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41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 223

CONTENTS

Wednesday, June 3, 2015




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 147 
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NUMBER 223 
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2nd SESSION 
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41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

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, today led by the pages.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, I was astounded by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's report on residential schools. That dark time in history during which entire generations of aboriginal children were uprooted from their families and communities is a gaping wound in our relationship with aboriginal peoples.
    Now that the report has put a fine point on what happened, clearly stating that it was cultural genocide, we have a duty to fundamentally alter our relationship with aboriginal peoples to help heal the wound.
    Let us put an end to the federal government's paternalistic attitude. Let us put an end to its condescension toward first nations, Inuit and Métis people. Let us get rid of the Indian Act, an archaic law that upholds a regime that inspired others to create apartheid.
    Let us give aboriginal peoples the tools they need to keep their languages and cultures alive and ensure the economic, social and environmental development of their communities. That is the least we can do.

[English]

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be part of a Conservative government that is doing so much for Canadian women. We have gotten tough on violent sexual offenders while supporting victims' rights. We have taken on those who traffic in girls. We have targeted prostitution laws at the men who exploit women, while offering their victims an exit from exploitation.
     I have worked with Women's Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc. to secure funding for an action plan, devised by young women, to overcome barriers to women in the skilled trades. I have secured funding to bring women and local banks together to ensure that women have specialized services for their financial preparedness, and I have secured funding for a program targeting the advancement of women to the highest levels at major local employers.
    I am proud to support our budget, with its action plan to help women access capital and mentorship to create jobs. As a husband to a strong woman, a father to four strong young women and girls, and the MP for Essex, I know that it is the Conservatives who are standing up for Canadian women.

[Translation]

World Environment Day and Clean Air Day

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to underscore an important date for the environment. On June 5, people all over the world will celebrate World Environment Day and Clean Air Day. Unfortunately, environmental issues are usually ignored by the Conservative government.
    However, according to a recent study by the consortium Ouranos, inaction on climate change could cost us billions of dollars in health care.
    Speaking of the environment, I would like to congratulate the Conseil régional de l'environnement du Centre-du-Québec, the Bloc vert and the Groupe d'aide pour la recherche et l'aménagement de la faune at the École Jean-Raimbault, which are all doing an excellent job in Drummond.
    Fortunately, on October 19, 2015, the NDP member for Outremont will make Canada an environmental leader on the world stage.
    I want to wish everyone a happy World Environment Day and Clean Air Day.

[English]

Aviation Hall of Fame Inductee

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to pay special tribute to Langley's own retired Royal Canadian Air Force Colonel George Miller upon his induction into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame.
    George joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1953 at the age of 18 and became a top Canadian fighter pilot. He was the base commander in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He was the team leader of the Canadian Snowbirds aerial demonstration team and is currently the team leader of the Fraser Blues Formation Flying Team, which is renowned for its Remembrance Day flyovers.
     In 1990, George became the manager of the struggling Langley Regional Airport. With vision, hard work, and commitment he transformed the airport in Langley into an outstanding community asset and one of Canada's top community airports, with multimillion-dollar businesses that are renowned for helicopter operations.
    George has been a huge contributor to many successful community events over the years, including Canada Day celebrations and The Sky's No Limit - Girls Fly Too, an event designed to instill in young girls a passion for flight and a career in aviation.
    Congratulations to George Miller.

Birthday Congratulations

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the presence in the gallery of JoAn Yvonne Pendergast, a lovely American lady who is celebrating her 80th birthday with her Canadian husband, Michael. Having experienced the splendors of western Canada as they travelled on the Rocky Mountaineer, they were joined by Michael's niece, Anne, and her husband, Hermann Wallner.
     It turns out that Michael and Anne have a link to Parliament Hill. As a young girl of 20, Mary Evelyn Thompson, who was Michael's mother and Anne's grandmother, was a personal secretary on Parliament Hill. She was here the night Centre Block, save for the Library of Parliament, burned in 1916. They both recall with considerable fondness the stories she told about the fire and other exciting happenings on the Hill.
    I ask members to join me in wishing JoAn a happy birthday and in recognizing a Canadian family with a Hill connection, who she has with her here today.

  (1410)  

Prescription Drugs

    Mr. Speaker, a recent survey found that one in eight Ontario youth reported using a prescription drug for non-medical purposes, and approximately 70% said they obtained the drugs from home.
    I want to thank our local law enforcement and pharmacies across the country that are working together to combat those types of troubling statistics and to make a difference.
    Through a partnership between the Cornwall Community Police Service and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, several Medi Drop boxes have been placed throughout the city of Cornwall. Medi Drop is a program that offers a safe place for the public to dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired medication. To date, they have safely disposed of 1,461 pounds of prescription medication.
    I want to thank the originator, Danielle Lauzon, of the Cornwall Police, and all those involved, not just locally but across the country, for encouraging people to clean out their medicine cabinets. Let us continue to raise awareness about this simple task and save and protect the health of so many.

[Translation]

Saint-Lambert

    Mr. Speaker, I want to use my last member's statement of this Parliament to take the time to thank all my constituents, all the volunteers and all the organizations I have worked with for the past four years. All these people have the courage to believe that we can change the world and are generous enough to get involved to achieve that.
    I commend all the organizations in my riding that work hard to improve the lives of others. On Sunday, I was witness to the remarkable dedication of the members of the south shore Alzheimer's Society. I also want to acknowledge the volunteers who work in my riding every day: Janine, Diane, Bechir, Louise, Christina, Josée and all the others who give of their time and energy to meet with people. They give freely of themselves to convince others that those who engage in politics with passion and altruism can change people's lives. I am very proud to have worked with them for the past four years.
    My friends, let us be loving, engaged and hopeful, and we will change the world.

[English]

Dr. John Andrew Balkwill

    Mr. Speaker, His Worship Dr. John Andrew Balkwill passed away peacefully on May 14, 2015. He leaves behind his loving wife, Janet, and daughters Anne and Kristy.
    John enjoyed a varied and esteemed career. John practised dentistry in Kanata for 28 years. He was a former national vice-president of the Conservative Party of Canada and a former president of the Kanata Carleton Rotary Club.
    For many years, John served as a member of the board of directors of the Canada Ports Corporation and further served as chairman of the police committee of Ports Canada Police. John then served for several years as the vice-chair of the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services. From 2003 until the time of his passing he served as a justice of the peace with the Ontario Court of Justice.
     John was a good friend and mentor to me and to many others, and he will be dearly missed.

Anniversary Wishes

    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise in this House to recognize a very special person in my life, my wife Gosia. Thirty-seven years ago today, we both said “yes” and became husband and wife. Ever since, I have been blessed with her unconditional love and support. When I decided to enter public life, she became my great mentor and supporter.
     I thank Gosia for our two wonderful children we raised, our son Marcin and daughter Kinga.
    Gosia is the best wife, mother, and now grandmother of our amazing grandchildren: Benjamin, Jan, and Alexandra. This is a little poem for Gosia:
    

I don't know what it is that you saw in me,
What I saw in you was the utmost happiness that can ever be,
Even more so on the day when you and I became “We”,
I can still smile and say with love and truth,
Honey, I love you.

     Happy Anniversary.

  (1415)  

    The hon. member may be raising the bar for the rest of us.
    The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst.

[Translation]

Acadie—Bathurst

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great emotion that I rise to speak today.
    It has been an honour for me to represent the people of Acadie—Bathurst and defend the interests of Canadians across the country in the House of Commons these past 18 years. It is not easy to leave this House. I have experienced great moments and felt a lot of emotions in this place, but as I already mentioned, there is a time to begin and a time to leave.
    I would like to thank my children, Céline, Nadine and Stéphanie, and also my spouse Lyna and her children, Cindy, Christian and Valérie, who supported me in 1997 when I decided to stand for election for the first time. I would like to thank my staff, Françoise, Roxane, Chantale, Nadine and Sonia, and all those who came before them.
    I would like to thank all the House of Commons staff who work behind the scenes: the security services, the interpreters who managed to interpret my heartfelt speeches for 18 years, the maintenance staff and everyone else.
    I would like to thank the NDP and my colleagues for accepting me into their big political family.
    To the people of Acadie—Bathurst, I say thank you for putting your trust in me. I love you all.

[English]

Michael Dika

    Mr. Speaker, this Friday, family and friends will gather to celebrate the life of Michael Dika following his sudden passing last month.
    Mike was born and raised in the farming community of Rycroft, Alberta, a community in which he was proud to raise his family, a community that he spent his life helping build.
    Mike's commitment to public service started in his youth, when in April 1941 until December 1946, Mike served our country in World War II as a private in the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps, the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, the 1st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment and finally in the 3rd Division Occupation Force.
    Mike served across Europe during his military service. Upon his return, his love for farming, incredible imagination and creativity, the skills and discipline as well as a strong work ethic that he brought from his childhood as well as from his military service yielded a passion for inventing farm equipment that transformed the industry in the Peace Country and throughout the Prairies.
    Mike was a man who loved his family, his community and his country.
    We thank him for his contribution. We thank him for his service.

Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, in the words of Rosemary Brown, “Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it”.
     While women represent just over 50% of the Canadian population, we occupy just 25% of the seats in this House.
    I am proud that the NDP makes equity a priority. We know that informed, engaged and active women can be successful in affecting real change.
    We saw it this week in the abolition of the federal sales tax on feminine hygiene products. Without the female MPs on all sides of this House who understood the experiences of Canadian women, and an amazing constituent community, I believe this victory would not have been possible. However, our work is not yet done.
    As the satiric online journal The Beaverton points out, this victory leaves 3,424 areas of gender inequality remaining in Canada.
     I look forward to the 42nd Parliament, where we have the opportunity to elect more women to represent this country's vast and magnificent diversity.
    Just watch what we can do then.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, auto companies are one of the many job creators that are starting to push back against the irresponsible ideas of the Liberals in Ontario and the Liberals on the other side of this house.
    The mandatory expansion of the Canada pension plan would kill jobs and dramatically hike taxes on all hard-working Canadians. The leader of the Liberal Party is suggesting that income earners who earn just $60,000 a year should have to pay $1,000 extra a year instead of spending it on their priorities.
    Job creators are pushing back. We reject this plan and Canadians will never accept it.
    On this side of the House, we do not raise taxes on the middle class. We cut them.

  (1420)  

Pensions

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is like a fish out of water when it comes to the Canada pension plan. Do not trust the Prime Minister. He would like to see this plan killed.
    Today Conservatives talk about the voluntary contribution, but in 2010, their finance minister said that the federal government ruled out voluntary contributions to the CPP. They said it was not a good idea back then.
    The Conservatives also claim they are going to consult with the provinces, but their record on consulting is even worse. The Prime Minister has not held a first ministers conference since 2009. The truth is that the Conservative government is not serious about pension reform. It was nowhere to be found in its unfair budget. The Prime Minister has done nothing but criticize any and all attempts to improve the CPP.
    Canadians want to be able to retire with the security and dignity that they deserve. A Liberal government would lower the age of OAS back to 65 and would work with the provinces to find ways to improve retirement for all Canadians.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, we know the Liberal leader's solution for the middle class: a dramatic tax hike. He was clear when he said the Liberal Party is looking at a mandatory tax increase to the Canada pension plan like the increase proposed by Kathleen Wynne in Ontario. We know that someone earning $60,000 a year will be paying $1,000 more in taxes.
    The good people of Newmarket—Aurora do not want to pay more taxes. They want more of their own money in their own pockets. They want to choose how they save for their retirement through increases to the tax free savings account. We respect that choice.
    Canadians simply cannot afford the Liberal plan.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, it is important for us to acknowledge that we are on unceded Algonquin territory.
     Yesterday, on this territory, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its final report.

[Translation]

    The testimony was clear: we need to put an end to previous governments' inaction in order to move toward reconciliation and healing. Too many aboriginal children are still suffering today as a result of chronic underfunding of education and a lack of access to quality health care, clean drinking water and housing.
    In 2015, it is high time we put an end to this cycle of poverty starting right now. That is what an NDP government will do. We will not forget the testimony given by the thousands of survivors. We will not forget the 6,000 or more children who never came home.

[English]

    In the words of the commissioners, “Collective efforts from all peoples are necessary to revitalize the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and Canadian society – reconciliation is the goal”.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the NDP lifted the veil on its anti-Israel agenda. The member for Ottawa Centre questioned why our government would stand against policies that would only serve to isolate Israel.
    We remain committed to upholding and strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. However, like the U.S. and the U.K., we could not support consensus at the conference. We will never support any policy whose sole purpose is the isolation or the embarrassment of our greatest ally in the region.
    The question yesterday from the member for Ottawa Centre is hardly surprising, given the long anti-Israel history of the NDP. Let us not forget that it was member for Vancouver East who said that Israel represents “the longest occupation in the world”.
    Unlike the NDP, this Conservative government not only recognizes Israel's right to exist but its inherent right to defend itself by itself.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we heard a clear message from the survivors and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: words are not enough. There also needs to be concrete action.
    However, the Prime Minister is once again refusing to implement key recommendations, such as the recommendation to apply the principles set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
    Why is he refusing to take this opportunity to move toward reconciliation?

  (1425)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we again thank the TRC for its work. We thank the former residential school students for the courage and strength they showed in sharing their stories with Canadians.
    Canada is one of the only countries in the world where aboriginal and treaty rights are entrenched in its Constitution. We have endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as an aspirational document, and a significant step forward in improving our relationship with aboriginal peoples.
    We will continue to take concrete measures to improve the living conditions of aboriginal peoples.
    Mr. Speaker, it is too bad the government lacks the courage and strength to act.
    It said no to an inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women. It passed legislation affecting aboriginal rights without any consultation. It voted against implementing the UN declaration. It has underfunded first nations education and social services. It has spent hundreds of millions of dollars fighting aboriginal and treaty rights.
    As Justice Murray Sinclair has said, “Words are not enough”.
    Will the Prime Minister commit to real change and real reconciliation?
    Mr. Speaker, it was our government that signed the residential schools agreement, made the apology on behalf of all Canadians, and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
    It was this Prime Minister who made the historic apology to former students of Indian residential schools, their families and their communities. Our government has implemented many initiatives to improve the lives of first nations living in this country.
    Our government will keep working with aboriginal communities and individuals to improve their lives. We would like the opposition to actually get on board and support those concrete measures that we have taken to improve the lives of aboriginal peoples.
    Mr. Speaker, reconciliation is not just about what happened in the past, it is about what is still happening today.
    Twenty years after the last residential school closed, the state of first nations education in Canada is a disgrace. There are too many first nations children who do not have a safe, quality school to attend in their local community. First nations students still receive an average of $8,000 less than students in the rest of Canada.
    Will the government act now to close the gap before another generation suffers from these discriminatory education policies?
    Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to a fair and lasting resolution to the legacy of Indian residential schools.
    As acknowledged by the Prime Minister's historic apology on behalf of all Canadians in 2008, there is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired Indian residential schools to ever prevail again.
    We continue to make significant investments in aboriginal education. Our recent budget committed substantial funding for education on reserve, and builds upon an investment of $500 million that was announced last year by the Prime Minister for first nations education infrastructure.
    We will continue to work with first nations, parents, teachers, schools and leaders to improve the quality of first nations education on reserve.
    Mr. Speaker, more words are not needed; action is needed.
    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was clear that in order to achieve reconciliation, we need a new relationship based on mutual respect, a nation-to-nation relationship.
    However, despite the many moving stories Canadians heard yesterday, the Prime Minister is still insisting that he will not implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
    In the spirit of reconciliation, I ask the Conservatives again, will they listen to the commission and implement the UN declaration?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, Canada is one of the only countries in the world where aboriginal and treaty rights are recognized in its Constitution. We have endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
    We have also done more than that. We have extended the rights on reserve to women. Women living on reserve were given the same rights as women living off reserve. We brought the Canadian Human Rights Act to bear on reserve. When we do that, the opposition always votes against it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, reconciliation is about more than just words. It is also about taking concrete action. We need to start fresh, in a nation-to-nation relationship, and that is what the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples would allow us to do. However, the Prime Minister is still caught up in his ideology.
    Why is he refusing to protect the fundamental rights of aboriginal peoples? Why?

