as it helps them strengthen business performance.
    In fact, small businesses liked the credit so much in 2011 that they asked for it again in 2012, saying, and once again I will quote the CFIB:
    The 2011 EI Hiring Credit was very helpful to CFIB's members, particularly the smallest businesses.... This is a relatively inexpensive measure that benefits businesses across the country.
    Unbelievably, not only has the NDP voted against this measure time and time again, but shortly after the introduction of the jobs and growth act, 2012, the NDP finance critic actually came out against the bill's extension of tax relief for small business, oddly calling the hiring credit for small business “an across-the-board cut for small business”.

[Translation]

    Let us forget about the NDP finance critic's odd reasoning. I want to explain exactly what his party opposed not just once, but twice.
    As indicated in Canada's economic action plan, this measure allows for a credit of up to $1,000 against a small employer's increase in its 2012 EI premiums over those paid in 2011. For the benefit of Canadians watching at home and my opposition colleagues, I will take a moment to explain how this credit works.

  (1615)  

    Say, for example, Bill and his wife Linda own a small café and that, last year, they hired five employees. Their business's payroll was $125,000 and they paid $3,108 in EI premiums. This year, more customers are visiting their café and they have expanded. They hired a new employee, which raised the business's payroll to $150,000. With the hiring credit for small business, they will receive a credit of $732, which will cover the increase in EI premiums for their new employee, which will help them create a stable job in their own community.
    To make things even easier, the Canada Revenue Agency will automatically calculate the hiring credit when Bill and Linda file their 2012 tax return. They will not even have to apply, which will enable them to avoid endless red tape and delays.

[English]

    I would remind my opposition colleagues of the evidence we heard at committee that the credit is working and is having a tangible impact on the ability of small businesses to hire more workers.
    Only recently, Corinne Pohlmann, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, told me and other members of the finance committee that:
    It's not always easy for every single small firm to hold onto every employee they bring on. We always say small businesses are the first to hire and the last to fire. They'll do anything they can to hold onto their people. We saw that through the recession very clearly.... [T]he way the EI hiring credit is now, it has also been useful for a lot of the very small companies.
    If an issue affects small business, it touches 60% of Canadian workers and has a major impact on job creation, especially in a period of economic recovery. With that in mind, our government has long recognized that small businesses are the engine of job creation in Canada, employing hundreds of thousands of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    We are proud of our consistent record of support for this fundamental sector of our economy, this year and every year since we formed the government. That is why, since 2006, we have lowered the tax bill of small businesses to help them succeed, even when the opposition has tried to stand in our way.
    The NDP talks about supporting job creation, but let us take a moment to actually examine the record.
    We reduced the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%, but the NDP voted against it. We increased the amount of income eligible for the lower small business tax rate from $300,000 to $500,000, but the NDP voted against that too.
    While the New Democrats have never met a tax they did not like, they could take a lesson or two from the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Canada's largest industry and trade association, with over 85% of its members representing small and medium-sized businesses. Despite what the opposition might have us believe, the CME explains:
    Over 110,000 companies pay corporate taxes and...90 per cent of those businesses are small and mid-sized enterprises.
     These are the companies on Main Street...in which most Canadian workers are employed. When businesses keep more of their profits, they have more money to expand [and] hire more people
    We on the government side understand this, which is exactly why we are here debating the jobs and growth act, 2012 and the extension of the small business hiring tax credit. I urge all members to carefully consider the measures in this act, including other measures to grow our economy and create jobs, to provide support to Canadian families and communities when they need it the most, to promote clean energy, and to enhance the neutrality of the tax system.
    While hope springs eternal that the New Democrats might come to their senses, their rejection of the small business hiring tax credit and other job creation measures in the jobs and growth act, 2012 is just another sign that their tax-and-spend agenda is out of touch with the priorities of small-business owners and hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for her comments, but I have to correct the record.
    First, let me say that the NDP has long proposed a tax credit for small business hiring. We have also proposed reducing small business taxes by 2%. She has erroneously stated that we are opposed to these measures, but she has accurately said that there are measures we support that we have voted against.
    Let me just clarify that briefly by quoting the Prime Minister, the leader of her party, who said, in 1994, to the then Liberal government, which was doing exactly the same thing as this government with an omnibus bill:
I just regret that we are proceeding with this omnibus approach to legislation which, because it lumps in things we support and things we do not support, unfortunately deprives us of the ability to support the government in votes where that would be appropriate.
    That is exactly the situation here. Can this member explain why her government is undermining democracy with this omnibus budget bill and denying members the right to vote for individual clauses and pieces of legislation we support?

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, this government suggested that we send portions of the bill for study to more than 10 other committees. When we count the finance committee, that is 11 committees that studied the bill. Eleven committees agreed that the measures in the bill would help us preserve jobs, create jobs, move toward long-term prosperity and ensure that our economy grows.
    Unfortunately, the NDP continues to vote against all these measures. NDP members can say what they like, but when it counts most is when they stand up to vote for these measures. Each and every time they have had that opportunity, they have disappointed Canadians and have voted against every single one.
    Mr. Speaker, I was interested to note that the parliamentary secretary was boasting about how wonderful the hiring credit was. I would just like to ask her if she is aware that it contains flaws that actually punish small businesses. For example, it contains a hidden 7¢ EI premium hike. In addition, if a company is near the $10,000 limit, it can be penalized if it hires more workers or if it increases the wages of its workers.
    These deficiencies were made very clear in committee, and the Liberals proposed amendments that would have fixed these deficiencies, yet the government rejected them. Why did the Conservatives not correct these deficiencies, which serve only to punish the small businesses she is claiming to help?
    Once again, Mr. Speaker, the member has erred. Approximately 536,000 businesses took advantage of the hiring credit for small businesses the first time around. They continued to ask the government to put forward an extension of the hiring credit.
    I find it odd that the Liberals would even stand to ask questions at this time, given what they did in committee to try to block all of these measures from going forward by putting forward 3,000 frivolous amendments. Hours of time were wasted. Money from taxpayers' pockets was spent on frivolous, wasteful time spent. What did they put forward as amendments? They were trying to ensure that tax loopholes were not closed. They were trying to protect people who take advantage of the tax system.
    That member ought to go back to his caucus and figure out why it is they are trying to protect those who take advantage of our generosity and our tax system.
    Mr. Speaker, the opposition has promoted a job-killing carbon tax. Clearly, for small and medium businesses, that would be the demise of our economy.
    I wonder if my colleague would speak to some of the initiatives in a little greater depth, such as reducing taxes for small and medium enterprises, the pooled registered pension plan, and other incentives that help small businesses thrive.
    I wonder if she would address some of those issues in a little greater depth and talk about what this government is doing to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses thrive in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his insightful question, and I want to say how proud I am of his interventions here in the House. He has been very influential as we move forward, bill after bill, to try to protect jobs and create growth here in this country.
    I have to say that when it comes to small businesses, it is this government that has done the most to ensure that they prosper. In fact, as I look at some of the initiatives in the budget implementation act that, unfortunately, the opposition did not support, I think very clearly about our youth and the troubles they have had and the $50 million we put toward the youth employment strategy that is so key to ensuring that our youth progress and become the leaders of tomorrow. They are willing to do that now. They need some support. Unfortunately, the NDP and the Liberals continue to deny them access to those kinds of funds, whereas we on this side of the House are prepared, very quickly, to move those things forward through the bill.
    I would ask that the opposition today vote in support of those kinds of measures, including the other job creation measures in the budget implementation act.

  (1625)  

    Mr. Speaker, there was much in that speech that talked about the platitudes of standing up for business and economic development that I disagree with, but I would like to focus on just one aspect.
    To reduce the small business tax rate over the last six years by 1% was a step in the right direction, but a really feeble step. The step in the wrong direction was the reduction of the large corporate tax rate similar to the United States at well over 30% down to 15%, with no criteria for job creation or investment in Canada. When we look at the facts, most of the dollars that have been given away to those large corporations have gone to the ridiculous salaries of CEOs and moving money to offshore tax shelters. The real investment has been in the United States not in Canada.
    When will you either raise the rates back up to something comparable to the U.S. or ensure there is real criteria for real economic development in Canada?
    I would remind hon. members to direct their comments and questions through the Chair.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, I draw the contrast between that member and this side of the House. We can obviously see the member is in favour of higher taxes. He would vote in favour of higher taxes at any opportunity that presented itself. We on this side have lowered taxes over 140 times, which leaves an average family in Canada with $3,100 extra in its pocket.
    Let us talk about some of those things that we did so small business could thrive. We provided $110 million per year to the National Research Council to double support to small businesses through the IRAP program, something that was very well received. We provided $95 million over three years and $40 million per year ongoing for the Canadian innovation commercialization program. We provided $14 million to industrial research and development internship so PhD students could also take part in ensuring the economy grew.
    These are measures we put forward along with 140 tax decreases. I wish the member would get on board and help us.
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary has not dealt with some of the things in the budget that do not belong in a budget. I am talking about the Navigable Waters Protection Act, which strips environmental protection from some 30,000 lakes and rivers in the country. This follows hard on the heels of the government's elimination, or almost elimination, of any environmental assessments required by Bill C-38, which was also a budgetary bill.
    Could the minister explain how a handful of small lakes in Muskoka, which do not have any navigation on them except for a few pleasure boats that belong to people with large and expensive cottages, are protected under the act, but other similarly large lakes in Quebec and other places in Canada lose their protection.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister is not present so I hope the parliamentary secretary's answer will suffice in this case.
    With regard to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, that member and his party have asked this question a number of times and, for whatever reason, they do not seem to understand that those bodies of water are already protected under the Environmental Assessment Act. There are a number of acts that protect different bodies of water across the country, but the Navigable Waters Protection Act is designed to protect shipping and navigation. That is what it is about and that is what it is focused on. Our government will move forward to ensure there are no delays in growing our economy in this area.
    I would ask my colleague to really think about what I have said, because to mislead Canadians in thinking the Environmental Assessment Act does not cover those bodies of water is really not quite fair.

