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41st PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 258

CONTENTS

Wednesday, May 29, 2013




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 146 
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NUMBER 258 
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1st SESSION 
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41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

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 Chatham-Kent—Essex.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Day of the Honeybee

    Mr. Speaker, there is more than just honey that comes from honeybees.
     One of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators, especially honeybees. Many crops rely completely on them. In Canada, over $2 billion a year in agricultural production depends on honeybees.
     However, bees are dying and disappearing in record numbers. Pesticides, parasites and pathogens are killing one-third of all colonies each year, and it is getting worse. A threat to the honeybee is a threat to our food and to us all. Today is the day of the honeybee in 185 municipalities and 3 provinces, including Thunder Bay. I hope the members of this House will join me in supporting efforts to make May 29 our national day of the honeybee.
    I invite Thunder Bay citizens to join me this Saturday for a day of honeybee celebrations at the Thunder Bay Country Market.

National Health and Fitness Day

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to emphasize the need for us all to work together to promote health and fitness for all Canadians. We are facing the terrible situation of raising the first generation of children who may not live as long as their parents will. That is why we need to improve our health level now and show our children that we can do better.
    This is one of the reasons that colleagues all around this House and I have worked together to create National Health and Fitness Day, the first Saturday in June, this year being June 1.
    Over the last few months, more than 40 towns and cities across Canada have proclaimed the day, including Pond Inlet, Yellowknife, Whistler, Calgary, Ottawa and Halifax. In Ottawa, there is a cycling event planned at city hall with national leaders. In Vancouver, we will have a run with Olympian Ashleigh McIvor and the Minister of Transport.
    We also have the strong support of the Running Room and the Fitness Industry Council of Canada, which has encouraged over 500 private clubs across Canada to waive their drop-in fees for June 1.
    I thank all my colleagues, from all parties, who are promoting better health for all Canadians. It shows the next generation that we can work together to make Canada the fittest nation on earth.

World MS Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is World MS Day. Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disorder that causes disability. Most diagnoses occur between the ages of 25 and 31, afflicting about twice as many women as men. It is not known what causes this disease, and as yet there is no cure.
    MS puts hard demands on the health and income of family members acting as caregivers. There are three important changes that we could make to help people with MS and their caregivers stay in the workforce and ease their financial hardships.
    Employment insurance sickness benefits should be made more flexible so people with MS and other disabilities can get support when and how they need it. The criteria for receiving disability credits and benefits should be eased to help people with MS and other disabilities to qualify because their health condition varies over time. Finally, disability and caregiver tax credits should be refundable to improve income support for caregivers, particularly those in need.
    These steps would help people with MS and their families cope better until a cure is found.

Iran

    Mr. Speaker, as the regressive clerical military dictatorship in Iran goes through its mockery of fair elections, a brutal crackdown has been unleashed. That is why many members are taking part in the Iran accountability week. We are shining the light of truth on what is happening inside Iran.
    I want to draw attention to a few such examples. First, Navid Khanjani, a Baha'i student, was denied the right to go to university because of his faith and was sentenced to 12 years of brutal imprisonment in Tehran's Evin prison.
    It reconfirms the wilful pattern of abuse by this regime. Members will recall that I spoke last year in the House about Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor who has been sentenced to death for practising his faith.
    Another Christian pastor is also in jeopardy right now. Pastor Saeed Abedini is a dual American-Iranian citizen who was arrested, beaten and sentenced to eight years. His health is now deteriorating because of his beatings.
    We renew our call on the regime to release Navid Khanjani, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, and Pastor Saeed at once.

Somali-Canadians

    Mr. Speaker, my warm, loving Somali community left a war-torn country to come to our peaceful country, only to have many of their children die at the hand of violence, often gun violence.
    Almost 50 young Somali-Canadian males have been killed in Ontario and Alberta since 2006. In 2012, between June and October, six of 33 Toronto shooting homicides befell Somali-Canadian men. That means the Somali community, making up less than 100,000 of Toronto's population, had 18% of the city's shooting deaths. Our Toronto Somali-Canadian community faces poverty, education challenges, job challenges, imported guns from the United States, and the overwhelming fear to report the violence.
    Our resilient Somali-Canadian community hopes the government will investigate these deaths, develop federal-provincial job programs supporting Somali-Canadians, develop job opportunities with the RCMP, and examine witness protection.

Manitoba Women Entrepreneurs

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to honour two business people from my riding, Judith Mccaskill, owner of the Sandy Lake Hotel, and Marsha Trinder, owner of the T.W. Ranch, finalists for the 2013 Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
    I also want to congratulate Ms. Mccaskill for winning the contribution to community award. Judith Mccaskill has owned the Sandy Lake Hotel for 12 years and has turned her business into a gathering place for Manitobans from all walks of life. She has worked to make her community a better place, raising $223,000 for charity, establishing the Sandy Lake Merchants Association and improving the health of her community. Marsha Trinder has operated the T.W. Ranch since 2006, where she raises Tennessee walking horses for sale across Canada.
    Women entrepreneurs are one of the fastest-growing groups within the Canadian economy and are crucial to the success of rural communities, not only in my riding but throughout all of Canada.
    Congratulations to these two business people for their exemplary work and success.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Bullying

    Mr. Speaker, this week was particularly upsetting for me.
    In the last few days, young Taylor Moldvan, 17, from Milton, Ontario, and Ann-Élisabeth Belley, a 14-year-old from Jonquière, in my area, took their own lives. They were both victims of bullying.
    Again, Canada has failed to protect its children. As legislators, we have a unique role to play and we need to find solutions. This means funding and promoting bullying prevention. It means working with the provinces, parents and young people to ensure that tragedies like these do not happen again. It means that a national bullying prevention strategy must be adopted. This is a duty we owe our children.
    On behalf of the NDP, I wish to extend my condolences to the Belley and Moldvan families as well as their loved ones. I promise that we will continue to work until Canada adopts a national bullying prevention strategy.

[English]

One Heart Winnipeg

    Mr. Speaker, this past Sunday I attended the 4th Annual One Heart Winnipeg event. One Heart Winnipeg is part of a two-week focus called “Love Winnipeg”, encouraging the sharing of God's love through random acts of kindness within the community.
    Over 90 city churches joined together on Sunday morning to attend One Heart Winnipeg. This is the first event to be held at the Investors Group Field, the new home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
    Pastors and more than 12,000 attendees prayed for the City of Winnipeg, for its leaders and its safety, and to seek God's blessing. Speakers at One Heart included dignitaries, such as Mayor Sam Katz and Bombers legend Milt Stegall, along with many church leaders from across the region.
    I hosted students from Faith Academy on Monday here in Ottawa, and I want to congratulate these students, and everyone involved with Love Winnipeg and One Heart Winnipeg. These students wore their yellow T-shirts saying “Love Winnipeg”.
    Random acts of kindness are a wonderful way to live out one's faith and strengthen our communities.

Iran

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the 25th anniversary of the largest systematic violation of human rights committed by the Iranian regime.
    In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime tortured and executed five thousand political prisoners and buried them in mass graves for simple activities like distributing pamphlets. They deny it to this day. The tyranny of Ayatollah Ali Khomeyni showed no respect for democracy or human rights. The gangsters who carried out this brutal, deliberate massacre remain in powerful positions. We condemn these despicable crimes against humanity.
    This is the same Iran that as of yesterday is shamelessly leading the UN Conference on Disarmament. I am proud to note that Canada's envoy walked out in protest.
    With supposed elections in Iran in the coming month, we encourage Iranians and the Iranian diaspora to visit www.theglobaldialogue.ca to catalogue the repression that this brutal regime continues to this day.
    I call on all Canadians to join us in the effort to highlight the ongoing human rights atrocities in today's Iran.

Girls Government Program

    Mr. Speaker, today I was honoured to meet with grade seven and eight girls from schools in my riding: St. Cecilia, Annette Street public school, and High Park Alternative. A delegation from their program called Girls Government Initiative introduces young girls to politics and encourages them to consider politics as a career option.
    After more than a decade since being a co-founder of Equal Voice, I regret that only 25% of our parliamentarians are women. Though that number is much higher in the NDP, at 40%, Canada still has a long way to go to truly reflect Canadian diversity here in Parliament.
    The girls told me about issues they are determined to change, things like factory farming and mental health stigma. These young people are brimming with passion, creativity and optimism.
    Today I want to make a prediction. I predict some of these girls one day will stand in this House, and I say “bravo”.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

The Senate

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Senate adopted our Conservative government's 11 tough new rules governing Senate travel and expenses proposed by Conservative senators.
    Our government is focused on delivering meaningful reform to the Senate—including elections, term limits and tough spending oversight.
    Canadians understand that our Senate, as it stands today, must either change or, like the old upper houses of our provinces, vanish.
    While we are bringing tougher accountability measures for Senate expenses, the leader of the Liberal Party has come out as the champion of the status quo, demanding that the Senate remain unelected and unaccountable, because it is an advantage for Quebec.
    The Liberal leader is once again trying to pit Canadians against each other. He also said that those who spoke only one official language were lazy, which is unacceptable.
    We said we would fix the Senate’s rules governing travel and expenses, and we delivered.

[English]

Henry Morgentaler

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise to pay tribute to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, whom we lost this morning. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones.

[Translation]

    We recognize Dr. Morgentaler's courage and perseverance.

[English]

    We recognize his courage, his dedication and the way he changed the course of Canadian history. As a champion for reproductive justice and women's rights, he took our country forward. Thanks to Dr. Morgentaler's fight, a generation of Canadian women have had access to choice.
    Dr. Morgentaler was honoured with the Order of Canada for his tireless efforts for nearly half a century, putting his life and freedom at risk so that Canadian women could have access to safe abortion services.
    Twenty-five years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in his favour, declaring that women have the right to choose. Unfortunately, even today, access to reproductive services remains unequal. We must remain vigilant against repeated attempts to roll back these rights. New Democrats will continue Dr. Morgentaler's fight and the pursuit of equality.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, our party and our government is demanding real accountability in the Senate, including thorough, tough new expense rules we pushed through yesterday.
    On the other hand, the leader of the Liberal Party champions the status quo in the Senate. It is no wonder Canadians abandoned the Liberal Party in the last election. It is exactly this type of poor judgment on the Senate's status quo that Canadians reject.
    The leader of the Liberal Party's poor judgment does not end there. The Liberal leader has known for weeks that a Liberal senator is hiding $1.7 million in an offshore bank account. This senator only remains in the Liberal caucus because of the Liberal leader's poor judgment. He is clearly in over his head.

Digital Animation Graduate

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a talented young man from Ramea, a small, isolated town with a population of 525, in the riding of Random—Burin—St. George's. Zachary Green is a graduate of the digital animation program offered by the Bay St. George campus of the College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville.
    In 2012, Zachary produced a short film called The Collector, an exceptional piece of digital art for which he received national and international recognition. Recognized by the Toronto Applied Arts magazine, Zachary received the Digital and Character Animation Award. His film has been screened in Seattle at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth and at Chicago CineYouth, sponsored by the Chicago International Film Festival. Zachary credits the exemplary program and instruction he received at the College of the North Atlantic for his success.
    He is currently employed in St. John's as a 3D modeller with GRI Simulations Incorporated.
    I ask all members to join me in wishing Zachary Green continued success as he pursues a career in digital animation.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the media has revealed that a Liberal senator is the beneficiary of a $1.7 million trust set up in an offshore tax haven in the South Pacific.
    Weeks have gone by, yet this Liberal senator has refused to come clean with Canadians. She refuses to confirm she has made the proper disclosures of her offshore wealth to the Senate Ethics Officer. The leader of the Liberal Party and the Liberal Senate leader are aware of the situation but are refusing to take responsibility.
    Canadians deserve to know. Why is this Liberal senator stashing money in offshore tax havens? The fact that Liberals are hiding this information and that this tax-evading senator still remains in the Liberal caucus is yet more evidence of the Liberal leader's lack of judgment.

  (1420)  

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, last night both Conservative and Liberal senators feigned shock and horror to learn that Mike Duffy had been engaged in partisan politics while milking the Senate, but the reality is it is a time-honoured tradition. Lots of senators are full-time political operatives for their parties, with their salaries, their staff and their travel fully paid by the taxpayer. This has been going on for decades, but not a single Conservative or Liberal blew the whistle on any of these senators. Why would they? Just like there is no fix for an egg-sucking dog, once the senators got a taste for that juicy subsidy, there is no way to ever make them stop.
     No wonder the Prime Minister's Office orchestrated a cover-up. How many other senators were working the last federal election while collecting a senator's salary?
     In a few moments, the Prime Minister will again face simple, straightforward questions from the Leader of the Opposition. I implore the Prime Minister, out of respect for Canadians, to leave his talking points alone and tell Canadians the real story behind the Mike Duffy cover-up.

[Translation]

Members of the New Democratic Party

    Mr. Speaker, our government has cut taxes for all Canadians more than 150 times since 2006. They have saved an average of $3,200.
    Canadians are proud of that record, and they expect each and every one of us to pay our fair share. Our government has taken strong action to crack down on tax evasion.
    Unfortunately, paying their fair share does not seem to be a priority for opposition members. Canadians were shocked to learn that more than two members of the NDP owe tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes. They are also furious that the NDP knew about the problem and hid the information from honest taxpayers.
    How can they want to impose new taxes on Canadians without first setting a good example by paying their own taxes?
    Taxpayers in my riding are disappointed in the NDP's attitude and want them to hear this message: pay your taxes.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[ Oral Questions]

[English]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister acknowledged the existence of the email in which Mike Duffy wrote that he stayed silent on the orders of the Prime Minister's Office.
    Who in the Prime Minister's Office has a copy of that email?
    Mr. Speaker, this is an email, I understand, of Mr. Duffy, a former Conservative senator. As we know well, the activities of Mr. Duffy are being looked into by the appropriate authorities. Of course, any and all information we have will be shared with those authorities.
    Mr. Speaker, has the RCMP contacted the Prime Minister's Office to obtain that email or all other documents that it has in relation to this matter?
    Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge we have had no such contact. Of course that would be very different, I understand, than the leader of the NDP who, after 17 years of apparently knowing about the activities of the mayor of Laval, who is now charged with various offences, did not reveal that information to the public and the police until very recently.
    Any information we have that is relevant we will reveal immediately.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, who did the Prime Minister task with—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, who did the Prime Minister task with managing the crisis surrounding illegal Senate expenses?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not fully understand the question.
    Obviously, the Senate is responsible for managing its expenses and business, but because of recent events, the Senate has asked other authorities to investigate. Investigations are ongoing. We are adamant that those who acted inappropriately will be held accountable.
    Mr. Speaker, when was the topic of illegal Senate spending first raised in cabinet?
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP leader knows full well that we cannot discuss cabinet matters.

  (1425)  

[English]

    As a matter of course, while we are sworn not to discuss cabinet matters publicly, I can certainly say that these matters were not matters of public business at any point. In fact, as we have said, I became aware of this matter on May 15. I immediately made that information public, which is very different than the leader of the NDP who withheld information on the wrongdoing of the mayor of Laval for 17 years.
    Mr. Speaker, that is interesting. That was not yesterday's excuse.

[Translation]

    Does the Prime Minister have proof that the $90,000 cheque his chief of staff gave Mike Duffy was a personal cheque?
    Mr. Speaker, that is what Mr. Wright told me. I immediately insisted that the public be informed. Mr. Wright is currently being investigated by the ethics officer.

[English]

    Once again, as I have said repeatedly, as soon as this information was conveyed to me by the former chief of staff, I immediately insisted he go to the appropriate authorities and the information be made public, which is totally different than the leader of the NDP who withheld that information from the public and from the police for 17 years.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday it was reported that the RCMP asked the media for that February 20 email that details the $90,000 arrangement between the Prime Minister's chief of staff and Mike Duffy.
    As we know, the Prime Minister's Office has a copy of that email. Will the Prime Minister proactively make that email public?
    Mr. Speaker, I have said repeatedly, we have put in place government authorities to deal with any kind of matters such as this that may arise. We expect the authorities to deal with those matters and they will have the full assistance of the government in doing so.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said that he did not learn about his chief of staff's $90,000 payment to Mike Duffy until Wednesday the 15th, yet media contacted his office on the afternoon of Tuesday the 14th to comment on the payment. His office and Mike Duffy then released identical statements on the source of that payment.
    How does the Prime Minister reconcile his assertion that he did not know about the scandal until Wednesday if his office responded the afternoon before?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, Mr. Wright informed me and informed others of this matter on the morning of May 15. That is why I did not know that in the afternoon of May 14.
    On the contrary, it was my understanding, the understanding of the caucus and the understanding of the government that Mr. Duffy had repaid his expenses using his own resources.
    Mr. Speaker, even the meagre answers provided to us by the Prime Minister do not add up.

[Translation]

    It is a simple question. How can the Prime Minister explain that he said he knew nothing of his chief of staff's $90,000 cheque until Wednesday, May 15, yet the PMO and Mike Duffy's office released identical, coordinated statements on the afternoon of May 14?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, those are the facts. I do not like them, but they are clear.