  (1430)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, actions do speak louder than words. Every time we take action to improve the lives of first nations people, the NDP votes against it.
     We have brought in matrimonial property rights for women living on reserve. We have brought in water and waste water standards, like all other Canadians expect, for Canadians living on reserve. We have brought in the Canadian Human Rights Act to protect people living on reserve. The NDP always votes against aboriginal Canadians whenever it is presented with the chance in the House.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada shows how much work we need to do to repair the harm suffered by first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
    This government appointed Justice Sinclair, who made 94 recommendations to really close this sad chapter in our history, which has been described as cultural genocide.
    The Liberal Party immediately accepted those 94 recommendations. Will this government do the same?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we do thank the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the commissioners for their work and salute the former residential school students who shared their stories with Canadians. We appreciate that being documented for all Canadians.
    We will take the time to consider the recommendations in the light of the full report, which will be released at the end of this year, so we can carefully consider those. Unlike the Liberal Party, we believe that we need to take a close look at those recommendations and consider them in the light of the full report.
    Mr. Speaker, the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Justice Sinclair, says the abhorrent system of residential schools was an exercise in cultural genocide. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada agrees, as do previous prime ministers, and Canadians more generally.
    However, judging by comments made by Judge Sinclair yesterday, after his meeting with the Prime Minister, the government is not yet on the same page.
    Would the government explicitly acknowledge the cultural genocide that has taken place and will it agree with the TRC's recommendations?
    Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister made the historic apology on behalf of all Canadians in 2008, the government recognized that the Indian residential schools caused great harms to individuals, to communities and to an entire society, and that the attitudes that gave way to that policy had no place in Canada.
    While we cannot undo the past, we can learn from it. We have taken the steps necessary to bring closure to the legacy of Indian residential schools. We will continue to promote reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians, and we will consider the recommendations of the report in the context of the full report, which will be released later this year.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of State for Small Business said that Canada would promote supply management during the trans-Pacific partnership negotiations.
    That same day, his colleague from Edmonton Centre called supply management an anachronism that needs to disappear, and the Prime Minister's Quebec lieutenant spoke about compensating Canadian producers who could be penalized in the trans-Pacific partnership negotiations.
    Is the government truly committed to protecting supply management, yes or no?

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the report issued by the commission yesterday was clear. A public inquiry into missing and murdered women is a step towards reconciliation.
    Once again, the minister is refusing to show respect and sensitivity. This is not the time to remain seated, arms crossed. Now is the time to show some leadership and launch this inquiry.
    Why does the minister keep refusing to listen to victims?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we do not need another study on top of the 40 we already have. It is this government that continues to stand up for victims of violence.
     Since coming to office, we have toughened sentences for murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and imposed mandatory prison sentences for most of the crimes, and that member and that party votes against everything we do. We also passed the historic legislation that gave aboriginal women on reserves the same matrimonial rights that they have, including emergency protection orders. Again, those members vote against everything we do to help aboriginal women and girls.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister did not stand; he stayed in his seat. Shame on them.
     During Justice Sinclair's address, the room erupted with cheers when he called for a national inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women, yet the minister pointedly stayed in his seat.
    There are now more than 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. Without justice for these women and their families, there can be no reconciliation.
    Will the minister do the right thing and commit to immediately launching a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, it was this government that brought in the action plan to address family violence and violent crimes against aboriginal women and girls, as well as the family violence prevention program. Again, the opposition members voted against it.
    Since coming to office, we passed more than 30 criminal justice and public safety initiatives, including tougher sentences for murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and mandatory prison. The opposition members continue to vote against every single thing we do to help women and girls in Canada.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of State for Agriculture claimed that he would defend supply management, but at committee the hon. member for Edmonton Centre said, “supply management needs to disappear”. It seems some members of the Conservative caucus have actually been telling the truth lately. Farmers no longer really trust the government when it comes to supply management.
    Will the minister denounce the member for Edmonton Centre, or have the Conservatives truly given up on egg farmers, poultry farmers and dairy farmers across our country?
    Mr. Speaker, our government will continue to promote Canada's trade interests across all sectors of our economy, across every region of our country, including supply management. That has never prevented us from successfully completing trade agreements with countries like the United States, the European Union and South Korea.
     We make no apologies for ensuring that any deal reached must be in Canada's best interests. As always, we will only sign a trade agreement that is in the best interests of Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday another Conservative gave farmers yet more reason to worry about whether our supply management system will be protected.
     In committee, the member for Edmonton Centre said that supply management should disappear. Negotiations are going on behind closed doors, and farmers are in the dark. This will jeopardize 3,500 farms in Quebec alone. The industry is worth $3.2 billion per year.
    Have the Conservatives decided to sacrifice supply management, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, earlier, I told my Liberal Party colleague that we will continue to defend supply management. I said yes.
    In answer to this question, I have to say no because the question was whether we will dismantle supply management. We will continue to promote supply management.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for Quebec said that concessions would have to be made for the trans-Pacific partnership to work.
    The minister of state is playing word games by saying that he will promote supply management without guaranteeing that he will maintain it.
    For his part, the Prime Minister said that Canada will have to make difficult choices.
    Farmers deserve honesty.
    My question is simple. Will the Conservative government preserve supply management within the context of the trans-Pacific partnership, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, yes, we will continue to preserve supply management.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, clearly, the Minister of Finance keeps burying his head in the sand.
    Our economy shrank by 0.6% in the first quarter, but the minister has brushed off any concerns about Canada possibly moving into recession.
    This morning the OECD downgraded its forecasts for Canada's economic growth.
    When will the minister pull his head out of the sand and admit that the economy is in trouble?
    Mr. Speaker, at the G7 meeting last week, it became clear that the global economy remains fragile.
    The United States had a tough first half of the year, China's growth declined and Europe continues to struggle.
    However, the Bank of Canada, the IMF and private sector economists are predicting a recovery for Canada's economy and solid growth throughout the year. Our economic action plan has been highly praised.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, while the middle class is struggling to make ends meet, the Conservatives are allowing Canadian companies to put billions of dollars in tax havens with total impunity.
    This year Canadians companies will hide $200 billion from the taxman. Of the five most popular destinations for Canadian direct investment abroad, three are tax havens. That is not right.
    Instead of cutting thousands of jobs at the Canada Revenue Agency, will the Conservatives do something to combat offshore tax evasion?

  (1440)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the government has zero tolerance for tax evasion. From 2006 to March 31, 2014, the CRA audited over 8,600 international tax cases, identifying over $5.6 billion in additional taxes. There has been no cut to auditors. In fact, we have increased the number of auditors at CRA.
    Our unprecedented investments have provided the CRA with enhanced tools to pursue tax evaders like never before.
    Additionally, our government has introduced over 85 measures to improve the integrity of the tax system. The NDP has voted against all—
    Order, please. The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian economy actually shrank in the first quarter, yet the finance minister's only plan is to buy more ad time.
    An OECD report out today is downgrading Canada's growth even further and warns of serious future risks to our economy. However, the minister refuses to take off the rose coloured glasses and face reality.
     The truth is that Canadian families are worried about how to pay the mortgage. The truth is that Canadians are worried about losing their jobs. The truth is that this is the worst economic growth performance outside of a recession in 40 years.
    When will the Minister of Finance finally wake up and acknowledge that his plan is failing Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, the OECD confirmed Canada's sound fiscal situation and indicated that the economy next year would be growing by 2.3%. The fact is that there was a dramatic decline in the price of oil, the U.S. economy fell by 2.7%, and all this impacts on the Canadian economy.
    This is not the time for high taxes, be they a $20-billion carbon tax or a payroll tax increase through a mandatory CPP.
    Mr. Speaker, we know the Conservatives are getting desperate when they reach back for that old nugget.
    New government numbers show that top earners keep getting wealthier, while working and middle-class Canadians fall further behind. The Conservative's income-splitting scheme will only make matters worse, yet the minister seems confused about his own plan.
    Yesterday at committee he claimed that the scheme would not kick in until next year, but his own budget documents show that he blew $2.4 billion on income splitting this year while actually running a $2-billion deficit.
    Now that the facts are in front of the minister, will he finally admit to the truth, that he chose to run a deficit just to help wealthy Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, first, I said no such thing. In fact, he is confusing my answer with that of someone else, and it was not me.
    Statistics Canada reported that the average net worth of Canadian families grew 73% in the last 15 years, approximately. The economic action plan is working.
    However, what the Liberals and the NDP propose are reckless spending and high taxes. This is not the time for that; it never is. We are going to continue our low-tax plan for jobs and growth, which is working and making us the envy of the world.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, supply management is good for our farmers and our consumers. It puts nutritious eggs, chicken, turkey and dairy products on our plates every day at a reasonable price.
    Yesterday in question period, the member for Beauce cynically said that the Conservatives were only going to promote supply management and not protect it in treaty talks. Then, at the foreign affairs committee, the member for Edmonton Centre said that it should disappear altogether.
    The Conservatives now have confirmed what we always knew. They want to scratch supply management. How much are they going to give away in the next trade negotiations?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of that question. I have made it very clear in the House many times that our government will continue to promote and defend the interests of our supply managed farmers.
    There is no government that has done more for Canadian farmers than this Conservative government. Our government understands that expanded trade will be a key driver of economic growth for Canada. That is why we are participating in the TPP negotiations. We are opening up a market of 800 million consumers, a market that is worth somewhere in the order of $29 trillion a year.
    On this side of the House, we understand what is important for Canadians, and that is economic growth and long-term prosperity.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, last week we learned that the Canadian economy shrank, and this week CIBC and the OECD adjusted their forecasts for Canada to the alarming growth rates of 1.45% and 1.5%. That falls far short of the Conservative government's pitiful objectives. That will mean more cuts, and the government will not be able to balance the budget.
    Are the Conservatives waiting for a recession before they do something?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, Canada is not immune to the financial turmoil affecting the global economy. We know that Europe's growth is weak and that in the first half of the year the United States posted a 0.7% decline. Canada must follow its low-tax plan for economic growth.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister's latest economic forecasts, less than two months ago, are already wrong.
    The country has just recorded the worst two months ever for trade deficits. The OECD has slashed Canadian growth prospects for 2015, now down to a meagre 1.5%, meaning three-quarters of OECD countries are doing better than Canada and the current government is likely already back in deficit once again.
    Before this House adjourns in three weeks, will the government table a new fiscal update to tell the truth about its deficit and its no-growth economy?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure why the opposition members continue to want to talk down Canada.
    We believe that our low-tax plan for jobs and growth will result, as it has in the past, in significant economic growth. We have created 1.2 million net new jobs; we are doing better than most developed countries; and the prospects are for solid growth this year and continuing growth next year.
     That is the view of all economists. That is the view of the Bank of Canada and the IMF.

[Translation]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister began by assuring us that Mike Duffy was a resident of Prince Edward Island. However, he was never able to prove it. Then, we learned that his office was directly involved in making changes to a report on senators' spending. The cherry on the sundae is that the Prime Minister agreed to have a senator do fundraising for the Conservative Party on the taxpayers' dime.
    Will the Prime Minister finally explain what role he played in the Senate scandal?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, they have already addressed the fact of senators' appointments. The practice has been clear on that for close to 150 years.
    It is also very clear that it is against the rules of this House to use the resources of the taxpayers to fund partisan political offices. That is something that the NDP did. I am sure that taxpayers, those in the gallery and across Canada who are watching, are shocked to learn that the NDP is actually taking the taxpayers to court because it refuses to pay back the $2.7 million that it owes them. Instead, the New Democrats will be spending their summer in court refusing to pay it back. I hope they will do the right thing and pay it back.
    Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague loves kangaroo courts because the Conservatives keep getting convicted in real courts.
    It took the RCMP to tell us that the cover-up was orchestrated in the Prime Minister's Office. It was the RCMP that told us that the Prime Minister's Office tried to whitewash the audit. As more stuff comes out on Mike Duffy, it is becoming clear why the Conservatives were such busy little beavers. In fact, the member for Oak Ridges—Markham relied on Mike Duffy to help get him elected when he was abusing the public trust.
    I would like to ask when the Prime Minister is going to finally come clean about the orchestrated cover-up of abuse of taxpayer money that was done in his office to benefit his party.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, when I campaigned in my riding, I campaigned openly and honestly about the things that I wanted to accomplish for the people of my riding. I never broke my word to my constituents like that member did, on the campaign trail saying one thing and then coming into this House and doing the exact opposite. In fact, he got caught and then tried to gerrymander his riding to get rid of the people he did not like so he could try to win his seat back. Now he is part of the crew that owes—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. We need a bit more order.
    The hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of National Defence said that our request for an apology to LGBT members of the Canadian Forces who were forced out of their jobs was new to him. That is surprising because this motion was tabled more than a year ago.
    Just to ensure he did not miss it, we wrote to the minister again this February to draw his attention to it. He had plenty of time to consider this request on behalf of hundreds of veterans.
     Will he now honour the service of these women and men, apologize and correct their service records?
    Mr. Speaker, again, gay and lesbian Canadians have served openly in the Canadian Armed Forces, and proudly, for nearly 25 years. They do a great job, like all of our men and women in uniform.
     We are proud of all of them.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of National Defence said that our request for an apology for the discriminatory policies against LGBT members of the CF was new to him. However, over a year ago, a motion was moved to that effect and the NDP informed the minister about this several times. Clearly he is not top of these issues.
    Will the government finally acknowledge the unacceptable policies that were in effect in the army for 25 years and apologize to the LGBT members?
    Mr. Speaker, as I just said, gay and lesbian Canadians have served openly in the Canadian Armed Forces for nearly 25 years. We are proud of their service and the service of all Canadians in our armed forces.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Yesterday, once again, we saw the true colour of the NDP's foreign policy when it questioned our government's support for a policy that seeks to prevent the isolation of Israel.
    Can the minister please update the House on the government's position on the outcome of the recent United Nations non-proliferation treaty?
    Mr. Speaker, I fully accept the premise of that question. I would like to thank the member for York Centre for his leadership on this issue.
    Canada remains fully committed to upholding and strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Under this Conservative government, Canada will only support a legitimate Middle East weapons of mass destruction conference process that addresses the concerns of all countries in the region, including Israel.
    Unlike the NDP, which pursues policies that isolate Israel in the Middle East, Canada and this government will continue to stand with our friend and ally for democracy, freedom and the rule of law.