  (1630)  

[Translation]

    It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, Fisheries and Oceans; the hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville, Privacy; and the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, Employment Insurance.
    Resuming debate. The hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to, once again, express the official opposition's strong objection to Bill C-45, the second budget implementation bill that we have seen this year.
     In the spring, Bill C-38 attacked old age security, forcing people to wait two more years to claim their benefits. It attacked employment insurance and health care transfers and turned back the clock on environmental regulation. Now, with Bill C-45, it shows the Conservatives have not learned their lesson. They did not listen to Canadians, who were outraged by that first Trojan horse budget bill.
    Bill C-45 continues on the path set by this spring's budget bill, further weakening our ability to protect the environment and ensure sustainable development for future generations. It would completely gut the Navigable Waters Protection Act. We have heard about the loss of protection for 40,000 lakes and 2.5 million rivers. In addition, it would further erode the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
    The disturbing Conservative trend toward the concentration of power also continues in Bill C-45. The bill would dismantle a series of commissions and give more power to ministers to make decisions without accountability.
    However, there are new problems too. The combined effect of the Conservatives' proposed changes to the SR&ED tax credit, the research and development tax program, will be to reduce government support for business research and development at a time when Canadian businesses most need to increase innovation and productivity to succeed in an increasingly global economy. These changes are also likely to drive firms to move their R and D activities to other countries with better incentives.
    The New Democrats are also concerned by the proposed changes to public service pensions that will create a two-tiered work force in which younger people will have to work longer for the same retirement benefit. These changes come in the context where the Conservative government is failing to take action on youth unemployment and crippling student debt, while also making young people, especially, work longer in the future to qualify for old age security benefits.
    The bill talks about jobs, but let us be clear. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated that this budget bill will cost 43,000 Canadians their jobs. When combined with previous rounds of cuts, the Parliamentary Budget Officer projects a total of 102,000 jobs lost.
    As a result of these job cuts, economic forecasters have been revising their projections for the Canadian economy downwards. In fact, on the day Bill C-45 was released, the Minister of Finance suggested a downgrade would be announced in the fall economic update. Sure enough, the minister announced, during the November fall break, that the government would fall short of its own deficit targets.
    Worse still, Conservatives have failed to outline any contingency plan to deal with the slowing growth and increasingly negative fiscal indicators. In the third quarter, Canada's GDP grew only by 0.6%, even lower than the Bank of Canada projected rate of 1%. Ongoing volatility in the global economy poses a significant risk to Canada's future economic growth.
    The official opposition New Democrats believe strongly that the federal government should take action now to safeguard the Canadian economy against outside risks, such as an escalation of the eurozone crisis, which is back in recession, or a worsening of the American economy.
    There are internal risks as well. Ultra-low borrowing rates, which have remained unchanged for more than two years, are fuelling unprecedented household debt.

[Translation]

    Increased inequality is one of Canada's greatest challenges.
    Most Canadians' real wages have remained stagnant for several years now. In fact, the average income of Canadians has increased by only 5.5% over a period of 33 years.
    According to the Conference Board of Canada, income inequality is growing faster in Canada than it is in the United States. Much of this growing inequality can be attributed to an increase in the revenues of the richest 1% of the population. Canadians who belong to that 1% have increased their share of the nation's total revenue from 8.1% in 1980 to 13.3% in 2007.

  (1635)  

    In fact, Canadians in that 1% are responsible for nearly one-third of total income growth between 1997 and 2007. This growth occurred at the expense of other income groups.

[English]

    Youth unemployment is still a major crisis. Unemployment for youth is at 15%, up 1% from last year, and there are 70,000 fewer youth jobs than one year ago. Food bank use increased again last year and is up 31% compared to pre-recession levels for youths. Nearly one in five food bank users is currently or was recently employed. That is from the Food Bank of Canada.
    In 2009 a report from the UN rapporteur for adequate housing found that Canada had been lagging in its commitments for social housing and to end homelessness. With three million Canadians living in housing insecurity, Canada remains the only G8 country in the world without a national housing strategy.
    Unfortunately, the Conservatives are focused on austerity measures that will act as a further drag on our economy. Multiple witnesses confirmed at the finance committee that Bill C-45's proposed changes to the SR&ED program would kill jobs and hinder innovation, which is a key factor in economic growth. Even worse, innovation is the best solution to Canada's two decade long productivity slump and the cuts to SR&ED will only further weaken Canadian productivity growth.
    That is not just New Democrats saying that. Let us hear from Warren Everson of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce who confirmed at the finance committee, “The budget 2012 decision to cut a quarter of the SR and ED tax credit was, in our opinion, a step in the wrong direction”.
    Let us hear from Martin Lavoie of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters who raised similar concern at the industry committee this November. He said:
    Thus far, $633 million will be withdrawn and $333 million reinjected annually. That is a ratio of two to one. Will other measures eventually be announced? I do not know and we cannot really rely on that. What we are also hearing from our members...is that we cannot base our future investments on what we do not know. What we do know is that SR&ED will be reduced. We do not know whether there will be new types of direct sectoral investment.
    How can businesses plan for job creation and investment with the government's piecemeal approach?
     The Conservatives have no comprehensive plan to create jobs. Instead, Bill C-45 is another one of these 400-page budget bills that lumps together a large number of unrelated measures. It modifies, amends or repeals over 60 other pieces of legislation and contains an entirely new act, the bridge to strengthen trade act, on the Detroit-Windsor bridge, which we would like to support, but it is lumped in with many other measures that we do not support, hence our opposition to this omnibus budget bill.
    The NDP did everything it could to study the bill at depth at committee and improve it. However, on every occasion, the Conservatives refused to work with the official opposition. While New Democrats worked hard to ensure that the content of Bill C-45 received full examination and that substantive amendments were proposed to the bill, we saw our Liberal colleagues join with the Conservatives in order to support stricter time allocations for the finance committee. We did not agree with that.
    The committee did vote on every substantive amendment, every submitted amendment to Bill C-45 during the clause-by-clause study. However, it was clear that the Conservatives would not consider any amendments to Bill C-45, even despite compelling witness testimony that some of the measures in the bill would have significant consequences for Canadians and the Canadian economy.
    While the Liberals and Conservatives have used the committee process to play partisan games, New Democrats remain dedicated to giving Bill C-45 much needed scrutiny and debate on behalf of all Canadians.

  (1640)  

    Unfortunately, the Conservatives continue to show that they are more interested and invested in ramming through their agenda than in staying accountable to Canadians, and Canadians are taking notice. Let me just offer some other points of view.
    Stuart Wuttke of the Assembly of First Nations noted at the fisheries and oceans committee:
—my appearance today does not qualify as consultation with first nations. The Assembly of First Nations is a political organization and the first nations themselves are the individual rights holders of aboriginal rights and treaty rights. A robust consultation will be required by the Government of Canada with first nations across Canada....
    Clearly, that has not happened.
    Tony Maas of the World Wildlife Fund Canada raised a similar point at the transport committee, in saying:
    I am a believer in participatory democracy. While I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the committee today, I do not claim to be, and should not be considered, a representative voice for conservation organizations or for others whose navigation rights and waters may be negatively impacted by the changes in the proposed bill.
    I cannot emphasize strongly enough that Bill C-45 is yet another massive omnibus bill making amendments to a wide range of laws, and once again the Conservatives are trying to ram legislation through Parliament without allowing Canadians and their MPs to thoroughly examine it. Of course, we are seeing the sad spectacle of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, whose position was created by the current government, being forced to take the government to court to get basic information that he and, therefore, parliamentarians need to do our jobs. It is unbelievable that we are in this situation.

[Translation]

    The NDP did everything in its power to have this bad bill split, but the Conservatives refused to do so. We then tried to thoroughly examine it in committee, but the Conservatives did not accept any of our amendments. Finally, we tried to delay the final vote because we still had hope that we could convince this short-sighted government to improve this monster bill.
    Canadians deserve better. However, the Conservatives systematically refuse to listen to them and to work with the official opposition to pass laws that would make Canada a better place to live in instead of destroying our country little by little.

[English]

     Our New Democrat team opposes budget 2012 and this implementation bill unless it is amended to focus on the priorities of Canadians, really creating good-quality jobs, not just putting the word “jobs” in the title of a bill; protecting our environment; strengthening our health care system; protecting retirement security for all; and ensuring open and transparent government. These are the priorities that Canadians tell us they care about. We have consulted throughout this process in our ridings, in our communities and across Canada and this is what Canadians have told us. They have serious concerns about both the process of this omnibus budget bill and the specific content contained therein.
    With that, I therefore move:
    That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
this House decline to give third reading to Bill C-45, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, because it:
(a) weakens Canadians' confidence in the work of Parliament, decreases transparency and erodes democratic process by concentrating changes to over 60 pieces of legislation in one omnibus 400 page bill under the guise of a budgetary bill;
(b) continues to roll back Canadian environmental protection measures by gutting the Navigable Waters Protection Act and further weakens the Fisheries and Canadian Environmental Assessment Acts;
(c) fails to provide substantive measures to create good Canadian jobs and stimulate meaningful long-term growth and recovery;
(d) reduces much needed job-creating tax credits for Scientific Research and Experimental Development; and
(e) creates a two-tiered workforce in the public sector that discriminates against new hires.