[English]

    We have been very clear about what the facts are in the situation. When I became aware of such information, I immediately revealed that information to the public.
    On the other hand, the leader of the Liberal Party should explain why he has known for weeks that a member of his caucus, a Liberal senator, is connected to an undisclosed offshore bank account worth $1.7 million and he has chosen to take no action whatsoever.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just told us that, until May 15, he thought that Mike Duffy was repaying his illegal Senate expenses himself. That raises another question.
    On what basis did the Prime Minister assume that Mike Duffy had even agreed to repay his expenses? Who informed the Prime Minister of that?
    Mr. Speaker, my understanding was the same as everyone else's, that Mr. Duffy was repaying his expenses himself. He said so publicly.

[English]

    Those are the facts. Mr. Duffy himself said that publicly.
    However, as little as three years ago, the leader of the NDP said that he knew absolutely nothing about the affairs of the former mayor of Laval, which are now being investigated by the Charbonneau commission. It is up to him to explain why, when he knew such information, he did not think it relevant to tell the public or the courts.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, in a typical day, how many times does the Prime Minister speak with his chief of staff?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not understand the question.
    As I have said a number of—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, the former chief of staff did not inform me of the payment he made until May 15. I have been very clear about this matter. The facts are clear.
    Why did the leader of the NDP withhold information about the activities of the former mayor of Laval for 17 years?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, when did the Prime Minister first speak with Nigel Wright about the whole question of the Senate expenses scandal?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously we all spoke of this as soon as the story was in the news. As I have said repeatedly, I was not aware of any payment made by Mr. Wright before the 15th of May.
    What I do not understand is how the entire Quebec construction industry can be mired in a deep scandal involving mayors and public officials all across the province, subject to an inquiry called by the government he was a member of and that for all of those years he did not think it relevant to inform the authorities and the public that he had been offered considerations by the mayor of Laval.
    Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport explicitly said that the $90,000 cheque was issued “Because we didn’t believe taxpayers should have to pay the cost and Mr. Duffy was not in a position to pay them himself”. Who is we?
    Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wright has been clear that his motive was he wanted to see the taxpayers recompensed for expenses that we all believed were inappropriate. It is important that those expenses be recovered. It is also important that all the people who have been involved in this be subject to the appropriate investigations and held accountable.
    Once again, when we knew this information, it was all rendered public. I contrast this with the leader of the NDP who withheld vital information on the improper activities of the mayor of Laval for 17 years, even during a provincial royal commission.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, did Nigel Wright receive or will he receive severance pay?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wright will receive only the payments to which he is entitled under the law and nothing more.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, he is entitled to his entitlements.

[Translation]

    Under the law, how much severance pay is Nigel Wright entitled to? Would it just happen to be approximately $90,000?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are required to pay certain amounts under law, such as certain accumulated vacation pay. Those policies are clear. The government cannot work around them. Mr. Wright will be paid only those amounts of money.
    Once again, we have been absolutely clear about this matter, unlike the leader of the NDP.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office was first informed of this matter on May 14. Who in the Prime Minister's Office knew on May 14?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, I have been very clear that Mr. Wright informed me of this on May 15. We have been very clear on that. As soon as we knew that information, we made it public. If we had known earlier, we would have made it public earlier, unlike the leader of the NDP who, when confronted with information regarding the improper activities of a mayor, who is now charged with various corruption offences, refused to provide that information to the public or to the authorities for 17 years.
    Mr. Speaker, has the Prime Minister asked that all emails to and from Nigel Wright's email account in the Prime Minister's Office be examined to see if there is any reference whatsoever to the Mike Duffy affair, or to any and all documents concerning the Mike Duffy affair?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, we have put in place the appropriate authorities to investigate such matters when they arise. We will obviously assist those authorities and we will ensure that anybody who has broken any rules or laws is held accountable. We are doing so promptly, unlike the leader of the NDP who, in spite of the fact he knew about the inappropriate activities of the former mayor of Laval, and has now admitted it after having denied it in public repeatedly, refused to provide that information.
    Mr. Speaker, what has the Prime Minister learned from the audit of Pamela Wallin's expenses that led her to resign from the Conservative caucus?
    Mr. Speaker, as members well know, the audit of Senator Wallin's expenses is not complete. Senator Wallin has chosen to step outside of the caucus until those matters are resolved. She obviously will not be readmitted unless those matters are resolved. If she has in any way acted improperly, she will be subject to the appropriate authorities and the consequences for those actions.
    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Prime Minister could tell us who in his office was responsible for the discussions with Senator Tkachuk and Senator Stewart Olsen between February and May 15. That is critical for us to find out.
    Who exactly in the Prime Minister's Office was responsible for managing this file?
    Mr. Speaker, the original Senate committee report did reflect the results of the audit and the Senate took new action yesterday. A new report has been out. The RCMP has appropriately been brought in.
    More important than that, what Canadians are looking for is the action that was taken yesterday by the Senate, which is 11 new items of accountability to protect the interests of taxpayers. We think that is the action Canadians want to see and that is the action we are taking.
    Mr. Speaker, there was no answer to the question. It is clear that the minister is perhaps not aware of the fact that his colleagues in the Senate have to re-eat all the words that they refused to allow in the original report because the original report was completely changed as a result of we do not know what.
    I would like to ask the minister a very clear question. Who in the Prime Minister's Office had conversations with Senator Tkachuk and with Senator Stewart Olsen that led to the words being changed? Who was responsible for that?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, the premise of the question is entirely false.
    Yesterday the Senate did two very important things for Canadians. The first was to issue a report that was agreed to unanimously, including Liberal members, to refer this matter to the RCMP, which is entirely appropriate. Second, the Senate took action on 11 specific items to protect the interests of taxpayers going forward.
    Those are the things the Senate did and they are exactly what is in line with what taxpayers expect.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office was running this whole thing.
    Senator Tkachuk said yesterday that he had conversations with Nigel Wright.
    The question we are asking is very clear. It is not hard. Who, other than Mr. Wright, was in the Prime Minister's Office? The Prime Minister refuses to answer the question, but the minister is here.
    Who in the PMO was responsible for the conversations with Senator Tkachuk and for managing this important matter?
    Mr. Speaker, as he said in his statement when he stepped down, Mr. Wright took sole responsibility for this because he was the one involved.

[English]

Government Appointments

    Mr. Speaker, Arthur Porter is in jail under charges of fraud and money laundering. Just two years ago the Conservatives had full confidence in Mr. Porter. They made him the chair of the CSIS watchdog and appointed him to the Privy Council. Despite charges connecting Mr. Porter to one of the largest fraud cases in Canada's history, he remains a member of the Privy Council.
    Will the government remove him from the Privy Council?
    Mr. Speaker, as a matter of clarification, Mr. Porter was appointed to SIRC with the support of the NDP and the Liberal leadership.
    I would like to congratulate the authorities for a successful arrest.
    While I cannot comment on a specific case, anyone involved in corruption must face the full force of the law, unlike the leader of the NDP who knew about corruption, who knew about a bribe attempt, who denied it years later, and has now had to come clean.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether they realize that they are protecting a man who tried to make a run for it and leave his wife behind in prison. They are allowing that individual to remain a member of the Privy Council.
    The intelligence sharing fiasco in the Delisle case happened under Porter's watch and fraud at the MUHC happened under Porter's watch. It is time to end the charade.
    The request to extradite Arthur Porter is currently in the federal government's hands.
    Can the minister confirm this information and will he take immediate action to have Mr. Porter tried in Canada?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member says that someone was protected. What we do know is that the Leader of the Opposition denied a specific bribery attempt, and then less than three years later, came clean on this. For 17 years, the Leader of the Opposition knew about a bribery attempt, denied it and has finally had to come clean.
    Who is protecting whom?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, under Arthur Porter's watch at the Security Intelligence Review Committee, Jeffrey Delisle sold state secrets to Russia, and CSIS refused to share that information with the RCMP.
    For the past two days, the minister has been asking us just to trust him. The problem is that when we trust him, we end up with cases like Porter and Delisle on our hands.
    What corrective measures has the minister taken with regard to collaboration between Canadian security agencies?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, if the member has any information that any member of our security forces behaved contrary to Canada's interests, I would encourage her to immediately refer to SIRC.
    Let us talk about sharing information. What we do know is that it is very clear that the Leader of the Opposition failed to share information that was pertinent to a bribery attempt, which is now what we are hearing about in the province of Quebec.
    Why did that particular member fail to disclose pertinent information and fail to share it with the authorities?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that his non-answers are all about protecting his government and nothing more. The Delisle case is an embarrassing litany of failures. It is a failure to fix well-known security problems, a failure to share key information between agencies, a failure to maintain confidence and credibility in the eyes of our intelligence partners. Worst of all, it is a failure to be accountable to Canadians.
    I ask the minister once again: What is he doing to restore Canada's reputation with our allies in the wake of this embarrassing mess?
    Mr. Speaker, I have answered that question. If the member has any information that security forces behaved contrary to Canada's interests, I would encourage him to immediately refer it to the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
    Let us talk about hiding information. Let us talk about the Leader of the Opposition, who for 17 years, hid attempts by the mayor to bribe him. These matters are now being disclosed in a public enquiry.
    Why did the Leader of the Opposition not do his duty?

[Translation]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, our government is proud of Canada's refining sector.
    Canada is a world leader in this sector. It exports more than 400,000 barrels of oil products every year, which is much more than what we can use. We know that the NDP wants to impose a carbon tax that would destroy our refining sector.
    Could the Minister of Natural Resources share the latest data on Canada's refining sector with the House?
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Valero, which operates the refinery in Lévis, said that it may have to close down if line 9B is not reversed.
    However, the leader of the NDP has publicly stated that he is opposed to the reversal. The New Democrats are prepared to watch the refinery's 500 unionized workers lose their jobs, just to support their party's ideological crusade against the oil and gas industry.

[English]

Government Appointments

    Mr. Speaker, the mismanagement and ethical problems at ACOA continue today. We learned that the CEO of Enterprise Cape Breton is under investigation by the federal Ethics Commissioner.
    Enterprise Cape Breton is responsible for a budget of $50 million. I would like to ask the government to explain what it is the Ethics Commissioner is investigating. Given all the mess at ACOA, what is it going to do to restore confidence to that important economic development institution in Atlantic Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation is an independent arm's-length crown corporation. My expectation is that ECBC conducts its business with integrity, accountability and respect for Canadian taxpayers.
    We have ensured that this matter was brought to the attention of the Ethics Commissioner, and we do expect that the CEO will fully co-operate with that investigation.
    Mr. Speaker, Atlantic Canadians want economic development. Instead, ACOA is becoming a home for Conservative mismanagement and ethical breaches.
    Yesterday, Conservatives had the audacity to claim that they did not rig the ACOA hiring process, but the report clearly stated that “decisions in the (hiring) process were based on Mr. MacAdam's circumstances as a minister’s staff member”.
    Then the defence minister's chief of staff interfered, and he changed the report.
    So let us try again today. What consequences did the minister's chief of staff face for this attempted cover-up?
    Mr. Speaker, ACOA is very busy supporting economic development in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
    The Public Service Commission is an independent body, and as such, makes its own determinations on what or what not to include in this report. This was their report.
    The independent investigation by the Public Service Commission did not find any evidence of wrongdoing or influence on the part of the ministers, or of any political staff, for that matter. We have taken action in response to the commission's recommendations.

[Translation]

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, I spoke to Vital Tremblay, the president of Sylviculture Tramfor, in Chicoutimi. He and other business owners in the forestry sector are worried about losing expertise at the end of the season in October as a result of the EI reform. His workers will surely find another permanent job and will not want to return to the forest for a few weeks next year.
    It takes three years to train a good forestry worker. Will the Prime Minister reconsider his EI reform, which is jeopardizing the financial well-being of the forestry industry?

  (1450)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times in this House, the changes we are making to employment insurance are to make sure that Canadians are better connected to jobs.
    I ask the member opposite to maybe read the budget, economic action plan 2013, where we are investing in training to make sure that individuals have an opportunity to do exactly that: train for those jobs that are available, those in-demand jobs. We are connecting employers with employees and employees with employers. We are doing that to make sure we can grow the Canadian economy. I encourage the opposition to get on board.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this is precisely what spurred a constituent of mine from Acadie—Bathurst to start a petition in the fall of 2012, calling on the government to withdraw its EI reform. More than 34,000 people signed this petition. That is in addition to the 30,000 signatures collected in Quebec by the CSN and the FTQ and at the massive demonstrations attended by thousands of workers.
    The Atlantic premiers have joined forces to oppose the reform, along with the Quebec premier.
    Will the Prime Minister continue to ignore half of the country, or does he not give a damn?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I have just said, I would encourage the opposition to get on board with what we are doing with economic action plan 2013. We are creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians to be better connected to jobs, whether that be through job alerts or whether that be through the opportunities in economic action plan 2013: 5,000 more internships; the Canada jobs grant, which is an excellent opportunity to train. These are all items we encourage the opposition members to support. We are creating jobs for Canadians, and we encourage them to support us in doing that.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, on February 13, the Prime Minister told this House that he had personally reviewed Senator Wallin's travel expenses and found them to be perfectly fine. However, once the audit began, Senator Wallin came to a different conclusion, and she has already reimbursed tens of thousands of dollars of expenses that she must have thought were inappropriate or perhaps fraudulent.
    Canadians are wondering. Why would the Prime Minister say that these expenses were perfectly fine, when he should have known that the auditors had to go back to the Senate committee to ask for permission to go even further back, because these expenses were so appalling?
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, independent authorities are looking into these matters, but I would again refer my colleague back to the statements the Prime Minister made just last Tuesday when he spoke to all Canadians.
     He made a very clear statement that everybody in this country who has the privilege to serve in public office should understand that they should never be here if they are planning to enrich themselves, and if they are planning to do so, they should leave right now. That is the truth, whether it is in this House or whether it is in the Senate. It is true whether it is Mike Duffy or whether it is Liberals who have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister had also said two months previously that the expenses were perfectly fine, but Canadians are wondering, in light of the Duffy-Wright scandal, if the Prime Minister can categorically reassure Canadians that the money Senator Wallin has already reimbursed, with potentially tens of thousands of dollars of further reimbursements to be given by Senator Wallin, were, in fact, her funds personally, or did somebody in the Prime Minister's Office, or perhaps Conservative Party headquarters, reimburse her or give her a gift to cover this appalling reimbursement?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, it is expected that any individual repay taxpayers from his or her own funds. That is why Nigel Wright took sole responsibility for the behaviour he engaged in, which the Prime Minister said was entirely unacceptable. He resigned, and the Prime Minister accepted that resignation, as taxpayers expect.

[Translation]

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Nunavik Inuit are struggling with a serious housing crisis, but the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development seems to be too busy to respond to a simple request for a meeting dating back to April 8. This request has remained unanswered for nearly two months.
    In committee of the whole the minister stated that, “It takes two to tango”. That is fine, but I wonder why the minister is still refusing to meet with Makivik Corporation representatives.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's comment is completely untrue.
    Yesterday he came to my office to give me a letter from the company in question requesting a meeting. Today, he has the gall to stand up and accuse me of refusing to meet with the Makivik Corporation.
    I will continue to do what I have been doing since I was sworn in, namely to meet with as many aboriginal communities as I can, with aboriginal chiefs and youth throughout the country. I will continue doing so according to my schedule, not his.

  (1455)  

[English]

Privacy

    Mr. Speaker, they are too busy to meet with Makivik, but they are not too busy to spy on first nations activists like Cindy Blackstock. Spying on Dr. Blackstock is a new low in the Conservative campaign to stall the human rights complaint. The Privacy Commissioner clearly said that the minister's department crossed the line.
    Which other activists are having their privacy rights breached by the government? Will it now drop the campaign against Dr. Blackstock and provide the tribunal with the documents it needs?
    Mr. Speaker, if the member is preoccupied with the kids living on reserve in this country, she should also be preoccupied with all of the families on reserve that are deprived of basic rights, which we in the House are trying to give them. I am talking about the matrimonial property legislation, which will come for third reading soon. I hope she votes on the right side of it if she really cares about native families.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, our government remains focused on honouring Canada's veterans for their remarkable contributions to our nation. Canada has and continues to support UN-led missions abroad, and we honour our veterans who have sacrificed in defence of equality, freedom and the rule of law.
    Could the Minister of Veterans Affairs please update the House on the significance of today being the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Chatham-Kent—Essex for his question about Canadian peacekeeping veterans.
    Today I had the opportunity to have lunch with representatives of peacekeeping veterans organizations to express our government's gratitude for their service.

[English]

    Today, on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, let us salute the thousands of Canadian Armed Forces personnel who served under a UN banner to defend freedom and the values we hold dear. Few words can express our shared appreciation and respect for each and every Canadian UN peacekeeping veteran for the great things they have accomplished.
    Lest we forget.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, look at the Conservative record: an access to information system in tatters, stonewalling Parliament—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
    The hon. member for Random—Burin—St. George's.
    Mr. Speaker, imagine cheering for an access to information system in tatters, stonewalling Parliament and the Parliamentary Budget Officer, obstructing the election fraud investigation, defending Peter Penashue's indefensible political donations, blatant partisan patronage at ACOA, whitewashing the investigation into that patronage, whitewashing the audit of Conservative senator expenses, and then whitewashing the whitewash.
    What happened to transparency and accountability? When did the government become the thing the Conservatives always claimed to hate?
    Mr. Speaker, if my hon. colleague wants to compare records, let us take a look at the Liberal leader's record so far. He said that Canadians who do not speak both of Canada's official languages are “lazy”. He said that Canada is not doing well right now because it is Albertans who control our agenda. He said that he does not believe in reforming the Senate because we have 24 senators in Quebec and there are only 6 for Alberta and British Columbia, and that benefits us.
    He does not have a pan-Canadian vision. He attacks different regions of this country. We will be glad to compare the record and leadership of our Prime Minister against the divisive failed-already leadership of the Liberal Party.