[Translation]

Consumer Protection

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP has worked hard on getting rid of the unfair pay-to-pay fees that the banks are charging. Yesterday, the Conservatives decided to support our motion in the House. That is good. That is the first step, but the next step is legislation. As always, we are offering our full co-operation to ensure we can quickly pass a bill before the end of this session.
    Will the minister accept our offer in order to put an end to these unjustified bank fees?
    Mr. Speaker, our government understands the concerns of Canadians who feel they are not getting their money's worth out of these bank fees. That is why we supported the opposition motion. The banks have already committed to stop charging pay-to-pay fees. That is why we supported the opposition motion. This is the type of measure that we are planning to include in our mandatory financial consumer protection code that we promised to establish in economic action plan—

  (1455)  

    The hon. member for Davenport.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the only thing standing between now and the end of unfair pay-to-pay fees is these Conservatives right here.
    While I appreciate their support for the motion, let us be clear. If the government is serious about standing up for hard-working people, will the minister pass legislation before the summer that stops banks from picking the pockets of Canadians with these unfair fees?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, we have obtained a voluntary agreement from the banks not to impose pay-to-pay fees. I am not sure whether the opposition is listening.
    It is also the kind of issue that we may include in the mandatory consumer protection framework.
     We have also introduced tough measures to protect Canadians, including implementing low-cost banking accounts and free banking services for over seven million Canadians.

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure where that agreement came from with the banks. Is it some kind of nudge, nudge, wink, wink deal? We do not know. We have not seen it. We want a mandatory code. That is what the government agreed to yesterday. We want to see it happen.
    Now, onto another issue. The government has supported adoptions from many Muslim countries. Nusrat Munshi has been working for two years to bring her child home with no success.
    Other countries, like the United States and the United Kingdom, have figured this out and allowed legal recognition of guardianship for children from Muslim countries. Why has this government not?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite would do well not to spread disinformation. Adoptions continue to happen in Canada in large numbers, including from many Muslim majority countries.
    However, those adoptions have to respect the national law of those countries, international conventions on adoption and the law of children, and Canadian law.
    When any of those requirements is not met, the adoption will not take place.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister would have us believe that there is nothing more he can do in this case, and that is shameful. The situation can and must be resolved. If the minister does not know how to do that, he can look at what is being done in the United States and the United Kingdom because they managed to solve this problem. In 2013, this government stopped recognizing adoptions of Pakistani children, which means that parents have been separated from their adoptive children for months or even years.
    Will the minister show some leadership in this matter, solve the problem and allow these parents to live in Canada with their adopted children?
    Mr. Speaker, we have here two New Democrat MPs who, instead of looking after the interests of real people and real families with concerns by coming and talking to us about specific cases, would rather talk about these situations in the House. They know full well that we cannot comment on individual cases in the House. They are also quite familiar with the adoption rules.
    If they have cases they need help with, they should come and talk to us about them instead of turning other people's family lives into a partisan issue.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the OECD has cut its 2015 GDP forecast for Canada to a dismal 1.5%. By way of excuse, the minister today claimed, “We are doing better than most developed countries”. That is simply not true. The OECD puts us behind Australia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, the U.K., the U.S. and yes, even Spain.
    This is no global problem, as the government likes to pretend to excuse its shoddy management. This is a made-in-Canada runway to recession.
    When will the finance—
    The Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, if I understand the member opposite correctly, she seems to think that Canada is an island and that we are not in any way affected, even though we are great trading nation, by what is going on in the rest of the world. That may be the Liberal view, but we live in a global world and of course we are affected by it.
    Our government is focused on what matters to Canadians: jobs and economic growth. Our plan is training, trade and low taxes. We have created 1.2 million net new jobs. According to the International Labour Organization global wage report, Canada has the second best paid—

  (1500)  

    The hon. member for Kings—Hants.
    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian economy shrank last quarter. We are halfway to a recession. TD, BMO, CIBC and the OECD have all downgraded their projections for Canada.
    TD is saying that while the headline growth number was bad, the underlying details were worse, yet yesterday the Minister of Finance, ignoring mounting evidence, predicted growth this quarter.
    Why will he not tell Canadians the truth, that the economy has flatlined and we are teetering on recession? Why is he refusing to provide a real plan for jobs and growth? Does he think wishful thinking is a replacement for a plan?
    Mr. Speaker, it is really rich for the Liberals and the NDP to be accusing our job creation record. They have voted against every job creation measure our government put forward, including freezing EI rates, tax cuts for manufacturers, $75 billion in stable and predictable job creating infrastructure, the LNG, accelerated capital cost allowance.
    The Liberals would introduce increased taxes through payroll taxes, an increase in mandatory CPP.
    His leader thinks that budgets—
    The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas.

Science and Technology

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say thousands of Canada's top social scientists are in Ottawa today sharing their latest innovations in their field. They conduct exceptional research on the defining social and economic issues of our time.
    Social science research is critical to understanding our society and growing our economy, but of course the Conservatives do not share this view. Since 2007, base funding for the three research granting councils has been slashed by millions, not to mention killing off the long form census.
    Why are Conservatives undercutting Canadian social scientists with their reckless cuts to research?
    Mr. Speaker, I absolutely have to say that what that member just said is just not true. We have made record investments in science, technology, and innovation. We have massive, significant legacy funding in the 2014 economic action plan and the 2015 economic action plan.
    When it comes to support for scientists and innovation, this government stands tall and stands proud.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister of state is the one who is wrong. The current government does not provide adequate support for the humanities and social sciences, and the figures speak for themselves.
    Between 2007 and 2015, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council saw its budget cut by nearly $50 million. Furthermore, in 2013, a Conservative Party insider said that there were too many young people in university and not enough young welders.
    When will this government stop denigrating our humanities and social science researchers and start recognizing their contributions?
    Mr. Speaker, we have made unprecedented investments to support our scientists, particularly in budget 2015.

[English]

    My hon. colleagues, both the member for Burnaby—Douglas and the member who just spoke, talked about social sciences.
    We are very proud, for example, of the appointments that we have just made to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council: Julia Foster, the new chair, and Tracy Summerville, from our home province of British Columbia, a brilliant academic from Prince George who is going to do fantastic work there for all Canadians in the advancement of science and the advancement of discovery for all Canadians.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to read that in my province of Saskatchewan, police know it is their job to enforce the law and shut down marijuana storefronts operating in our cities.
    Can the Minister of Health please update the House on the serious health risks of smoking marijuana?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question.
    Of course, the report from the health committee that outlined expert testimony makes it clear that when youth smoke marijuana, there is an increased risk of mental health issues, including psychosis and schizophrenia.
    Unlike the Liberal leader, who wants to normalize the smoking of pot by legalizing it and making it available in storefronts just like alcohol and cigarettes, this Conservative government will make sure that storefronts selling marijuana remain illegal. We expect all police to enforce the law.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow will be the sad anniversary of the tragic shooting in Moncton in which three RCMP officers were killed in the line of duty.
    The report on that tragedy made many of the same recommendations found in the report on the shooting in Mayerthorpe, where four officers died eight and a half years earlier. Now the RCMP faces charges under the Canada Labour Code for inadequate training and equipment.
    Ultimately, responsibility rests with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Why has the minister failed the RCMP and its funding needs? Why is the government not providing enough money to the RCMP for training and equipment so that its officers can protect themselves?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is rather unfortunate that the member has posed that question on the eve of the day that we should be honouring the three fallen RCMP members who lost their lives in the line of duty.
    That said, our Conservative government has full confidence in the RCMP to enforce the laws of Canada and keep all Canadians safe.
    The RCMP commissioned a report into this incident and is acting upon those recommendations.

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, Tibetans in my community are worried about their loved ones following the devastating earthquake in Nepal. They are concerned that their families, even those who qualify for expedited family reunification, might not get to Canada, because as refugees, many do not have the necessary travel documents.
    Tibetan refugees in Nepal are facing exceptional and urgent circumstances. What will the minister do to cut through the red tape and help reunite these families?
    Mr. Speaker, we continue to be very concerned about the situation in Nepal, about reuniting families affected by the disaster there, and about Tibetan populations facing hardship at home, in Nepal, and in India. That is why, thanks to an initiative of my predecessor, we have committed ourselves to the largest resettlement program of Tibetan refugees in Canadian history.
    I was pleased to organize an information session very recently in that member's riding to help resolve these issues of documentation.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, Ford, Chrysler, and GM have written to Premier Kathleen Wynne warning that her plan to expand mandatory pension contributions would kill jobs and increase the cost of doing business. Could the Minister of Employment and Social Development please update this House on our government's plan to support job growth in the auto industry?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank that member for her hard work on behalf of auto workers. I am happy to report that according DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, “The Canadian new vehicle market remains to be on track for the bestselling year ever”.
    Our low-tax plan is working. However, the Liberals are planning a new tax that will throw auto workers out of a job. The Windsor Star stated:
     The local Chamber of Commerce and auto sector companies are warning Premier Kathleen Wynne a new provincial plan could lead to layoffs or cutbacks in Windsor's fragile auto sector.
    The Liberal leader has endorsed that proposed payroll tax of $1,000 for every worker. We will fight to stop it.

[Translation]

Air Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, although the House unanimously adopted my motion regarding non-designated airports on April 29, the government has yet to take action and has said nothing on this issue. This motion called on the House to create, as soon as possible, a mechanism that would allow for security screenings at non-designated airports, such as the Sherbrooke airport. The people of Sherbrooke are entitled to an airport that helps our region's economy flourish. They are also entitled to answers from the Minister of Transport.
    How is it that nothing has been announced five weeks after my motion was adopted? What is the Minister of Transport doing about this?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have been working on this issue far longer than the member has put forth his motion in the House of Commons. In fact, that is why we are so far along in the curve and having these discussions on a one-to-one basis with airports that are interested in taking the opportunity to have a pilot project with respect to being able to pay for CATSA services.
    We will update the airports as we move along, but this is really a matter for Transport Canada officials to discuss with the local area and not a matter for political interference.

[Translation]

Intergovernmental Relations

    Mr. Speaker, once again, the federal government is acting unilaterally without any concern for the impact on Quebec. This time, Ottawa wants to interfere in France-Quebec relations bluntly, heedless of the formal request from Quebec ministers Weil and St-Pierre and the international agreements Quebec has with its partners. The federal government changed the visa rules for foreign interns. Ottawa's lack of subtlety will deprive nearly 300 French students of internships in Quebec. This is “Ottawa knows best” at its finest.
    Is this the latest version of the federal government's policy on collaboration? Does it intend to flatly reject formal requests from Quebec ministers—and federalist ones at that?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is funny that the member opposite sees no need to ensure that Canadians and Quebeckers get priority in the labour market. That is why we changed the temporary foreign worker program. The reason we have new fees is to ensure the integrity of the new program. We will continue to seek reciprocity in the exchange program with France and to ensure that Quebec and Canadian workers get priority.

[English]

Presence in Gallery

    I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta.
     Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Commissioner of Official Languages

    I have the honour to lay upon the table the annual reports on the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for the year 2014-2015.

[Translation]

    These reports are deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 128 petitions.

Safer Vehicles for Canadians Act

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

[Translation]

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the reports of the delegation of the Canadian branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie respecting its participation in the 15th summit of La Francophonie, held in Dakar, Senegal, from November 25 to 30, 2014; in the bureau meeting of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie and in a bilateral meeting, which were held in Paris and in Clermond-Ferrand, France, from January 21 to 27, 2015; and in the meeting of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie Political Committee, held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from March 23 to 26, 2015.

Committees of the House

Official Languages 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages entitled “Immigration as a Tool for Enhancing the Vitality and Supporting the Development of Francophone Minority Communities”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

[English]

Natural Resources  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources regarding the supplementary estimates (A) for 2015-16.

Public Safety and National Security  

    Mr. Speaker, today I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in relation to Bill C-637, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (firearms storage and transportation). The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.
    As well, while I have the floor, I move:
    That the House proceed to orders of the day.

  (1515)  

     Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Speaker: Call in the members.

  (1550)  

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

(Division No. 416)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 149

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Caron
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Christopherson
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Day
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Freeland
Freeman
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jones
Julian
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Latendresse
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nunez-Melo
Papillon
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Saganash
Sandhu
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Valeriote
Vaughan

Total: -- 106

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

  (1555)  

[English]

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act

Bill S-6—Time Allocation Motion  

    That, in relation to Bill S-6, an act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill; and
    That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at 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 stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67(1) there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who may wish to participate in the debate to rise in their seats at this time so I can get a sense of how much involvement there will be.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Northwest Territories.
    Mr. Speaker, this is the 98th time in this Parliament that we have had a time allocation proposal by the government. This one is on a particular bill that is opposed by most of the people in Yukon in four specific areas.
     The government has chosen not to go back to the first nations in Yukon that have well-established relationships there based on existing laws and existing environmental legislation. The government has chosen to unilaterally put four new amendments in the bill that were not part of the larger review process. This has led to a situation where both Yukoners and first nations Yukoners are combined in their opposition to these four amendments.
     We saw that when we had the committee hearings in Yukon. The room was full. Hundreds of people listened to our committee. Many people spoke to it, including industry. They said not to do it, that it was silly, that it was not correct to break the relationship that existed now and was working quite well.
    The time allocation motion is an insult. The government will answer for this in Yukon in the next election, which is five months away. It is a pity that the government has taken this road. It is going to cause disruption and uncertainty in the Yukon economy for the next number of years until we straighten it out.
    Mr. Speaker, if this is the 98th time that such a motion has been proposed to the House, it means that this Parliament, our party, our government will have accomplished a lot of work for the benefit of all Canadians.
    Bill S-6 is the final legislative step to fully implement the action plan to improve northern regulatory regimes. The bill would complete the northern regulatory improvement legislative agenda. The agenda has included the passage of the Northern Jobs and Growth Act, Bill C-47, and the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, Bill C-15.
    I understand the member for the Northwest Territories wanting to keep Yukon on a different playing field than the Northwest Territories. He should be more generous. The bill would level the playing field for all the territories in the north. The regulatory regime would be the same as south of 60, so northerners could benefit from the certainty this would bring to their regulatory regime in that territory.

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, for those who watch the proceedings of the House, I am sure they cannot help but be disappointed in the Conservative-Reform style government. It is a government that since it acquired a majority has had a different attitude in the House of Commons. It is one where it feels it does not need to consult with people, that it can just walk over some very basic democratic principles. It is one that does not understand the need for diligence. It is one that does not understand the need for working with people or working with members of Parliament. In dealing with important legislation like Bill S-6 and the northern regulatory regime, the government has failed on so many counts.
    The government, by once again relying on a time allocation motion to get its agenda passed, speaks of incompetence. It speaks of a genuine lack of respect for parliamentary procedure and ultimately for Canadians. It continues to try to prevent members of Parliament from being engaged and representing their constituents on the floor of the House of Commons.
    My question is not for the minister but rather for the government House leader who is the minister responsible for forcing this legislation through, as he has done on so many pieces of legislation. Why does the government need to use time allocation in such a fashion that it has created a record, which cannot even remotely come close to being matched, as the worst government in Canada's history in using time allocation or closure to get its legislative agenda passed?
    Mr. Speaker, the comments of the hon. member betray his lack of understanding and knowledge of what led to Bill S-6. He says there was no consultation. Improvements to the regulatory system have been contemplated since 2007, and they were informed by a review by Neil McCrank, the federal government's special representative for the northern regulatory improvement initiative. In his review of the regulatory systems across the north, he consulted widely with aboriginal groups, governments, and industry. These consultations resulted in his 2008 report, entitled “The Road to Improvement”.
    In 2012, the Government of Canada subsequently announced the action plan to improve northern regulatory regimes, which drew upon recommendations in this 2008 report.
     The short answer as to why we have this motion today is that it is to give the northerners the benefit of its impact.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister forgot to mention the 98 times the government has imposed closure and time allocation. It is a record. It is the worst governmental record ever in Canadian history.
    It also has the worst record of rejected legislation. The Conservatives bring shoddy legislation into the House, and the courts reject it. A dozen times now the courts have simply thrown out the junk the government has put on the floor of the House and then forced through the House. The government has the worst legislative record in Canadian history.
    Now, we are talking about Bill S-6. Here we have a Yukon News editorial from June 13, 2014, which tells us all what people in Yukon think about this bill. It says:
    A long list of people deserve raspberries for this needlessly shady behaviour. At the top of the naughty list are Senator Daniel Lang and [the member for Yukon], who are supposed to ensure that the interests of Yukoners are represented in Ottawa. Instead, they’ve kept the public out of the loop, other than [the member for Yukon] uttering vague generalities about the forthcoming changes without offering any meaningful specifics. Shame on them.
    That is a voice from Yukon. Those Yukoners should have been listened to by the government. Why did the government not listen? Why is it trying to force a bad bill through the House of Commons?