  (1645)  

    Questions and comments.
    Mr. Speaker, when listening to the member opposite, I was thinking back to when I had a chance to speak with Preston Manning. He had discussed the success of his father, Ernest Manning, in the province of Alberta. He said that the best policy they had was the fact that the NDP kept being elected in Saskatchewan, which of course drove all of the economic activity into the province of Alberta.
    This is the same type of situation, I believe, that we have here. The member felt it was a fact that MPs did not really have a chance to look at this. However, if she had attended, as I did, the six and a half hour technical briefing that took place, maybe then she would be able to see just how each and every one of the amendments to the different acts need to be included, so that they match the jobs and growth budget we presented earlier.
    Looking at all of those types of things and the concern that we keep our economy growing, I wonder if the member could comment on the fact that all the opposition has been talking about has been increased taxes. They demonstrated their concerns when we reduced the GST from 7% down to 5%, and talked about how they would increase taxes, using a carbon tax.
    What does the member think is going to happen if their policies are enacted?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the question was.
    Let me just correct my colleague opposite. Of course, I was at the technical briefing and heard the officials from Finance and other departments, who were kept there until the wee hours of the morning.
    However, what we have objected to and what the Prime Minister objected to when he was in opposition is the practice of lumping together so many different changes to laws that have nothing to do with the budget.
    Why would the government not allow the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act to go to the appropriate committee where MPs who are specialists in that field can call witnesses and actually debate and vote on those changes? That would be transparency.
    There are sections in this bill that, if the government would carve them out of the legislation before us and table them separately, the opposition would vote for today. Why will the government not do that?

  (1650)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was somewhat taken aback by the member. At times, people have no shame and the New Democratic Party really has to start looking at itself in the mirror.
    The member said that the Liberals supported the Conservatives at committee. It is very important for people to realize that there has only been one political party in the chamber that has consistently objected to and fought against Bill C-45, whether in debate in the House or in committee, or back at report stage and third reading, and that has been the Liberal Party.
    The member voted for time allocation at committee and voted to limit debate in the chamber. She and other New Democrats voted with the Conservatives over a thousand times, like two peas in a pod helping the Conservatives ram the bill through—
    Order. I would remind the hon. member that we are in questions and comments. I realize there are 10 minutes for questions and comments, but in order to accommodate all members who may wish to comment, I would underline that we usually ask members to think about allocating one minute for their question and one minute for the response. That way there is time for all members to participate.
    The hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.
    Mr. Speaker, I find the member's non-question a little sad, frankly, because it bears no reflection on reality. I was vice-chair of the finance committee and will remind him that we voted on every single amendment that was proposed to the finance committee. We took the time to vote on every amendment. The New Democrats supported the vast majority of the substantive amendments proposed. Frivolous amendments are another story.
    Let me remind the member that it was because of the finance committee that every single amendment was voted on, unlike the proposal that the member supported, which would have seen many of those amendments die and never make it to a vote.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Parkdale—High Park for all of her hard work at the finance committee and her diligence in holding the government to account as the critic for finance for the official opposition.
    As the critic for agriculture for the official opposition, I know that a piece of that omnibus legislation on the Canada Grain Act was sent to committee. That is a very important act for grain growers across this country. When it was sent to committee, it was told basically, “Here it is, have a look, send it back, thank you very much”.
    Does the member agree with me that the part of the bill dealing with Canada Grain Act should have been a separate piece of legislation sent to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, that the committee should have dealt with it as a separate act and sent it back to the House with recommendations and amendments after hearing witnesses who actually had a chance to testify fully? Does she agree it should have been separate legislation that members could have voted on in the House one way or the other, yes or no, regarding the particular changes proposed to the Grain Act?
    Could my colleague from Parkdale—High Park comment on that.

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for a real and substantive question. Yes, the changes to the Canada Grain Act were proposed without consultation and will have a significant impact on grain producers. Clearly, it should have been a separate bill sent to the agriculture committee. Witnesses could have been heard, questions asked by parliamentarians and the result, hopefully, would have been a bill and, ultimately, a law that grain producers and MPs of all parties could have supported.
    The reason New Democrats have been so tough in opposing this legislation is that the government has refused to allow that process and has denied democratic opportunity for MPs elected to represent their communities. Neither the grain producers nor the MPs from rural areas have been heard on this.
    Mr. Speaker, once again the member was saying that MPs were not involved in these types of things. The last question had to do with the Canada Grain Act. Of course, there have been major consultations involved in this. They talked about inward inspection and all of these other kinds of changes. However, these are things that have been asked for by the agriculture community in western Canada and throughout Canada for such a long time.
    When the member makes statements that are not particularly as closely aligned to what has happened in the House of Commons and committee, I am curious as to how she squares all of that.
    I will go back to the question I asked earlier when we talked about the GST. What does she feel the NDP is doing? Was the reduction in the GST wrong in her mind and that of the NDP?
    Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member feels so confident that the changes being made to the Canada Grain Act are constructive, positive and will be warmly welcomed, why is the government afraid to allow these measures to be included in a separate bill that would go to the agriculture committee where it can be properly examined and properly voted on? Why are the Conservatives afraid to do that?
    Before we resume debate, I will let the hon. member for Markham—Unionville know that he has 20 minutes allowed for his speech but, in accordance with an order taken earlier this week, I will need to interrupt the debate at 15 minutes past the hour.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have been asked to provide a copy of the minutes from the blues that clearly demonstrate that the NDP did in fact want to have closure in committee. I would ask the House for leave to table this document that clearly shows that the NDP wanted closure on this bill in committee.
    Does the member for Winnipeg North have the unanimous consent of the House to table the documents?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): Resuming debate. The hon. member for Markham—Unionville.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to this bill. As everyone knows, the Liberals will be voting against the bill for many reasons.
    I would like to begin by raising a point that I have not yet heard discussed during this debate: the fact that this government is creating a culture of fear.

[English]

    By that I mean that the government is proposing to fire some 20,000 public servants but some 100,000 public servants have received notice that they might be fired. The effect of that is to create a culture of fear in 100,000 Canadian families. This is a mean-spirited and heartless way to carry out reductions in employment. It causes fear in so many more people than actually will be affected. When we were in government, we were not strangers to expenditure review, but at no point did we arrange the loss of employment in such an unnecessarily cruel way. More often than not, we did it by attrition. Sometimes that was not possible, but we never sent notices to five times the number of people who could lose their jobs to the effect that they might lose their job. That is a particularly reprehensible part of this legislation.
    There is a second thing I do not like about this legislation. Canada depends on innovation for productivity growth. Canada's record on private sector expenditure on R and D has been weak compared with that of most other western countries. That is one of the reasons that our productivity growth has been low for decades and why the growth and living standards of the Canadian middle-class has been suffering.
    One would have thought that a sensible government might inject measures to promote innovation and research and development expenditures, but the Conservative government has done just the opposite. It reduced by a very significant amount the SR&ED tax credit. The SR&ED tax credit is an extremely valuable tool to encourage research and development, and innovation and productivity growth but, for some inexplicable reason, this has been cut.
    There was a proposal, which I do not think is in the budget, to give less in tax credits but more in direct grants to companies. That is a very weird idea coming from a Conservative government because that implies that the government has the wherewithal, the knowledge and the brains to distinguish between winning companies and losing companies. If one were a Conservative, would it not make more sense to use the tax credit, which is neutral and does not imply that government knows best, and let the market and the entrepreneurs decide which companies are winners and which are losers?
    This approach taken by the Conservatives is reminiscent of what one might expect from an NDP government, which might well think that government knows best, but instead we have this rather paternalistic approach to how we should run this economy coming from the Conservative side of the House. Maybe that means we need to get back to the Liberals.
    There are many other weaknesses in the bill. It would dramatically weaken the laws on waterways and other things. However, I will spend a little time on why I think it is a badly constructed bill. Whether we agree with all the content is one thing, but it is constructed in a sloppy way, which probably reflects the fact that when a government tries to have so many pages of legislation in so little time it is likely to make mistakes.
    I will describe three of the mistakes that lead me to think that this is not only a bad bill but also a sloppy bill that will probably need further corrections down the road.
    The first point, which I mentioned earlier in a question, is the hiring credit where the government slips in a 7¢ EI premium hike where, in the case of companies that are near their limit, they will be penalized by either hiring more people or paying higher wages. This is a complete slip-up unless the government deliberately set out to hurt small businesses. This is something the government should not have wanted to do. It is an unintended negative consequence of this bill, which is why we brought in an amendment at committee to fix it. However, the government declined to support our amendment.

  (1700)  

[Translation]

    That is the first mistake the government made. And that is the first reason this bill is poorly constructed, I think.

[English]

    The second bad thing about the construction of the bill refers to the negative impact on Canada's mining industry. I do not always agree with the Conservatives but I do not think they deliberately set out to destroy Canada's mining industry, so I would say that this is another unintended consequence, because one of the items in the bill would have a potentially serious negative effect on the mining industry.
    To make this point, I want to quote from a letter from the Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Exchange dated November 14, 2012, which explains clearly the grounds for this concern. The section of the bill concerns tax avoidance and specifically something called foreign affiliate dumping. This is not a quote from the NDP. It is a quote from the Toronto Stock Exchange on why it claims the bill is flawed. The letter reads:
    We believe that the Proposed Rules, in their current form, cast too wide a net and risk impacting or diminishing legitimate and entirely appropriate activity by hundreds of publicly listed companies on our markets. Should the rules be introduced without further appropriate amendment, Canada's world-leading position and reputation as a market for resource issuers may be negatively impacted by creating inefficiencies in accessing capital and harming corporate valuations.
    Based on our preliminary research, we estimate that in excess of 700 publicly-traded Canadian corporations with operations in a foreign jurisdiction could potentially be inadvertently and inappropriately impacted by the Proposed Rules....
    We are extremely concerned that decades of effort to give Canada global leadership in a critical sector of capital markets activity can be impacted by the unadjusted implementation of the Proposed Rules.
    That is very clear language. This bill would unintentionally harm some 700 publicly traded Canadian corporations in a sector of the economy, the mining sector, which has been in the past critical to Canada's prosperity and will continue to be critical to our prosperity going forward.
    I will read one other quote on this same subject, a letter from the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, dated October 13, 2012. It reads:
    Given the substantial quantum of money required to bring a mining project into production, the proposed provisions will result in an unacceptable level of additional tax risk being added to the undertaking of the development of the project, making it less attractive for foreign investors to invest in such CRICs and consequently adoption of the foreign affiliate dumping proposals as currently drafted will make it extremely difficult for Canadian juniors to finance large projects.
    The Conservatives had these letters. They had their own financial analysts. Are they too proud, is there too much hubris to admit that in all those hundreds of pages they might have made one or two slip-ups? There was ample time to fix it. We brought it to their attention but they chose not to fix it. They went blindly ahead with a project that was fundamentally flawed and will wreak serious damage onto one of Canada's key industries.
    I can count at least three ways in which the bill is badly constructed.