[Translation]

Intergovernmental Relations

    Mr. Speaker, the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, like other major tourist events, is an economic driver for Montreal, Quebec and Canada.
    The Conservatives refuse yet again to work with their provincial and municipal partners to keep the Grand Prix in Montreal for the next 10 years.
    It is a matter of choice: they can continue to invest in their propaganda or they can invest in something truly worthwhile, like the Formula One.
    Will the federal government work with its partners to keep the Grand Prix in Montreal?

  (1500)  

    In 2010, our government signed a five-year agreement, bringing us up to the 2014 Grand Prix. They were not involved in that agreement and they are just waking up now. We took care of this long before they even realized it. We will continue to work with our partners, as usual.
    That being said, we do not negotiate in the public arena. We are well aware of how important the Grand Prix is for Montreal, Quebec and Canada. We will continue to work with our partners, and of course we will respect Canadian taxpayers' ability to pay for these things.

[English]

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, this government is proud to celebrate all the things that make Canada the united, strong and free country we are today, the best country in the world.

[Translation]

    On July 1, Canadians across the country, including in Orléans, will get together with family and friends to celebrate the 146th anniversary of Confederation.

[English]

    Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage please tell this House about the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill this year?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada Day is a great day, on which I know all members of Parliament take pride in celebrating this country. Indeed, Canada has a great deal to celebrate. We are leading the G7 in job creation. We have the lowest taxes in 50 years. Violent crime rates are down.
     We are going to be celebrating Canada Day this year, our 146th birthday, in every part of this country. Here in the national capital, we are going to be welcoming artists like Marie-Mai, Carly Rae Jepsen and Jennifer Gillis, great artists from across the country, to come here and show the brilliance of Canada's artistic community, while we celebrate a country that has never been more “strong and free” than it is right now.

Government Expenditures

    Mr. Speaker, the Parole Board's last meeting in Edmonton cost Canadian taxpayers a whopping $250,000. It flew in guest speakers and put everyone up in a five-star hotel. Then the government footed the bill to Canadians. This is yet another example of the Conservative government's double standards. The Conservatives are playing favourites by wasting resources on a three-day meeting for the Parole Board while they tell ministries to cut budgets and front-line staff.
    For a government that is so set on reducing spending, how could the Conservatives let this happen?
    Mr. Speaker, the New Democrats opposed our measures to cut these conferences in half, in 2012. Because of the action taken by our Conservative government, spending on hospitality is down 25.5%. The opposition members have consistently opposed us in taking strong action to protect taxpayer dollars. In fact, when I indicate that there should be a measure of control over expenditures, the opposition members say I am interfering.

[Translation]

41st General Election

    Mr. Speaker, there is yet another chapter in the robocall saga.
    The CRTC has just imposed $369,000 in fines on political parties and individuals who broke the rules on robocalls. The NDP, the Liberal member for Westmount—Ville-Marie and the Conservatives, including the member for Wild Rose, were singled out by the CRTC. All of them made misleading calls to Canadians. The Conservatives alone received over $92,000 in fines for their inappropriate calls.
    Can the government confirm that the Conservatives are going to pay the fine and, more importantly, that they will stop using these unfair tactics?
    Mr. Speaker, we are pleased that the CRTC has clarified the rules. We are going to pay the fine today. We are going to work with the CRTC so that we are able to follow all the rules in the future.

  (1505)  

[English]

Presence in Gallery

    On the occasion of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of a delegation of veterans representing Canadian peacekeeping groups.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing or Special Order or usual practice of the House, the deferred recorded division on Motion M-432, standing in the name of the Member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, scheduled to take place today, immediately before the time provided for Private Member's Business, be deferred anew until today, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions, immediately after the vote on the second reading stage of Bill C-49, Canadian Museum of History Act.
    Does the hon. Chief Government Whip have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Last Post Fund

    The House resumed from May 27 consideration of the motion.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion.
    Call in the members.

  (1515)  

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

(Division No. 700)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
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
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rankin
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Saganash
Sandhu
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 125

NAYS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hoback
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
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
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
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: -- 151

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.

National Charities Week Act

    The House resumed from May 28 consideration of the motion that Bill C-458, An Act respecting a National Charities Week and to amend the Income Tax Act (charitable and other gifts), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to an order made Wednesday, May 22, 2013, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-458 under private members' business.

  (1520)  

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

(Division No. 701)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Welland)
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Andrews
Angus
Armstrong
Ashfield
Ashton
Aspin
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Baird
Bateman
Bélanger
Bellavance
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Blaney
Block
Boivin
Borg
Boughen
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brosseau
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Byrne
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Caron
Carrie
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Chisu
Chong
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Clarke
Cleary
Clement
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crockatt
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Daniel
Davidson
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
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
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Fry
Galipeau
Gallant
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Glover
Godin
Goguen
Goldring
Goodale
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Gravelle
Grewal
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hoback
Holder
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
James
Jean
Julian
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Lauzon
Laverdière
Lebel
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leitch
Lemieux
Leslie
Leung
Liu
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKenzie
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McLeod
Menegakis
Merrifield
Michaud
Miller
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nicholson
Norlock
Nunez-Melo
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Pacetti
Papillon
Paradis
Patry
Payne
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Poilievre
Preston
Quach
Rae
Raitt
Rajotte
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Saganash
Sandhu
Saxton
Schellenberger
Scott
Seeback
Sellah
Sgro
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Stewart
Stoffer
Storseth
Strahl
Sullivan
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Toone
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: -- 277

NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

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

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


Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Technical Tax Amendments Act, 2012

    The House resumed from May 28, 2013, consideration of the motion that Bill C-48, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, the Excise Tax Act, the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, the First Nations Goods and Services Tax Act and related legislation, be read the third time and passed.
    Pursuant to an order made Wednesday, May 22, 2013, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-48.

  (1530)  

[English]

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

(Division No. 702)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Welland)
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Andrews
Angus
Armstrong
Ashfield
Ashton
Aspin
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Baird
Bateman
Bélanger
Bellavance
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Blaney
Block
Boivin
Borg
Boughen
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brosseau
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Byrne
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Caron
Carrie
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Chisu
Chong
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Clarke
Cleary
Clement
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crockatt
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Daniel
Davidson
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
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
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Fry
Galipeau
Gallant
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Glover
Godin
Goguen
Goldring
Goodale
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Gravelle
Grewal
Groguhé
Harper
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hoback
Holder
Hsu
Hughes
Jacob
James
Jean
Julian
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Lauzon
Laverdière
Lebel
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leitch
Lemieux
Leslie
Leung
Liu
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKenzie
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McLeod
Menegakis
Merrifield
Michaud
Miller
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nicholson
Norlock
Nunez-Melo
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Pacetti
Papillon
Paradis
Patry
Payne
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Poilievre
Preston
Quach
Rae
Raitt
Rajotte
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Saganash
Sandhu
Saxton
Schellenberger
Scott
Seeback
Sellah
Sgro
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Stewart
Stoffer
Storseth
Strahl
Sullivan
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toews
Toone
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: -- 277

NAYS

Members

Hyer

Total: -- 1

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

    (Bill read the third time and passed)

Canadian Museum of History Act

    The House resumed from May 28 consideration of the motion that Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Museums Act in order to establish the Canadian Museum of History and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    The House shall now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment of the member for Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher to the motion at second reading of Bill C-49.
    The question is on the amendment.

  (1540)  

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

(Division No. 703)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
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
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rankin
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Saganash
Sandhu
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 124

NAYS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hoback
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKenzie
May
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
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
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: -- 153

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the amendment defeated.
    There is a correction on the third reading vote at Bill C-48. The final result was yeas: 276; nays: 1.
    The next question is on the main motion.
    The hon. Chief Government Whip is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you will find agreement to apply the results of the previous motion 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 to apply the vote, and the NDP will vote against the motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we will apply and we will vote no.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois will vote against the motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Thunder Bay—Superior North will be voting yes.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Green Party will vote in favour of the motion.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Edmonton East will be voting yes.
    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 704)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hoback
Holder
Hyer
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKenzie
May
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
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
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: -- 154

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
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
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rankin
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Saganash
Sandhu
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 124

PAIRED

Nil

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

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


Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band

    The House resumed from May 22 consideration of the motion.
    Pursuant to the order made earlier today, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion M-432 under private members' business.

  (1545)  

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

(Division No. 705)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
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
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rankin
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Saganash
Sandhu
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 124

NAYS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hoback
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
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
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
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: -- 152

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, government orders will be extended by 43 minutes.
    I understand there has been an agreement to allow the hon. member for Bourassa to say a few words.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1550)  

[Translation]

Resignation of Member

    Mr. Speaker, it seems that your life is going to be easier starting on Monday. You will have just a little more peace and quiet in the House. A familiar voice you have occasionally had to call to order will no longer be here.
    I rise before the House today with great emotion to address my fellow Canadians and my colleagues for the last time as the member for Bourassa.
     I am announcing my departure from federal political life as of June 2—16 years to the day from the first time the people of Bourassa gave me the privilege of representing them, a privilege they have given me on six consecutive occasions.
     I would like to express my appreciation to my constituents, who have placed their trust in me year after year, in good times and in hard times. Thanks as well to the members of my executive and the thousands of volunteers who made it possible for me to be here for all these years.
     I would also like to thank all of my staff—Maurice, Joe, Lise, Sylvia and Rolande—who have always served the people of Bourassa with the greatest professionalism in both Ottawa and Montréal-Nord. Not only did they carry out their duties, but they did so with enormous sensitivity and effectiveness in the most difficult cases. People often come to us as a last resort, and believe me, my staff worked miracles. Thank you, my friends. Thank you, Maurice.
     Obviously, 30 years in federal politics and 16 years as a member have forced my family to make many sacrifices. To my wife, Chantale, and my children, Geneviève and Alexandre, go all my appreciation and gratitude for their understanding and sacrifice. I thank my family for always being there for me. I am sorry that I was not always with you, but know that I love you beyond measure.
     I would also like to take this opportunity to wish a happy birthday to my mother, Lucie, who is watching us today. Happy birthday, Mom. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being here with us.

[English]

    I would like to thank and salute my colleagues in caucus and on both sides of the House. It has been a privilege to work next to them. Of course, we have had fights a few times because we do not understand each other or they do not understand my French expressions. Nevertheless, it has been a privilege to sit with them.

[Translation]

     Thanks also to the House of Commons employees, and the security guards whom I greeted every morning. They have all my respect. Thanks to the pages, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the Clerk and her staff and the other officers of Parliament. My gratitude goes also to the House interpreters—we do not call them translators, we call them interpreters—for their courage, professionalism and determination as they tried to understand the homegrown expressions I used in the House.
     Some hon. members: Bravo!
    Mr. Denis Coderre: And well we should applaud them. They must have had smoke coming out their ears at times.
     I have enjoyed sitting in the House of Commons, whether as a member or as a minister. I would also particularly like to thank the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien, who allowed me to make a real difference in the world of sport in Canada and to stand up for our country’s values at Citizenship and Immigration, especially after the events of September 11. I also want to thank former prime minister Paul Martin for appointing me to the position of minister for La Francophonie and special adviser for Haiti.
     I am especially proud to have negotiated the agreement to bring the World Anti-Doping Agency to Montreal, to have created a meaningful policy on sport in Canada and to have assisted our Olympic and Paralympic athletes and their coaches.
     I am proud to have taken action to ensure respect for the languages spoken by all of our athletes, be they anglophone or francophone. Thanks to the body that came to be known as the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, athletes are no longer at the mercy of their federations.
     In immigration, the agreements I signed made regionalizing immigration a priority. I salute my colleague, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

[English]

    The one I am the most pleased with was the one we signed with Manitoba. This was a historical agreement that allowed Manitoba to pick up its own immigrants. It was good for the economy and the people.

[Translation]

     I promoted francophone immigration across the country, simplified the points system and started major debates on issues such as creating a national identity card and using biometric data offline.
     Since I have been sitting in the House for 16 years now, I will take the liberty of sending a few messages to the government and to my colleagues as a whole, regardless of political party.
     Canada is a magnificent country, and its wealth derives from its diversity, from its variety. Let us never forget that Canada has two official languages and that no one should be considered a second-class citizen. French exists across the country, and the Government of Canada must ensure by its actions that francophones are respected.

  (1555)  

[English]

    It also means that judges of the Supreme Court should be bilingual.

[Translation]

     Multiculturalism is an important Canadian value, and we should never have to choose between that value and bilingualism. They are two complementary values that must not be forced to compete with each other.
     Let us respect the public service and stop using it as a scapegoat or cannon fodder. Public service employees do an incredible job. They are professionals and part of the solution.
     Let us stop pitting the regions against each other. Canada is strong when we respect the uniqueness of every province and territory.
     Quebec is a nation, and it must be respected. Let us make sure we do not constantly throw fat on the fire just to provoke flare-ups. Instead let us use this great diversity to strengthen our connections.
     Lastly, Parliament needs more transparency. Democracy is fragile, and it is our responsibility to protect it.
     My only regret is that I was never able to do justice to Louis Riel, the founder of Manitoba and a father of Confederation. The man is innocent, and we must put right the mistake that was made.
     In closing, I quote the Greek philosopher Epictitus, who said, “Do not expect events to unfold as you would wish. Accept them as they occur and you will be happy.”
     As for me, I am going home to Montreal, as Ariane Moffatt says in her song. I will stand as a candidate for the mayoralty of Montreal, Quebec's magnificent metropolis.
     Be forewarned, however: if anyone thought I acted up in the House just to make myself heard, know that my voice will travel from Montreal to Ottawa. Learn the word of the day: “unavoidable”.
     Mr. Speaker, I have loved sitting in the House. It has been an honour to be among you. There is nothing nobler than to enjoy the public's trust. However, we do not own the right to be here; we borrow it, and for varying lengths of time. Let us all remember that.
     Thank you, my friends. It has been an honour.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to pay tribute to the hon. member for Bourassa.
    First elected nearly 16 years ago and re-elected five consecutive times, the member for Bourassa has certainly left his mark in the House while performing a number of important duties, both in government and in opposition.
    Known for his fiery temper and his straightforward, colourful language, the member for Bourassa never failed to attract attention, either through his speeches in the House or his comments in traditional and social media, not to mention on the street.
    The fiery spirit that defines the member for Bourassa reflects his passion for the public service and his love of politics.
     I faced this seasoned and experienced politician when I first came to the Hill. Although he did not always go easy on me, it was clear to me that this man has a profound respect for the institution, for his peers and for the various parties.
    The hon. member for Bourassa was one of those colleagues who, from the very beginning, showed me that despite the heated debates, camaraderie can still thrive among parliamentarians, and most of all, that everyone wins by supporting it.
    On behalf of the government and myself, it is my pleasure to salute the hon. member for Bourassa for his contribution to the House and to federal politics.
    I wish him every success in his future endeavours.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to pay tribute to my friend and colleague, the hon. member for Bourassa. We were both elected to the House of Commons on June 2, 1997.
    I want to quickly wish his mother a happy birthday. I am sure she is very proud of her son.
    Since he was first elected, the member for Bourassa has had many roles. I had the opportunity to work with him when he was an MP, and also when he was minister and secretary of state. I also had the honour to work alongside him at meetings of the Standing Committee on Official Languages and during parliamentary trips. Official languages are very important to the member, and he cares a lot about ensuring that people who speak either language can access government services in both official languages.
    The member for Bourassa is known for being outspoken, passionate and dedicated, for having integrity and, of course, for being an active tweeter. He is also known for his voice. Whether he is in the front or back of the House, no one has a hard time hearing him. We will miss hearing his voice as we make our speeches.
    He was always available and always jumped wholeheartedly into his work. I will always remember the young hockey player—I am sure he does too—from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He had visa problems and could not join his team in Bathurst. The member for Bourassa was the citizenship and immigration minister at the time. He put his whole team to work on the issue. I remember it well. The morning of December 25, Christmas Day, I got a call saying that the issue was resolved and that the young hockey player was able to return to the country that very day and continue playing. What a great Christmas present for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
    The House will be losing an MP who truly cares about his constituents and about Canadians. After 16 years in Parliament, the member for Bourassa has left his mark, both in the House and in committee.
    On behalf of the NDP, I want to wish the hon. member all the best in his new endeavour. I look forward to following him on Twitter and Facebook. Good luck, my friend.