  (1605)  

    Mr. Speaker, a serious parliamentarian, a serious party, and a serious government do not inform their agenda by headlines in newspapers. They inform their policy agenda by the needs of Canadians.
    This government is creating jobs, creating economic growth, and ensuring the long-term prosperity of not only Canadians south of 60 but of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. That includes Yukon, that includes Nunavut, and that includes the Northwest Territories.
    The regulatory changes from the action plan this government has put forward are designed to achieve four fundamental and beneficial objectives. The first is making reviews of development projects more predictable and timely. The second is reducing duplication in the review process, something that we know the NDP does not believe in. It strives for duplication. The third is strengthening environmental protection. The fourth is achieving meaningful aboriginal consultations.
    This is what Bill S-6 is all about. Throughout this process, we have fully engaged with the first nations, who are our partners under the umbrella agreement. It is with those signed first nations and the Government of Yukon that we will continue to work in partnership to create more wealth, more jobs, and long-term prosperity for all Yukoners.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed today to see that the government is trying to push this bill through the House of Commons and is calling time allocation, not unlike what it has done throughout this whole process on Bill S-6.
    This is supposed to be an improvement of the regulatory process for Yukon. While many of the recommendations that were put forward were accepted by first nations and Yukoners, there were four that were not. They were not accepted because they were not in the best interests of the first nations governments, nor were they in the best interests of Yukoners, not did the government consult them in a fair way.
    When we went to Yukon and held hearings and heard testimony from the many people who came out, the member of Parliament for Yukon was there. When we came back to Ottawa and sat in committee and made the amendments to this bill that Yukoners and first nations were asking for, their own member was not there to even vote on them or support them, and none of the government members supported them.
    There is an injustice being done to the individuals who have protested this bill and have concerns about it. I ask the minister why he is calling time allocation today. Why is he stifling the people who have legitimate concerns regarding Bill S-6, namely the people of Yukon?
    Mr. Speaker, juste en passant, I would like the hon. member to acknowledge that this is not about amendments to just the Yukon process. Important changes to the regulatory system in Nunavut are also contained in Bill S-6, and all Nunavummiut have endorsed these holus-bolus. I would invite the hon. member to consider that aspect of the bill also.
    On the issue of consultation, the member is totally wrong. That is the leadership of the Liberal Party. The Liberals follow the crowd. Wherever the wind blows, that is where they go.
     We are a principled party and a principled government. This is about job creation. This is about economic growth. This is about protecting the environment. This is about long-term prosperity.
    At the moment, there is an imbalance. The government of the Yukon has asked us to pass this bill, because it wants to get to a level playing field with the other territories and with the provinces south of 60. This is about creating certainty. This is about securing investment in the natural resources sector, where first nations, I wish to remind the House, are co-managing the YESA Board with the Government of the Yukon and the Government of Canada.

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to clear up just a bit of revisionist history coming from the other side of the House right now. We hear the members feign interest and concern for northern Canadians, but of course, we all know that I had a study before the fisheries committee to go north to study important cultural, social, and ceremonial impacts on northern fisheries. It was obstructed by the NDP.
    I had an important bill on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. We wanted to travel to the north to hear directly from Yukoners and northerners on that important piece. It was obstructed by the NDP.
    Of course, the Liberals will sit in this House of Commons and talk about whether their amendments were supported in committee. They did not put any forward, so it is interesting how we revisit that piece.
    Let me just read something into the record from the NDP in the Yukon:
once a mine is in operation...the actual procurement of everything from, I would say, toilet paper to lettuce to whatever comes in on big trucks, on pallets, from Outside, and nothing is sourced locally.
     That was the Leader of the Opposition and of the NDP in the Yukon. Of course, he completely forgot that $78 million was spent—
    Order, please. The hon. member for Gatineau on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I know that the Chair gives a lot of leeway to members, but we are on time allocation, and the member is completely off base on that one.
    Before I go back to the member for Yukon, I would agree with the member for Gatineau that the matter before the House at this point is the issue of time allocation as opposed to the bill itself. She is also correct in saying that the Chair often gives leeway for members to reference the bill, but the matter before the House is time allocation, and I would like the member for Yukon to quickly put his question.
    Mr. Speaker, my point is that this is important to move forward for Yukon. It is important to move forward for the people of Yukon. In the sense of having to allocate the time, the examples I gave were really in regard to the fact that those members have had no problem obstructing things in the past. We need to move this forward, and their history has set the course for the actions we need to take in terms of moving all bills, including this one, forward.
    I wonder if the minister could comment on the benefits to the north this bill could bring to all Yukoners and indeed to Yukon first nations.
    Mr. Speaker, let me thank the hon. member for his question but mostly for his work on behalf of Yukoners. He is always at work to ensure that Yukoners do indeed participate in Canada's prosperity.
    As I said, our government's top priority is creating jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity, and this is no different in the north. The reason we must allocate time to pass Bill S-6 as rapidly as possible is that it will establish conditions in both Yukon and Nunavut that will encourage continued investment and ensure that Canada's north remains an attractive place for industry investments in an increasingly competitive global market.
    For example, Bill S-6 introduces timelines that will create consistency and predictability in environmental assessments and the issuance of water licences. Another piece of the bill makes sure that once a project has been assessed once, it will not require another assessment unless there has been a significant change to the project, reducing duplication.
    Provisions like these will attract investment to Yukon and Nunavut, which will act as a major driver of jobs across the territories.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a few minor points we heard regarding this 98th time allocation motion, more commonly known as a gag order, because that is what the government is trying to impose on us.
    I heard the minister say that the Conservatives are principled. However, people who are principled do not say one thing one day and the opposite the next, 98 times. Principled people do not condemn the imposition of time allocation motions when they are not in government, and then turn around and impose more such motions than any other government. It will be interesting to hear what the minister has to say about that.
    The Conservatives are mocking us with these 98 time allocation motions, as though this were a good thing, as though they have proven that they can get things done. What I want to say to people watching at home is that with these 98 gag orders, the Conservatives have instead proven that they cannot convince anyone to get anything done in the House while respecting our existing democratic systems.
    As for the member for Yukon, he had the nerve to tell us that we refused to go along, when he is the one who abandoned his own bill, at the government's request, because he did not have the guts to go ahead with it, even though he had the unanimous consent of those people in the House. I will not take any lessons from the member for Yukon.

  (1615)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
     This member just made a point about relevance and sticking to the issue of time allocation and then went off onto another issue. I think she should listen to her own words and perhaps stick to the issue at hand before the House.
    As always, the Chair appreciates the assistance of members with these matters, and again, I would remind all hon. members that the matter before the House is time allocation, not the bill itself.
    The hon. minister.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the member is saying that the procedures of the House are undemocratic. As far as I know, according to the Standing Orders of the House the government can move this motion if it is in the interest of Canadians.
    We know very well that the opposition party's fundamental objective is to prevent the government from moving forward with its political agenda.
    If we are creating jobs, if we have reduced the tax burden on Canadian families, and if we have created millions of jobs since the end of the recession, it is because of our political agenda, which translates into legislation. The NDP will rise and try to sabotage our political agenda.
     Yukoners' best interests must prevail, and it is for that reason that we must adopt this motion. The bill must pass so that the people of the Yukon can benefit from it.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, mere hours ago, I was in Rideau Hall with the hon. minister for a very moving ceremony for the end of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Certainly, reconciliation requires, at a minimum, respect for first nations and respect for treaties. Bill S-6 does the opposite.
    I would plead with the minister not to use time allocation to limit debate. It adds insult to injury, once again, for Canada's first peoples.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her comments, and I will tell her and tell the House that the Government of Canada has maintained an open dialogue with the Government of Yukon, the Government of Nunavut, NTI, the Yukon first nations, industry associations, and other stakeholders.
    As a matter of fact, on the consultation issue, maybe she does not know, but financial assistance was offered to aboriginal groups and boards throughout the consultation process for the review of these legislative proposals. The vast majority of these provisions are being endorsed by the Council of Yukon First Nations. It is true that it has expressed concern about four particular amendments, but it is important to state that these four particular amendments do not take away from the spirit and intent of the umbrella agreement. These amendments are in full compliance not only with the letter but with the spirit and intent of the umbrella agreement.
     I want to assure our partners in this treaty, the first nations, the Yukoners, as represented by the Government of Yukon, that we are going to continue to work with them, in partnership, to implement these changes for the benefit of Yukoners.

  (1620)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there is going to be an election in the fall. What will the Conservative minister say to his constituents when they criticize this 98th time allocation motion, which is an affront to democracy and Canada's parliamentarians? I am convinced that there will be other such motions before the end of the session.
    Will he be able to say to his constituents that he is proud to have adopted so many time allocation motions and cut short speeches and debate? I am convinced that people across Canada are upset by the Conservatives' behaviour with respect to good governance and democracy in the House of Commons.
    Mr. Speaker, we have here another member who is getting all worked up about the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, which we did not invent. I had the privilege of being an MP over 20 years ago, and the same rules were in place then. Canada is still seen as a vibrant democracy that serves Canadians well.
    As my colleague said, there is going to be an election this fall. However, Canadians will have been served by a serious government that is committed to creating jobs in our country, growing our economy and making sure that Canadians' quality of life continues to improve.
    Thanks to all of the measures that this government has put in place, Canadians have the lowest tax burden in 50 years. Since the depths of the recession, we have created over 1.2 million good jobs. Were it not for this tool that allows us to close debate when an issue has been debated enough, Canadians would not be reaping all of those benefits.
    Bill S-6 is important because the people of the Yukon deserve to be on a level playing field with the other northern regions and the rest of Canada.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an undeniable fact that no government in Canadian history has done more for Canada's North than this Conservative government.
    Certainly, our northern strategy includes four pillars: two of them protecting our environmental heritage, and promoting social and economic development.
    Could the minister explain how Bill S-6 promotes the regulatory improvements that we can build on in the North?
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary, whom I want to thank for his strong support, is absolutely right when he said that it is an undeniable fact that no other government in the history of this great country of ours has done as much for northerners as this Conservative government.
    Bill S-6 is just the latest example of how we are delivering on our northern strategy. This bill is about enhancing and strengthening the social, economic and environmental assessment process in Yukon, as well as the water licensing process in Nunavut.
    The bill builds on two pillars that the parliamentary secretary mentioned and is intended to both protect the environment and promote economic development in these two regions.
    It also ensures that northerners are equipped with an effective, timely and predictable regulatory system that is able to contribute to attract investments into their regions for generations to come.

  (1625)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today on behalf of the people of Alfred-Pellan to debate the time allocation motion on Bill S-6.
    In his answers, the minister just said that he had been in the House of Commons for 20 years. This means that he has been in the opposition and he took offence at the time allocation motions moved by the Liberals at the time. Now he is proud to move one in the House.
    My question for the minister is very simple. How has Ottawa changed him so much?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to point out to the member that I have not been a member of Parliament for 20 years. I was a member of the House of Commons from 1984 to 1993, and then I was re-elected in 2011 and have sat here since then. What I said was that 20 years ago, the rules of the House of Commons allowed this type of motion. I have never had the opportunity to sit in the House as a member of the opposition. That is all I can say.
    The sole purpose of this motion is to promote the interests of the people living in the Yukon and the companies that want to do business there, in order to create jobs and economic growth and attract investments. This will improve the standard of living for everyone who lives in this beautiful territory.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to the question posed by my colleague from Chicoutimi. I do not think he was suggesting that the current government is breaking the rules, but that the Conservatives manipulate the rules. They stretch and they bend, and we have seen that time and time again.
    Somebody made a reference the other day to the NHL playoffs in 2009 when Sean Avery, who played for the New York Rangers, stood in front of Martin Brodeur, world-class Hall of Fame goaltender, and screened him. However, he faced the goaltender, contrary to how everybody else screened the goaltender. He stood in front of Brodeur, waved his arms around, shook his stick at him and all of that. The referee did not know what the heck to do. The referee would call a penalty, but there were no rules. It was clearly against the spirit of the game. Therefore, the rules committee for the NHL met the next day and came up with a rule called the “Sean Avery rule”.
    The sad part is that the current government makes the rules and abuses the rules. This is just another example of how the Conservatives have abused this chamber, imposing closure 98 times. They should be ashamed of themselves.
    Mr. Speaker, I have total confidence in the Speaker and I am sure that if ever any parliamentarian breached the rules, the Speaker would see to it that it did not happen.
    Canadians can remain secure in their belief that we have a parliamentary system that is delivering results. Obviously, we can look at the last four years and at the benefits that Canadians enjoy today in terms of lower taxes, benefits for families, increased benefits for seniors, and an improved standard of living for all Canadians.
    Our system works well and we will continue working for Canadians with the same vigour, interest and intent.

[Translation]

    It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for York South—Weston, Citizenship and Immigration; and the hon. member for Surrey North, Public Safety.

[English]

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion before the House.
    The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Call in the members.

  (1710)  

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

(Division No. 417)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 146

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Caron
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Christopherson
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dusseault
Easter
Freeland
Freeman
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jones
Julian
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nunez-Melo
Papillon
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Rafferty
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Saganash
Sandhu
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Toone
Trudeau
Valeriote
Vaughan

Total: -- 113

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. With respect to order paper Questions Nos. 1148, 1150, 1153, 1154, 1155 and 1158, I wish to table, in both official languages, documents containing the government's responses to these questions.

Ways and Means

Motion No. 24  

    (On the Order: Government Orders:)

    June 1, 2015—Consideration of a Ways and Means motion to introduce an Act to give effect to the Déline Final Self-Government Agreement and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts—the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to advise that there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it I believe that you will find unanimous consent for the following motion related to the Déline Final Self-Government Agreement.
    I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, Ways and Means motion No. 24 to introduce an Act to give effect to the Déline Final Self-Government Agreement and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts be deemed adopted; and that the bill on notice entitled “An Act to give effect to the Déline Final Self-Government Agreement and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts be deemed introduced and read a first time, deemed read the second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole, deemed considered in Committee of the Whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read the third time and passed.
    Does the hon. government House leader have unanimous consent to move this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): The members have heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

     (Motion agreed to, bill read the first time, bill read the second time, considered in committee of the whole, reported without amendment, concurred in at report stage and read the third time and passed)

    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations over the course of about a month, and I think if you seek it, you may, and I hope you may, find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, on Thursday, June 4, 2015, the House shall continue to sit beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the purpose of debating a motion for concurrence in the 21st report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented on Friday, October 3, 2014, which shall, following the conclusion of private members' business, be deemed to be moved and seconded, provided that (a) the debate shall be subject to the provisions of Standing Order 66(2); (b) during the debate, no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the chair; and (c) any recorded division which is demanded shall be deemed deferred to the expiry of the time provided for government orders on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, and shall be taken in the same manner as an item of private members' business.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to move this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

[Translation]

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I feel like my privileges as a parliamentarian have been breached.
    During question period, we were introduced to Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is known for spreading homophobia and for his anti-gay campaigns. I deeply regret that the House was not informed of the situation and that we applauded such a person.