  (1705)  

[Translation]

    First of all, this bill is poorly constructed because of the credit I just explained a few moments ago. Second, it is poorly constructed because it is bad for the mining sector, as I just explained. Third, given that the Conservatives made many mistakes in the last bill and those mistakes had to be corrected in this one, I have no doubt that we will continue to find mistakes in the next few months or the next year, and once again, Parliament will be forced to make changes to it.

[English]

    Let me conclude by saying that I reject this culture of fear when possible dismissal letters are sent to a hundred thousand families and only 20,000 people need to be laid off. This is totally unnecessary and mean-spirited, especially as we approach Christmas. It is also entirely inappropriate for a country like Canada, which has suffered from low innovation in research and productivity, to slash the SR and ED tax credits.
    Finally, I would contend that technically this is a badly constructed bill. It could have been amended in simple ways to fix these fundamental deficiencies. However, the Conservatives, perhaps through hubris, perhaps through wanting to amend nothing whatsoever, refused to even consider such amendments. As a consequence, we have flaws in the hiring credit legislation, which will damage some small businesses in the country. We have flaws in the foreign affiliate dumping legislation, which will do serious harm to Canada's mining industry.
    Also, given the flawed and sloppy nature of the drafting of the bill, and given that errors were contained in the previous budget implementation bill that had to be corrected this time around, we can be sure that six months from now or one year from now we will see a new bill fixing the errors, perhaps the ones I have mentioned, perhaps many more, that will undoubtedly be contained in Bill C-45.

  (1710)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the member's comments. He would know that the funding to SR and ED, which was a program that certainly many would argue had some value, has been much better focused through other programs. Innovators actually get more of the funding and the funding is also spread to a broader community, so taxpayers are getting good value for money spent on innovation. I think the member knows that.
    As well, the member does understand that our budget implementation bill is a good bill. He does not want to say it because he is a Liberal, but in listening to him, a lot of the undertones indicated that. He recognizes that a lot of what we are doing had to be done. I am sure he will back me up on this completely, when he answers.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has a pretty strong nose if he could smell support coming from me in the comments that I made.
    It is interesting. He is the one who should have made this point, because my answer was similar to a comment he made on what I had to say the other day. I said that he is a Conservative and why should the Conservatives stand up in the House and talk about the government creating 800,000 jobs, when it was the private sector. He kind of acknowledged that I was right.
    Today I accused this Conservative government of behaving like NDPers. Instead of giving people tax credits, which are neutral, it has shifted to the government choosing winners, in transferring money directly from the government to individual companies. Therefore, rather than me being a Conservative, I think he is starting to behave like a Liberal.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, before the bill to amend the Navigable Waters Protection Act was introduced, environmental studies were carried out to determine the impact of new construction.
    Federal and provincial studies were never carried out at the same time. In fact, when the federal government carried out a study, the provincial government did not, and vice versa.
    Now that the federal government will no longer be carrying out studies, the provinces will automatically have to do them, if they have a program that allows them to do so. Therefore, some provinces will not be doing them.
    I would like the member to explain why the Conservatives have decided to transfer expenditures to the provinces, or why they have decided to transfer environmental responsibilities to the provinces.
    In general, the government has a very positive attitude about provincial responsibilities. Thus, it is not very surprising that it is giving the provinces more responsibilities.
    Personally, I am not against a more efficient environmental system. There is no need for duplication of effort. However, I do not want less regulation. I want the regulations to be more effective and more stringent. The regulations proposed by the Conservatives are less stringent and weaker than before. That is one of the reasons why we oppose this bill.
    It being 5:15 p.m., pursuant to order made Monday, December 3, 2012, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith all questions necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the bill now before the House.
    The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): Call in the members.

  (1800)  

    (The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 570)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hassainia
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mulcair
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rafferty
Ravignat
Raynault
Rousseau
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Thibeault
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 128

NAYS

Members

Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
Paradis
Payne
Penashue
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 156

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the amendment lost.

[English]

    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 Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:

  (1805)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 571)

YEAS

Members

Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
Paradis
Payne
Penashue
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 156

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hassainia
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mulcair
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rafferty
Ravignat
Raynault
Rousseau
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Thibeault
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 128

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)


PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act

    The House resumed from November 28 consideration of the motion that Bill C-428, An Act to amend the Indian Act (publication of by-laws) and to provide for its replacement, 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-428 under private members' business.

[Translation]

  (1815)  

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

(Division No. 572)

YEAS

Members

Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
Paradis
Payne
Penashue
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 156

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hassainia
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mulcair
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rafferty
Ravignat
Raynault
Rousseau
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 129

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

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

[English]

Asbestos

    The House resumed from November 29 consideration of the motion.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion No. 381.

  (1825)  

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

(Division No. 573)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hassainia
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Quach
Rae
Rafferty
Ravignat
Raynault
Rousseau
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 127

NAYS

Members

Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Bellavance
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Fortin
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
Paradis
Payne
Penashue
Plamondon
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 158

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

Committees of the House

Justice and Human Rights  

[English]

    The House resumed from November 30 consideration of the motion.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights concerning the extension of time to consider Bill C-273.
    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you would find agreement to apply the results of the third reading of Bill C-45 to the current motion, with the Conservatives voting yes.
    Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we agree, but I must point out that there is one person less. The member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord has left the House.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals agree and will vote yes.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will vote yes.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Thunder Bay—Superior North is voting yes.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Green Party will vote yes.

[English]

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

(Division No. 574)

YEAS

Members

Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Welland)
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Andrews
Angus
Aspin
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Baird
Bateman
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benoit
Benskin
Bergen
Bernier
Bevington
Bezan
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Blaney
Block
Boivin
Borg
Boughen
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brison
Brosseau
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Byrne
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Chisholm
Chisu
Chong
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Clarke
Cleary
Clement
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Daniel
Davidson
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dreeshen
Dubé
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Dykstra
Easter
Eyking
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Fry
Galipeau
Gallant
Garneau
Garrison
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Gill
Glover
Godin
Goguen
Goodale
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Gravelle
Grewal
Groguhé
Harper
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hassainia
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Holder
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
James
Jean
Julian
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kellway
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Lauzon
Laverdière
Lebel
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leslie
Leung
Liu
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Michaud
Miller
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mulcair
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nicholson
Norlock
Nunez-Melo
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
Pacetti
Papillon
Paradis
Patry
Payne
Péclet
Penashue
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Poilievre
Preston
Quach
Rae
Rafferty
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Rousseau
Sandhu
Saxton
Scarpaleggia
Schellenberger
Scott
Seeback
Sgro
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Storseth
Strahl
Sullivan
Sweet
Thibeault
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Tremblay
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Turmel
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Valeriote
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 283

NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[Translation]

First Nations

    The House resumed from November 30 consideration of the motion.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion No. 386 under private members' business.

  (1835)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 575)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hassainia
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rafferty
Ravignat
Raynault
Rousseau
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 129

NAYS

Members

Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
Paradis
Payne
Penashue
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 156

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.

[Translation]

Commissioner for Children and Young Persons in Canada Act

    The House resumed from December 3 consideration of the motion that Bill C-420, An Act to establish the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young Persons in Canada, 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-420 under private members' business.
    The question is on the motion.

  (1840)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 576)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Casey
Cash
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hassainia
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rafferty
Ravignat
Raynault
Rousseau
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote
Young (Oakville)

Total: -- 130

NAYS

Members

Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
Paradis
Payne
Penashue
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 154

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.
    It being 6:45 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

  (1845)  

Blue Sky Policy

    The House resumed from October 31 consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I am here today to express my support for private member's Motion No. 387, which calls upon the government to continue implementing the 2006 blue sky policy, Canada's international air policy.
    As the motion indicates, the 2006 blue sky policy has led to great results for Canadian consumers, with more destinations and lower prices available as a result of the strong competition. This success has been made possible through the great collaboration between Transport Canada and its federal partners, as well as industry stakeholders. This good work should continue.
    There is a legal framework in place to govern international schedules and air services called the Chicago convention. Canada is a signatory to this convention and has to abide by the rules set forth by this international legal instrument. Within this framework, we have ensured that Canadians enjoy good connectivity to the rest of the world.
    In 2012, the vast majority of the Canadian population can travel to the most important cities around the world on either a direct or a one-stop internationally scheduled service. This means that Canadians can conveniently travel to the most important business and leisure centres abroad.
    The impressive results of the blue sky policy have already been mentioned. Canada's 20 largest bilateral air travel markets cover about 85% of all our international passenger traffic. These are the most popular places Canadians want to fly. They are also the most important sources for inbound tourists.
    Under the blue sky policy, special attention has been paid to address the needs of consumers. We now have open air transport agreements with most of our top 20 partners. In some instances, we have to remember that some of our partners are not prepared to expand their agreements with us to that extent at this point in time.
    Let me illustrate the benefits with a concrete example. Some of our most popular destinations are the Caribbean, Mexican and South American regions. In the past six years, we have seen these markets increase in competition. With more airlines competing on the same routes, prices have decreased over time. Consequently, the number of passengers has increased. In 2006, the Caribbean, Mexican and Central American regions have accounted for the largest increases of Canadians travelling overseas.
    In absolute numbers, the Caribbean saw the largest increase in passengers. Close to 1.5 million more Canadians travelled to that region in 2010 compared to 2006. Over half a million more Canadians travelled to Mexico in 2010 when compared to 2006.
    Incidentally, our efforts to expand air transport agreements in the Caribbean region, Mexico and Central America have also created an increase in inbound tourists from these countries. In the 2006 to 2010 period, the number of tourists arriving in Canada from that region has also increased, thus creating further business opportunities for Canada's tourist industry.
    The further expansion of air transport agreements also had an impact on the number of destinations available to Canadians. For example, in the 2006 to 2010 period the number of international destination access routes for Canadians increased by 9%.
    Canadian consumers have also benefited from the more direct international flights. In the 2006 to 2010 period, the annual number of direct international flights increased by 43% overall. Here it must be noted that several foreign airlines have either entered or expanded their services to Canada as a result of our liberalization efforts. For their part, Canadian carriers have increased their total number of outbound international flights by 56% and the number of direct international destinations by 11%.
    Another example demonstrating that the government has taken to heart the welfare of Canadian travellers is the fact that 72% of international passenger traffic is now covered by an open agreement. Here I am talking about the open agreements that we have covering 43 countries around the globe. With the exception of our open sky agreements with the United States and the United Kingdom, all of these agreements have been negotiated under the blue sky policy.
    We might ask ourselves whether or not all of the non-open sky agreements are automatically restrictive. The answer is no.