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, I assume that our leader, the member for Papineau, and the Liberal caucus asked me to give this speech on the 16 years the member for Bourassa has spent in federal political life not only because we have been friends for more than 16 years but also because I knew him in his previous life.
     At that time, in the late 1980s, I was a young professor. I had a quiet class; the students were studious and they listened. All of a sudden, we were joined by a student who was feisty and who could not be ignored, and the class was turned upside down. Half of the students supported him; the other half did not. He had an opinion on everything and, on top of that, he was a good student. When he came to my office, he never came alone. He always had his gang with him.
     I must tell you, Mr. Speaker, that they were federalists, and it was not because of me—I never discussed politics at the university, never—but because of him.
     I am telling this part of the story to explain that the member for Bourassa did not choose politics; politics chose him. He fell into it when he was a little boy, and this is where his impressive size comes from.
    An hon. member: Like Obelix.
    Hon. Stéphane Dion: Exactly; he is a political Obelix.
     In conclusion, I would like to say that the personality traits I saw when he was a student were also evident during his 16 years here in the House, at the cabinet table and everywhere in Canada.
    He is a man of sharp contrasts: both strong and whole, but also attentive and compassionate; he works like the devil, but he is exuberant and a good friend; colourful, but cultured, even though he tries to hide it. He is committed, which is why he works so hard. He has the courage of his convictions; he is not pushy, but he is persuasive. He is a formidable politician. He is close to people, a populist in the best sense of the word, but at the same time he is a man of principle. I have never known him to shy away from an issue. As he says himself, he is judicious and hard-hitting. He listens, but once he has heard the facts, he will stir things up, as he did with sport and immigration and in all his other areas of responsibility.

[English]

    I will conclude; otherwise I would speak for days and days about the member for Bourassa. As for the future, I just want to say, as the member for Saint-Laurent on the island of Montreal, Cavendish Boulevard is not completed. This is a shame, and it is about time.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to mark the departure of the member for Bourassa as he begins a new career.
     For the past 16 years, he has made his mark on Parliament Hill. He has been a minister three times, and president of the Privy Council. As the former secretary of state for amateur sport, he contributed to the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal. I think that he must wonder sometimes, as we do, what an Olympic hockey team from Quebec would look like.
     Although I may not always agree with his political views, I would like to describe the man and not our differences. The member for Bourassa was the first member to congratulate me and offer some encouragement in facing the challenge of being a member of Parliament when I was first elected in May 2011. In doing so, the member for Bourassa showed me that, beyond the debates, the parties and our political differences, respect is still one of the most important qualities in our society. This was striking.
     Over the years, the member for Bourassa has become a central player, central to government 2.0 and central to Canada’s political scene.
     In conclusion, regardless of where his new career will take him, what can I do but wish him all the best in maintaining his sense of commitment and his passion in his future endeavours?
     Good luck, Denis, my friend.

  (1605)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is also a great honour for me, as leader of the Green Party, to join my colleagues in paying tribute to the hon. member for Bourassa.
    At times like these, we are like a small community. We are only 308 people in a small town, with neighbours and friends. We may have political differences, but in our hearts, we stand together as Canadians.
    At this time, I want to pay tribute to the hon. member, who is also a friend and colleague. I also want to pass on best wishes from my deputy leader, Georges Laraque, who was one of the hon. member's colleagues in Bourassa. They worked together on a lot of major issues, such as homelessness.

[English]

    Our friend the member for Bourassa is not retiring from political life. Some might be disappointed, but after 16 years of service to his country, he is choosing to serve his community more locally. We all wish him well and we will miss him here.
    I join all of our friends—and thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity—in thanking the member of Parliament for Bourassa for service to Canada, and for doing it with such panache.
    I wish the hon. member for Bourassa well. I am sure the left ear of the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville will not be sad to see him go, but I am sure the rest of us will miss him.

Ways and Means

Notice of Motion 

    Pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I have the honour to table a notice of a ways and means motion to introduce an act to give effect to the Yale First Nation Final Agreement and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
    I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of this motion.
    I also have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Yale First Nation Final Agreement, the Yale First Nation Tax Agreement, the Yale First Nation Harvest Agreement and the Yale First Nation Final Agreement Appendices.

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 34 petitions.

Committees of the House

Finance  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to Bill C-60, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 21, 2013 and other measures.

[Translation]

    The committee has studied the bill and has agreed to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

  (1610)  

[English]

Retirement Income Bill of Rights

     She said: Mr. Speaker, since the Mackenzie King government first introduced the Old Age Pension Act 86 years ago, Liberals have fostered a long history of creating, enhancing and expanding pensions available to Canadian seniors.
    From old age security to the CPP and the supplements, we understand the extreme importance of protecting and preserving pension security, adequacy and coverage for all Canadians. Today I am pleased to present a bill called an act to promote and strengthen the Canadian retirement income system or, as I like to call it, the pension income bill of rights. I am seeking to enshrine in law the notion that all Canadians have the right to contribute to a decent retirement plan and to be provided with up-to-date, unbiased and conflict-free information on their retirement savings.
    Too often financial illiteracy, inadequate opportunity and economic instability strip away the hard-earned savings of our seniors, and that needs to stop. This is the first bill of its kind ever proposed to better protect our seniors and their nest eggs, and I am proud to present it.

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

Punjabi Heritage Month Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a bill to designate the month of April as Punjabi heritage month.
    Punjabis have been partners in building Canada for over 100 years. Punjabis have helped strengthen Canada's spirit of giving and generosity through significant contributions in the areas of arts and culture, language, business and sport, among others.
    From the beat of the dhol and the festive spirit of baisakhi to the fast-placed sport of kabaddi, and the traditional meal of makki di roti and saag, Punjabis have established growing, vibrant and dynamic forms of cultural expression that are unique to the Punjabi-Canadian experience. New Democrats believe it is time to recognize the contributions of Punjabi Canadians.
    The bill would give an opportunity for every Canadian to celebrate the accomplishments and culture of the Punjabi community, and designate every April in Canada as Punjabi heritage month.
    I hope all members of the House will support this legislation.
    [Member spoke in Punjabi and provided the following translation:]
    The recognition of Punjabis, a proud moment for Canada.
    [English]

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

Protection of Law Enforcement Animals Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to introduce my private member's bill, the protection of law enforcement animals act. This necessary piece of legislation would ensure that the innocent animals that help protect us all are protected themselves.
    I look forward to working with all members in the House to ensure that the legislation receives safe passage.

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

Artist's Resale Right Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, this has been a long time coming for many of us. It is an issue that has been around for quite some time.
     First, I want to thank my hon. colleague, the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore. We have had many conversations about the issue. We would also like to thank one of the inspirations, his wife Andrea, who is part of the Society of Canadian Artists.
    We call this “droit de suite”, which originated in many countries throughout Europe, and right now we hope to bring it to our country. It is an artist's resale right. When one makes an original piece of art and sell it, one gets the full benefit, but in subsequent sales the value of it may increase substantially but the original artist does not see any benefit from that. That is what the bill hopes to correct. In 70 countries around the world, they have recognized this special right, this resale right for artists.
    Currently there are people who are destitute and poor and they are selling their artwork in the streets for $20, $10, $15. Meanwhile, the art they had produced many years prior is selling in art galleries for thousands of dollars. They see nothing of that.
    Musical artists and other people do receive great benefits from their prior work, but artists do not. I had the honour of travelling to the convention this weekend to talk about this.
     Again, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Sackville—Eastern Shore. We have spoken of this many times. I hope that the House will adopt this necessary measure for the artists of our nation in order for them to receive compensation for their hard work and their vision. I thank all members in the House for hearing me and also thank my colleague for helping me do the bill.

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

  (1615)  

Petitions

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present eight different sets of petitions today. They are all dealing with the same subject matter. The first group is from my riding and the surrounding area. There is another one from Cambridge and Waterloo. The final six are all from the Guelph area.
    All of these petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.

Genetically Modified Alfalfa  

    Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present. The first one calls for a moratorium on GM alfalfa.
    The petitioners are calling upon Parliament to impose a moratorium on the release of genetically modified alfalfa in order to allow a proper review of the impact on farmers in Canada.

Food and Drugs Act  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is calling for an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act.
    The petitioners are calling upon the House to support an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, mandatory labelling for genetically modified foods.

Sisters in Spirit  

    Mr. Speaker, the last petition regards the stolen sisters.
     The petitioners note that research has convinced Canadians that violence against aboriginal women must be stopped and that we need to find strategies, resources and tools to stop the women from disappearing. Therefore, they are calling on the government to fund the important work of protecting women through the Sisters in Spirit initiative and to invest in initiatives recommended by the Native Women's Association of Canada to help prevent more women from disappearing.

Experimental Lakes Area  

    Mr. Speaker, petitions continue to come in requesting that the government rethink its decision to not fund and staff the experimental lakes area due to the national and international importance of this institution for over 50 years.

Kettle Island  

    Mr. Speaker, this is the first of what I suspect will be numerous petitions signed by the good citizens of Ottawa asking to bring to the attention of the House and the government the choice that consultants have made for an interprovincial crossing on Kettle Island.
    The petitioners state that a bridge that promotes urban sprawl, heavy truck traffic in urban communities, car commuting, and more traffic congestion is an unacceptable 1950s-style planning solution, and a failure of the National Capital Commission's mission to protect and enhance green space and build a world-class national capital region.
    The petitioners ask that the Government of Canada not proceed with the funding of this bridge.

  (1620)  

Impaired Driving  

    Mr. Speaker, I have 21 separate petitions to present, all on the same subject.
    The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to implement a new mandatory minimum sentence for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.
     The first petition is primarily from residents of the Ottawa area and deals with the subject of the CBC, our national public broadcaster.
    The petitioners are calling for stable, long-term and predictable funding and the independence of the CBC. The petition is particularly timely, given the amendments to the sections of Bill C-60 which would affect crown corporations.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from residents of the Vancouver area.
    The petitioners are calling on this Parliament to protect west coast British Columbia from the threat of supertankers bearing oil, or more accurately the pre-crude substance known as bitumen and dilbit, and to keep it a tanker-free coast.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 1284, 1285 and 1287.

[Text]

Question No. 1284--
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc:
     With regard to government communications: (a) what is the (i) headline or subject line, (ii) date, (iii) file or code number, (iv) subject matter of each press release that contains the phrase “Harper government” issued by Infrastructure Canada since February 6, 2006; (b) for each such press release, was it distributed (i) on Infrastructure Canada’s website, (ii) on Marketwire, (iii) on Canada Newswire, (iv) on any other commercial wire or distribution service, specifying which such service; and (c) for each press release distributed by a commercial wire or distribution service mentioned in (b)(ii) through (b)(iv), what was the cost of using that service?
Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a) and (b), links to all Infrastructure Canada press releases can be found by doing a search on the following websites: for Infrastructure Canada, http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/media/media-eng.html#nr; for Marketwire, http://www.marketwire.com/?lang=en-US.
    With regard to (c), Infrastructure Canada has a contract with Marketwire. Marketwire rates vary depending on the distribution; however, pursuant to paragraphs 20(1)(c) and 20(1)(d) of the Access to Information Act, information regarding rates and invoicing is considered third party information. As this information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the competitive position and the integrity of future competitions of a third party, the information requested in the above question cannot be disclosed without appropriate consultation.
Question No. 1285--
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc:
     With regard to government communications: (a) what is the (i) headline or subject line, (ii) date, (iii) file or code number, (iv) subject matter of each press release that contains the phrase “Harper government” issued by Transport Canada since May 1, 2012; (b) for each such press release, was it distributed (i) on Transport Canada’s website, (ii) on Marketwire, (iii) on Canada Newswire, (iv) on any other commercial wire or distribution service, specifying which such service; and (c) for each press release distributed by a commercial wire or distribution service mentioned in (b)(ii) through (b)(iv), what was the cost of using that service?
Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a) and (b), links to all Transport Canada press releases can be found by doing a search on the following websites: for Transport Canada, http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/releases-2012.htm; for Canada Newswire, http://www.newswire.ca/en/index.
    With rebard to (c), Transport Canada has a contract with Canada Newswire, CNW. CNW rates vary depending on the distribution; however, pursuant to paragraphs 20(1)(c) and 20(1)(d) of the Access to Information Act, information regarding rates and invoicing is considered third party information. As this information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the competitive position and the integrity of future competitions of a third party, the information requested in the above question cannot be disclosed without appropriate consultation.
Question No. 1287--
Mr. Dany Morin:
     With regard to the amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act in A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures: (a) what is the amount of funding provided by Transport Canada (TC) to First Nations organizations so they can follow through on the amendments; (b) which First Nations organizations participated in the decision-making process identifying which waterways would be protected under the Act; (c) what are the details of the commitments made by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to the First Nations and organizations consulted, namely (i) the meeting dates and times, (ii) the details of meeting minutes and agendas; (d) which First Nations groups or organizations received TC funding to analyze and comment on the bill; (e) how TC worked with First Nations organizations at the national, regional, provincial and international levels; and (f) what is the total amount of funding provided by TC to the Canadian industry so it could analyze and comment on the bill?
Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a),Transport Canada does not provide funding to third parties to attend consultation sessions.
    With regard to (b), (c), (e), and (f), in the fall of 2012, the government introduced Bill C-45 and offered technical briefings to aboriginal and other stakeholder groups once the bill was tabled before Parliament. The parliamentary process continues to be relied upon as the formal consultation process in law-making. Modifications made to the act in fall 2012 reflect long-standing consultation started in 2009 for minor works amendments with many groups across the country, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Canadian Construction Association, the Assembly of First Nations and provincial governments.
    With regard to (d), (d) is not applicable.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Furthermore, if Questions Nos. 1277, 1282, 1289, 1292, 1296 and 1300 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 1277--
Hon. Ralph Goodale:
     With regard to the government’s answers to Order Paper questions in the current session of Parliament: (a) why did Transport Canada not provide the detailed response requested in Q-898 and Q-1131; (b) why did Infrastructure Canada not provide the detailed response requested in Q-654, Q-898 and Q-1131; and (c) why did the Economic Development Agency of Canada for Quebec Regions not provide the detailed response requested in Q-654, Q-898 and Q-1131?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1282--
Mr. Scott Simms:
     With regard to all physical assets owned by the government, since 2006, what assets have been sold, broken down by (i) date sold, (ii) market value, (iii) sale price, (iv) purchaser, (v) initial purchase price, (vi) time planned for service, (vii) time actually in service, (viii) reason for sale?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1289--
Hon. John McCallum:
     With respect to any repayable portion of contributions made under the Economic Action Plan in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011: (a) what businesses received funding; (b) when did they receive the funding; (c) how much repayable funding did they receive; (d) how much of the repayable funding has been repaid as of March 27, 2013; and (e) how much of the repayable contribution is expected to never be repaid?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1292--
Ms. Judy Foote:
    With regard to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia: (a) how many employees are currently employed and how many were employed in the fiscal year 2010-2011; (b) what are the current base salaries for each individual employee and what were the base salaries for each individual employee in the fiscal year 2011-2012; (c) broken down by month, how many overtime hours and how much overtime pay did each employee receive from 2010-present; (d) broken down by month, how many hours of overtime were paid overall since 2010; (e) broken down by month, since 2010, how many days in a row does the average employee work before receiving two consecutive days off; and (f) how many days in a row does the average employee work before receiving one day off?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1296--
Mr. Ryan Cleary:
     With regard to foreign fishing vessels: (a) how many foreign fishing vessels have had permission to fish inside Canada's 200-mile limit off the east coast of Canada since 2003; (b) what are the names of the foreign vessels and their home countries; (c) what species have the foreign vessels fished; (d) of the foreign vessels that have fished inside Canada's 200-mile limit since 2003, have any been cited for illegal fishing violations; and (e) what are the names of the Canadian companies that have chartered the foreign fishing vessels since 2003?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1300--
Mr. David McGuinty:
     With respect to advertising paid for by the government, broken down by fiscal year, for each fiscal year from fiscal year beginning April 1, 2006 up to and including the first half of fiscal year 2012: (a) how much was spent for each type of advertising, including, but not limited to (i) television, specifying the stations, (ii) radio, specifying the stations, (iii) print, i.e. newspapers and magazines, specifying the names of the publications, (iv) the internet, specifying the names of the websites, (v) billboards, specifying the total amount of billboards and the locations of the billboards, broken down by electoral district, (vi) bus shelters, specifying the locations, (vii) advertising in all other publically-accessible places; (b) for each individual purchase of advertising, who signed the contracts; (c) for every ad, who was involved in producing it; and (d) for every ad, what were the production costs, both direct and indirect, broken down per advertisement?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, the Arms Trade.