  (1715)  

[English]

    I am not sure whether that is a point of order. The chair will give it consideration and, if necessary, return before the House with a response.
    At this time, I also wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, government orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act

[Government Orders]
     The House resumed from May 25 consideration of Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act, as reported (without amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand in the House today and speak to the motions put forward to the House on Bill S-6. I am going to get to the contents of the bill shortly and in direct respect to the motions that have been tabled here in the House.
    Before I do that, I want to quickly express my thanks to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. I was present in the House today listening to many of the speeches and the questions and answers that followed. It was appreciated that he recognized that our government has tremendous commitment to continued trilateral partnerships with both our public governments in the Yukon and with our first nations leadership in our territory.
    From that point of view, I am optimistic and confident that the piece of legislation that we have before us, subject of course to continued dialogue and discussion, will be one that will indeed be in the best interests of all Yukoners.
    I want to point out a couple of things before I get to the direct pieces of this legislation that are clearly worth highlighting. Some of that came in discussion today, some of it has been in prolonged discussion over the course of the bill, but it is absolutely worthwhile for us drilling right down to these very key pieces so that we can boil away some of the political rhetoric that has been generated by the opposition side.
     I do take some offence to the opposition's positions where members have clearly feigned concern for the wants, needs and expectations of the Yukon people broadly and specifically for the Yukon first nations community. I say that, not tongue in cheek, with clear-cut examples that I will give now.
    I put forward a study at the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans some time ago where we would travel north and see what was going on with the challenging state of Yukon River salmon in a transboundary relationship with Alaska and those waters. There are some issues that we really needed to seize as parliamentarians in undertaking that study.
    However, guess who blocked travel for that study? Guess who voted that it was not important? The NDP. This is a social, ceremonial and traditional way of life for Yukon first nations, with Yukon River salmon of critical importance, and the NDP would not support that travel.
    Then I had a study and a bill before the House for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder which is a topic seized by all Yukoners, an important issue to Yukon people and northern Canadians in particular and we wanted to travel for that. Guess who blocked that? The NDP. The members are continuing to block all these things, yet at the same time, they say they have care and concern for Yukon people and northern people. Their record is clear. They really do not.
    In this case, I was proud to ensure that as we undertook the study for Bill S-6, I made it clear that we needed to bring the committee to the Yukon to hear directly from Yukon people to allow a balanced story, a balanced perspective and a balanced input, so we could seize ourselves with the concerns of Yukoners, understand them and hear that directly from them in testimony in our territory.
    Of course, the NDP members agreed to travel for that, but only for the fact that they thought they might have some political advantage on this. It is a shameful use of Yukon people and northern people for their own political purposes. There is not true care and concern and that point needs to be made crystal clear.
    I witnessed that before noon on the first day of committee study on Bill S-6, a member from the Liberal Party and a member from the NDP had clearly chosen a side and it is on record when we were interviewed by the CBC. They said their minds were made up and this was done at noon, before we had even heard from half of the people prepared to testify. Before we had heard a full and balanced perspective from Yukoners on this topic, the NDP members had their minds made up about the direction they were going to go. They said as much on CBC.
    The Liberals had their minds made up long before. They say they came to hear from all the Yukoners, but their minds were made up before they arrived in my territory and they tried to drive their political agenda. It is important to me to communicate that very effectively here today; everything to this point from their side of the House has been nothing but politics. There has been no care and concern for the people of the north.

  (1720)  

    We are trying to bring balance and parity in our territory so that Yukoners have equal opportunities for jobs, growth, and economic prosperity like the rest of Canada, so they have equal opportunities like those shared in the Northwest Territories under its devolution agreements and resource development agreements, which, interestingly enough, the member for Northwest Territories was standing behind. However, when it comes to bringing parity to the Yukon, somehow he is objecting to that.
    As we tasked ourselves with the bill and understood the evolution and the process, it has been clear that there are concerns, and our government has seized itself with those concerns. We have heard them clearly, and today we heard the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs say clearly that he fully understands that a trilateral relationship is important with the federal government in the Yukon, the Yukon territorial government, and Yukon first nation peoples. I applaud him and thank him for that, because that will ensure effective implementation of the bill. It will ensure that we honour the spirit and intention of the modern treaties that we have in our territory, those modern treaties that we are very proud of and that will continue to bring prosperity to our territory, prosperity that New Democrats really know nothing about.
    People are going to ask if I can prove that statement. Sure I can. On the record, in the Yukon legislature, the leader of the territorial opposition had this to say about mining development in the Yukon:
...once the mine is in operation—has been for some time—but the actual procurement of everything from, I would say, toilet paper to lettuce to whatever comes in on big trucks, on pallets, from Outside, and nothing is sourced locally.
    That is what was said by Liz Hanson, the leader of the NDP in the Yukon. She was specifically referencing one mine. That mine spent $78.1 million in the Yukon Territory in 2013 and $58.2 million in 2014 on goods and services, and that was before wages were paid out to Yukon first nation people and non-Yukon first nation people. Then those employees in turn spent that money in their communities, their homes, on goods and services, so the dollars continued to rotate around that community to the benefit and prosperity of all Yukoners.
    My point is that if one starts with a fundamental misunderstanding of how mining and resource development actually contribute to our economy, then I guess it makes perfect sense that one would not want development to carry forward. However, the facts are clear. One mine alone contributed $78.1 million in one year to Yukon's GDP, to Yukon's economy, to the socio-economic fabric of our territory.
    It was done so, I might add, in an environmentally responsible manner to protect and preserve the environmental heritage of our territory. Why is that? It is because these companies participate in environmental reviews. They have care and concern about reclamation and development. They engage with their first nation communities, and they do not always do that out of a legislative requirement. They do it because they form a social relationship and an important working relationship through IBAs, through direct community engagement and participation in the Yukon with first nation communities, who do indeed invite them in.
    The NDP, the no development party, has no fundamental understanding at all of the direct value that resource development brings to our territory, to the north, and to our country, so from that point of view it makes sense that it would want to obstruct these things.
    We have heard the concerns of Yukon first nations. Our minister is committed to continuing to work with them in a trilateral relationship to make sure we engage in productive and co-operative implementation to honour the spirit and intention of those modern treaties. The motions I see being put forward would actually do the reverse to many of the things that Yukon first nations, the Yukon government, and Canada have already agreed to in the five-year review of YESSA.
    I look forward to any questions and I look forward to the passage of the Bill S-6 and our continued relationship-building with all partners in the Yukon on a very important message and bill.

  (1725)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his interpretation of history. I always find it humourous when people want to interpret history in a way that ignores the facts of the matter. Every politician sometimes falls into that habit.
    In this case, he was talking about issues that Yukoners are very well apprised of. I was amazed at the depth of knowledge and the engagement that Yukoners had on these issues when we conducted committee meetings in Whitehorse and 150 people filled the room from morning until night.
    My colleague was there to hear Yukoners, but I want to ask him if he was there to listen to Yukoners and understand what they were saying about the nature of the relationship between Yukoners, first nations, and the environment?
    Mr. Speaker, indeed I was, and I was very proud of all of the Yukoners who participated in that hearing, from our first nations right through to our industry. Indeed, it was my intervention that ensured that Yukon first nations were strong participants in that committee.
    If the member for Northwest Territories wants to talk about whether I was there to hear them, indeed I was, and I did. I acknowledged that in my speech. I heard their concerns.
    However, guess who did not hear them. Guess who was not prepared to hear them. It was the member for Northwest Territories, who by noon that day had said publicly on CBC that his mind was made up. He said that he knew what he was going to do. He knew where his decisions lay, and that was before he had heard from even half of the people invited to testify.
    Yes, I was there to hear them, but clearly the member for Northwest Territories was not. That is stamped on the record of that interview on CBC's noon show. He can stand by that deplorable record when it comes to standing up and listening to the Yukon people and the people of the north.
    Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that if you want to hear political platitudes, you will hear it today.
     I make no apologies for any remarks that I made on CBC up there, but the member for Yukon should be making a lot of apologies, starting with some to his constituents for, first of all, not even showing up at committee to support the recommendations that they basically drafted and asked members of the House of Commons to put forward on their behalf. They are his own constituents, yet the member for Yukon never showed up to vote on these amendments and his colleagues did not support them either.
    If we want to talk about who made up their mind on this bill, it was the government opposite when it went through the Senate with the support of all of the Conservative senators and was forced into the House of Commons without consultation from members in the Yukon and from first nations governments.
    I would like to ask the member opposite why he did not support the amendments that his own constituents asked for at the committee stage of the bill if he was so committed to listening to them and doing what they felt was just and right.
    Mr. Speaker, while I would have loved to be there, I am not going to apologize for being in Washington, DC, to represent my constituents when it comes to important issues like the Arctic Council.
    The previous member was talking about hearing and listening. Interestingly enough, I acknowledged in my speech the four areas of concern that Yukon first nations have. We heard those loud and clear. I acknowledged that the minister is committed to working in a trilateral relationship with them to ensure that the implementation meets their needs and meets the spirit and intention of their agreements, and this government is very much committed to that. I look forward to that continued dialogue.
    However, it is interesting that of the four points of concern, at report stage the Liberal member did not address two of the most significant ones at all. She did not even put those amendments forward. She either did not hear or did not listen. It must be one of the two, but why did she not do that?
    Furthermore, it was the Liberal senators who passed this bill out of the Senate and into the House of Commons absolutely unamended and with unanimous consent. She is going to have to square that circle, quit playing politics with this issue, and start listening to northern Canadians.

  (1730)  

    The hon. member for Labrador on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, there are no Liberal senators. I wanted to clarify that for the record—
    Order, please. I am not sure that that is a point of order. It is an interesting point.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Labrador.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak with regard to the third reading of the bill before the House. It is certainly a bill that has received a tremendous amount of debate in the House of Commons.
    Unfortuantely, the debate has been an exercise that has not really reaped the rewards we wanted to see, nor has it seen the real changes the people of the Yukon and the territorial governments wanted to see. In fact, the whole debate itself has hinged on a tremendous amount of misinterpretation.
    I heard the member for Yukon say of New Democrats that they are against mining development and do not support these industries and do not see them bringing benefit into regions like Yukon, but I also want to talk about his government and what it has done in working with aboriginal and first nations groups.
    In fact, it was the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development who first indicated that these particular self-government groups in the Yukon were not necessarily governments at all and then had to backtrack and clarify his statement.
    If we want to talk about misinterpreting and misunderstanding, first, the minister was not even identifying in a factual way the groups he was dealing with and identifying the fact that this was a government-to-government-to-government relationship of 11 different groups and entities in Yukon and that only one of those governments was entirely supportive of the changes that were happening. In fact, it was the first nations governments that were not. In my recollection, that was the first error.
    In addition to that, there were 76 recommendations that came forward in this report. Of those 76 recommendations, 72 were decided upon through a process of discussion, consultation, and consensus. That is a fantastic way to do business. It really is, so why did the same pattern not apply to the other four recommendations within the report that were debatable, recommendations on which people had serious issues and that people in the Yukon wanted to see changed? Why were those four not dealt with in the same way?
    When we went to Yukon for public hearings, I sat in that room, as did a number of other colleagues in the House of Commons that day, and we heard speaker after speaker present to our committee. They presented serious, legitimate concerns to us about how the bill was drafted and how those particular clauses were being implemented by the Government of Canada. They had very serious concerns over what these measures would mean to aboriginal self-governance and what it would mean in terms of eroding the powers they have within their own lands and their own governance.
    They were very legitimate concerns, and we heard speaker after speaker point them out. The committee asked question after question and received very good and very clear answers.
    I came out of that hearing with no doubt in my mind that very legitimate concerns were being presented. I could certainly see the perspective from which aboriginal governments were coming and I could see their need to have these changes implemented.
    In a very respectful way, they asked the Government of Canada to come to the table and reconcile with them on those recommendations, which I thought was very reasonable. Speaker after speaker also said that they did not want to fight the government on this and did not want to have to go to the courts to make changes. They wanted to reconcile their differences. They wanted a table to sit at. They wanted a fair hearing at which they could make the changes that were required.
    In fact, they did not get that, and they never did.

  (1735)  

    Unfortunately, none of the changes they proposed to the bill that were taken to committee and that were presented by different members of committee, a number of motions, were accepted by the government members sitting at that committee, the colleagues of the member for Yukon. That is what I found so disappointing in all of this. People bought into a process in which they believed they would present recommendations for change and the government would listen. In fact, the government never did listen. It never acted on any of the amendments that were put forward by the constituents in Yukon. The member for Yukon did not support those amendments. Nor did his colleagues who represented the governing party at that table.
    What was the exercise all about? Was it an opportunity for aboriginal first nations and others in the Yukon territory to come out and vent? Is that what we spent all the money on, to go there and hold these hearings so people had a room to go into and vent their frustrations? I can guarantee members that if that was what we advertised, people would not have gone to the hearings. They came because they were sincere. They really feel that this is a violation of their government-to-government agreements with the Government of Canada. They feet it is a violation of their treaty rights. They feel it is eroding their powers.
    In fact, they also spoke about when land claims and land jurisdiction were being settled and how many of the aboriginal governments in Yukon gave up certain areas of land and control over that land. They believed that they had a fairer process with a seat at the table, as a government with the Yukon and as a government with the Government of Canada. Because of that, they gave up certain provisions that they did not negotiate because they trusted the process. However, aboriginal governments today in our country do not have trust in the government opposite.
    We are here today talking about truth and reconciliation for survivors of residential schools, truth and reconciliation for our first nations, Métis and Inuit. What are we doing on the very day that we are saying there is going to be truth and reconciliation for our indigenous people? We are forcing a bill through the House of Commons that would erode the powers of aboriginal and indigenous governance in our country.
    It is unbelievable that the government, or the member for Yukon, could sit there today and get on with such foolishness about who said something on the radio or who made what amendment. The member did not even show up at committee nor even support the motion, yet he is allowing his government to ram a bill through the House of Commons that would impact his constituents and erode the rights of self-governance. That is wrong.
     I believe the Conservatives should have to answer to the indigenous people and the aboriginal governments of Yukon as to why they feel the need to rush through the bill and not listen to the very recommendations they have put forward.