  (1850)  

    It has been mentioned that many of our most important partners are not prepared to negotiate an open skies agreement with Canada at this time. This does not mean that we cannot expand our existing agreements with them for the benefit of consumers. We have, in fact, done exactly that. What matters is that sufficient traffic rights be available for carriers to implement their business strategies with respect to certain markets.
    Many of our agreements provide more rights than Canadians or foreign carriers actually use. It was not surprising that the “Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2011”, from the World Economic Forum, ranked Canada number 10 out of 139 countries for the openness of its air access. This is perhaps the best kept secret in the world of aviation and tourism.
    The point to remember is that considerable effort has been spent under the blue sky policy to create business opportunities for carriers and airports for the benefit of Canadians. It is important to understand the nature of what the government can do to foster the welfare of consumers in this sector of our economy. The government can only negotiate a framework under the Chicago Convention, within which first, Canadian and foreign airlines can make decisions, based on commercial considerations, as to how to serve the bilateral market, and second, Canadian airports can market their services to air carriers.
    The blue sky policy objective is to promote long-term, sustainable competition. The government would like to see more and more international scheduled air services added over time. As long as we pursue this objective, Canadians benefit, not only through the choice of flights and cheaper fares but also through the broad economic impact the Canadian aviation sector generates in our economy.
    The blue sky policy is not a cookie-cutter approach to expansion of the air transport agreements, and it calls for prudence in some cases. Its track record is clear. It has created benefit for average Canadians, and it is pro-consumer in its outlook. It is the right policy for Canada.
    For these reasons, I support Motion No. 387, because it is consistent with the federal government's current approach to the implementation of the blue sky policy.

  (1855)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this motion is simply not going to work for the air transport and aerospace industries or for air transport and aerospace workers.
    These industries are important to Canada's economy and to my riding's economy. They create high-quality jobs and offer plenty of opportunities to innovate.
    People in Mirabel and the Lower Laurentians are happy that a number of aerospace companies have set up shop near the Mirabel airport and are creating thousands of jobs in our area.
    Unfortunately, the member who moved this motion does not seem to know this industry as well as he should. That is likely because he does not have an airport, a major aeronautics industry or a significant population of aviation workers in his riding. I have all of those things in my riding.
    I believe that this explains why he is on the wrong track with this motion, which adheres to the gospel of deregulation, dismantling protections and chasing lower prices without considering the consequences of such policies.
    I want to make it clear that I am not against competition, but I do want competition to produce positive outcomes for Canadians and for my constituents.
    This motion seems to want to push the blue sky policy much farther than it should go. It is like saying that we can always adopt a blue sky policy. This motion is based on the supposed advantages of open sky agreements. However, as is the case with many other Conservative policies, the Conservatives' position is not based on solid facts. No full analysis or truly independent and objective assessment has been conducted since the blue sky policy was implemented.
    We often see this with the Conservatives. They seem to show contempt for consultations, facts, analyses and science. They do not consider the possibility that these are the things on which our policies could be and should be based. What is the point of merely repeating the directives of the Prime Minister's Office without considering the impact on Canadians?
    This policy is already in place. The motion is nothing revolutionary. Open sky agreements have already been signed with countries that account for 87% of international air traffic. This motion serves only to push the deregulation policy even farther—too far.
    Let us look at one agreement in particular, the agreement with the European Union. Here is what CAW Local 2002 had to say about this agreement:
    It reduces our ability to protect Canadian air carriers,...safety standards, and the employment and working conditions of air transport workers....
    Our concerns are reinforced by the way in which the Canadian government negotiated the Agreement. In contrast to the EU, where the full spectrum of industry workers and their unions were consulted and given representation as observers, the Canadian government refused to consult with any worker representatives other than pilots’ unions.
    In short, no reasonable consultations were held and there was a complete lack of transparency. We recognize the Conservatives' approach.
    Of the two pilots' unions that were consulted with regard to this agreement, the Air Line Pilots Association, International, was consulted only through a letter containing five questions. This was therefore not a very extensive consultation. This pilots' association was in favour of an agreement with the European Union. It supports the balanced objectives of the blue sky policy. However, it warns the government of the possible risks associated with a badly negotiated agreement such as this. That is what I want to tell the House today.
    Here is what the Air Line Pilots Association, International, had to say:

[English]

    “The ATA must ensure a level playing field so that Canadian airlines and their employees can compete effectively and are not disadvantaged by pressures to achieve the lowest common denominator, be it safety, security, labour or environmental standards”.

  (1900)  

[Translation]

    What the industry really needs before getting involved in any more “open skies” type agreements is a critical, comprehensive and objective review of what currently exists. The motion before us today is merely a distraction.
    Why are the Conservatives not trying to solve the real problems facing the industry? Here is something they should be looking into: Canadian airlines are losing five million passengers to the U.S. every year. That is a problem.
    Uncontrolled deregulation and throwing out measures to protect the interests of all Canadians are not the answer. I could also talk about various regulatory problems. These problems will not be solved by reducing the amount of regulation, but rather by improving our regulations. A good example is the hiring of foreign pilots, even though Canadian pilots are well trained, competent and ready to fill those positions.
    Regarding this motion, two main groups need to be protected in this debate on open sky agreements: Canadian air passengers and employees in the airline and aerospace sectors. I think it is safe to say that the Conservatives are not protecting either of those groups.
    The NDP is working hard to protect and create Canadian jobs and to defend Canada's airline industry. As I said earlier, our aerospace industry is a real gem, one that creates high-quality jobs and innovation in Canada. It must be supported with serious, thoughtful policies, and not with motions based on ideology that are haphazardly proposed in this House.
    Of course, we are also standing up for air passengers. Greater access to flights and lower costs for Canadians would enhance the general vitality of the industry. We want to strike a balance that will benefit Canadian consumers not only today, but also in the long term, rather than encourage a race to the cheapest price, which would only be temporary. For all of these reasons, I believe this motion is a step in the wrong direction.

[English]

    The essential problem with the motion is that although we are hearing that a blue sky policy is always the best way to go, we need to look on a case-by-case basis where the benefit is for Canadians. If an individual case is not beneficial for Canadians, then we should not pursue a policy that is not good for our workers, because at the end of the line, our workers are Canadian. We need good jobs in Canada, and airline pilots and airline workers are part of that market.
    We need to ask ourselves when we are talking about blue sky policy, at what cost are we doing this? Are we doing it as a race to the bottom? Are we trying to compete with countries that do not have unionized workers, who do not pay as much for fuel, et cetera, or are we doing what is best for Canadians?

[Translation]

    For all these reasons, I oppose this motion. I want us to work together in this House to come up with real solutions that are good for all Canadians, including those working in the airline industry.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise in the House today to speak in support of private member's Motion No. 387, which calls on the government to continue the implementation of Canada's international air policy, the blue sky policy.
    Since its inception in 2006, the blue sky policy has received wide support from air industry stakeholders. It has also produced tangible results for all regions in Canada: travellers, shippers as well as the business and tourism sectors. During the first hour of debate, some members of the opposition expressed some concerns about the blue sky policy, particularly regarding the benefits of air transport agreements negotiated under the policy.
    I would like to comment on this point. I would also like to stress that cabotage is explicitly excluded under the policy. As was mentioned previously, the policy calls for a proactive approach to the expansion of Canada's air transport agreements, and in particular the negotiation of reciprocal open skies type of agreements when in the overall interest of the country. These negotiations are handled on a case-by-case basis, and the commercial interests of Canadian airlines and airports are a primary driver when we decide with which country to negotiate.
    The government also attempts to negotiate agreements that will result in new or expanded air services in the short term while trying to preserve existing services valued by Canadian communities. In this context, it is fair to say that the search for real benefits for Canadians is at the core of the decision to negotiate new or expanded agreements; otherwise, the government simply does not proceed.
    The principle of real Canadian benefits is embedded in the policy. This is why the government takes issues related to a level playing field and the displacement of current air services very seriously. For instance, when we identify risk factors related to direct or indirect support by foreign states, or when a foreign carrier would reasonably be expected to offer a level of service that could reduce or eliminate competition on some routes, we would take a more prudent position. To do otherwise could result in net losses for Canada.
    I would like to stress to members of the opposition that level playing issues are important for the government, given that our air industry is deregulated and run by the private sector. It largely functions without financial government support, contrary to what we see in the vast majority of countries around the world, including our most important trading partners. In this context, it is important that our air carriers be able to compete on fair terms under air transport agreements. Again, this is one reason why the blue sky policy is not a one-size-fits-all approach to air transport negotiations.
    In recent years, some people have argued that Canada's approach to air transport liberalization should be the same as that of the United States. Let me address this point. The United States has a substantially bigger air travel market than Canada, which is very attractive to foreign carriers. This larger market can sustain more competition. Not surprisingly, the United States has more air carriers, large and small, that are active in international markets. It also has more low-cost carriers. The American approach to air transport negotiations is therefore suited to a different air industry, economic size and geographic characteristics.
     It is also important to recognize that the outcome of each negotiation always depends on the willingness of other countries to conclude an agreement on terms that are beneficial to Canada. There have been many instances in the past where our negotiating partners were not ready to expand the agreement as much as we had hoped. In such cases, we have had to manage our negotiating leverage carefully in order to achieve our objective in the long run.
    The blue sky policy takes into consideration the unique characteristics of the Canadian aviation system: population density, economic size and geography. It is a balanced policy that is made in Canada, for Canada. Since 2006, it has produced positive results for all regions of the country. Looking forward, we will continue to be strategic and seek net gains for Canadians.
    Since 2006, the government has concluded new or expanded air transport agreements with close to 70 countries. For example, we have concluded a comprehensive agreement covering all the 27 member states of the European Union, and open sky type agreements with Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, South Korea, El Salvador, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua, St. Martin and Curaçao. We have expanded agreements with Mexico, Japan, Jordan, Singapore, the Philippines, Morocco, Cuba, Egypt, Algeria, China and India.