Motions for Papers

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

Points of Order

Standing Committee on Finance  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a very specific point of order with regard to Bill C-60, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 21, 2013 and other measures, and the work that was done by the committees that were studying this bill, particularly the finance committee, which invoked some measures we believe are not in order and fell well outside of its mandate.
    As some context for those Canadians who are not familiar with Bill C-60, this is another piece of omnibus legislation. We rose earlier on similar points of order with respect to how the bill was handled.
    In its nature, being an omnibus bill under the current government's watch, with the expansion of omnibus legislation to include so many different matters, the government has faced a difficulty of its own making in that it is not purely a financial bill and it is not simply a bill to implement the budget; it would do much more. While it has an anti-democratic nature and tone for us, in various ways we have struggled with the ability for members of Parliament to properly study and amend legislation that is so broad.
    I wish that you would review the motion adopted by the standing committee on May 7, as well as the proceedings that resulted from this specific motion, and that you rule to determine whether these proceedings were in order or not and whether the committee overstepped its authority when adopting this particular motion. I will refer in detail to what the motion accomplished and how it fell outside of the mandate of the committee.
    We raised a very similar point of order, if you will remember, around Bill C-45. That was the second omnibus bill that followed on Bill C-38. We had deep concerns about the fact that the Standing Committee on Finance, during its consideration of that massive omnibus bill, went beyond its mandate and usurped the authority of the House when it invited other standing committees to study particular sections of Bill C-45. On their own mandate they started to carve the bill up and send it out. It then allowed these committees that were studying the bill to move amendments and then saw it as if those amendments had been moved by members of the finance committee.
    We argued at the time that this went beyond the mandate and the reference from the House, from you as the Speaker.
    A similar argument could be made about Bill C-60. It was introduced on April 29.
     On May 7, after the government used time allocation to shut down the debate once again on discussions at second reading, it ended with the passage of the following motion, which stated:
...that Bill C-60, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 21, 2013 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to [the Standing Committee on Finance].
    Hansard on that day of May 7 specifically quotes you as saying:
     I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
    It is pro forma and it is how bills are referred to the committee.
    The committee acted outside of its powers and authority, those powers conferred on it by this House, when it adopted a motion on that very same day asking other committees to study sections of the bill, namely the standing committees on industry, science and technology; veterans affairs; human resources, skills and development; the status of persons with disabilities; citizenship and immigration; as well as foreign affairs and international development. That is where the government sought to parse out the bill.
    It is very difficult to deal with omnibus legislation that is so obviously varied that it implicates so many different committees. The government has pushed, and I would argue broken the democratic limits of our legislature, by packing so much into these individual bills. In essence it is hiding from Canadians what its agenda is as these bills then come back to the House for one single vote on so many matters. This was something that the Conservatives concerned themselves with greatly when they were in opposition. You have heard me mention many of the quotes from the Prime Minister and various ministers in his cabinet on how much they disliked this tactic when the Liberals used it. It is now a tactic that the Conservatives seem to enjoy using with much relish.
    Although I believe the Standing Committee on Finance went beyond its mandate to ask these five other committees to study the bill, this is not the principal concern that I want to raise with you today.
    The committee went even further this time in going beyond its mandate, by adopting a motion to allow members of Parliament who are not members of a caucus represented on the committee to file amendments to the bill. It went further by directing that any amendments suggested to the committee would be deemed to be proposed during the clause-by-clause consideration on Bill C-60, even if the member who presented the amendment was not present.

  (1625)  

    Let us take a moment with this. Out of some seeking of convenience, the committee members passed the motion at their own discretion, not by any power given to them by the House, to allow amendments that came from people who do not sit on the committee, who are not recognized parties in the House. They allowed amendments to suddenly appear and be presented as if they came from somebody on committee. This goes against three fundamental principles that we hold dear in the House.
    Only the House can appoint committee members. This is well known. It is done at the beginning of every session when we constitute our committees. No committee can self-appoint members. It has to come from an order in the House.
    Only committee members who have been appointed by the House can move a motion. In order to move a motion, a member must be present at the time the motion is moved. We just dealt with a piece of private member's legislation before my point of order. A seconder was missing from her particular seat. The House properly waited until that member took her seat so that she was present. Motions cannot be moved if people are not here.
    The rules of committee as established by the House specifically prescribe that members of a committee are designated by the House and cannot include members of a non-recognized party. This is a practice and a procedure we have used for many years. The rules established by the House also specifically prescribe that only a member of a committee can move a motion.

[Translation]

    According to O'Brien and Bosc's House of Commons Procedure and Practice:
    Only a member of the committee, or his or her designated substitute, may move an amendment or vote on an amendment.
    Standing Order No. 119 stipulates that:
    Any member of the House who is not a member of a standing, special or legislative committee, may, unless the House or the committee concerned otherwise orders, take part in the public proceedings of the committee, but may not vote or move any motion, nor be part of any quorum.
    The O'Brien and Bosc text, on page 1019, states:
     It is the House, and the House alone, that appoints the members and associate members of its committees, as well as the members who will represent it on joint committees.

[English]

    The status of member of a committee is accorded to Members of the House of Commons who belong officially to that committee. This status allows them to participate fully in their committee's proceedings: members may move motions, vote and be counted for purposes of a quorum.
    The Speaker has ruled that this is a fundamental right of the House. It cannot be taken away. A committee simply cannot move a motion to take such a power away from the House. I am quoting now:
The committees themselves have no powers at all in this regard.
    I would like at this point to mention your ruling, Mr. Speaker, from last December. You will recall that at the time, we moved our point of order regarding the last omnibus bill, Bill C-45, specifically with respect to the role and rights of independent members in the context of report stage.
    The government House leader argued that the current process by which independent members are not allowed to present motions at committee means that at report stage of bills, a single independent member has the ability, in his words, “to hold the House hostage in a voting marathon”, as if voting were somehow connected to a hostage-taking, by submitting numerous report stage amendments.
    In response, Mr. Speaker, you suggested that members may try to find ways to accommodate independent members at committee in order to allow them to present motions. You said the following:
    Were a satisfactory mechanism found that would afford independent members an opportunity to move motions to move bills in committee, the Chair has no doubt that its report stage selection process would adapt to the new reality.
    I understand that the motion adopted for Bill C-60 at committee was somehow a response to this ruling and an attempt by the Conservative Party to cut short the proceedings at report stage. However, I believe that the Conservatives fundamentally misinterpreted your ruling to in fact allow independent members to move motions to amend bills at committees. The Conservatives should have, and must have, sought agreement of the House to allow the members to sit on that committee. That is a power they cannot take away simply by a motion at committee. Indeed, it is from the House that committees derive this power. Committees on their own do not have absolute powers.
     While committees are often quoted as being masters of their own fate, I will cite from O'Brien and Bosc at page 1047:
    The concept refers to the freedom committees normally have to organize their work as they see fit and the option they have of defining, on their own, certain rules of procedure that facilitate their proceedings.

  (1630)  

    A second quote, on page 1048 of O'Brien and Bosc, states:
    These freedoms are not, however, total or absolute.... committees are creatures of the House. This means that they have no independent existence and are not permitted to take action unless they have been authorized/empowered to do so by the House.
    A second quote on that same page states:
...committees are free to organize their proceedings as they see fit.... committees may adopt procedural rules to govern...but only to the extent the House does not prescribe anything specific.
    Members of a committee, and only members of a committee, as well as associate members when they replace those members, are able to attend the committee and thus move a motion at committee.
    O'Brien and Bosc further tells us that:
    Standing Orders specifically exclude a non-member from voting, moving motions or being counted for purposes of quorum.
    The rules also clearly state that a member must be present for the motion. This is a fact. We have never moved away from this fact or this rule or procedure. To suddenly invent a process by which a motion can be moved but the member may be absent contravenes the basic tenets of democracy and representation. We could suddenly have votes where people just call in and speak their intentions rather than be here themselves.
    Where a notice of motion has been given, 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....
    This has happened many times in the House. We have seen private member's bills that members chose not to move. They either made themselves absent from the House or they remained in their seats and the motion was not moved forward. Nobody else can do it on their behalf. No one can simply come in and say, “The member intended to be here, but is not. Please allow the member's private member's bill or motion to be considered”.
    There is a precedent for a Speaker overruling a committee matter, because sometimes Speakers, often, and I think for good reason, have been loath to involve themselves in committee business.
    I quote from O'Brien and Bosc, page 775:
    Since a committee may appeal the decision of its Chair and reverse that decision, it may happen that a committee will report a bill with amendments that were initially ruled out of order by the Chair. The admissibility of those amendments, and of any other amendments made by a committee, may therefore be challenged on procedural grounds when the House resumes its consideration of the bill at report stage. The admissibility of the amendments is then determined by the Speaker of the House, whether in response to a point of order or on his or her own initiative.
    Amendments were moved with no member present who was actually intent on moving that motion. People were made members of the committee, one assumes, by a motion the committee did not have the power to designate.
    For the House to now consider, at report stage, Bill C-60, with these amendments in place, is strictly out of order. It is the proper role of the Speaker of the House to intervene to say that things were done improperly and have to be done right.
    In 2007, a point of order was raised in the House dealing with the admissibility of three amendments contained in a bill at report stage from the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.
    Speaker Milliken ruled two of the amendments out of order, finding that they imported into the bill concepts and terms not present in the bill and were therefore beyond the scope of the bill.
    I quote from Speaker Milliken's ruling on February 27, 2007:
...the Speaker does not intervene on matters upon which committees are competent to take decisions. However, in cases where a committee has exceeded its authority, particularly in relation to bills, the Speaker has been called upon to deal with such matters after a report has been presented to the House.
    That has happened here today.
    In terms of amendments adopted by committees on bills, if they were judged to be inadmissible by the Speaker, those amendments would be struck from the bill as amended because the committee did not have the authority to adopt such provisions.
    This means there exists a precedent for the Speaker rejecting amendments to a bill and the process by which it was there.
    Mr. Speaker, I ask you to rule and review the motion adopted by the standing committee on May 7, 2013, as well as the proceedings that resulted from that motion, and that you rule to determine whether these proceedings were in order and whether the committee overstepped its authority when it adopted the motion.
    The House of Commons and Parliament, and democracy in general, have suffered much abuse under this tactic and use of omnibus legislation. We have presented ourselves many times in defence of the institution and the right of members to speak and the people we represent to clearly understand the legislation the government is attempting to move.
    The abuse of omnibus legislation has been a decision by the government. The difficulty it is having in the way amendments are moved and the process by which a bill goes through are of its own making, and it has only itself to blame.

  (1635)  

    A committee cannot take powers the House did not give it. Simply accepting motions from members who are not part of a committee and are not present to move the motion, contravenes the basic tenets of this place. The presence and acknowledged presence of a standing member of any of these committees is required—it is a basic, fundamental requirement—for a motion to proceed. These motions were considered improperly. We ask that you rule in this matter.
    Mr. Speaker, on the first issue raised by my friend regarding the fashion in which the committee chose to seek or invite the assistance of other committees regarding advice on the bill and assistance with study, I think that is a matter that has been thoroughly litigated. My friend is seeking to litigate it again before you. I simply want to address that I think it is a settled and established practice. What the committee did is something it has done quite often.
    The more novel issue before you is the invitation to ensure and allow the participation of the independent members of Parliament, those who do not reach official party status. We have a growing number of them in this Parliament, notably the Green Party, members of the Bloc Québécois and some others that represent such members. The effort by the committee was to ensure that they would have an opportunity to participate at the committee stage to propose amendments.
    This was not something, I understand, the committee dreamed up on its own. It is obviously a clear effort by the committee to respond directly to the invitation you made in your previous ruling on how this challenge should be particularly responded to. I will quote from your decision when this matter was up before. We were dealing with the question of an inordinate number of report stage votes and the cumbersome fashion of dealing with them. You said the following in your ruling:
    It is no secret that independent members do not sit on committees in the current Parliament. In light of recent report stage challenges and the frustrations that have resurfaced, the Chair would like to point out the opportunities and mechanisms that are at the House's disposal to resolve these issues to the satisfaction of all members.
    The Standing Orders currently in place offer committees wide latitude to deal with bills in an inclusive and thorough manner that would balance the rights of all members.
    That statement by you, Mr. Speaker, is in direct contrast to the very constraining and rigid approach being advocated by the opposition House leader that would freeze out independent members. I will repeat again some of the phrases and words. Your statement was that the “Standing Orders currently in place offer committees wide latitude to deal with bills in an inclusive and thorough manner that would balance the rights of all members”.
    It is trite, of course, to say that committees are masters of their own process. That is the fact, and what we have here is an example of where the committee has sought to devise an approach to their own process that responds directly to your invitation. I will further quote from your decision:
    In fact, it is neither inconceivable nor unprecedented for committees to allow members, regardless of party status, permanently or temporarily, to be part of their proceedings, thereby opening the possibility for the restoration of report stage to its original purpose.
    Further on you say:
...there is no doubt that any number of procedural arrangements could be developed that would ensure that the amendments that independent members wish to propose to legislation could be put in committee.
    That is exactly what the committee did. The committee did exactly what you in your ruling on this previous matter on report stage votes invited them to do. This what is sometimes called in the world of law a conversation with the courts. In Parliament, on the evolution of rules, with you as Speaker and judge of this place, we are having that conversation with the committee, and the committee is responding to your invitation. It has done so with the motion it put in place and with the processes it followed. Indeed, such amendments did occur at the committee pursuant to the process it put in place, based on your invitation.
    I will conclude with your further comments:
    Were a satisfactory mechanism found that would afford independent members an opportunity to move motions to move bills in committee, the Chair has no doubt that its report stage selection process would adapt to the new reality.
    Mr. Speaker, what you did in your original ruling was wrestle with a difficult problem that was a source of frustration that led to vexatious disputes here. It was having an adverse effect on the ability of this place to function well. You made what I think were some very constructive and practical suggestions on how that could be remedied.

  (1640)  

    A change in our process and, indeed, your decision, Mr. Speaker, speaks to the fact that what we have, and what we have had throughout the question of dealing with report stage votes, is an evolving process to which there have been responses in the Standing Orders and now to which you invited another set of responses that could occur in the processes that committees adopted. In this case, the committee did exactly that.
    As a result of that, there is an expanded ability of independent members of Parliament to participate at the committee stage of the process. They did so in this case. Their amendments were heard and they had an opportunity to proceed. We think that is an appropriate response to the invitation the Speaker provided specifically on bills of this nature, on the processes that we have in place. For that reason, it is one that should be encouraged and rewarded. It is four square within the direction your ruling set out and the invitation you provided, Mr. Speaker, and, as such, I see no fault in the process.
    I may wish to come back to you, as I have not had an opportunity to prepare to make these arguments or respond in this fashion, but, on its surface, that is the essence: that the committee has done exactly what you, as Speaker, asked it to do.
    Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I have had the opportunity to go over some of the things that took place in committee, and we should be concerned.
    When the government House leader talks about the evolution of process, what we have witnessed is an evolution that takes away the ability of individual members to perform their duties on numerous occasions.
    For example, the government House leader could argue that the usage of time allocation is an evolution of process. That evolution that the government has adopted works against, what we would argue, the best interests of Canadians in limiting the opportunity for individuals to express themselves on a wide variety of bills, including Bill C-60.
    Let us take a look at what the government has now proposed to do.
    The Conservatives are saying that inside the committee they now want to mandate all members of the House, whether they are part of an officially recognized party or not, to bring forward their amendments to the committee well in advance. However, as one can easily imagine by the way the government has managed this evolution of process, the Conservatives are really trying to prevent independent members who are not part of a recognized political party the opportunity to present their amendments at report stage. This raises a whole spectrum of issues that really needs to be addressed.
    I am concerned that if the government were trying to demonstrate good will based on a Speaker's ruling, with all due respect, then this should have been was raised at one of the House leader's meetings and received a consensus of support. We have to be very careful when we look at changing rules, which is ultimately what the government House leader has proposed to do. We have to be very careful that there is a consensus from all political entities inside the House to do that. If we take a look at what took place at the committee, members will find that there was not unanimous consent in passing the motion in question, which is important to recognize.
    The second issue I would like to raise is the letter that I understand the leader of the Green Party received. Imagine receiving a letter which gives a very clear indication that one has x amount of time to get all of one's information gathered and amendments in place. The letter suggests that must be done by Monday, May 27, at nine o'clock in the morning. Again, I call into question the legitimacy of this.
    This issue came up through a point of order by the New Democratic opposition House leader, and there is great merit for that. We will take a look at this matter in more detail and we might want to add further comment on the issue as time progresses.
     However, I want to emphasize how important it is when the government House leader makes reference to the evolution of process or rules. Whenever he starts to fantasize or talk about it, in the past, it has not been a positive thing in democracy in the House of Commons.
    I raise this issue as a red flag. We need to tread very carefully before making any sort of ruling on that which seeks to deprive individual members, or collective members, the opportunity to do something they have done in the past because the government deems it as not as clean or quick as it would like to see things take place. The Conservatives are bringing in these draconian-type changes or proposals, which are not healthy for democracy in the House of Commons.

  (1645)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, since the point of order raised by the House leader of the official opposition concerns the non-recognized parties, it is appropriate for us to have our say today. I will reserve the right to add more arguments later because we were not aware that this point of order would be raised today.
    With great respect, Mr. Speaker, the ruling you made in December 2012 reminds me of what happened in 2001 when your predecessor, Speaker Milliken, also made a ruling that restricted the use of report stage amendments. Between 1968 and 2001, successive Speakers were rather flexible with regard to report stage amendments.
     In your ruling, you asked the government to show some openness to participation by members from non-recognized parties or independent members in certain committees, enabling them to propose amendments in committee. There is an important distinction, Mr. Speaker, and you are well placed to be aware of it. The Conservatives also know this, because in 1993 they were a non-recognized party. The NDP knows it too, because the NDP was also a non-recognized party in 1993.
     The problem is that the members of this House fall into two categories. In the House we have an opportunity to ask questions and make speeches. We even have some speaking rights, which unfortunately we can no longer exercise because the government has been imposing time allocation motions on nearly all bills. Still, we feel we have proportional equality with our counterparts in the other parties. It is natural that we will be allocated fewer minutes because we have fewer members.
     In committee, on the other hand, it is not the same as in the Quebec National Assembly, where the other parties have given the non-recognized parties—such as Québec solidaire and Action démocratique before it—the right to sit on committees, speak at committee meetings and even vote. Here, none of that is possible. I do not want the non-recognized parties to be treated like a ping pong ball in this dispute between the government and the recognized parties in this House. I think we have something to say on the subject.
     The existence of the report stage simply allows us to propose the amendments we were unable to propose in committee, the amendments we have not had an opportunity to discuss. It is the only right we have left, Mr. Speaker, and I would like you to preserve it. We must be careful. The government says this is an invitation, but no party in the House has given us anything since May 2, 2011, and we are not asking for any gifts. We do not want additional privileges; we simply want our rights to be respected.
     In committee, however, as happened in the committee studying Bill C-60, the only committee where we have been able to propose amendments, we had a few short minutes to do so, but no opportunity to speak at all. We were not allowed to ask questions of the public servants who were present or vote on the amendments we were proposing. If the government thinks it was giving us a gift, it is mistaken.
     We want to preserve our rights. Therefore, we must be able to propose an amendment, discuss it, debate it and vote on it, and be aware of all committee activities, as it is possible to do in the House at report stage.
     My first request, Mr. Speaker, is that you ensure that the rights of all members of the House are preserved, especially those who are less numerous, like the members of non-recognized parties.

