Skip to main content Start of content

House Publications

The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at accessible@parl.gc.ca.

Previous day publication Next day publication
Skip to Document Navigation Skip to Document Content

41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 035

CONTENTS

Monday, January 27, 2014




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 147
NUMBER 035
2nd SESSION
41st PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayers


  (1105)  

[English]

Vacancy

Fort McMurray—Athabasca 

    It is my duty to inform the House that a vacancy has occurred in the representation, namely Mr. Jean, member for the electoral district of Fort McMurray—Athabasca, by resignation effective Friday, January 17, 2014.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to paragraph 25(1)(b) of the Parliament of Canada Act, I have addressed my warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for the election of a member to fill this vacancy.

[English]

Board of Internal Economy

    I have the honour to inform the House that Mr. Toone, member for the electoral district of Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, has been appointed as a member of the Board of Internal Economy in place of Mr. Cullen, member for the electoral district of Skeena—Bulkley Valley, for the purposes and under the provisions of section 50 of the Parliament of Canada Act.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[Translation]

Electronic Petitions

    The House resumed from October 28, 2013, consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, since this is the first speech of this parliamentary session and the first of 2014, I would like to wish all members of the House a very happy new year. I hope this year will bring lots of interesting, relevant debate.
    With this in mind, let us talk about the motion moved by my colleague, Motion No. 428. Several members, myself included, are of the opinion that it will improve parliamentary debate so that it more accurately reflects what really matters to Canadians.
    As the NDP critic on digital issues, I am often asked to evaluate new technologies that will enhance communication with our constituents, with the hope that they will become more involved in the debates. For instance, the Internet is an excellent tool for sharing information and making people aware of important current issues.
    At present, although Canadians can get information and learn more about an issue, they cannot take action by signing an online petition. In fact, their online signatures are absolutely worthless in this House. This is a serious flaw. In this digital age, the House does not reflect how the world works today. The fact that only paper petitions can be submitted is a flaw. Many people sign electronic petitions, but their voices will never be heard here.
    It is our duty to modernize how we do things in order to better represent Canadians. These days, nearly everyone is on Facebook and other social networks. That is how we communicate. Accordingly, why not present issues in a way that reflects how the world works in the 21st century?
    Everyone of my generation is on Facebook. We all use social networks to communicate. I very often receive online petitions from my constituents and even my friends. Unfortunately, as it stands, they are pointless. The legislatures in Quebec and the United Kingdom accept online petitions. Now it is our turn.
    We need to do everything we possibly can to get young people involved in democracy. In 2011, only 39% of young people voted in the election. My colleague came up with the idea of moving a motion that would make it acceptable to present online petitions. I sincerely believe that this will ensure that youth are better represented in the House, that their voices are heard and that we are talking about things that are of interest to them.
    I would like to point out that this is not the first time this idea has been discussed. The issue was raised as part of a committee study during the 38th Parliament. That was a long time ago and nothing has been done. It is clearly time to act.
    I am hearing more and more that people are not interested in politics. Perhaps the issues we are talking about today and those we have talked about during this parliamentary session are not what matter to the people in my riding or their neighbours.
    The motion moved by my colleague would allow Canadians to directly influence debate in the House. What could be better for democracy? Other ideas can certainly be proposed in the future; however, this first step is an essential one.
    According to a 2012 study by Samara, only 55% of Canadians are satisfied or very satisfied with our democracy.
    We have some work to do to achieve a better result. I think we can do better than 55%.
    The purpose of this initiative is to have members debate an issue when 50,000 people have signed a petition that five members of Parliament have sponsored. This number is not in the wording of the motion, but that is something we can discuss with hon. members.
    For 50,000 people to take the time to sign a petition suggests that the subject matter is very important to them. It is our duty to discuss that subject. This could be a way to encourage people to vote and to watch the debates in the House of Commons. A very small minority of people are watching this debate right now or watch the debates on a regular basis. When there is a proposal like Motion No. 428, we should act on it and support it. We should do everything possible to make the House relatable to people and help them see that it truly debates issues that matter to them. What my colleague is proposing just might do that.
    I would like to mention some of the support my colleague has received for this motion. That support is coming from various sources: the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Preston Manning, and OpenMedia, an agency that seeks to use new technologies to engage people in the democratic process.
    It is time to modernize Parliament. This institution is old, but we have the means to improve democracy and to give our constituents a voice in the House. I congratulate my colleague on putting forward this proposal. I hope that on Wednesday, all the members of the House will support the motion.