  (1740)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask my colleague if she heard the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development indicate that he understood a trilateral process, a trilateral relationship between public governments and Yukon first nations, was very much the centrepiece of his understanding and his intentions with this legislation, and indeed all legislation. I wonder if she would set aside all the rhetoric again about who is absent and where. It is pretty clear that I was in Washington, D.C., and would have loved to participate but I had other important business on behalf of my constituents to conduct.
    Nonetheless, my question is fairly simple. Would she not at least be encouraged by the minister's comments earlier today where committed to the trilateral relationship, which he knows is so important to honour the spirit and the intention of the modern treaties we have in the Yukon? That was clearly said today. I am encouraged by it and I am supportive of it. I thanked him for that earlier in my address. Would the member acknowledge that and understand that he is committed to do more, not just on this legislation but on all our relationship-building with first nations?
    Mr. Speaker, first, trilateral means three. It does not mean one. It is not just the Government of Canada. It is not just the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. It means that there has to be real decision making and consensus building around how governance is going to occur by all parties. When the treaty agreements and trilateral agreements were signed, that was done by three governments. Why can it now be changed by one government without having consensus and without having the support of the aboriginal entities?
    The other thing is that for all modern treaties that exist in Canada today, there should not have to be a statement by the minister that he will uphold those. They are legal documents; they are signed. They are a part of the governance process of our country, and any minister who fills those shoes should honour those treaties if they are in place.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague who, regardless of whatever occurred before, during the time of the hearings in Yukon listened very carefully to what Yukoners said, and I appreciate that. As a northerner, I appreciate that people have the opportunity to say their piece, and certainly that did happen in Yukon.
    I would like my colleague to comment on this industry and the mining company that just invested heavily in Yukon. Its representative spoke at the hearings and said that the relationship between first nations and the company was based on the existing legislation, so why should they look for this change, which no one really supports in Yukon other than those who are heavily on the side of the industry.
     Did the member not feel that this industry's uncertainty about the legislation should have influenced the Conservatives, who have held this up as something that would benefit industry?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from the Northwest Territories was part of the hearings in Yukon as well. He heard the messaging, as I did, the very desperate and justified pleas of many Yukoners on the changes they wanted to see made. The member also brought a number of amendments to committee to be looked at, but unfortunately they did not passed.
    On his question with regard to the influence of the governing party and what should have happened, one would have automatically thought that when there was a trilateral agreement or any kind of self-governance treaty that was signed by the Government of Canada, that it would be upheld first and foremost. I believe the Government of Canada has a responsibility to adhere to all treaties and agreements that it signs with aboriginal first nations, Inuit and Métis in our country. We expect no less, no matter what government is in power.
    Order, please. It being 5:45 p.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the report stage of the bill now before the House.

[Translation]

    The question is on Motion No. 1. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 4 to 7 and Motion No. 10.
    Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): Call in the members.

  (1825)  

[English]

    (The House divided on Motion No. 1, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 418)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Caron
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Christopherson
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Freeland
Freeman
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jones
Julian
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nunez-Melo
Papillon
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Rafferty
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Saganash
Sandhu
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Trudeau
Valeriote
Vaughan

Total: -- 118

NAYS

Members

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

Total: -- 147

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare Motion No. 1 defeated. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 4 to 7 and 10 defeated.
    Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:

  (1830)  

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

(Division No. 419)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 148

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Boivin
Borg
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Caron
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Christopherson
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Freeland
Freeman
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jones
Julian
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nunez-Melo
Papillon
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Saganash
Sandhu
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Sullivan
Toone
Tremblay
Trudeau
Valeriote
Vaughan

Total: -- 119

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1835)  

[Translation]

National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day Act

    The House resumed from May 29 consideration of the motion that Bill C-643, An Act to establish National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day, be read the third time and passed.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-643, under private members' business.
     The question is on the motion.

  (1840)  

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

(Division No. 420)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Welland)
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Andrews
Angus
Armstrong
Ashfield
Ashton
Aspin
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Barlow
Bateman
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benoit
Benskin
Bergen
Bernier
Bevington
Bezan
Blanchette
Block
Boivin
Borg
Boughen
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brison
Brosseau
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Caron
Carrie
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Chisu
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Clement
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crockatt
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Daniel
Davidson
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dechert
Devolin
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dreeshen
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dusseault
Dykstra
Easter
Eglinski
Eyking
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Freeland
Freeman
Galipeau
Gallant
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Gill
Glover
Godin
Goguen
Goldring
Goodale
Gosal
Grewal
Groguhé
Harper
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
James
Jones
Julian
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Latendresse
Lauzon
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leslie
Leung
Liu
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McLeod
Menegakis
Michaud
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Norlock
Nunez-Melo
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Papillon
Paradis
Payne
Péclet
Perkins
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Poilievre
Preston
Quach
Rafferty
Raitt
Rajotte
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Saganash
Sandhu
Saxton
Schellenberger
Scott
Seeback
Sgro
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
St-Denis
Stewart
Stoffer
Storseth
Strahl
Sullivan
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Toone
Tremblay
Trost
Trottier
Trudeau
Truppe
Uppal
Valcourt
Valeriote
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vaughan
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)
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 265

NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

Removal of Imprisonment in Relation to Mandatory Surveys Act

    The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-625, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (removal of imprisonment), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.
    There being no motions at report stage, the House will now proceed without debate to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

  (1845)  

     moved that the bill be concurred in.

    (Motion agreed to)

    When shall the bill be read a third time? By leave, now?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
     moved that the bill be read a third time and passed.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to rise in the House on debate for the second time on my private member's bill, Bill C-625, an act to amend the Statistics Act. I am grateful for the opportunity to thank the hon. members for the unanimous support the bill has received so far.
    The principles of this bill are simple and address two very important issues. First, the bill seeks to eliminate the threat of jail time for Canadians who refuse to complete the census or any mandatory survey questionnaire. Second, it would seek the consent of Canadians to publicly release all records obtained through the national household survey 92 years after each census or survey cycle.
    With regard to the first issue, Bill C-625 would eliminate the threat of jail time for those who refuse to complete mandatory surveys or for those who choose not to provide access to administrative records. While we can all argue that the work of Statistics Canada is extremely important, threatening Canadians with jail time is simply inappropriate and unacceptable.
    Regarding the second issue, access to census-related records, Bill C-625 would ensure that historians, genealogists, and future generations would have access not only to census records but to census-related records, such as those collected through the national household survey. Where permission has been granted, census-related records would be released 92 years after they were collected. Current generations would therefore have the unique opportunity to inform future generations and leave their mark in history.
    With these changes to the Statistics Act, our government and I are delivering on the promises we made to the voters in my riding who asked for this. I am proud to play a role in helping to deliver on this commitment.
    With the support this private member's bill has received, at the stages going forward I hope that the House will remain in favour of it and that all members will vote in favour of it.
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with the idea of removing jail sentences for not answering a census and replacing them with a fine. However, it is important to remember that the mandatory nature of surveys is important. It removes sample bias. It minimizes the possibility of certain groups with certain characteristics being less likely to answer the census, or any survey. This sort of sample bias is very important to eliminate.
    Once we make this change in the Statistics Act, does the member believe that the Chief Statistician should be given the tools and the direction to make sure that people answer surveys as much as possible? What I mean is that there should not only be a fine, which is a stick; there should be a carrot.
     I believe that the Chief Statistician should be given the resources to educate the public as to the value and importance of the census. There should also be people to help those who might have trouble filling out a census and to encourage those who might be very busy and might be reluctant to invest the time to fill out a survey from Statistics Canada.
     It is important for our economic growth to have good information about ourselves. It is important for a government in making wise decisions. It is important for local officials who are making local decisions to have good quality local data with good statistics at the local level.
    What can we do to get more people to fill out the surveys and the census of Statistics Canada?

  (1850)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question, and it is a good one. It does not necessarily pertain to Bill C-625, which is simply about removing the punishment of jail time and about the release of the national household survey.
     When we were at committee on this piece of legislation, the Chief Statistician expressed that he was pretty pleased with the return on the national household survey. The member opposite has just suggested some other things that may very well be in a piece of future legislation, but they are not in this one, so I will stick with removing the threat of jail time and releasing good Statistics Canada documents after 92 years.
    Mr. Speaker, my concern is whether the member feels that the bill is just a bit of window dressing, given that no one has actually gone to jail for a violation under lack of compliance? Is he not concerned that the fundamental issue of the switch to the national household survey is that municipalities and other jurisdictions do not have the data they need to make decisions about program spending?
    We have municipalities, cities that are already squeezed for cash, having to go out and buy reliable data from private companies, because our own data system, Statistics Canada, has been lacking current reliable data because of the actions of the current government. Does it not trouble the member that what he has put forward is a bit of window dressing to address a problem that does not exist, when we have an absolutely monumental problem that does exist and that the bill does not address? Can he answer that?
    Mr. Speaker, the party opposite complains about omnibus legislation, yet she wants a private member to put everything that was ever possible into a piece of private member's legislation. That is not what this was. I brought forward a piece of private member's legislation, because constituents in my riding mentioned it during the last campaign. It is anecdotal, of course, but there were still times when Statistics Canada would mention the fact that there was a possibility of jail time.
     The Chief Statistician shared the same thought as the member. He even wondered why jail time was still in the legislation. He thanked me for bringing forward a bill that took it out, because it is kind of archaic to have it in there, but he also expressed satisfaction with the rest of the document and stressed the ability of StatsCan to provide information to anyone who needs it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House to speak to this bill, which is a Conservative smokescreen.
    If the Conservatives truly wanted to remove the possibility of imprisonment for people who refused to fill out Statistics Canada's long form census, they would have supported, back in 2011 or even earlier, the bill introduced by my colleague from Windsor West, namely Bill C-346.
    This bill would have restored the long form census, which has many social and economic uses for municipal governments and businesses. It enables them to help the public and to make certain improvements. Furthermore, Bill C-346 removed the possibility of imprisonment.
    No one has been imprisoned since Statistics Canada created a public census form. The Conservatives are simply trying to polish their image instead of working on advancing issues and fixing problems.
    It is clear that this bill does not reverse all of the cuts that the Conservatives have made to Statistics Canada, which is now underfunded and unable to produce studies and data that are in keeping with international standards.
    As I said, no one has been imprisoned. The only people who have been convicted were sentenced to community service or else were pardoned.
    Let us look at the fallout of the Conservatives' decision to eliminate Statistics Canada's mandatory long form census. I will give a list of the serious problems created as a result of the Conservatives' decision, which is completely ideological and is not in the best interests of the public.
     Many communities in Canada had such low-quality data that Statistics Canada refused to release them. For example, 40% of communities in Saskatchewan had data held back because they were insufficient. These data are normally used by provincial and municipal governments and by non-government actors to plan services, such as transit routes and shelter coverage.
    Women, aboriginal groups, and minorities were also under-represented in the 2011 national household survey. This means that the government was not able to see whether the situation for these groups could be improved. It has no idea what the situation is like in Saskatchewan.
    Furthermore, the information on incomes that came out of that survey in 2011 suggested that the income inequality gap in Canada was shrinking. That was at odds with progressive economists who said that the Conservatives' message did not hold water, because the data from income tax returns from the Canada Revenue Agency, which is managed by the Conservatives, said the opposite. We need to bring the long form census back in order to have more accurate data, statistics and scientific facts.
    Bill C-625 before us today raises an extremely important issue, namely the role of science in a democratic society. Under the rule of law, a government should base its public policies on facts and verified scientific evidence. In Canada, we should be able to say that we live under the rule of law. However, since 2006, the Conservatives have been standing in the way of that, and things have only gotten worse since they won a majority in 2011.

  (1855)  

    The Conservatives are developing ideologies that fly in the face of scientific, empirical evidence and knowledge acquired from experience. As I said, they are not governing for the public good. Their interests are very targeted, very partisan and very political. That is completely irresponsible, and they do not deserve the trust of the people.
    Since 2006, Canada has been slipping into an ideological crusade that undermines the very foundation of our democracy. The Conservatives manipulate the facts to serve one ideology—the Conservative ideology.
    This bill is merely one of many cogs in the terrible system that the Conservative government has dragged us into, against our will. The member for Elgin—Middlesex—London said that his bill is meant to strike a balance, and I want to quote from his speech at second reading:
    The changes in my bill would ensure that Statistics Canada's programs reflect an appropriate balance between the collection of useful information and guaranteeing that the privacy rights of Canadians are upheld.
    I support that laudable objective. Unfortunately, this private member's bill from a Conservative member conflicts with all of the measures the government has passed. Allow me to explain. If the Conservatives were truly interested in protecting Canadians' privacy and personal information, why would they have introduced Bill C-51—to name just one of the more recent ones—which would enable intelligence agencies to use people's personal information and share it with whomever they please without a warrant and without informing people that information about them has been collected and shared? There is no oversight mechanism or accountability in Bill C-51, but the Conservatives went full speed ahead with this bill to make sure that nobody would realize what was going on.
    There is obviously a huge difference between what the government says and what it does. It no longer respects Canadian institutions, from the Federal Court to senior officers of parliament, let alone experts, members of the House of Commons or the people. It does not consult anyone. When it does consult people, it discredits them if they contradict Conservative ideology. This really needs to change now.
    Unfortunately, this government's battle against reason continues. The Conservatives have done a lot of damage over the past few years. The cuts that they have made to many federal departments and agencies, such as Statistics Canada, are depriving us of essential socio-demographic data—data that are needed to guide our public policy. By eliminating the mandatory long form census, the government is depriving us of these crucial data. Why are they so important? I will give a few examples.
     The census is one of the tools that enabled Canada to become one of the most developed countries in the world. It is one way for the government to develop targeted, effective public policies. For instance, it tells us what the average age is in a given area, which helps in the creation of appropriate health care programs. It guides entrepreneurs who are looking for opportunities, by mapping out the average income in a given region. It also helps community organizations that want to reach out to a specific clientele. It helps us assess how francophone communities in Canada are doing and to determine the appropriate measures to defend linguistic minorities. It also helps us determine the employment rate for Canadian immigrants and set up hiring programs for visible minorities. It also shows the social and economic reality of women living in rural and urban areas and guides policy to improve gender equality.
    Before I became a member of Parliament, I was a teacher. In my riding, Beauharnois—Salaberry, the schools are immersed in a rather underprivileged area. How could we know that? It is thanks, in fact, to Statistics Canada's long form census. From that census, we could develop tools and, as teachers, we were given extra resources to better teach our students, give them more tools to increase their chances of success in life, and truly provide them with a wide range of services.
    By getting rid of this census, the government eliminated the possibility of giving our youngest citizens an equal chance, and that is very serious. Not everyone is getting the same quality of education now because we do not have all the information we need, thanks to the Conservatives.
    My Conservative colleague's bill is truly a smokescreen, as I was saying. If the Conservatives really wanted to remove the possibility of imprisonment, then why did they not do that in 2011, when my colleague from Windsor West introduced his Bill C-346?