  (1650)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, first, I thank the hon. House leader of the official opposition for raising this matter.
     As you might imagine, Mr. Speaker, I have been in a quandary, unable to imagine exactly how I would put to you the various ways in which I feel my rights are being infringed upon by this turn of events with the finance committee. I would like to reserve the ability to work to put my arguments together for you to present them tomorrow.
     I turn to you, Mr. Speaker, as, in your own words in your ruling in April on the matter raised by the member of Parliament for Langley, it is “the unquestionable duty of the Speaker to act as the guardian of the rights and privileges of members and of the House as an institution”. I turn to you as the guardian of my rights and ask that I be allowed the right to present my response tomorrow to the excellent point of order of the House leader of the official opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, I will say that I am bewildered but not entirely surprised. I suppose that some of the independent members, whose rights you sought to protect and the committee sought a process to protect, are now complaining of that. That is a paradox in itself.
    I only wanted to rise at this point to respond immediately to two very narrow things. The first is my surprise at the Liberal deputy House leader's position, because it is entirely contrary to the position his party took at committee, where the Liberal finance critic said that he liked the parliamentary secretary's comments welcoming the independents to the committee because the Liberals welcomed the input of the independent members at that stage of their deliberations at committee. That view is a little bit different.
    The other point I wanted to address very quickly was his concern that the problem with this process is that in the invitation to the independent members to participate, there was a deadline for them to submit amendments.
    There is a deadline for every member of the committee, from all parties, to submit amendments. They are all constrained in exactly the same fashion, so there is no discrimination there. There is no disadvantage to the independent members in that regard. That argument is entirely without any foundation.
    As I said, I may come back with more.

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two very small points. I appreciate the new-found passion that the Conservatives have for independent members, because we can recall that when an independent member's bill was at committee, the Conservatives were gutting that very same legislation and denied her the ability to even address her own piece of legislation, claiming the very rules that we are talking about here today.
    My specific point, and I am not sure if my hon. colleague was present for the entire citation that I used, is that the main argument that we used is if this is the remedy by which the government seeks to satisfy the involvement of independent members at the committee stage, that is a remedy that can be sought, but the power rests here with the House of Commons. It simply does not rest with the committee to invent the power to appoint or adopt motions from members who are not part of a committee. That is a fact.
    The committee itself is a creation of the House of Commons. The members who are involved in that committee and any standing members who may be a part of it come from here, not come from any chair or from any motion that has passed.
    In his response—and I know he is going to come back and deliberate further on the points that we raised—my hon. colleague needs to address this specific point, because it is the argument that we are making to you, Mr. Speaker. The argument is that the committee has the powers that are vested to it from the House of Commons. It is exclusive of that power to just invent who gets to sit on that committee. To suddenly invite amendments from members who are not there is also exclusive of that power. We cannot move motions of people who are not present. That is a fact. It is true here and it is true at committee.
    I do not see why the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons has such a problem understanding that, other than that he has found some convenient article. If the government chooses to do it this way, it can, but it has to come from here. For goodness' sake, let us protect some of the privileges and powers of the House of Commons.
    The instruction from the House of Commons did not allow the committee to do that. It did not. I read out the citation and reference to the committee. It did not say that the committee chair can suddenly appoint whomever they like and take whatever amendments they like. It did not. It is in black and white. If my hon. colleague across the way would like me to read it to him, I can.
    The fact of the matter is that the power rests with you, Mr. Speaker, as you refer a bill, and it rests with the House in designating which committees are instructed to study the bill, and how. How the committee does everything beyond that is its business, and we respect that right, of course.
    However, to ignore the central point of our argument today in this point of order means either there is no counter-argument or they are going to search around for one for a couple of days. Obviously the decision rests with you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the comments from my colleague for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    I am loath to get into a point-for-point debate at this point. I know members are coming back to respond to points that have been raised in a more extensive way, so can the hon. member for Winnipeg North maybe participate in that exchange, or does he feel that he really has to get it off his chest?
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.
    Mr. Speaker, this is just a very quick point. The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons tried to give a false impression. The Liberal Party voted against the motion. I do not want to take words out of context, but we voted against the motion in committee. That is an important point.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Fair Rail Freight Service Act

Bill C-52—Time Allocation Motion  

    That, in relation to Bill C-52, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act (administration, air and railway transportation and arbitration), not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at the third reading stage of the bill; and
that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

[English]

    There will now be a 30-minute question period.
    The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

  (1700)  

    As tempted as I am, Mr. Speaker, to draw some attention to what just took place with my friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands and the whip for the Conservatives, I will at least say it was a touching moment. The House was able to share new-found compassion across the political spectrum.
    In all seriousness, there is frustration and confusion around this recent closure motion that has been invoked today. The government has left the category of feeling shameful about shutting down debate in the House of Commons and usurping our democratic rights and now does it with a certain glee and excitement, even on bills that the opposition has talked to the government about agreeing with and about agreeing to limit the number of speakers so that we can move through the legislation in a proper way.
    Conservatives are pushing an open door now. They are saying that the opposition is in their way, that they cannot get their jobs done and they have to invoke closure again and that it is so tragic. They seem to take some sort of joy out of further shattering the record of any government in Canadian history for shutting down debate in Parliament. There is no prize for this. They do not get an extra set of balloons for having broken the record so badly.
    Is it not feasible or imaginable for the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities or anybody in this place to realize that actually talking with opposition members and finding common ground on legislation that we can agree to is so much more preferable than coming in with these closure motions, one after another, and invoking some sort of fear tactic about opposition that does not even exist. It just does not seem very parliamentary or decent for the Conservatives to constantly say that their hands are forced and that arms are being twisted in the House when no such thing is going on.

[Translation]

    I simply do not understand why they keep doing this.
    The Minister of Transport and the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons say that this undemocratic motion is necessary, but they need to justify it.
    Where is the proof? Our critic is willing to work with them. That is not a problem. Members of the House of Commons can work together to benefit all Canadians. It can happen.

[English]

[Translation]

    I understand what my colleague is saying about working well together.

[English]

    When I agree with something, I vote for it. I do not try to suspend discussion or to block discussion. In committee, New Democrats spoke about the evolution of the Canadian Wheat Board, truck traffic, infrastructure replacement, rail safety and budget cuts. I have sheets of paper listing what they spoke about, but they were supporting those things. What it is, is what they do not.
    When a bill like this is so important for the shippers of this country, we take the measures necessary.

[Translation]

    Taking the measures necessary means passing this bill for the sake of the country's economy. Our government does not stand to gain anything from this bill. We do not want a set of balloons; we want a bill that makes sense for this country's shippers, whether they are in agriculture, business or industry.
    We know how important it is for everything to be done right when it comes to our country's rail system. A wide variety of products are being shipped, and all of the country's shippers support our bill.
    Today, after months of delay, deferral and stalling, we feel it is time to move forward.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the minister's response, and we will get a chance to talk about the bill itself, but what I want to focus attention on is not the bill but rather the process. The government has demonstrated it knows no shame in terms of closure inside the House of Commons. That is something that all Canadians should be concerned about.
    Every piece of legislation has some sense of urgency to it. What is unique with this government is that it has this driving force to limit debate, to prevent members of Parliament from debating. No matter how simplistic or complicated a bill is, the government is determined to shut down debate on important issues. That is what is so wrong with what the government is doing.
    We have seen it with this Conservative-Reform majority government. It is a change in attitude. It is either my way or the highway. It is either we get behind the bill, stop talking about it and allow it to pass or the government will bring in time allocation. Time and time again—and we could repeat it 36-plus times—the government has brought in time allocation.
    This is new for the Government of Canada. No other government has used this measure so willingly and shamelessly in the history of our country.
    My question is not for the minister responsible for the bill but for the government House leader. Why does the government House leader continue to bring in time allocation? That is shameful behaviour, and the Conservative majority government has to take responsibility for its lack of respect for the House of Commons and all members of the House. Why is the government continuing to bring in time allocation as part of a normal procedure?

  (1705)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have some quotes from Canadian organizations that are supporting the bill.
    These measures will create the conditions for improved railway performance and accountability. It will help ensure all shippers can gain access to an adequate level of service.
    It was Kevin Bender, President of Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, who said that.
    Stephen Vandervalk, president of Grain Growers of Canada, said, “We especially thank Agriculture Canada and Transportation Canada and the federal government for listening to farmers and moving this legislation ahead.”
    Richard Paton, president and CEO of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, said:
    The level of service offered by Canada's railway can make the difference between companies investing here, or taking their business elsewhere. So this legislation is critical—not only for our industry's competitiveness, but for Canada's overall productivity and prosperity.
    David Lindsay said:
    Ensuring a fair and balanced relationship between shippers and the railroads will help the forest products industry retain and create jobs for the benefit of the Canadian economy.
    That is what we want to do. We want to support the Canadian economy. From the time we came here and up to the last economic action plan, that is all we have wanted to do, and we will continue to do so.
    It is time to pass this bill.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Transport is in such a rush to end the debate and even to prevent me, as a parliamentarian, from speaking to this bill, why did the Conservatives wait five years before bringing this initiative forward?
     It sounds like double-talk to me. To suddenly be in such a rush sounds like last-minute timing, given that they dragged their feet for five long years. Shippers have been in this situation for a very long time, and the Conservatives have done nothing.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague should familiarize himself with the history of this bill. It all began in 2006, right after the former minister of transport, Mr. Cannon, took office.
     A process was instituted that has lasted since that time. Studies and research have been done, and study committees created. A panel composed of three rail transport specialists was created. They toured the country to listen to the people and see how the bill should be framed.
     It was a long process. Actually, I think I am the fourth or fifth minister of transport since the process began. When I arrived at Transport Canada, we hired Jim Dinning, who is known nationwide for his impressive administrative skills. Mr. Dinning did an excellent job of laying the groundwork for the bill; it is going to enable us to move forward.
     I myself went to the port of Saguenay, in the member’s region, to announce a $15-million investment to provide a railway branch line so that shippers will be able to send their goods from all over Abitibi, all the way from the far north, out of that port.
     We believe that rail transport is a very important factor in Canada's economic future. That is why we want to continue supporting the economy and these shippers today. This did not happen in a day. The work was done over several years and is now taking shape.

  (1710)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the Minister of Transport's efforts on this. Obviously this has been an encompassing process from 2006 to today.
    I am a little lost for words. We hear some NDP members saying that this is going too fast and we need to slow down, while other members of the NDP are asking what is taking us so long. From my perspective, as a government we have supported infrastructure. My own province of British Columbia has the Asia-Pacific gateway. Obviously, some needs have been expressed by the industry over the years to have access.
     Would the minister repeat the economic reasons for seeing this bill go forward so industry can have that sense of certainty and see our economy grow?
    Mr. Speaker, the bill is an important part of our plan to strengthen our economy. Our government is working to improve rail freight service in Canada to better support economic growth, resource development and our ambitious domestic and international trade agenda.
    As I have said, the corridors are very important for us. The Asia-Pacific gateway is a success worldwide. I was in Germany last week for the international transportation forum with ministers of transport from around the world, from Korea to China to Japan. All these ministers know the Asia-Pacific gateway very well. We have made a success of that. Why? Because we have invested in the infrastructure in the country to improve our economy. That is why we want to continue to do so.
    The bill would change the rules, but that would help shippers have an agreement with rail companies, and that is very important for shippers. They have been asking for that for years. That is why we have to continue.
    The goal of this legislation is to encourage railways and shippers to work together. Shippers will have the right to a service agreement with railways to enhance clarity, predictability and reliability in rail service. The bill would help shippers manage and expand their businesses, while ensuring the railway operates an efficient network for the benefit of all users. A strong, competitive rail freight supply chain is vital to Canada's economy as a whole and the challenging global economy. All sectors of the economy must work together to drive growth, job creation and long-term prosperity.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we are not here to discuss the merits of the bill that the minister has suddenly declared to be extremely urgent.
     There is something else I would like the minister to explain. We do not have any major problems with his bill. However, I do not understand this sudden urgency. The minister is telling us that it has not moved forward since 2006.
     That is the kind of thing people say when the previous government was another party. Since 2006, however, we have had a Conservative government, the minister’s own government. As the minister said, he has done studies to get this bill going, as he should.
    It is now 2013 and all of a sudden, today, at the end of the parliamentary session, a 40th time allocation motion is being brought in. Can the minister comment on that? Why is it suddenly so urgent? What is so urgent, to the point of shutting down all debate and once again preventing people from coming to testify and democracy from taking its course?
     All the ministers want their bills to get passed quickly, right now, and they are all using time allocation motions.
     I would like an explanation, because up to now I have not heard anything from the minister.
     Mr. Speaker, if my colleague had listened carefully to what I said, he would know that I never said that our government had blocked anything. They are the only ones blocking things here because they want to take Quebec out of Canada and I totally disagree with that. I want a strong Quebec in a united Canada. This is not what the member wants. His party wants to prevent Canada from gaining ground in the province, while I want to ensure that all parts of Quebec and the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region can reap the benefits of a growing economy that is capable of creating jobs everywhere.
     No one ever said the project was blocked. We said we had done things properly, by the book, by involving the shippers and the rail companies. We set up a committee, a panel of experts who crisscrossed the country. Sometimes things take time, but I never said that it was blocked. He is making things up.
     Now we have reached the stage where all the shippers in the country are asking us to do this. When business people, many of them from the area around Victoriaville as well as all the other regions of Quebec and across Canada, ask us to take measures that will stimulate the economy, well, that is what we do. This is why we think it is time for the bill to be passed.

  (1715)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are delighted to hear that the minister is unblocked, finally.
     That said, I think this is the fourth time in four days that I have risen to criticize this process, something that now seems to be standard practice for this government. They bring in a gag order to end debate.
     What the Minister is not saying is that in 2006, the Prime Minister prorogued the House because he was about to be clobbered by the opposition parties. Such actions tend to derail bills. There were elections after that in 2008 and 2011.
     Today, all of a sudden, on this beautiful May 29, we are told there is great urgency—in fact, we hear this every day. This is the fourth bill of its kind, and they are not trivial bills either.
     There was Bill C-48, which dealt with all kinds of tax amendments, Bill C-49, meant to change the name and mandate of a museum, and Bill C-54, the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act. These are not inconsequential bills.
     Now we have Bill C-52 before us. I believe the cat was let out of the bag yesterday when a colleague of the minister rose to say that they were ultimately not interested in what people from the various ridings had to tell them. What interested them was what they, the Conservatives, had to say on those matters.
     In their view, once we agree on a bill, we should be quiet, stay politely seated and not say another word because, in any case, they are not interested in what the people of Gatineau have to say, through their member, on the merits of the issue.
     Only three hours were allotted for debate at third reading. That is appalling. It is a hijacking, not of a train, but of debate. It is shameful. For reasons unbeknownst to us, this is now part of this government's normal procedure.
     I do not want to know whether the bill is good, since we are going to vote for it. I want to know why we are being compelled to do it this way. To date, the minister does not appear to want to give us an answer that is sensible and acceptable, at least for the people of Gatineau.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to recall a little history.
     I had the honour of experiencing a by-election in 2007 and the general elections in 2008 and 2011. I am very familiar with the schedule of the last few election years here at the federal level, having experienced several of them. Indeed, elections may have had an impact on the progress of certain business.
     Nevertheless, since the NDP members agree on the bill, they will still agree even if we debate it for several more hours. That is what the hon. member just said. We believe it is time to move on.
     However, at the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, they talked about the ideological struggle to abolish the Canadian Wheat Board, the degree of difficulty experienced by heavy-duty trucks between -40 oC and 40 oC, our government's inaction on railway security measures, cuts at VIA Rail Canada, opposition to the introduction of rail service, and so on.
     I have four pages of similar topics that they discussed and that were not necessarily related to the bill being discussed in committee. When time is allotted to us, we should use it to address the proper subjects and to advance arguments that relate to them at the time.
     At the committee meetings regarding Bill C-52, we discussed a range of subjects. I can name others: the potential risks associated with the transport of bitumen by pipeline, the national transit strategy, the closing of rail lines between Gaspé and Chandler, and so on. I have four pages of subjects.
     If the relevance of the topic at the time we discuss it is so important to them, they should have set an example in committee. Today it is time to pass this bill for the Canadian economy. The government is only acting in the interest of the economy and the people who want to create jobs.
    Mr. Speaker, I also attended the meetings of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
     Strangely, as he looked over his documents, the minister appears to have forgotten the many amendments that were proposed and rejected. I do not want to get into that debate, however, because we are now discussing a time allocation motion. Day after day, minister after minister and bill after bill, we are witnessing the same thing.
     I really feel as though the government is operating backwards. It is taking an exception and turning it into a rule. Since we are talking backwards, I will ask my question in a backwards way.
     Can the minister speak on behalf of his government and tell the House what the acceptable procedure would be so that a bill on any subject at all could follow the normal process?