  (1110)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to participate in today's debate on Motion No. 428, sponsored by the member for Burnaby—Douglas, which would create a new electronic petitions system. My colleague across the way has a keen interest in the role of Parliament and its members and has examined the experience of other jurisdictions with electronic petitions.
    I want to emphasize the government's commitment to a strong Parliament. All members know that in 2006, the government's first act after forming government was to pass the Federal Accountability Act, which changed the way Ottawa does business for the better. Thanks to this unprecedented legislation, government accountability has been strengthened, including accountability to Parliament, and the government has further continued to promote democratic reform and open and transparent government.
    Let me now turn to Motion No. 428. The first part of the motion would essentially require the procedure and House affairs committee to recommend changes to the Standing Orders and other conventions governing petitions so as to create and implement an electronic petitions system.
    The second part of Motion No. 428 would require the committee to consider, among other things, the possibility of a debate in the House outside sitting hours when a petition has reached a certain threshold of signatures.
    The motion goes on to state that the committee would have to table its report within 12 months of the motion being adopted. Under the terms of the motion, the committee would be required to include recommended changes to the Standing Orders and other conventions to implement an electronic petitions system. Basically, to summarize, the motion requires that the committee report lead to the implementation of an electronic petitions system for the House.
    For the purposes of this debate, it is worth first examining our current paper-based petition system. Our current petition system is set out in Standing Order 36, which is based on principles of representative democracy and the fundamental role of an individual member of Parliament. As evidenced by the 2,000 petitions presented by members in 2012, the system works quite well.
    The Standing Order requires that before petitions can be presented, they must be certified correct by the Clerk of Petitions. House rules specify that at least 25 Canadians must sign a petition, using the proper format, including a statement of the grievance, and that it be addressed to the House, the government, a minister, or a member of the House for a response.
    It is a matter of routine practice that members table petitions on behalf of constituents, and it is understood that members may not always agree with the views of a specific petition. Following the presentation of the petition, the government must respond within 45 calendar days.
    Our current petitions system functions efficiently. The system is transparent. Canadians are able to tune in and watch our proceedings to see what petitions are being presented, or they can view a list of petitions presented in House of Commons Debates or in Journals of the House.
    As we debate Motion No. 428, it is useful to examine the experience of other jurisdictions.
    Most jurisdictions have a petitions system similar to our current approach and appear to be satisfied with that approach. However, there are some jurisdictions that have recently implemented electronic petitions systems as part of their legislature or as part of the government's operations.
    In 2011 the United Kingdom House of Commons authorized electronic petitions. Petitions with at least 100,000 signatures can have a debate in the House or in Westminster Hall, a parallel chamber to the House. To date, these debates have included national issues such as health care and pension increases as well as special interests, such as eliminating welfare benefits for the convicted 2011 London rioters, heart surgery at a local hospital, and the elimination of the badger cull.
    I would contend that the experience of the United Kingdom suggests that while electronic petitions can increase the participation of citizens in the petition process, they can also be used by orchestrated special interests to force their agenda onto the parliamentary stage.
    Similarly, the We the People electronic petitions system established by the White House in the United States, whereby petitions with at least 100,000 signatures are publicly recognized, has been used to advance topics such as the Star Wars-inspired Death Star and the deportation of a CNN journalist.
    Some commentators in the United States have suggested that electronic petitions systems can undermine representative democracy by recognizing or debating divisive or frivolous issues. I would ask members whether they would want to create an electronic petitions system if that were to be the result.

  (1115)  

    In addition, at a time of fiscal restraint, the creation and implementation of a new electronic petition system, and potentially the addition of extra sitting hours for the House to debate petitions with a high number of signatures, could be quite costly. Further, the need to put in place a process to verify thousands of online signatures could prove to be quite an involved and onerous process. Do members believe that such an additional cost would be prudent at a time of global economic uncertainty and fiscal restraint?
    The member for Burnaby—Douglas has said that the electronic petitions would “empower citizens to communicate their concerns with their elected representatives and to have the opportunity to set the agenda for debate in Ottawa”.
    As all members know, every day of the year, whether in our ridings or here in Ottawa, Canadians have many options for contacting their individual members of Parliament or the government. Each of us is regularly back in his or her constituency. We all have staff in our constituency offices and in Ottawa to help constituents with questions and detailed requests, including through electronic means such as email and websites. I ask members whether creating an electronic petition system would really enhance our ability to engage and serve our constituents.
    As mentioned at the beginning of my speech, Motion No. 428 presupposes a result for the work of the procedures and House affairs committee. By dictating the outcome, Motion No. 428 undermines the principle that committees are masters of their own affairs. It is one thing for the House to instruct the committee to undertake a study, but this motion goes too far and oversteps the principle that committees are masters of their own proceedings. I would ask members whether they want to support a motion that would diminish the independence of a House committee and the ability of members of committees to decide upon and manage their own affairs.
    On the surface, the idea of creating an electronic petition system may have some appeal in terms of using new technologies to serve our constituents. However, the experience of other jurisdictions suggests that many countries have decided not to implement an electronic petition system and that such a system could become a popularity contest and be open to abuse by special interests. In addition, the cost of implementing a new electronic petition system is a concern during a time of budget constraints.
    Finally, I take issue with the wording of the motion as it undermines the principle of House committees being masters of their own affairs.
    For these reasons, I am not prepared to support the motion. However, I note that the procedure and House affairs committee will be examining our rules and procedures, and if its members were to agree, the committee could decide to review the effectiveness of our current petition system and whether changes are needed.