  (1905)  

    Finally, we have new first time agreements with Kuwait, Serbia, Croatia, Panama, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Qatar, Colombia and Senegal. We hope to announce more new and expanded agreements in the future.
    It must be noted that the vast majority of our air transport agreements have more rights than Canadian or foreign carriers actually use. Consequently, the storyline of the blue sky policy is not one of constraints, but one of valuable available opportunities. Looking at the future, we will continue to provide business opportunities for Canadian carriers and airports to expand their commercial activities.
    Let us also not forget that it is up to the carriers to make business decisions and to offer new air services based on actual demand and market viability. We use every opportunity to engage our international partners to conclude new or expanded air transport agreements. On top of conventional face-to-face meetings, Canadian officials are also proactive in setting up meetings on the margins of major events at the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, such as the General Assembly or during negotiation conferences organized by that organization.
    These engagement efforts have led to the expansion of many agreements and the conclusion of several open sky type agreements such as the Canada-Brazil open sky agreement. They are also cost effective.
    I mentioned earlier that an important driver of the blue sky policy is the commercial interests of Canadian airlines and airports. There is in some quarters a perception that the policy has disproportionately benefited our carriers. This is a misperception. Canadian airports have also benefited from the conclusion of expanded air transport agreements.
     For example, in recent years the Vancouver International Airport has experienced a net increase in the number of flights to and from the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, from the Philippines, New Zealand, China and South Korea.
    The Calgary International Airport has also increased its connectivity to Japan, a direct result of the 2011 air transport negotiations with that country.
    Toronto's Pearson International Airport has seen an increase in the number of flights to Latin America, Africa and Asia.
    The Montreal-Trudeau Airport has benefited from additional services to sunny destinations and Europe.
    The interests of Canadian airports will continue to be considered in view of the broad economic interests of the communities they serve.
     It is worth repeating that the blue sky policy also supports tourism development. For instance, all key priority markets of the Canadian Tourism Commission have been the focus of significant liberalization efforts, which have resulted in open agreements with France, Germany, Brazil and South Korea. Expanded agreements were also concluded with Mexico, China, India and Japan.
    The United Kingdom and the United States are covered by open skies agreements concluded before the policy was adopted in 2006. Finally, there are unused traffic rights in our agreement with Australia, which could allow new services to take place in the short term.
    Under the federal tourism strategy, Transport Canada regularly consults the tourism industry for the development of Canada's proposed calendar of air transport negotiations. In addition, Transport Canada has conducted outreach activities for the purpose of increasing industry awareness about the opportunities available under current bilateral air transport agreements.
    The blue sky policy has also supported our international trade objectives. For instance, since November 2006, Canada has concluded an open agreement, or has offered such an agreement to a large majority of countries targeted by the global commerce strategy.
    While it is true that aviation considerations remain the primary driver of air transport negotiations, the broader economic benefits of an ever-increasing number of international services over time is fully recognized. This growing network of flights improves our connectivity to our key trade and tourism markets as well as consumer choice and convenience.
    The blue sky policy is the right policy for Canada. I am confident that the continued implementation of the blue sky policy will provide net benefits for Canada and will help us build a viable air industry as well as a stronger economy.

  (1910)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, since I was elected, I have had the opportunity to speak in the House about bills and motions several times. Sometimes I have been strongly in favour of certain bills and sometimes I have been strongly opposed. This is a first for me this evening. I will be attempting to prove that this motion is futile because it seems to pretty much go nowhere and the work has already been done.
     I have been listening for quite a few minutes to statements of policy and principle, especially in the speeches by my colleagues opposite. However, I see very little proof. I will attempt to back up my statement.
    I am rising today to speak to Motion No. 387 in an attempt to bring my humble view to bear on the issue of the possible expansion of the blue sky policy on air transportation. We must recognize that the sky in question has a palette of all possible shades of blue, which often leads to more questions than answers.
    Let us start with a sky blue or blue sky, as the case may be. The motion states “That, in the opinion of the House, the government should further the success of its 2006 Blue Sky Policy...”. It seems to me that before we further the so-called success, the member moving the motion, the government or all MPs who speak and support this motion should provide proof of this so-called success.
    Surprise, surprise. No assessment of the various agreements signed has been released. And it also seems that there has been no in-depth analysis of these agreements to determine if there has been a net benefit.
    To digress for a moment, I would remind the House that all our friends opposite are experts in rhetoric. I even think that they believe that repeating something often enough will make it meaningful. For example, we had long debates about the notion of suitable employment for employment insurance purposes. We heard all sorts of things, including the fact that the only job that would not be suitable is not having a job. That does not define the notion of suitable employment.
    Whether we are talking about international trade treaties or the case before us today, we keep hearing about a net benefit to Canadians, but the government has not dared to define this term so that we can decide where we stand.
    If I am being asked, as a parliamentarian, to show blind faith, I would say that the sky is a rather dark blue. What would be the benefits to Canadians of this open sky? Would there be lower plane ticket prices, more flights, greater long-term job creation or higher GDP?
    Those possibilities seem attractive. If they were defined and proven, I might be inclined to change my position. I would at least be open to thinking about it. It all seems great, but as we speak, we already have open sky agreements with over 50 countries. My hon. colleague listed them a few minutes ago. There could even be a royal blue sky agreement with Great Britain, but I am just kidding.
    These existing agreements account for 85% of total passenger traffic in Canada and 87% of travel abroad. That is not far off 100%. We are discussing a motion on something that already exists and that accounts for 85% of passenger traffic in Canada. We could perhaps do a bit more, but we must acknowledge that a large number of agreements have already been signed.
    However, since I have been travelling at my own expense—I must point out—I admit that I have not experienced the benefits these different agreements have for Canadians. Furthermore, there are no studies to show that my perception does not reflect reality.

  (1915)  

    According to my observations, many of the objectives of this blue sky policy, as promising as it is, are out of touch with reality. In fact, I think that the Conservative government's various fees and budget cuts are constantly undermining the ability of Canadian airports and airlines to compete with their counterparts, and that is driving my purchasing power down.
    Open competition has also had adverse effects on Canadian consumers. Airlines compete on ticket pricing by sometimes hiding the real cost of tickets. Surcharges differ so dramatically from one ticket to the next that it is impossible to calculate the actual cost based on the advertised price.
    This common practice prompted the Union des consommateurs to file a class action suit against Air Canada on the grounds that fees charged were significantly higher than the prices advertised on the company's website. I will not comment on the case here, but it seems to me that this illustrates how out of control a deregulated open market policy can get.
    With about 50 agreements already signed, the fact is that the primary partners are already involved in this type of agreement. So once again, why this motion?
    China might be one country with which we do not yet have an agreement that could be a major partner.
    However, we should consider whether it is a good idea to sign this type of agreement with a country whose carriers are administered and financed by the government.
    Could their ability to influence the market through long-term offers made possible by government subsidies result in unfair competition? We may have to examine this issue more thoroughly before moving forward.
    However, it seems that the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities is not letting such issues slow him down. During his recent trip to China, the Conservative minister clearly opened our airspace a little bit more to Chinese companies. I would like to quote the press release from his own office:
    During the meeting, the Minister and Vice-Administrator Xia also signed amendments to the existing bilateral air transport agreement to facilitate the movement of goods and people between the two countries. The expanded air transport agreement, negotiated under Canada's Blue Sky policy, will help deepen Canada's important air transport, trade and investment relationships with China.
    The 85% I was talking about earlier could go as high as 90%, 92% or 94%. Once again, I have to wonder whether this motion is relevant.
    It is clear that the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has all the latitude he needs to go ahead with the blue sky policy, as he appears to be doing with authorities from the People's Republic of China. However, in this case, we would like to hear a little more about what is in that agreement. Has the minister concluded an agreement with China under the blue sky policy or are these merely discussions?
    If that is the case, what is the point of the motion before us here today for this second hour?
    Does the Conservative member realize that his motion has absolutely no point? Coming from a party that is always bragging about how it likes to reduce paperwork, it is a bit hypocritical.
    What a strange way to govern the country. That member is not aware of what is happening within the Conservative Party. He is not aware of the policies in place and the announcements made by his own minister.
    What a strange way to keep us members busy here in the House, with motions that are of no consequence and have no impact on government policy, since everything seems to be working just fine.
    Clearly, the Conservative Party does not have what it takes to set this country's policy agenda.
    Since the positive impacts for consumers have yet to be proven, this could have long-term adverse effects on Canada's already precarious situation.
    As we know, Canada is a country of vast open spaces with a small population, which, in the eyes of many international airlines, makes it a second level market. Players entering the market with the advantage of political and financial support from their government could considerably hurt Canadian airlines.
    I can already hear the Conservatives' comeback—and I will conclude on this point—that is, that we are against trade, against businesses, against consumers and against everything else. Personally, I would call our position pragmatic. We do not reject that approach, but we refuse to blindly believe the Conservative dogma.