  (1720)  

    Mr. Speaker, the bill will be voted on sooner or later.
    I think the ideal would be for all parties to vote together in favour of this bill. I outlined the benefits of this bill a few moments ago in English, and now I will repeat them in my mother tongue.
    The bill will give shippers the right to have a service agreement with the rail companies. If such an agreement cannot be reached in commercial negotiations, the shipper can ask for an arbitration process to reach an agreement. The bill also provides that in cases of non-compliance, the shipper can call upon the Canadian Transportation Agency to impose a financial penalty of up to $100,000 per violation on the rail company. The proceeds of such penalties will go into government revenue and help stimulate the economy. We do not want this procedure to be used excessively.
     If the shipper has suffered excessive financial losses because of the poor service provided, the shipper can still bring a suit for damages. A civil suit is still possible.
     This bill will force everyone in the supply chain to improve their efficiency, which will help ensure that goods move more quickly.
     Those are the elements we are really concentrating on. We want to improve the service in order to create and maintain jobs.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, are we to understand that the minister does not have the necessary influence in his cabinet to move this important legislation up sooner than it has been presented in the House, that he has to resort to a tool such as time allocation? Is he not showing the weakness of his influence in his own cabinet? This legislation has been waiting for seven years, and he cannot convince his own team to move it up on the legislative agenda.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that is a little absurd given all the delays to the schedule mentioned earlier.
    Today, I am proud of our team's work. I am proud of what has been achieved since the last election, and since our work began on the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. I am proud of everything that we have managed to achieve together.
    What matters today is not what I think, but what Canadian shippers think. I could read many more pages to give members a sense of just how proud these folks are of what has been done to move this bill forward.
    I will leave it up to Canadians to decide who has influence here. It is my firm intention to win my seat again at the next election. We shall see what fate befalls this member.
    We are capable of working very hard to move things forward. The member is the one who spoke about influence. We shall see how things turn out, since I am not the one who made this point.
    That being said, we will continue to make sure that the economy prospers in every region of the country, including in Quebec—after all, I am a proud fellow from the Saguenay—Lac-St-Jean region. I want to work towards that. I do not believe that anything is achieved by attacking other members on their alleged ability or inability to get things done.
    I think we worked hard. In fact, this bill is now at third reading. To those who feel that things have moved too quickly, I would say that things can never move fast enough when it comes to job creation and Canada's economy.
    Mr. Speaker, as the member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, I would like to tell Canadians listening to me now that this government's attitude is a source of great frustration for me.
    In just four days, there have been four gag orders. This is the 40th gag order. This is unprecedented and will make the Guinness Book of Records. It has never happened before.
    On top of that, the Conservatives are proud of what they are doing. They are proud to silence members who were democratically elected by their fellow citizens. They are proud to shut us up and to tout the effects that their decisions will have on Canadians' lives.
    My question is for the Minister of Transport. Every time the opposition proposes amendments, the Conservatives refuse to take them into consideration. Why is that?

  (1725)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I said many times in committee, we talked about this bill with a number of committee members from both sides of the House. We had many discussions and I would remind the House that, at the request of the official opposition, we talked about the major environmental concerns surrounding greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles even though we were talking about the railway. We also talked about making passenger rail service more efficient when we were talking about transporting freight, and investing in public transit in Toronto when we were talking about rail transportation and developing a national public transit strategy.
    I have a question for the member opposite. When we are dealing with something as important for our country's economy as allowing shippers to have agreements with Canadian railway companies—which they have been asking for for years—why do they not talk about that topic in particular? We could have made a lot of progress and the vote could have been held a long time ago.
    That said, here we are today. We do not live on an island. The economy of our American partners seems to be rebounding. Nonetheless, between 70% and 75% of Canada's exports go to the U.S. and much of that is shipped by train. It is important to provide these companies the means to achieve their objectives and remain profitable.
    Of course, we can meet in committee to talk for weeks and slow down the debate. However, at the end of the day, when we want to pass bills to help support the country's economy, we want to be efficient about it.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister asked why we are not debating the bill. What we are left is debating this time allocation motion. Again, it is the 40th one.
    We want to debate the bill in committee and bring forward amendments. The Conservatives do not want to do that. They accuse us of delaying the bill. The Conservatives have a majority in the committee. They decide the witnesses. They decide how long it is going to take. They control the agenda. They are the ones who have delayed for seven years.
    Then, when we bring many reasoned amendments forward to the committee, the Conservatives ignore them because they do not want to hear from the opposition. They do not want to hear from Canadians. Of course they bring up a list of people who are supporting the bill. All the Conservatives have done is throw them a bone. At this point, after this long, they will take what they can get. What they could have had is far more, if the government had actually listened to the NDP, had taken our amendments into consideration and added them to the bill.
    That would have certainly made for a better bill that we could be passing. It would have a greater economic impact that would help more Canadians than what the government is doing.
    I want to ask the minister a question. Why did they not do that?
    Mr. Speaker, let me quote some representatives of organizations on this bill.
    Jim Facette, president and CEO, Canadian Propane Association said:
    The new legislation respects the commercial nature of the relationship between the railway carrier and the propane shipper, but also addresses the recommendations of the Rail Freight Service Review Panel. It contains all of the measures that the propane industry requested – the right to a Service-Level Agreement, an arbitration process should commercial negotiations fail, and consequences for non-compliance. The propane industry is pleased to support the Fair Rail Freight Service Act. It is our hope that the Act, coupled with recent improvements we have seen from the railways, will enhance competition and promote positive relationships between the railways and the shippers.
    Greg Cherewyk, executive director of Pulse Canada, said:
    Every step in this process is just that, a single step towards the goal of a more predictable and reliable supply chain that makes Canadian businesses more competitive in the international marketplace.
    This is what business men and women want. They want to create jobs. They want to have this discussion and this bill done. That is what we will deliver for them.

  (1730)  

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

[Translation]

    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: Call in the members.

  (1810)  

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

(Division No. 706)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
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
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hoback
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
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
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
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: -- 153

NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 117

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, government orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

[English]

    It being 6:14 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[Translation]

Language Skills Act

    The House resumed from May 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-419, An Act respecting language skills, be read the third time and passed.
    Mr. Speaker, we are talking about a bill that should have been completely useless. We should not have even had to discuss it because, it seems to me and to most Canadians, it should go without saying that our officers of Parliament should have to be bilingual.
    Mr. Speaker, even you are not listening to me. I do not see the point in continuing.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1815)  

[English]

    I will repeat that if members want to have private conversations, they should leave the chamber. I cannot hear the member and he cannot hear himself think or talk.
    Mr. Speaker, now that everybody is listening carefully, I am saying that we are discussing a bill that we should normally not have to discuss, something that has been taken for granted and that Canadians thought was done already.

[Translation]

     The obligation for officers of Parliament to be bilingual and to speak Canada's two official languages is something that seemed self-evident until this Prime Minister appointed a unilingual Auditor General. That was a shock. The party to which I belong reacted so strongly that it refused to vote in favour of the appointment of that Auditor General. We left the House without even voting.
     I would like to thank my colleague for preparing this bill, which we of course support and which will ensure that officers of Parliament are required by law to be bilingual at the time of their appointment. It made no sense to take them on as unilinguals and to say that they would learn the other official language on the job, while working. That would mean learning French because we know very well that a unilingual francophone will never be appointed. They will appoint unilingual anglophones and say that this is not a problem because the appointees will learn French.
     It is insulting to tell Canadians that the incumbents of such crucially important positions will be asked to devote considerable time and effort to learning a language when they are over 40 or 50 years of age. They have better things to do. They must be able to understand both official languages at the time of their appointment.
     The reasons for that are obvious. First, the role of an officer of Parliament, whether that of auditor general or another officer such as the commissioner of official languages, is to be able to speak with parliamentarians, to discuss matters with them and to understand them and make themselves understood.

[English]

    Many of my colleagues are unilingual. To be elected in Canada, people do not need to be bilingual. They only need to convince voters that they are the best candidate. It is very important to be understood when speaking to, let us say, the Auditor General, and to understand what the Auditor General has to say. Since MPs are at the service of Parliament, they should be able to be understood by all parliamentarians.

[Translation]

     That is the first reason. The second reason is that, in order to make decisions, officers of Parliament must read a large amount of information that comes to them from across Canada, including from Quebec, New Brunswick and many places in Canada where information is in French. How can they understand that information on their own if they cannot read it on their own? They need that information to make decisions. Competency includes the ability to read in both official languages.
     The third reason is that the office in question, like the Office of the Auditor General, must also be able to work in both official languages. However, if the head of that office is a unilingual anglophone, everything will be done in English. The person at the top must therefore be able to understand both languages so that the office can operate in both languages.
     There is another essential reason. The auditor general and the other officers of Parliament are not mere bureaucrats, but rather communicators. They must communicate their information to Canadians. Nuanced communication is not possible if they cannot speak to Canadians in both languages. I can say that the entire saga leading up to the sponsorship scandal would have been entirely different if the auditor general at the time had been unable to speak French, and I say that having experienced the event first-hand.

[English]

    The other reason that the Auditor General and other officers of Parliament should be bilingual is to send the right message to the youth of our country. If they have ambition and want access to all the responsibilities of their country, they should learn the two official languages.
    It is key for people to do that when they are 18 years old because it will be much more difficult when they are aged 48. When they will perhaps want access to these responsibilities, it may be too late. We need to send this message now, through this bill. It is key to shaping our country and the ability for Canada to pay tribute to its two official languages.

  (1820)  

    It is an incredible asset for us to have two official languages that are international languages. We need to be sure that it will be part of our future. We need to send a message that the most important responsibility, including yours, Mr. Speaker, is to be able to address fellow Canadians in the two official languages.

[Translation]

     The Conservative government finally agreed to accept these arguments, and we are glad of that. I think it is important to emphasize that here where we are all together. It was not easy. They proposed amendments, but those amendments will not prevent us from voting in favour of the bill. Still, I would like to take this opportunity to say that those amendments were not useful. They added nothing very positive. They actually weakened the obligation to be bilingual. It has been weakened, but I think it is still strong enough. The ability to speak and understand both official languages well is a prerequisite for appointment. That will do; we can live with it. The bill is still “votable” despite the amendments that weaken it.
     The Conservatives also eliminated clause 3, which provided that the Governor in Council could, by order, add offices to the list established in clause 2. In that way, the government could have added to the list of offices for which bilingualism would be mandatory, without returning to Parliament. A belief in bilingualism is a belief in making it more widespread. The government did not want to give itself that power; it wants to come back to Parliament. That does not change much in the end, because if a government really wanted to add more offices, it could come to Parliament and make a convincing argument. If it did not want to, no law could make it do that. Thus, it is not a useful amendment.
     With another amendment, the governing party also eliminated clause 4 concerning interim appointments to the offices mentioned in Bill C-419. This clause read:
    In the event of the absence or incapacity of the incumbent of any of the offices listed in section 2 or vacancy in any of these offices, the person appointed in the interim must meet the requirements set out in section 2 [that is, the bilingualism requirements].
     We know what the Conservatives are trying to do, but they will not succeed. Once this bill has been passed by the House of Commons and the Senate, there will be no way to exempt any interim office holder from the law. According to the law, the interim incumbent must be bilingual. When a Canadian is given such a serious responsibility, whether permanently or temporarily, that person must meet the requirements set out in the law. If the law requires an auditor general to be bilingual, then an interim auditor general must also be bilingual. If the government were to defy this law, it would be defying common sense and leaving itself open to legal action.
     Thus, despite these efforts by the Conservatives, this is still a good bill. I implore the government not to play games. We are ready to send it to the Senate quickly. I have talked with my Senate colleagues; they are ready to proceed quickly. The bill will be voted on in the House and sent to the Senate. The Senate will look at it carefully, as senators always do, but they can do it quickly. They must ensure that this bill becomes law and does not fall into limbo when the government decides to prorogue the House in an attempt to revive its moribund government.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity today to speak to Bill C-419, An Act respecting language skills. I want to extend my sincere thanks to the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent for having introduced such a worthwhile bill. We often run into each other because our ridings are side by side. I can attest to the outstanding work she does each and every day. The bill she introduced is yet another example of her good work.
    I would also like to tip my hat to the member for Acadie—Bathurst, the NDP official languages critic, who has always been a fervent supporter of bilingualism and francophone minority communities. I want to applaud his efforts, which helped contribute to this bill's success.
    As I said, I am very proud to support Bill C-419, which is designed to ensure that the 10 officers of Parliament are bilingual.

  (1825)  

[English]

    Having been raised in a perfectly bilingual military family, I have always cherished both official languages. I grew up watching both Passe-Partout and Sesame Street, and learning both French and English at home.
    At a very early age, I was taught the importance of bilingualism in Canada as a way to better understand two of our founding nations and their culture. I was also taught that speaking both of Canada's official languages would offer me better employment opportunities, especially if I wanted to work in the public sector. Therefore, I have always believed that it was an essential prerequisite for the highest-ranking public servants to master both official languages in order to be appointed to such important positions.
    When I was a parliamentary guide here in 2007, it was a point of pride for me to point out to visitors from other countries that bilingualism was a prerequisite for our highest-ranking public servants as a proof of the importance that was given to bilingualism in Canada.

[Translation]

    Unfortunately, as has often been the case since I became a federal MP, the Conservative government has denied that basic principle since winning majority status. It appointed a unilingual English Auditor General who is still not able to respond to questions in French during press conferences.
    Bill C-419 aims to fill a major gap in the current legislative framework, and that gap was made obvious with the Conservatives' ill-advised appointment. This bill also clarifies the language obligations of the 10 officers of Parliament. Given that their functions and roles require them to interact with parliamentarians and Canadians, they must be able to communicate with parliamentarians and Canadians in the official language of their audience's choice.
    It was insinuated, in committee and elsewhere, that we were trying to violate the language rights of officers of Parliament, but that is clearly not the case with Bill C-419. In fact, there is nothing keeping an officer of Parliament, such as the auditor general, from conducting a press conference entirely in English. The important part is that they be able to respond to questions in French when necessary.
    We are not trying to deny officers of Parliament the right to work in French. On the contrary, we are trying to guarantee the language rights of every Canadian. It is a matter of respect for all Canadians, whether they live in a minority language situation or not, and respect for the MPs they elected to represent them.
    As a member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages, I had the opportunity to study my colleague's bill in detail and I saw the merits of it. I understood the need for this bill. The original version of it was excellent. It responded directly to the concerns raised by the appointment of the current Auditor General, among other things.
    This bill received support from members of all parties represented in the House. Unfortunately, at committee stage, the bill was butchered. The committee's Conservative majority did everything in its power to limit the scope of the bill, going so far as to insinuate that the NDP was trying to institute measures that would discriminate against the hard of hearing. I have heard it all since I have been in Parliament. They also eliminated the preamble of the bill, which provided the definition of officer of Parliament.
    Without that part of the bill, this concept remains rather vague.
    The Conservatives also removed any mention of the fact that the Constitution recognizes French and English as Canada's two official languages that receive equal privileges in Parliament. They removed that. This is not something controversial. This should be common knowledge for everyone in the House, regardless of their party or whether they are unilingual or not. That was not the issue. I thought it was a real shame that the Conservatives did not want to include these fundamental principles in the final version of Bill C-419.
    Quite honestly, when we look at their record when it comes to official languages, especially when it comes to defending the French fact and the French language in Canada, we are hardly surprised.
    Consider the appointment of a unilingual anglophone Auditor General. We spoke about that in the House. The government promised that, in less than a year, Mr. Ferguson would have a sufficient mastery of the French language to at least be able to answer questions. That is still not the case today. It was truly unrealistic to make such a promise given the scope of the Auditor General's duties. It was absolutely illogical and inconceivable to think that, in just one short year, he could gain a sufficient mastery of the language of Molière to be able to answer people's questions and interact with them without the help of an interpreter.
    Consider also the appointment of unilingual anglophone judges to the Supreme Court. For years, the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst has been fighting to try to change the law and ensure that, even in the Supreme Court, people can really choose the language in which they want to interact. They can make that choice now, but there is no guarantee that the judges present will understand everything and that these people will truly receive equal treatment. They may receive less time to plead their case because the interpreters need time to do their job. Judges who do not have a good knowledge of French may not be able to grasp the subtleties in the documentary evidence.
    We have here a host of problems that the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst and other members of the NDP have been trying to resolve for years. We are faced with the same situation today: judges appointed to the Supreme Court do not understand French, not even the most basic French. This is problematic, and this government has an unbroken record of inaction in this regard.
    Another example is the closure of the Maurice Lamontagne Institute library, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' only French library. This government shut down the library just to save a few bucks.
    When we look at the different decisions this government has made, we unfortunately get the impression that French represents additional costs for Canadian taxpayers and that it is not necessarily considered a fundamental value or foundational principle of Canada. French is seen as a constraint and an obstacle to overcome, rather than “the language of ambition”, as the Commissioner of Official Languages so eloquently described it.
    I want to get back to the closure of the Quebec City maritime search and rescue centre. There are some rumours in the papers that the government has apparently decided to reverse its decision to close the centre, but it still refuses to confirm that.
    We tried to raise the issue several times at the Standing Committee on Official Languages. We moved some motions. When the Commissioner of Official Languages appeared the last time, we even asked a number of questions about this issue. The commissioner completely agrees with the NDP that the government must guarantee bilingual services at the Halifax and Trenton centres. That is not currently the case. Both the Auditor General and the Commissioner of Official Languages illustrated that.
    However, to save a few million dollars, the government is prepared to jeopardize the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people who use the St. Lawrence and who have the misfortune of being francophones in this country. That is really too bad, but it reflects the attitude we saw in committee.
    Although the government was reluctant, we managed to keep the essence, the spirit of the bill. We are proud of that. Once again, I want to congratulate my colleague for working so hard and for being patient while working with members from all the parties. I am not always patient, so I admire that a lot.
    The NDP has always been firmly committed to protecting the language rights of Quebeckers and all Canadians.
    I hope that all parliamentarians will join the NDP in supporting this excellent bill, Bill C-419.