  (1900)  

    This shows a lack of political will and a lack of vision. This is pure partisan ideology that does nothing to serve the public's interests. Again, this is very serious. To not rely on scientific data from our experts, is to disrespect democracy. We are truly no longer living under the rule of law and that is unfortunate.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is a bit of a trip down memory lane for me because I was industry critic back in 2010 when the whole issue of the long form census originally came up. As my colleague from Kingston and the Islands has said, we will support the bill.
     I will do it in part because it is a legacy issue for my good friend from Elgin—Middlesex—London. However, I want to point out that this support in no way absolves the government of an extremely bad decision that it made back in 2010 and for which we are now paying a heavy price. We have made it very clear that we will change this if we become the government after the next election.
    I remember back in 2010 when out of the blue the then minister of industry, who is now the President of the Treasury Board, said that we would no longer have a compulsory, mandatory, long form census questionnaire. Why? Because he thought it was intrusive. For example, he thought we should not be asking Canadians certain questions because it would be an infringement on their privacy.
    That was the initial argument that was presented, and at the time, the opposition parties mobilized so we could have some extraordinary industry committee meetings, which occurred after Parliament had risen for the summer. An absolute flood of people applied to be witnesses to appear before the committee because they wanted to express themselves on this very badly reasoned decision on the part of the Conservative government.
    We kept a list, and by the time the committee meetings had finished that summer, over 300 organizations very clearly indicated that this was a very bad decision. In the process, we were jeopardizing the most important database for formulating social policy in our country.
    We in the Liberal Party believe in the value of good science and good data with which to guide our decisions. Certainly for formulating policy, this is an important tool. Everybody said it, including people like Ivan Fellegi, who had become world renowned as the head of Statistics Canada because of the reputation we had for collecting this kind of a database that really helped us to make good policy.
    Events have proven us right since that time. From a completion rate of 93.5%, we have now gone down to 68.5%. The problem is that the 31.5% of people who have not filled out the form, most of them are people on whom we really need to have data, people who are perhaps new arrivals in our country, people who are poor, people from certain ethnic groups or first nations groups on whom it is important to have accurate data.
    Everybody knows today that we have paid a terrible price through the census that we did in 2011, using the national household survey, which was not mandatory. We hope a new government will have the chance to re-establish the way it was done by the time of the next census in 2016.
    However, as these witnesses appeared before the industry committee and very clearly pointed out the error of the government's ways, it was very interesting to hear how the arguments were changing. As it evolved, the argument was no longer, “This is intrusive”, but “It's wrong to threaten somebody with sending them to jail if they decide not to fill it out”, hence the decision by the government today to try to make up for that. As we know, the Conservatives made a promise after the 2011 election that they would get rid of it because it was their primary argument for not allowing the compulsory long form census.

  (1905)  

    The reality is this. I checked at that time and was told that one person had gone to jail and that person had chosen to go jail. There had been some contempt in fact. The person wanted to make a point and did not want to pay the fine. The reality was that the Government of Canada was extremely reluctant to use that tool. It generally would try many other ways before getting to the point of even fining a person.
    Therefore, it was not as if people were being thrown in jail left, right and centre because they were not completing the long form census. It was an argument that turned out to be a shoddy one because the reality is that Statistics Canada, in order to get the high rate that provides a thorough database, used to bend over backwards to try to get people to fill it out properly. That included deploying resources to enable them to do it. In some cases Statistics Canada clearly recognized that people had difficulty with the official languages. It recognized that certain people who were in the lower socio-economic levels did not have this as a priority, that they had bigger priorities in their lives, and that there was some encouragement and help that was required. There was a follow-through in order to try to make the database as complete as possible. Quite remarkable efforts were deployed for some of our first nations and Inuit who required some additional assistance from Statistics Canada so that they too would be part of this database.
    Much effort was put into this in order to help Canadians fill out the form and very reluctantly would the government ever go to the final step of either fining or using the jail option.

  (1910)  

[Translation]

    This evening, by supporting a private member's bill, we are in no way condoning this government's very bad decision to eliminate the mandatory long form census five years ago.
    As I mentioned, this form made it possible to have a top-quality database, which truly represented all of Canada and allowed us to formulate social policies based on real situations.
    As we know very well, when the long form was mandatory, the participation rate was 93.5%. I believe that was the case for the 2006 census. However, after the government decided to make it voluntary, the participation rate dropped to 68.5%. Unfortunately, this has seriously affected the quality of data because, in reality, almost two-thirds of Canadians chose not to participate in the census.
    In closing, I would add that at the time the government told us that its new method would cost much less. In fact, the method used for the 2011 census cost more money than what we spent in 2006, while the quality of the results obtained was vastly inferior.
    Although we will support the bill before us tonight, we do not condone the government's decision, which was a very bad one. We are prepared to support this bill. However, if there is a change of government this fall, let us keep in mind that a Liberal government will definitely reinstate the long form census.
    

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add my voice to this issue this evening. I must say, though, here we go again, yet another piecemeal legislative solution to a problem created by the same government's stubborn shortsightedness.
    Worse yet, the Conservatives are contorting themselves to support this bill when they angrily railed against it just seven months ago. Members will remember how, on November 7 of last year, the Conservatives voted against Bill C-626 as proposed by the Liberal member for Kingston and the Islands.
    They heckled the member for his work and said there was no reason for his bill to pass, but that bill contained this very same provision. Therefore, it is perplexing that the government would both oppose and support this measure. I am very interested to hear how some of the members opposite plan to justify their most recent flip-flop.
    I do not say this lightly, but let us not forget that it was the current government that created the problem in the first place. It was the Conservative government that attacked the long form census and rendered the information collected scientifically skewed. It did this all based on the argument that scores of people were being put in jail because they refused to fill out the paperwork.
    We have heard from my colleague. We have yet to see any people, other than the one individual, ever end up in jail and he went there clearly because he was making a point. Of course, this is not true. There were not a lot of people put in jail.
    However, the Prime Minister never lets the facts get in the way of an ideological position. That is right, the government's 2010 decision to cancel the long form census was shortsighted and driven by pure ideology again. Short of old-fashioned incompetence, there is no other explanation for the long-standing process that has led us to this moment today.
    The bill verifies what I am saying and tries to correct a handful of the many faults exposed and created by Conservative incompetence on this particular matter. Conservatives just do not get it. Perhaps this is a great example of why committees are supposed to actually consider the thoughts and opinions of expert witnesses.
    Functioning committees are a device that most Conservative MPs would not recognize, but they do, indeed, serve a purpose. That is when we get a chance to thoroughly debate a variety of issues and look at legislation for the pros and cons. When committee members work together, they make the kinds of changes that are necessary.
    Perhaps the Conservative members opposite would do well to remember this example the next time they vote down reasoned amendments from the opposition parties, en masse, in committee, which is done every single day that the House is sitting and committees are meeting.
    The strangest part of this entire mess is that the measures contained within this legislation were also contained within the 2011 Conservative election platform. Clearly, the government is so embarrassed by its own legislative and policy ineptitude that it has relegated the matter to a private member's bill rather than in government legislation as a priority. We all have to be honest about how and why it is here.
    Again, this is a trend with the government. We saw it with gun control and countless other subjects that are introduced through private members' bills rather than dealing with them properly within a solid piece of legislation that would be debated. However, I guess it would probably be subject to the same thing that 98 other pieces of legislation were, time allocation and all of the other things that mess up everybody's schedules.
    What is the government so afraid of? I am trying to be fair. It is true that the government has messed up the policy process, the committee process, the collection of the census data and most of the legislative process, which is the reason there has been closure on legislation 98 times.
    It is not all bad news, though. The Liberal caucus is committed, as it always has been, to evidence-based policy. In order to develop this evidence-based policy, we must have access to reliable and trustworthy data. This legislation is a small step in the right direction.
    That is right, Liberals are okay with what is being proposed here today, and that is precisely why we proposed it last November through my colleague, the member for Kingston and the Islands. It was a good bill. We had expected the government to support it.

  (1915)  

    That would have shown some level of co-operation here in the House, but because it was a Liberal member who introduced it, there was no way the government was going to support it. Therefore, by piecemeal legislation, the Conservatives end up today, at the last minute before the House adjourns for the summer and for the next election, trying to get a private member's bill in to handle that other small part when it comes to sending someone to jail.
    As embarrassing and uncomfortable as this must be for the Conservatives, who try to give the impression that they know what they are doing, I am actually happy to see their flip-flop. I only wish they would reverse themselves on a few more matters that could really make a difference for all Canadians, particularly their current attack on the Canada pension plan.
    As members know, the Conservatives have long hated the Canada pension plan. They voted against it when it was created, and at every opportunity since. Now they want Canadians to think they have changed their ways and have seen the value of a voluntary Canada pension plan. However, that is nothing more than an avenue to start talking about it to say that we should eliminate the mandate of the Canada pension plan and have the whole thing voluntary. Companies could then contribute if they wanted to, and individuals could contribute if they wanted to.
     Between having no CPP and the $30,000 Canadians will lose by having to wait until age 67 to get their pension, just imagine Canadians out there struggling. Clearly, they will be working much longer, because they will not have much of a pension plan if they do not have the Canada pension that they rely on today. Of course, Canadians are not so foolish as to believe this line.
     I am still hopeful that the Prime Minister will one day make the leap and actually start to support seniors in this country rather than just leave them as an afterthought, or only when it is election time and he needs their votes as he makes promises.
    The same could be said for the Conservatives' so-called economic action plan. Canada is halfway to yet another recession, consumer confidence is down and jobs are bleeding from the manufacturing sector, yet the government continues to spend taxpayer dollars on TV ads saying all is well. Even the member for Nepean—Carleton, the government's most accomplished and shameless spin master, has admitted that forcing bureaucrats to film partisan videos on the weekend was a bad idea, but I guess almost anyone can change.
    This brings us to today. The government's most recent flip-flop is a real demonstration of the vison and leadership that the Conservatives have been able to bring to the table. In contrast, the Liberal caucus is committed to evidence-based policy, and we propose to put in place the tools needed to allow governments to do just that.
    The government has its eyes closed and the Conservatives are hoping that no one is going to notice. However, Canadians are starting to see that the current government and Prime Minister are out of ideas.
    The bill before us is the most recent in a very long line of government missteps and failures that are the benchmark of the Conservatives' record over the past decade. Canadians deserve better.

  (1920)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the bill tonight and to some of the issues, which I think are important to put on the record, around the changes in the Statistics Act that the bill will put into place.
    The bill amends the Statistics Act to protect the privacy of Canadians by requiring their consent for the release, after 92 years, of the information that they provide in a census-related household survey. It also removes the jail term from two of the Statistics Act's offence provisions and provides that a jail term is not to be imposed for default in payment of a fine imposed under those provisions. I will be supporting this bill. It is quite legitimate to remove the jail terms.
    However, even though the bill removes the threat of a jail term, it is very important to understand why certain surveys should be mandatory. It is important to understand that, since we are removing one of the points that a Statistics Canada field worker might bring up to encourage somebody to fill out the census.
    The jail term aside, it is important to get people to fill out surveys. It is important to reduce sample bias. That is the kind of error that occurs when certain groups do not answer the national household survey. We know that certain groups of people—single parents, renters, rural Canadians, very rich Canadians— tend to fall into this category, and it is really important for us to have good information in order to govern ourselves wisely.
    It is not enough to simply threaten people. It is very important to explain to people. It is important for field workers to have the time to explain to people what the census data is used for and explain how they are helping the country by filling out the census.
    People are very busy, and that is one of the reasons people would choose not to fill out the national household survey. It is important to have field workers out there who can use other methods of persuasion, including just going and helping somebody fill out the survey by explaining the questions and explaining what the answers to the questions are used for. They could explain how it helps the country and how it helps decision-makers make the right decision for the people they are serving by giving policymakers a clear picture of the country. Last of all, I think it is important to simply appeal to people's sense of duty to fill out the census.
    One thing that Canadians may not know is that 2016 is the next census year. The current plan is to have automatic linkage of income and benefit data. The Canada Revenue Agency will automatically link that data to the census. What this means for Canadians is, in effect, that Canadians will have automatically filled out the questions about income that were previously on the long form census.
    There will be no questions on income, but what is happening now is that there will be something called data linkage between the data at the Canada Revenue Agency and Statistics Canada. This has happened in the past. In the past there has been an optional box that people could check off to use that linkage. It was optional in the past, and now it is going to apply to everybody.
    This particular step is okay, but it is really important for there to be a much broader discussion among our population about data linkages.
    As some people might know, some European countries do not even have a census. They rely completely on data linkages between different government databases. They rely on people reporting to the government every time they change addresses, for example. If a student goes away to school or somebody changes apartments, they have to report their change of address to the government.
    The government's plan is to rely on more data linkages, but it is important to have a discussion in the population about the extent to which Canadians are willing to rely on more and more data linkages, because their personal information is going to be shared more and more among government agencies.

  (1925)  

    The Privacy Commissioner has said that there are definitely privacy issues that have to be understood by the public before we proceed too far. There is a balance. However, Canadians need to talk about where they are comfortable having that balance.
    I want to look at some of the reasons for having good census data, including data that used to come from the long-form census. Currently, those questions are being asked on the national household survey. However, the data is probably being collected in a biased manner. We know that, because the users of the data are noticing that there are problems.
    I recently went to visit the Halton region in Ontario. I sat down with officials who use data to make decisions. I met with economic development officials, urban planners, not-for-profit agencies, social service providers, school boards, and public health officials. They were all very upset about the loss of the long-form census.
     One of the reasons for having the long-form census is that it gives us high-quality, local data, because it is such a big survey. If we can get rid of the sample bias, it gives us really good local data. That allows local decision-makers to make smart decisions, because they know their community.
    If we believe, which I think probably a majority of the members in this chamber do, that decisions should be made at the local level whenever possible, that we should try to avoid a one-size-fits-all government from Ottawa, and that if local governments can make decisions better they should make the decisions, then we should support the idea of local governments and local decision-makers having good data in order to make those decisions. That is what we are losing by getting rid of the long-form census.
    One of the things I found out in the Halton region is that more and more not-for-profit groups are required to provide reports to funders on the value for money given by funders. In fact, even the current Conservative government is looking at something called social finance, whereby we very carefully measure the impact social service agencies or other agencies are having so that philanthropists, for example, know the impact their donations are having. When the federal government tries to implement social finance, it has to be able to measure the effect that someone who gets a contract is having on the community. To collect that local data, it needs the long-form census to help.
    There is a famous example in the province of New Brunswick. The premier of New Brunswick said it was having trouble evaluating the effects of its five-year anti-poverty program because of the current government's elimination of the long-form census.
    I found out that school boards need good information to see growth trends in order to plan ahead. For example, Milton is a very fast-growing part of the Halton region. It needs good information before it commits bricks and mortar, before it spends a lot of money building schools. It also needs good information before it hires special needs teachers.
    I found out that the 2006 census is still being used to calculate grant dollars for first nation, Métis, and Inuit student populations in the Halton school board. It is not using the 2011 census results, because those census results are unreliable.
    I have heard that people who work on poverty are not getting good enough information. Poverty intervention works best if it is done and targeted at a local level. I found out that in 2006, the census said that the difference in life expectancy between people living in the richest and poorest neighbourhoods in the Halton region was eight years for men and four years for women. That is a very sad statistic, because it means that poor people are paying the penalty of dying earlier. In the 2011 voluntary household survey, the eight year difference for men went down to four years, and the four year difference for women went down to zero years.