  (1920)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank everyone who did some research and took some interest in this motion, and I thank all those who spoke to the motion. Government members have explained in detail what the blue sky policy is about, why it is the right policy for Canada, and what benefits have resulted from its implementation.
    I am a little alarmed to hear some of the responses from the opposition that seem to suggest that more competition and more choice for consumers would not be a positive thing. Certainly in my experience working with different tourism industry leaders, and even with constituents, having more competition and more choice has always been encouraged. I was also somewhat alarmed to hear one opposition member wonder why I would bring this forward, since I do not have an airport in my riding. I am quite pleased and proud to actually have two airports quite close to my riding. I do not think that is a litmus test for any of us in this House. We do not have to have an airport in our constituencies to speak on issues relevant to air travel.
    Just as a quick reminder, the blue sky policy was adopted by our government in 2006 with a view to liberalizing more proactively, but responsibly, our air transport relations with the world.
    It has been noted that the blue sky policy is a balanced policy that is consistent with the particular characteristics of our economy, our geography and our air industry. It is not, as has been suggested by others, a one-size-fits-all approach to air transportation negotiations. Each negotiation is primarily driven by the commercial interests of our air industry but also aims to produce long-term and sustainable economic benefits beyond that sector.
    Through this approach, we take a long-term view of the competition. It is when more flights are offered that consumer choice and consumer convenience increase. I do not meet many consumers who are not in favour of choice and convenience.
    Let me summarize the tangible benefits this policy has produced for consumers and the business and tourism sectors since its inception. This policy has provided Canadian consumers with more choices in terms of both destinations and number of direct flights. As a matter of fact, we have concluded open air transport agreements with most of Canada's top 20 bilateral air travel markets, which together represent about 85% of all of our international passenger traffic.
    Over the 2006 to 2011 period, Canadian air carriers increased the number of outbound international flights by 56% and the number of direct destinations by 11%. Concretely, this has led to, for example, new or expanded services to the Asia-Pacific region from Vancouver, a direct service between Calgary and Tokyo, more flights to Latin America from Toronto, and more flights to Europe from Montreal.
    The implementation of the blue sky policy has also supported Canada's international trade objectives. As of December 2012, Canada has either concluded, or offered to conclude, an open agreement with countries that collectively represent about 91% of our international two-way merchandise trade.
    Canada's tourism industry has also benefited. Under the policy, special efforts have been expanded to promote access from all key, priority inbound markets identified by the Canadian Tourism Commission. That is why Canadian airports and airlines, as well as the tourism sector, under our federal tourism strategy, are regularly consulted on negotiation priorities. Our government's efforts have resulted in open or expanded agreements with France, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, China, India, Japan and South Korea. We have invested in these efforts, because we understand the importance of direct flights to make it easier for tourists to come to Canada.
    It is important to remember that 72% of our international passenger traffic is now covered by an open agreement. Before the blue sky policy, we had an open agreement with two countries. Today 43 countries are covered by such agreements. Looking to the future, Asia and Latin America will continue to be areas of focus for the implementation of the blue sky policy.
     I strongly believe that the blue sky policy is the right policy for Canada. It is balanced. It is responsible. It takes into account the unique nature of our country, our geography, and the interests of Canadian consumers and businesses. It supports our national air industry as well as our international trade, tourism, and economic development objectives.
    I am confident that Canada will continue to benefit from the results of the blue sky policy for many years to come. For all those reasons, I call on all members of this House to support Motion No. 387, which calls on our government to continue the implementation of the blue sky policy for the benefit of all Canadians.

  (1925)  

    The time provided for debate has expired. 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 Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order 93 the recorded division stands deferred until next Wednesday, December 12, just before the time provided for private member's business.

Adjournment Proceedings

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

  (1930)  

[English]

Fisheries and Oceans  

    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to speak again about important Coast Guard radio service for our Great Lakes. As we know, in May of this year the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced cuts to the Coast Guard. It was a reckless move that would close nearly half of Canada's marine communications and traffic services centres, as well as the Kitsilano search and rescue centre just a year after the closure of the Quebec City and St. John's search and rescue centres.
    One of the communications centres set to be mothballed is in Thunder Bay. The government claims it is a move to modernize marine communications, but boaters are concerned for their safety under the new system. The union that serves the Coast Guard employees also has misgivings about safety based on the increased workload that will fall on the shoulders of operators at the already busy Sarnia station.
    As the cuts were announced, social media campaigns began and messages started coming in. One of those was from Paul Morralee of Thunder Bay. He shared the story of his 2,000 kilometre journey this past summer on the waters of Ontario. He wrote the following:
    People shake in fear when I tell them about crossing Lake Superior, moving along the North Channel or venturing around Georgian Bay, single handedly in my old wooden boat, but, I have an ace up my sleeve. I have Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio ready to respond to my needs in an urgent situation. They know the area, they know the waters, and they know how to respond. How do I know? Because, they have helped me out on three occasions.
    He brings perspective and experience to the debate and further stated:
    Save Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio, by doing what is right and continue the service that is currently being provided.
    At the same time, there was a letter to the editor signed by Peter Fraser, regional representative of CAW local 2182 that was published in The Algoma News. It lays out the facts fairly well. Mr. Fraser explained the station in Thunder Bay covered Lake Winnipeg, Lake Superior, the St. Mary's River, the North Channel and all of Georgian Bay and northern Lake Huron to about Port Elgin. It has operators on duty monitoring the maritime VHF emergency channels. During the summer months, two and sometimes three operators are on duty 24 hours a day, every day.
    In 2011-12, the Thunder Bay station alone responded to 391 incidents, with 274 occurring during the summer months of June, July and August. These ranged from calls for assistance from a vessel in trouble to events that required search and rescue assistance from Trenton.
     That sounds like a system that is working for boaters, but after July 2014 Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio will be gone and its duties will be transferred to Sarnia with no additional staff being added to help with the extra work. This will all be done on new communication consoles that have yet to be constructed and certainly have not been tested. It is a theoretical solution to something that was not a problem. It places the lives of boaters in jeopardy for a cost-cutting measure. That is what this really is, make no mistake.
     The move will replace the old consoles that use time-tested manual switches and untested computerized touch screens. It is important that everyone understands we are walking away from a good system that saves lives to an untested one just to save a few bucks. New Democrats know that is wrong. The savings are not worth the risk.
    Two people can do only so much. Will the government reconsider the closure of the Thunder Bay Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre?

  (1935)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the issue raised by my colleague, the member of Parliament for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, regarding the changes within the Canadian Coast Guard, specifically those involving the consolidation of 10 marine communications and traffic services centres.
    First, I would like to correct the unfounded suggestion that our government does not value the safety of mariners on the Great Lakes and in northern Ontario. We have not forgotten the tragedy of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and that is why the safety of all mariners is and will always be the number one priority of the Government of Canada.
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada is becoming a more modern, streamlined and responsive department. The department is committed to examining the way its services are delivered, and this includes making positive changes in the use of its resources with the intention of saving Canadian taxpayers money without affecting the safety of Canadians.
    The Canadian Coast Guard will be further consolidating and modernizing its marine communications and traffic services while maintaining the same high level of safety and traffic services. The Canadian Coast Guard is investing in its infrastructure to take advantage of today's technology. With these updates, the same level of service will be delivered from strategically located centres across the country.
    On more than one occasion in the last few decades, the Canadian Coast Guard has implemented various technological improvements while ensuring the safety of mariners. New tools and processes are being introduced that will increase the efficiency of operators by diminishing administrative tasks while enabling increased attention to ship traffic safety. The use of advanced communication technologies will ensure that communications services will remain high quality, that resources are tasked efficiently and that the response to mariners in distress is timely.
    Consolidation also allows the Canadian Coast Guard to better manage the fluctuating workload at its marine communications and traffic services centres. Better connected centres equipped with modern technology will ensure improved backup capabilities.
    Consolidation of marine communications and traffic services centres will be done in two phases. In the spring of 2014, the Tofino, Thunder Bay, Montreal, Saint John and St. John's centres will close. The services provided by the Thunder Bay centre will be consolidated in Sarnia. Vancouver, Comox and Riviere-au-Renard will be part of phase 2. In the spring of 2015, operations are expected to be delivered from the following 12 centres: Prince Rupert, Victoria, Sarnia, Prescott, Quebec, Les Escoumins, Halifax, Sydney, Placentia, Port aux Basque, Goose Bay and Iqaluit.
    I would like to assure Canadians and my hon. colleague that the implementation of this initiative will have absolutely no impact on service to mariners. In fact, there will be improved reliability of services due to increased interconnectivity between centres, and larger centres will have a better ability to address service spikes in service demands by having an increased complement of staff.
    The Coast Guard has clear workload standards for its marine communications and traffic services officers and these standards will not be increased as a result of this initiative. The workload will be distributed more proportionally between officers on watch at the new consolidated centres. Mariners' safety will not be jeopardized. The Coast Guard has a rigorous and structured certification process to ensure that its front-line officers are fully capable of delivering services in accordance with domestic and international regulations.
    Finally, I would like to reaffirm the dedication of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to ensuring the safety of the maritime community.
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is well aware that during the summer months there are literally thousands of boats on these waters every day. Shipping vessels, commercial fishermen, cruises, guides, outfitters and pleasure craft will now be monitored by a skeleton crew at a remote post, all to save a few bucks.
    Sarnia's Coast Guard radio has three to four operators on duty 24 hours a day, but only two of those operators specifically monitor the marine emergency channels. During the 2011 boating season, Sarnia responded to 647 incidents. Now the Conservatives are going to add the 391 incidents the Thunder Bay station dealt with when Sarnia takes responsibility for all of that station's coverage area. It is being asked to do this without any additional staff on duty.
    Why is the Conservative government cutting good-paying jobs in northern Ontario? How does putting people out of work help our economy? Why are the Conservatives victimizing boaters?
    Will the government do the right thing for marine safety, abandon its reckless cuts and maintain the Thunder Bay marine communications and traffic services centre?