  (1830)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier for her work at the Standing Committee on Official Languages and for her impassioned speech here today.
    I have the honour of rising today to support Bill C-419 introduced by my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent.
    I had a rather unusual youth. I am a Franco-Ontarian born in Toronto. My father's family is anglophone and has lived in Scarborough for over 90 years, while my mother comes from a francophone family from Sherbrooke and Montreal. When I was young, living in Toronto, I was very fortunate to get my education at the Petit Chaperon Rouge francophone daycare, the Georges-Étienne Cartier Catholic elementary school and the Bishop de Charbonnel Catholic high school. I understand what it means to be part of a linguistic minority.
    I was also lucky because my anglophone father, David Harris, studied in Montreal so he could learn French. He has now been teaching French to young anglophones in Scarborough for 25 years. Linguistic duality is very important for me and my family.
    Bill C-419 is intended to make a positive change by ensuring that future officers of Parliament work in both official languages from the time they are appointed, so that Canadians receive services in the official language of their choice.

  (1835)  

[English]

    It is indeed my privilege to rise this evening to speak to a very important and critical bill, Bill C-419, an act respecting language skills.
    As a fluently bilingual franco-Ontarian with deep familial roots in Quebec, my support for the bill is partly technical and partly personal. I have lived my whole life with the linguistic duality of Canada, and understand the importance of protecting our traditional language rights.
    When I was a member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages after being elected in 2011, I had the distinct honour of working with Mr. Graham Fraser, the Commissioner for Official Languages here in Canada. I developed a strong respect for Mr. Fraser in his view about official languages. His testimony in particular about the bill at committee was very important and provided a very important summary of the bill. He said:
    Bill C-419, which was put forward by the New Democratic MP for Louis-Saint-Laurent, is to the point and unequivocal. Its purpose is to ensure that persons whose appointment requires the approval by resolution of the Senate, House of Commons, or both Houses of Parliament, can understand and express themselves clearly in both official languages without the aid of an interpreter from the moment they are appointed. It is an important bill for the future of Canada's linguistic duality. I therefore support it unconditionally.
    The bill is a response to the controversy caused by the Conservative appointment of a unilingual Auditor General in November 2011. While the notice of vacancy clearly indicated that proficiency in both official languages was an essential requirement to the position, the Conservative government sadly ignored this.
    Given the protection of language rights embedded in the Constitution and the long history of custom and tradition, it is very unfortunate and disappointing that this type of bill is even necessary. However, the appointment of the unilingual Auditor General for Canada seemed to indicate the Conservative government's willingness to ignore our rights and traditions and roll back our official language rights.
    We cannot let this happen. As parliamentarians we must do everything we can to protect our language rights when they are threatened. For that reason I thank in particular the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent for bringing the bill forward and for getting support from all parties to ensure that kind of situation never happens again.
    The bill helped tremendously in that effort. The bill of the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent clearly seeks to clarify the linguistic requirements for officers of Parliament to ensure that this type of situation does not happen again. It is a question of respecting the linguistic rights of Canadians and the members who represent them.
    Officers of Parliament must be able to communicate with members of the Senate and the House of Commons as well as Canadians in the official language of their choice.
    The bill, when adopted, would ensure that future holders of the ten following positions should understand both French and English without the assistance of an interpreter, and be able to express themselves clearly in both official languages when they take office.
    It recognized that fluency in both official languages is essential for anyone holding the following positions. Unfortunately, as my colleague from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier mentioned, there were some changes at committee that added a bit of nuance or a lack of clarity in the bill.
    The 10 positions that we are speaking of as officers of Parliament are: the Auditor General of Canada; the Chief Electoral Officer; the Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada; the Privacy Commissioner; the Information Commissioner; the Senate Ethics Officer; the Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Commissioner; the Commissioner of Lobbying; the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner; and the President of the Public Service Commission.
    Each of the above offices was created under legislation that specified, among other things, the terms of employment and the nature of the office's relationship with Parliament.
    In my opinion, all of the positions I have just mentioned are officers of parliament. This is important, because officers of Parliament must work closely with Parliament and must interact with parliamentarians on a daily basis. It is essential that these officers can work with members in both official languages and must therefore be proficient in both official languages at the time of their employment.
    Why must officers be bilingual at the time of their employment? First, we have the Constitution, which stipulates that French and English are the official languages of Canada. Second, French and English have equal status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of Parliament. Third, parliamentarians have the right to use either French or English during debates and work in Parliament.
    I want to take a moment to express the joy and pride that I have being a member of the NDP caucus, with so many of our members being fluently bilingual and those who are unilingual are making tremendous efforts to learn Canada's other official language so they are better able to do their jobs and interact with their colleagues and other people in Parliament. I am incredibly proud of the number of MPs who are working on that day in and day out. Almost every day when I pass by the lobby, I can see two or three of our members working on that other official language to gain the skills to be better parliamentarians.
    Again, this bill only became necessary following the appointment of a unilingual auditor general. Shortly after the announcement, the NDP filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada.
    In June 2012, the commissioner in his final report about his investigation concluded that the position of auditor general should have been filled by a candidate who was proficient in both official languages. For the commissioner under the Official Languages Act, the Office of the Auditor General, as well as the Auditor General himself, is required to provide services in both official languages as a public figure of a government institution which responds to Parliament.
    He also concluded that the Privy Council Office, which manages Governor in Council appointments, failed to comply with its obligations under the Official Languages Act.
     According to the commissioner, “Historically, the appointment process for officers of Parliament was administered by the Senior Appointments Secretariat at the Privy Council Office. The process does not contain precise language proficiency provisions for incumbents of these positions. It is when the position becomes vacant and a recruitment strategy put in place with specific selection criteria that linguistic requirements are determined”.
    In the case of the Auditor General, the requirements did state that the auditor general should be proficient in both of Canada's official languages.
    Respect for Canada's two official languages has always been a priority for the NDP. Bill C-419 is consistent with this priority. We want all MPs to give their support to Bill C-419 so it soon becomes law. Proficiency in both official languages at the time of appointment must be recognized as essential, particularly for the 10 offices targeted in the bill.
    With the adoption of Bill C-419, we are taking the first step in ensuring that all future officers of Parliament are bilingual and then we can move on to other aspects, like ensuring that Supreme Court of Canada justices are bilingual so they can hear court cases in both official languages without the need of interpretation.
    I believe everyone who ever aspires to those high positions and roles should take it upon themselves to learn the other of Canada's official languages, if not already bilingual, so they can apply for these positions and take on the roles that we have in the institutions of Parliament, the Supreme Court and elsewhere to ensure that Canada's linguistic duality is not only respected, but enriched through those additional appointments of bilingual officers of Parliament.

  (1840)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to Bill C-419 today. I want to congratulate my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, whose riding is next to mine, on her wonderful, excellent work.
    My colleague introduced Bill C-419 after a unilingual anglophone was appointed Auditor General in November 2011. At first the Conservative government defended the appointment of the Auditor General and opposed the bill.
    Fortunately, the government has since changed its mind and seems to now support the NDP's bill. If it passes, Bill C-419 will ensure that future appointees to the 10 officer of Parliament positions set out in the bill will be required to understand French and English without the assistance of an interpreter and will have to be able to express themselves clearly in both official languages.
    In short, Bill C-419 sets out the 10 positions for which bilingualism is considered an essential qualification. Because of the nature of the work, these positions require the individual to communicate with all parliamentarians and Canadians in the official language of their choice. It is a matter of respect.
    I am happy to see that the bill has made it through the important step of being studied by the Standing Committee on Official Languages. The essence of the bill remained intact, which is excellent news.
    However, I have to wonder why the Conservatives did not explain some of the amendments they proposed to the structure of the bill. The Conservatives removed the preamble, which emphasized the importance of the equal status of French and English in parliamentary institutions and in the Constitution.
    When he was called upon to speak to the bill, the Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, spoke in favour of including such a preamble in the bill. He said:
    I have heard no arguments for deleting this preamble. It is practical, and I consider it useful. It expresses the spirit of the bill, its goals and objectives, so that ordinary people can understand why the bill has been introduced. It also describes the bill's overall aims.
    It is unfortunate, but it has become apparent that, when the Conservatives amend legislation, far too often they remove the context and historical references. It is truly disgraceful. That kind of attitude must be denounced and corrected. I suggest that the Conservatives change their approach.
    I sometimes get the impression that the Conservative government is confused about its definition of bilingualism. You have to admit that it is hard to reconcile how, on the one hand, the Conservatives claim to be advocates for official languages and yet, on the other hand, they impose budgetary restrictions at the expense of bilingualism. The fact is that if you peel away the rhetoric, French is far too often given second-class status. There are so many examples attesting to this that it is impossible not to doubt the sincerity of the Conservative government.
    Here are the plain facts. The government appointed a unilingual anglophone to the position of Auditor General. The Conservative government also appoints unilingual anglophone judges to the Supreme Court of Canada. It is the Conservative government that coerces francophone public servants to work more often in English. It was under a Conservative government that the pilots who travel on the Saint Lawrence River between Quebec City and Montreal had to file a complaint last winter with the Commissioner of Official Languages because they were unable to communicate in French with the crews of two Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers. Finally, it is also this Conservative government that does not see the problem with closing the only bilingual rescue centre in Canada, perhaps even in North America.
    There is no doubt that the state of bilingualism in Canada is cause for great concern. Last year, the Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, expressed his fear that the $5.2 billion in spending cuts called for by Ottawa between now and 2015 would result in a number of unwelcome surprises, such as a reduction in the services provided in both official languages. Unfortunately, the commissioner’s predictions seem to be coming true. The members on the other side of the House do not know where the money is going. Furthermore, in the blink of an eye, $3 billion that was supposed to go towards fighting terrorism has gone missing. Had the government invested in bilingualism, perhaps we would not be where we are today.

  (1845)  

    According to an article in the daily newspaper Le Devoir, budget cuts are forcing departments to reduce the number of documents they have translated. This is evidenced by the fact that the production rate at the Translation Bureau dropped by 9% in 2011–12, with a further drop of 17% forecast for 2012–13. Moreover, departments are asking francophone staff to write their reports in English in order to save time and money.
    In my opinion, the situation is, quite simply, unacceptable. Ottawa is even streamlining the office of Commissioner Fraser. In future, it will have to use money from its own budget to update its computer systems in order to process complaints more efficiently.
    If the government really cares about bilingualism, as we do on this side of the House, logically, it should be providing the commissioner with more resources so that he can do his job properly.
    Recently, I read in a newspaper that bilingualism has stagnated over the past decade. This is really appalling. We want more and more people across Canada, geographically the second-largest country in the world, to be proud of their Canadian history, which endowed us with two official languages.
    These two languages allow us to bring together people from all continents. We should be more proud of that. That is why it is important to invest in this area and to tap into Canadian pride regarding our two wonderful official languages, French and English.
    In 2002, the Prime Minister said that Canada is not a bilingual country. Ironically, today he is saying that it is his duty to protect the French language throughout this country. How times have changed. Again this week, however, according to an article in Le Droit, the Commissioner of Official Languages said that he needed to weigh his options for forcing the government to abide by the Official Languages Act when appointing judges, ambassadors, deputy ministers and heads of crown corporations.
    Last year, Graham Fraser asked that the Privy Council Office, the Prime Minister's department, take into consideration the Official Languages Act when determining the language requirements for thousands of positions filled by Governor in Council appointments.
    In the commissioner's opinion, if a position requires a bilingual candidate, the government should ensure that the selection committee respects that criterion. One year later, the government has remained silent on that recommendation.
    Here is part of a letter that Mr. Fraser wrote to the member for Acadie—Bathurst, who does outstanding work on the Standing Committee on Official Languages:
    [The Privy Council Office] has yet to follow through on our recommendations...We are currently weighing our options for ensuring that the [Privy Council Office] fulfills its key mandate of helping the government meet its commitments pursuant to part VII of the Official Languages Act.
    Part VII of the act stipulates that the federal government must work to enhance the vitality of linguistic minority communities and promote the use of French and English in Canadian society. It is important to note that it is in no way necessary for everyone appointed by the Privy Council Office to be bilingual, but those who work with the public must, generally speaking, be proficient in both languages.
    There needs to be objective criteria governing language levels for each position, and that is why Bill C-419 is so important.
    To conclude, I invite all of my colleagues, from all parties on this side of the House as well as the Conservatives across the aisle, to support this bill. Too many mistakes have been made in the past.
    People who show real leadership are able to acknowledge their mistakes and move forward. That is what this bill is proposing. It is a significant bill because it concerns official languages, one of the pillars of Canada's history. We have an opportunity here to show unity and vote unanimously on a bill that concerns us all. This would be a step in the right direction.

  (1850)  

    It is time to show Canadians that although parliamentarians may sometimes disagree on many issues, we can stand together when it comes to respecting Canada's official languages. We can say they are a source of pride and that we must invest more so that one day we can all speak both languages in order to communicate better with each other and live in a better society.

  (1855)  

    Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to congratulate my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent on her bill concerning bilingualism as a hiring requirement for officers of Parliament. This gap is totally unacceptable and has lasted for far too long. Needless to say, the subject of this bill, namely Canada's linguistic duality, is a key issue.
     Respect for Canada's two official languages is a priority for the NDP. This bill is very timely, since this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Laurendeau-Dunton commission.
    A Statistics Canada study released on Tuesday tracking bilingualism from 1961 to 2011 shows that young people are less and less exposed to French, and few immigrants are bilingual.
    The Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, has also expressed concern about the statistics shown by this study. This trend is not a good omen. The study tracked the evolution of bilingualism in Canada since the Laurendeau-Dunton commission was created. That is what laid the foundations for Canada's policy on bilingualism.
    When it comes to public life and bilingualism in Canada, certain concrete measures have far-reaching effects. This is why my colleague introduced this bill.
     This is about defending bilingualism in Canada, so we need to take meaningful action to do that. Obviously, we all know that this bill stems from the controversy generated by the appointment of a unilingual Auditor General in November 2011, when the job posting for the vacancy clearly said that proficiency in both official languages was an essential qualification for the position.
     In spite of the government’s change of direction on this bill, the fact remains that its track record in this regard is not a glowing one, and its negligence is detrimental to Canada's linguistic duality. The most blatant example of this was the appointment of Michael Ferguson as Auditor General.
     That is why the NDP decided to take action by introducing a bill to recognize that officers of Parliament must be fluent in both official languages at the time they take up their positions. I am therefore glad that the government has ultimately listened to reason on this issue, at least with respect to officers of Parliament. That is a start. The Conservative government has a chance to stop taking us backward on official languages. This is a simple matter of respecting the language rights of Canadians and the parliamentarians who represent them.
     Proficiency in both official languages at the time of appointment must be recognized as an essential qualification for the 10 key positions identified in the bill. The policy on official bilingualism must apply to officers of Parliament. If it does not, Canada's linguistic duality will be seriously undermined.
     Let us now look at this bill, and how important it is, in greater detail.
     By the nature of their duties, officers of Parliament have to be able to communicate with parliamentarians and Canadians in the official language of their choice. We know very well that this was not the case for the appointment of the Auditor General.
     Accordingly, if the bill is enacted, future occupants of the 10 positions in question will have to understand French and English without the assistance of an interpreter and will have to be able to express themselves clearly in both official languages when they take up their position. It therefore recognizes that proficiency in both official languages is essential to the performance of their duties.
     The following positions will be affected by these measures: Auditor General of Canada, Chief Electoral Officer, Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, Privacy Commissioner and Information Commissioner.
     Under this bill, the appointment of a unilingual person to the position of Auditor General or to any other of the 10 key positions would simply have been impossible.
     This bill has brilliantly managed to clarify the linguistic obligations of officers of Parliament so that this kind of situation will never occur again. Only 10 positions are affected by the bill, which thus acknowledges that proficiency in both official languages is essential in performing the duties of officers of Parliament. Consequently, officers must have that proficiency at the time they take up their duties, for a number of reasons.