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, I must say at the beginning that I am somewhat surprised at the way the government members are responding to this motion. We see before us a motion that would enable Canadians to participate in our process and have the opportunity, through petitions, to express themselves. I am surprised by the arguments being brought forward.
    For example, the member from the government who stood before me talked about a significant cost factor. I can assure the member that it would be a fraction of the potential cost of the increase, by the current government, in the number of members of Parliament. The Conservatives are increasing the size of the House of Commons, estimated to cost over $30 million a year. Interestingly, I have a petition on that issue. There has been an overwhelming response from the constituents I represent that we do not need to increase the number of MPs in the House of Commons. I can assure the member that it would cost Canadians a lot more to increase the number of politicians in this House, which is ultimately unnecessary, than it would to allow Canadians the opportunity to be engaged through petitions.
    This is really where the government is off base. Why would the Conservatives oppose the opportunity for citizens from across Canada to provide their thoughts on a wide variety of issues that come before this House?
    I was at a protest rally at the Manitoba legislature just two days ago. Individuals from Winnipeg, and I suspect from even outside of Winnipeg, came to the Manitoba legislature because they were concerned about what was happening in Ukraine. What is happening in Ukraine today is horrific. It is a slap at fundamental freedoms. The people of Ukraine want to be able to express themselves and to have the right to do so. Some of the actions we have seen in Ukraine go against some of the fundamental principles we often take for granted here. It was interesting that at the rally, one of the calls was to have people attending that rally sign petitions. In fact, I have already submitted, first thing this morning, the names of some of the individuals who signed that petition so that I would be able to stand in my place at some future time, hopefully soon, and express to the floor of the House of Commons the wishes of those individuals who took the time to go to the Manitoba legislature and sign a petition.
    What are we asking for here? It is an opportunity for a committee of the House of Commons, on which I sit, to study the issue of electronic petitions. What is wrong with that? What do the Conservatives have against affording the public the ability to participate? On the issue of Ukraine, could members imagine the response if we were allowed to use electronic petitions through the Internet? Hundreds of thousands of Canadians from coast to coast to coast would be able to engage on this one issue alone.
    The leader of the Liberal Party constantly talks about going out and meeting and connecting with Canadians and trying to get Canadians engaged. Unlike the Prime Minister of this country, the leader of the Liberal Party is constantly out meeting with Canadians and challenging the government to be more accountable.

  (1125)  