  (1940)  

    Mr. Speaker, the fact is, she has her facts wrong. When we will have completed the consolidation of these centres, they will have the right number of people, fully trained and in place, to be able to monitor this traffic. These people are not sitting and looking out a window. They are using electronic equipment.
    All 214 radio towers and 24 radar facilities will remain where they are to maintain the current level of coverage. The staff who are there will be able to meet the requirements. They will not be overworked, as she has suggested. This will ensure the safety of mariners.

[Translation]

Privacy  

    Mr. Speaker, on September 25, I rose in the House to share Canadians' concerns about the protection of their personal information online. I also asked the government what it was going to do about this and whether it would finally update Canadian laws in order to protect Canadians' personal information online. Canadians have cause for concern about the protection of their personal information. The Privacy Commissioner published a report showing that many popular websites that we use every day are leaking personal information, which is very worrisome.
    The Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics is currently examining these issues and is finding that there are many problems and potential risks. Meanwhile, the Conservatives are stuck in the stone age. They are not modernizing our laws in order to ensure that those laws remain relevant given the existing digital reality and new risks.
    The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act is supposed to be reviewed every five years. Unfortunately, we have still not been able to pass the first revision. Bill C-12 is seven years late, and that is very worrisome. We are also late in dealing with Canada's anti-spam legislation. The regulations have still not been implemented, despite the fact that we have been waiting for years for this to happen.
    Meanwhile, things are changing. In the digital age, everything moves very quickly. We must be proactive in order to protect personal information and keep up with the digital age, rather than being left behind. When I asked my question, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry said:

[English]

    “The government introduced Bill C-12, which is an important tool for ensuring a stronger digital economy”.

[Translation]

    As I have already pointed out, Bill C-12 is seven years behind. It is already time for another review, which we are supposed to do every five years according to the act. Unfortunately, we are not yet there. The government keeps putting off the review on personal information protection.
    While the government is dragging its feet, businesses have no obligation to issue warnings about compromised data. Furthermore, major websites continue to disclose personal information. I repeat: will the government join the 21st century and modernize laws to protect our personal information online?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to respond to comments made earlier by the hon. member about Canadian privacy laws.
    The government takes the privacy of Canadians very seriously. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA, is Canada's private sector privacy law. It is a good piece of legislation and has stood the test of time. However, some tweaks are needed. To that end, we have introduced amendments to PIPEDA. The amendments, which are contained in Bill C-12, will introduce new requirements for organizations to report data breaches to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and to notify affected individuals when the breaches are deemed to pose a significant risk of harm, such as identity theft or fraud.
    However, that is not all. These amendments will further protect the personal information of minors, by requiring organizations to consider the ability of their target audience to comprehend the consequences of sharing their personal information.
    Bill C-12 is currently at second reading and, once done, will be headed to committee. I hope we can count on the support of opposition members in ushering in these important amendments to update Canada's private sector privacy law.
    I would also like to add that there will be an opportunity to update PIPEDA during the second parliamentary review. While the timing of the review has yet to be determined, I can assure the opposition member that the committee undertaking the review will have an opportunity to examine the legislation, call witnesses and to consider making further amendments.
    As I stated earlier, the privacy of Canadians is a matter that the government takes very seriously. I hope we can count on support from all members, including the member opposite, on the passage of Bill C-12.

  (1945)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Conservative members keep promising us that they will modernize the legislation, except we have been hearing the same thing for seven years.
    Bill C-12 has been on the order paper twice since I asked my question, but we have not debated it. Is it truly a priority of this government, or will they continue to say that amendments are coming? Canadians are tired of waiting. They want their information to be protected and these amendments to become law.
    Will the government truly move forward with Bill C-12 or will it continue to make promises?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the government did have this legislation before the House when the member's party forced an election about a year and a half ago.
    This government has already taken steps to address the serious privacy concerns of Canadians. Notably, we have introduced amendments to the Personal Information, Protection and Electronic Documents Act contained in Bill C-12 that would empower and protect consumers by requiring organizations to inform the Privacy Commissioner and individuals when their personal information has been disclosed as a result of a data breach. These amendments would also clarify and streamline rules for business.
    Protecting privacy is good for Canadians, good for business and it fosters trust and confidence in the online marketplace.
    I trust I can count on the opposition member's support of Bill C-12.

[Translation]

Employment Insurance 

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the Parliamentary Secretary who will once again have the courage to reply to my intervention.
    I rise again here today to further explore a question I asked in this House at the end of September. I had asked the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development why her government had so much contempt for unemployed workers and why it was introducing a new calculation for the working while on claim pilot project.
    Ever since the employment insurance reforms were introduced in Bill C-38, thousands of Canadians have joined together to condemn the negative impact of those changes on our economy. Furthermore, those changes have proven to be an attack on the unemployed.
    The changes to the calculation of the working while on claim pilot project were particularly troubling. Before the reform, a worker who had lost his job and was working part time while looking for another full-time job could still receive benefits. The rule was that those benefits were cut by 40%, with a non-deductible limit of $75.
    The government is now proposing to eliminate the base amount, but to allow workers to keep 50% of their employment income. During question period in September, the minister even gave an example where the EI recipient would receive more money under the new system than under the old one.
    In the weeks that followed, the opposition demonstrated many times in this House, that the new calculation penalized most of the program beneficiaries, especially low-income workers.
    The minister had to admit that there were problems with the pilot project, and she was forced to make changes that gave some workers eligible for the program the choice of using the old calculation method or the new one.
    Could the minister be honest and responsible towards Canadians? Was this change to the pilot project designed to make low-income workers receive less money, or was it just incompetence?
    What will happen to other aspects of the reform that are currently making the headlines? Changes to the appeal mechanisms are being criticized by everyone, and many are predicting that unemployed workers will have to wait even longer than they already are.
    What explanation does the minister have for the fact that the number of hours worked to settle first and second level appeals will decrease from approximately 18,200 hours a year with 700 part-time officials to 9,000 hours a year with 39 part-time officials, and that they will be doing the same job?
    It is obvious that these reforms are being made haphazardly. Canadians deserve better because they have contributed to the social safety net. Will the Conservatives show some respect for the unemployed, and will they step back from their reforms?

  (1950)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the question from the member opposite about important changes that we are making to the employment insurance program through the working while on claim pilot project.

[Translation]

    According to Statistics Canada, there were 273,000 unfilled jobs in Canada last June.

[English]

    We believe that Canada's EI program must encourage and help unemployed individuals fill available jobs as quickly as possible. Unlike the NDP members who have focused on a carbon tax that would increase taxes and decrease available jobs, we are focused on ensuring that Canadians can work.
    Under Canada's economic action plan in 2012, the Government of Canada made targeted, common sense changes to EI that encourage Canadians to stay active in the marketplace. One of these common sense changes was the working while on claim pilot project.
    Under the previous pilot project, EI recipients who had part-time or occasional work had their benefits reduced dollar for dollar once they earned more than $75, or 40% of their weekly benefit amount, whichever was greater. Under the new pilot project announced on August 5, eligible EI claimants are able to keep EI benefits equalling 50% of total earnings they earned while on claim.
    We know some concerns have been raised about the new pilot project and we have listened. That is why we recently announced adjustments to the new pilot project. On October 5, the government announced its intention to amend the current working while on claim pilot project. The amendment is aimed at providing the option of reverting to the rules that existed under the previous pilot project to recent EI claimants who were on claim and had earnings between August 7, 2011, and August 4, 2012.

[Translation]

    With these changes, claimants will have more time to make the transition to the new rules.

[English]

    We are working hard to help claimants stay connected with the labour market by encouraging them to accept available work while receiving EI benefits.
    Canadians want to get back to work and statistics show that, if they stay active and connected to the labour market, they often find permanent employment faster. Our government is committed to supporting workers and ensuring that EI enables a strong and competitive workforce.

[Translation]

    Our government's priorities are job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, when the opposition showed that the new benefits calculation under the working while on claim pilot project would penalize thousands of unemployed workers, the minister tried to placate us by agreeing to make some changes, but only for workers who collected employment insurance benefits between August 7, 2011, and August 4, 2012.
    She did nothing for those who will lose their jobs in the future, and the new formula will apply to everyone as of 2015. Pulling the wool over people's eyes does not change the fact that unemployed workers are being punished. It just forestalls the inevitable.
    Is the government unable to admit to its mistakes, or is it blinded by ideology and contempt for honest workers who, unfortunately, lose their jobs?
    Once again, thousands of workers are crying foul. Even businesses are worried about losing skilled workers in specialized and seasonal industries.
    What can the minister say to reassure employers and their employees?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the improvements we are making to the employment insurance program are intended to help unemployed people all across Canada.

[Translation]

    We are here to help and support unemployed workers.

[English]

    Unlike the NDP members, who are putting forward a carbon tax that would increase taxes and decrease available jobs, we are focused on ensuring individuals have job availability.
    We are strengthening the EI program to ensure that it is fair, flexible and helps Canadians to not only find jobs, but also earn additional income while on claim. We are helping claimants stay attached to the labour force while making available to them EI benefits. These changes make it easier for claimants to stay connected to the workforce.
    Unlike the NDP carbon tax, which, as I mentioned before, would increase taxes and therefore decrease the availability of jobs to Canadians, we are focused on a job creation program.

  (1955)  

[Translation]

    The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 7:55 p.m.)
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