  (1930)  

    This sudden change can only be attributed to the fact that the voluntary national households survey was a poor substitute for the long form census. Not being able to see the problems that the marginalized in Canada have to face is a shame.
    To conclude—
    Order, please. Unfortunately, we are out of time. The 10 minutes have expired.
    Resuming debate.
    I see the hon. member for Winnipeg North rising. I will let him know that there are approximately eight minutes, not quite the full 10 minutes, remaining in the time provided for the private member's business hour. I will give the member the usual indication as he is coming to the end of the period that is allowed.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.
    Mr. Speaker, I trust that maybe at a future time I will be able to get the extra two minutes if in fact it is deemed necessary
    It is with pleasure that I rise today to speak to Bill C-625. It is an interesting bill, to say the very least. Just listening to some of the debate, I can appreciate why members would be expressing a great deal of concern in regard to census material. My colleague from York raised other issues, but was able to bring it around so that we could understand the relevance of the way in which the government has changed in its behaviour in regard to the whole issue that Bill C-625 is trying to deal with.
    Numerous thoughts come to my mind that I think are worth sharing with members. When I think of what the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London is attempting to do here, I have a great deal of admiration in terms of why the member has seen this as something that is important. I suspect that if we were to canvass constituents, many would find it somewhat odd, maybe a little peculiar, as to why it is that someone could ultimately end up in jail if in fact he or she did not fill out mandatory forms.
     I understand, through listening to some of the debate, that the member for Kingston and the Islands introduced a bill of a somewhat similar nature. However, I suspect that at the time the government's opinion on the issue had been different than what it appears to be today. That is why we would encourage members of the Conservative Party to better explain the rationale or their positioning on Bill C-625, given the response that we had to an earlier piece of legislation that would have done the same thing.
    It almost goes without saying that the current law as it states, as someone has pointed out, has really, with the exception of one occasion, never been acted on. I can understand why it has not been acted on. However, at the same time, it is worthy to note that someone did ultimately have to go behind bars, but I understand, based on what I have heard this evening, that incident was based on protest more than anything else. That does not necessarily mean that the bill does not merit being passed.
    As I indicated, on the surface I look at the bill and it is worth supporting, given that it is a private member's bill. The Liberal Party caucus has been fairly transparent and open in encouraging members of the Liberal caucus, in fact all members, in dealing with private members' bills of this nature and we encourage having free votes on it. I also see that as a very strong positive.
    I want to pick up on the issue of the long form census and that is where I would like to spend some time. I do not really believe the Government of Canada understands the importance of what StatsCan did and the impact of the government's decision to get rid of that mandatory component and downsizing Statistics Canada in its ability to provide the type of results that it was known for.
    It is second to no other institution in the world. In fact, there were many other countries that looked at Canada and the way in which we conducted StatsCan through the long form census, and found that it was done in a world-class fashion.
    That information is of critical importance. My colleague made reference to schools. The impact that the census had on school divisions is an example of where a school board might be planning to have a school. In certain situations, it has an impact on where it might decide to look at either closing or using a school for an alternative purpose.

  (1935)  

    There are some really big numbers to be thrown around. We are talking about billions of dollars that are provided to provinces in the form of social transfer payments, whether it is social services, health care, equalization, all of which rely heavily upon the census material that is provided to them. Ensuring that as many Canadians participate in the census process is of critical importance. We are not talking about thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars, we are talking about the transferring of literally billions of dollars from Ottawa to the different provinces, recognizing the many different inequities that are scattered throughout virtually every region of our country.
    If I were to focus on the province of Manitoba alone, I can recall a very heated debated inside the Manitoba legislature. There was a question as to whether we were getting the appropriate amount of money through equalization and transfer payments based upon some of the demographics in the province of Manitoba. There was a dispute between Ottawa and Manitoba in trying to come to a better understanding of what the actual numbers were.
    When we look at equalization payments, many different things are taken into consideration. It is not only the population of each individual province. We need to have an understanding of the needs of each of the different provinces when we talk about federal policy changes. We saw the impact on changes in health care policy. Provinces that have an older population will be penalized more than provinces that might have a healthier population. I can give a good example. Some communities are better known as retirement communities and have a much higher senior population. Where there is a senior population, there are many more demands upon social services, in particular, health care services.
    It is the nuances that are so critically important when we make government decisions. We need to have the best information possible. One of the things we have become very dependent on is the fine work that Statistics Canada has done for generations, and we have all benefited from that.
    When we talk about the importance of individual Canadians contributing to that data bank of information that is so vital in the determination and development of good, strong, healthy social policy, it is absolutely critical that this be taken into consideration
     I suspect I will have another two minutes when the House gets the opportunity to debate the issue again.

  (1940)  

    The hon. member for Winnipeg North will have two minutes remaining for his comments when the House next returns to debate on the question.
    The time provided for the consideration of private member's business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS

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

[English]

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, my question has to do with the government's decision—and it was a decision—to deny access to an otherwise acceptable potential immigrant on the grounds of deafness, a decision that in turn points to a serious flaw in Canada's immigration system.
    First, the reason given was that the applicant's daughter was medically inadmissible. The government has taken the position that any disability—deafness, in this particular case—can be grounds to deny a person access. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, in his response to my question, stated that they are waiting for:
...Mrs. Talosig to explain how she will mitigate the extra costs to the provincial health care system because of a medically inadmissible dependant.
    Her daughter does not have a communicable disease or an untreated need for serious surgery. Those conditions might indeed be a reason to deny someone access to Canada, as the suspicion might be that the immigrant was merely trying to access our wonderful health care system. However, a disability, particularly deafness, cannot alone create a medical drain. In fact, many in the deaf community do not consider themselves disabled; rather, they communicate in a different language, such as QSL or ASL.
    What of other disabilities for which access to our medical system is not the issue? Persons who can function quite well in a wheelchair, such as the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia or the member Montcalm, function quite remarkably and arguably are huge assets to their community. Are they somehow less valuable because they are in a wheelchair? Would a person in their situation be automatically denied access to Canada, despite their ability to function and be an asset to their community?
    The decision by the government is part of a larger, disturbing pattern of behaviour toward the disabled. Although the government signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons, it has not implemented its requirements. Despite promising in the 2007 throne speech to pass a bill guaranteeing that accessibility barriers would be removed, the government has never presented such a bill.
    As an example of the government's failure here on the Hill, it installed security bollards at each sidewalk entrance to the precinct. Those bollards are 31.5 inches apart. Wheelchair users will have difficulty with that opening. The recommended gap width is 36 inches. In Ontario the absolute minimum is 32.5 inches, yet here on the Hill, it is okay to have 31.5 inches. As a result, wheelchair users cannot get in.
    On the deafness front, the government has fought a case in court for nine years that shows its failure to remove barriers. A young woman has taken the government to court because its student loan system means that her education cost her twice what it would cost a person with hearing. It seems only fair that the system should be changed, as it discriminates against deaf people, but the government has fought her every step of the way.
    I expect that the government will say that it is awaiting Mrs. Talosig's response to its initial decision in order to further proclaim on her case, yet recently she received a letter from the government saying that it is now under review. I am not sure which we are supposed to believe: the letter from the government, or the government's statements here that it is waiting for her response.
    The person is deaf. She has no communicable disease and no medical issues per se. She functions quite well. If it goes beyond the medical system and into the education system, the family has already obtained from the school board word that it will accommodate her disability at no cost. As far as I know, she communicated this to the government long ago.
    It rests on the government to allow her and her daughter to stay in Canada.

  (1945)  

    Mr. Speaker, I find it is quite shameful for the member to bring up an immigration case. We should not be playing politics with immigration cases. I think the member knows that. It is exceptionally much worse to be asking about a case in which a final decision has yet to be made.
     The member ought to know that these decisions are made by highly trained individuals. They are not made by politicians. Decisions in cases like this are not easy to make, but Citizenship and Immigration Canada must apply the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as it is written. That is the law. Under the law, permanent resident applicants and their dependants must be medically assessed to determine if they will cause an excessive demand to the health care systems of the provinces.
    Canada's immigration law does not discriminate against those with illness or disability. It does strive, however, to find the appropriate balance between those wanting to immigrate to Canada and the limited medical resources that are paid for by Canadian taxpayers. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health, safety and security of Canadian society, including the country's publicly funded health and social services systems.
    To assess excessive demand on health or social services, a Citizenship and Immigration Canada medical officer or delegated staff determines the anticipated costs of publicly funded health or social services that would reasonably be incurred due to an applicant's particular health condition.
    The costs to provincial health and social services and the impact on waiting lists in Canada are considered and applicants whose prognosis indicates that they would pose an excessive demand on health or social services paid by Canadian taxpayers may be denied entrance to Canada. These are not always easy decisions and they are taken very seriously by immigration officers, balancing the interests of the individual with the broader public interest.
    It is also important to note that applicants may be considered inadmissible to Canada if they have a family member who is found to be inadmissible. Again, these decisions are not taken lightly.
     As I already indicated in the House, and as I said earlier, Citizenship and Immigration Canada issued a letter to Mrs. Talosig in which we invited her to respond to concerns that were raised about her specific application. She now has 60 days to respond and address the concerns raised by visa officials.
     As the hon. member is aware, we cannot comment on the further details of the case because of the Privacy Act. I would ask that he respect that and let the case take its natural course.

  (1950)  

    Mr. Speaker, one of the points I was trying to make is that the immigration system is apparently not working. It is not the individual in this case, and I respect the privacy of the individual, but the case has discovered a flaw in the system. The flaw in the system is not in the law, but in a regulation. The regulation is passed by the government and by order-in-council, not by the House. In the regulation it states, ““Excessive demand” means”:
—a demand on health services or social services for which the anticipated costs would likely exceed average Canadian per capita health services and social services costs over a period of five consecutive years...
    That is a terribly unreasonable position. In other words, not excessive cost but any cost that is greater than the average of every Canadian means that individuals are potentially inadmissible to our country, even if it is a dollar. I know the member will say that it is up to the immigration officer, but the rule says any cost that is above the average is something for which a person could be deemed inadmissible. In this case, this points out this horrible flaw in our immigration system.
    Mr. Speaker, decisions in cases like this one are not easy to make, but Citizenship and Immigration Canada must apply the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as it is written.
    Under the law, permanent resident applicants and their dependants must be medically assessed to determine if they would pose an excessive demand to the provincial health care systems. Canada's immigration law does not discriminate against those with illness or disability. It does strive, however, to find the appropriate balance between those wanting to immigrate to Canada and the limited medical resources that are paid for by Canadian taxpayers.
     As I already indicated, Citizenship and Immigration Canada issued a letter to Mrs. Talosig in which we invited her to respond to concerns that were raised about her specific application. She now has 60 days to respond and address the concerns raised by visa officials.
    Having said that, the hon. member is aware that we cannot comment on further details of this case because of the Privacy Act.

Public Safety 

    Mr. Speaker, I rise once again to call on the government to act now to address gang violence in my community.
    Last week there was yet another shooting in Surrey. There have been 28 shootings since the beginning of March. Every week brings more shootings and more fear to my city. Parents are concerned about their children. It is simply unacceptable that there are communities in our country where parents are afraid for the safety of their children. The crime problem has reached crisis levels in my city. My community needs immediate help, but the government is stalling and playing politics with this very serious issue.
    I have stood up in the House multiple times, and I am scheduled again for a late show next week. I recently demanded that the government take action on this issue. It seems like the Conservatives have to be pushed every step of the way to take any action at all. The mayor and the province have both asked the federal government for 100 more RCMP officers to help fight the escalating violence in Surrey.
     The Conservatives had a big announcement with a press conference in Surrey where they finally, after much pressure from the New Democrats, approved the 100 RCMP officers. However, we have yet to see any sort of concrete plan. We have yet to see any action at all. With no description of where the money will come from, no timelines and no tangible steps for implementation, the announcement seems like yet another empty campaign promise. My community needs real answers and I am not getting them from the government.
    More officers alone is not enough to fix the crime issue in Surrey, but it is certainly a start. It is going to take all levels of government to work together and make public safety a priority to stop gang-related violence in Surrey. That is why I have introduced a plan in Parliament that calls for long-term, stable funding for youth gang prevention and intervention programs. Youth gang prevention programs across Canada have demonstrated a direct impact on the lives of at-risk youth and reducing gang membership.
    The Conservatives talk about being tough on crime. We see on the ground that the resources are not available for our communities to reduce or prevent crime in the first place.
    The member across is going to get up and say, “We have introduced 30 new bills and that party didn't support them”. Despite the introduction of those 30 bills and despite us voting against them, because we knew they would not work, the violence is still happening in my community.
    My questions are very simple. When, what exact date, will we have the 100 new promised RCMP officers on the ground? When, what exact date, will we receive $3.5 million for Surrey's wraparound gang prevention program? These are very simple questions. These are the questions that people from my constituency, the people from the city of Surrey and parents are asking.
    I do not want to hear rhetoric. I have been hearing it for too long. I want some answers for my constituents and for the city of Surrey and I would like straight answers. When are the police going to be there? When is the money going to be delivered and for how many years?

  (1955)  

    Mr. Speaker, our government is taking strong action to keep our streets and communities safe through significant commitment to law enforcement and crime prevention.
     One of our key priorities is keeping our streets and communities safe. We have stated that repeatedly in the House and we have acted on that. As our Prime Minister said in the Speech from the Throne, families are the cornerstone of our society. Families raise our children and build our communities. As our families succeed, Canada succeeds.
    We take the shootings and escalation of gang violence in Surrey, British Columbia, seriously and we are working closely with partners in Surrey, in British Columbia, and across the country to enhance public safety and shape a safer Canada for all.
     As the member should know by now, we were pleased to approve the request for an additional 100 RCMP officers for the community of Surrey to combat crime. We also announced on May 19, 2015, the investment of $3.5 million over the coming five years for the Surrey gang reduction program.
    This program will reach up to 400 youth at risk, giving them tools they need to avoid criminal lifestyles and make positive contributions to their community. These young people will benefit from mentorship, academic support, and opportunities to build employment and family support skills.
    The Surrey gang reduction program will build on the success of $2.8 million in previous investments made in Surrey, British Columbia, under Public Safety Canada's national crime prevention strategy.
    As part of our government's role in preventing crime and making our streets and communities safer places to live, work, and raise our families, we are investing $40.9 million in the national crime prevention strategy per year. By investing in community-based projects such as these, we are fostering opportunities for Canadians to work, live, and prosper in safe and vibrant communities.
    To us, the long-term benefits are clear: when youth are engaged in healthy activities and making smart choices, they can make a positive contribution to their lives and to their communities.
    We have also passed tough new laws to clean up our streets and put gang members behind bars where they belong. We have passed over 30 new tough-on-crime measures, including new prison sentences for drive-by shootings.
    Shockingly and shamefully—I noticed that the member opposite wanted to make this point earlier—that member and the NDP, as well as the Liberals, voted against all of these common sense measures in the House.
     In conclusion, Canadian families expect safe and healthy communities in which to raise their children. That is why our government is supporting community-level programs that have concrete and positive impacts on youth and families at risk and is cracking down on thugs and criminals. Canadians know that only our government can be trusted to keep them safe.
    I would hope and I pray that the member and his caucus colleagues will think twice next time before they vote against critical, important legislation that brings safe measures to our communities.

  (2000)  

    Mr. Speaker, I still did not get my answers.
    The member talked about how we shamelessly voted against those 30 measures. Those measures are not working. The shootings are happening despite the 30-odd bills that the Conservatives brought in. That is why we voted against them.
    What is really shameful are the the government's hollow promises to communities that it will provide safety for our communities. It has not done that. That is why parents in my community are afraid to let their children out.
    The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has failed to answer my very simple question, so I will ask him again. Let us see if he answers.
     It is on the record. I will come back again next week and ask the same question until the Conservatives provide very clear answers as to when we can expect those 100 RCMP officers and when and how that $3.5 million will be provided to help the gang prevention program.
    These are very simple questions. I have not been hearing any answers from the parliamentary secretary. Will he please provide those answers? My community wants those answers.
    Mr. Speaker, our government is taking action to support communities in preventing crime by providing youth and families with positive opportunities and cracking down on criminals. We have taken decisive action to support crime prevention work in communities in this country, including Surrey, British Columbia. We are working with key partners to ensure that they are able to do the best job with the best tools.
    As I mentioned, we were pleased to approve an additional 100 RCMP officers to the community of Surrey to combat crime. The member can rest assured that there is a proven process in place to manage these requests for additional resources. What the member can do to show his support for the community of Surrey is to support any our tough on crime measures, as well as economic action plan 2015 and its additional resources for the RCMP.
    This is not the time to be playing partisan politics. The people of Surrey North deserve better representation than that.
    The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 8:03 p.m.)
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