    This is one of the ways in which Canadians could, in fact, have the opportunity to send messages and participate in the process. Yet the government, for whatever reason, says no, not this time, or it does not want this to move forward. It does not want to provide answers to the types of petitions that might come through electronic means.
    The member who spoke before me started off by speaking about accountability, as if the government is more accountable. He talked about his accountability legislation. I have not been here for that long, but with regard to the accountability within this chamber, I would challenge the member or any government member for the way in which the Conservative-Reform government has taken away accountability inside the chamber and limited debate. There are record high numbers of time allocation by the current majority government, unprecedented in Canadian history.
    Budget implementation bills have multiplied by hundreds of pages, with numerous pieces of legislation all wrapped up in one bill. Liberals do not have to take any lessons from the current majority government in terms of accountability, because it lacks it in the chamber; and I am disappointed that it does not see the merit of at least allowing the debate of electronic petitioning. I, for one, use petitions a great deal. I afford the constituents of Winnipeg North the opportunity, as much as I can. Quite often in my mailings I encourage people to get engaged in the process by signing petitions.
    I have presented petitions on issues such as housing co-ops, the Experimental Lakes Area, refugees, crime prevention, Canada Post, the environment, Elections Canada and robocalls, as well as ethical corporations in developing countries. Of course, one of my favourites was the petition with regard to the government's wanting to increase the age of retirement from 65 to 67. The constituents of Winnipeg North say no to that, and they have been signing petitions to that effect. They value our programs for pensions.
    The health accord is going to expire in 2014 and the government has done nothing to support the renewal of a health care accord, which Paul Martin established, that has seen more money delivered to health care than ever before. The government likes to take credit for the amount of money that is going into federal transfers for health care, when it was actually former prime minister Paul Martin. I have a petition that calls on the government to deal with the health care issue.
    I made reference to the number of members of Parliament. I talked about the signatures from the Manitoba legislature related to Ukraine. Over the last seven days, someone contacted me about a pet registry petition, which I look forward to presenting. These are petitions that Canadians have seen fit to sign because they believe in what is being reported in those petitions.
    How does electronic petitioning hurt democracy here in Canada? We should at least allow it to continue in terms of debate. Let us bring it to the procedure and House affairs committee. I represent the Liberal Party on that committee, and I can say that the Liberal Party, in fact, is very supportive of the concept of electronic petitions. Liberals see it as a way for more Canadians to get involved in our democracy, and that is a good thing. We see that as a healthy thing.

  (1130)  

    We are asking the government and all members to open their eyes, as hopefully members of the Conservative Party will see the value of at least bringing it to the next step.
    I appreciate the opportunity to share a few words with members.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to Motion No. 428 about e-petitions. This initiative was put forward by my NDP colleague from Burnaby—Douglas, a meticulous and effective parliamentarian, and a champion of democracy.
    I would like to begin by pointing out that the Conservative government has a very poor record when it comes to democratic participation. First, the Conservatives tried to prevent citizens from participating in environmental assessments. Then they muzzled scientists and librarians. After that, they started a witch hunt against environmental organizations that oppose their policies.
    The NDP believes that citizens should have the opportunity to participate in democracy, to intervene and to express their opinions about the government's policies. This motion, which encourages citizen involvement, is in line with our philosophy.
    I would like to explain how the system works now. As we all know, petitions have always been a key part of our democratic system. People use petitions to draw Parliament's attention to a problem.
    Right now, electronic petitions cannot be presented in the House of Commons by members because they do not comply with the Standing Orders. As a result, the government is not required to provide an official response to e-petitions the way it does to paper-based petitions.
    Motion No. 428 recommends updating the rules governing the format of petitions and studying the possibility of letting e-petitions trigger a debate in the House of Commons once a certain number of signatures have been collected and if at least five members sponsor a petition.
    Clearly, the Standing Orders need updating. The House of Commons has to get with the times and take into account what Canadians are thinking now that they are making increasing use of electronic means to communicate and join forces on political issues. We have to give people more ways to participate in their democracy; we have to adapt democracy to 21st-century realities. If we do not, Parliament will become more and more useless, perhaps even insignificant. Anyone who looks at the other chamber, the Senate, will see that is true.
    Right now, thousands of Canadians feel left out and powerless when it comes to decisions made in the House. I happen to agree. The current rules have led to a growing divide between people and the government.
    The numbers speak for themselves. According to an online survey of Canadians carried out by Samara in December 2012, only 55% of Canadians report being satisfied with the way democracy works in Canada. This number is going down, since it used to be 75% in 2004. To combat this democratic deficit, we need to start listening to Canadians again. They need to feel that their voices are being heard.
    I will digress for a moment to point out that this is why we are calling for reform of the Elections Act. We need to give more powers to Elections Canada, so that it can more effectively combat election fraud.
    We have been seeing the worst kinds of abuse from the Conservative Party in recent years. For example, there were the misleading phone calls to deny voters their right to vote; the bending of the rules on political party funding, which is known as the Conservative in and out scandal; and the election schemes of the former Conservative minister from Labrador, who failed to declare election expenses. Furthermore, the current member for Peterborough is facing four charges in court regarding overspending during the 2008 election campaign.
    These despicable actions are alienating Canadians from politics, since they get the impression that they do not really have a say in the matter. They come to believe that the only things taken seriously are the interests of the Conservative Party's big contributors and their friends.

  (1135)  

    I could also talk about the need to change our voting system to make sure that every vote counts. Many changes need to be made to our electoral and parliamentary system, but I will save that for another day because my time is short.
    More fundamentally, we need to fix the Elections Act to regain Canadians' trust. It is also important to change the rules governing how our parliamentary institutions operate so that we can better connect with Canadians. Petition reform is part of that overall plan. Unlike the Conservatives, we want more than ever to strengthen Canadian democracy and to do everything we can to get Canadians involved in the debates that affect them because, ultimately, this is their House of Commons. We want to give Canadians a chance to have a say in Parliament's agenda. That is why Motion No. 428, which was moved by the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas, calls for the use of electronic petitions in the House. I wish to make it clear, however, that we do not want to do away with the current Standing Order with regard to paper petitions. Both paper and electronic petitions will be accepted.
    I can attest to the fact that my colleague has done an excellent job of garnering support within all political parties. On the left, former NDP leader Ed Broadbent supported the initiative by saying:
    Bringing electronic petitioning to the House of Commons is a 21st Century idea and one I fully endorse. Empowering Canadians to come together and help set the Parliamentary agenda will breathe fresh air into our democracy.
    My colleague also had the support of Preston Manning, a well-known political figure in our country, who clearly stated:
    To be able to petition one's elected representatives, and to have such petitions addressed, is one of the oldest and most basic of democratic rights. Affirming and re-establishing this right in the 21st century through electronic petitioning is an idea well worth pursuing.
    Similarly, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation welcomes this motion:
    The Canadian Taxpayers Federation applauds this worthy initiative from the member [for Burnaby—Douglas] to kick-start Parliament on accepting electronic signatures on petitions. When taxpayers get the opportunity to go online and sign an official petition to Parliament, they'll be able to get the attention of Ottawa politicians in a hurry. We also support the [member's] suggestion that 50,000 Canadians signing a petition and 5 MPs should be able to force a debate in Parliament. This would help restore some grassroots democracy and accountability on Parliament Hill.
    According to an Angus Reid poll conducted in March 2013, Canadians, including my constituents, widely support the principles of Motion No. 418. The pollster found that 81% of Canadians either support or strongly support the use of electronic petitions as a way to present their concerns to the federal government. It is important to understand that this motion represents real progress towards improving Canadian democracy and the vitality of our participatory institutions.
    Promoting and adopting this motion are one more step towards creating a healthier, more transparent democracy. This is a tangible step with clear and demonstrable repercussions on how important issues are represented in parliamentary debates. It will also allow us to productively channel the widespread discontent regarding Canadian democracy and many of its institutions, including the Senate, where the Conservatives are now showing their true colours. I think it is absolutely crucial that our constituents be included in the political process, and such a motion would be one of the best ways to encourage them to actively participate in our public debates.
    I urge my colleagues to support this motion in order to lead off the debate on the future of electronic petitions in our country.

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I have risen to speak in 2014. Allow me, respectfully, to wish you a good year, in the hope that our democratic institutions will increase in value, which has absolutely not been the case in previous years.
    The motion we are discussing this morning could be an excellent way to get back on track.
    I would also like to wish an excellent year to my fellow MPs and to all Canadians and Quebeckers, who I hope might once again be proud of their politicians because of the quality of the debates that we engage in throughout this new year.
    When I was elected in 2011, I was determined to improve our democracy. I still am. The desire to change the way politics is done continues to drive my political involvement. It is not so easy to change things in this honourable institution, Canada's Parliament, but I am not one to give up on my goals so quickly.
    The subject we are discussing this morning is quite the paradox between tradition and the need to modernize our political institution.
    Hon. members also know that I am a teacher by profession and that engaging young people in public debate is one of my priorities. I, like many others, was disappointed to see that voter turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds in the 2011 federal election was 39%, which was well below the national voter turnout of 59%. That is not a spectacular number either, but it is far better.
    There are likely a number of reasons for this that deserve our attention. In my riding, Trois-Rivières, I was surprised to learn that political debate seems undesirable at the university, where student associations—NDP, Conservative, Liberal, PQ, whatever the political stripe—do not seem to be welcome.
    How are we supposed to engage young people and prepare a new generation of active citizens when political debate is considered suspect or dangerous? I must admit that I have a problem with that attitude and the fact that many public places are not open to political debate.
    Now that the opportunity is here to explore this issue, I am very pleased to speak to Motion No. 428 on electronic petitions moved by my colleague, the member for Burnaby—Douglas.
    Mr. Speaker, like the vast majority of us, you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel and a website. I know because I checked.
    All of these digital tools are useful in helping us accomplish some of our work as parliamentarians. They allow us to share our ideas, our values and our vision for the Canada of tomorrow. Much of our work and that of our assistants is visible on social media.
    I have, at times, had the pleasure of working with the longest-serving member of the House, the member for Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour. He told me that when he began his career, he did not have any of these tools, not even a cell phone. Today, politicians would be at a loss without these tools. As time moved on, we adapted to new technology and the purpose it can serve. I believe there is more to be done.
    These platforms serve as more than just a means of spreading our political message and doing politics. We also need social media and the Internet to communicate with all of our constituents, all of the groups that wish to be in contact with us and those interested in the debates taking place in our democracy. We use digital media every day in order to speak with our constituents, no matter which party we belong to or what our ideas are.
    In just a few short years, democracy has gone online. Long speeches in the public square are becoming increasingly rare. Even more rare is an entire town or community gathering together to listen to us. The relationship between parliamentarians and constituents has been transformed and there is no going back. The town square is virtual now, and we need to keep up with the times if we want to connect with the people we claim to serve.
    My colleague's motion acknowledges that transformation and sheds some light on the issue. The idea is that if we, as parliamentarians, can make frequent use of digital tools to share our thoughts, why is the public not also able to use technology to connect with us?
    In other words, we are constantly reaching out, trying to convince them of our ideas, but they cannot influence our debates or our agenda by taking advantage of progress in electronic communications.

  (1145)  

    It is almost hypocritical of us, and we need to try to change that. That is exactly what this motion is about. What my colleague is proposing in this motion is quite simple. He is proposing that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs recommend changes to the Standing Orders so as to establish an electronic petitioning system in Canada, while maintaining the existing paper-based petition system. The committee would present a report to the House sometime in the next year. Among other things, the member's motion recommends that the committee consider the possibility of holding debates in the House of Commons, similar to take note debates, once a certain threshold of signatures is reached. For example, 50,000 signatures on an electronic petition is a considerable number. I think it is a rather serious problem if members do not feel that an issue with such support must be addressed. In addition, five members of Parliament would have to agree to sponsor or support the petition in question.
    Electronic petitioning systems are nothing new. An increasing number of democracies are embracing this new way of doing things to revitalize the relationship between the work of parliamentarians and constituents. Need I remind members that our Parliament does not always have a good reputation and that our institution has been harshly criticized by Canadians? The Senate scandals and the Conservative government's inability to address the related issues are fueling people's cynicism about both chambers of Parliament. I am confident that any initiative that would reaffirm and restore Canadians' trust in our work is a step forward, a step in the right direction for our democracy.
    As I was saying, electronic petitioning systems are nothing new. They are already in use in Quebec and the United Kingdom, and the results are quite promising. We would do well to take a closer look at them. In the British system, for example, petitions supported by at least 100,000 signatures trigger a debate. However, this new way of doing things has not made any significant changes to procedures or the rigour of the work. Members do not have to be concerned that our agenda will be disrupted by the tabling of a huge number of petitions. Although electronic petitions with over 50,000 signatures are not unheard of, they all draw attention to important issues.
    According to an Angus Reid poll, this motion already has support from a wide range of stakeholder groups and 81% of the population. We are talking about 81%. In what survey will you find more than 80% of Canadians and Quebeckers agreeing on an issue? It is clear that Canadians and Quebeckers want to see our systems modernized. This reflects their growing expectation that the House of Commons pay more attention to movements of opinion across the entire country.
    I have two examples. First, I want to talk about Marie-Hélène Dubé, a Quebec woman who decided to start a national petition after her third reoccurrence of thyroid cancer. Her petition calls on the federal government to amend section 12 of the Employment Insurance Act, which is 40 years old, to ensure that people with serious illnesses can receive more than 15 weeks of benefits, which is what they receive now. As we speak, this national petition has collected around 430,000 signatures.
    I would also like to talk about Sylvie Therrien's online petition. Ms. Dubé developed a rather onerous technique that means people have to sign the paper version of the petition and print it, so that it can be submitted in the House. Ms. Therrien, who had a different experience, also has thousands of signatures on her petition, but unfortunately, it cannot be submitted to the House.
    In conclusion, I want to quickly say that this is a tangible measure that will have a clear and demonstrable impact on the way issues that are important to Canadians are represented in parliamentary debates. This proposal would also be a proactive way to combat the widespread discontent with respect to Canadian democracy and many of its institutions, including the Senate.
    Therefore, I fully support my colleague's motion. I hope that in 2014, the Canadian Parliament can join the 21st century and agree to hear from the people of this country through electronic petitions.

  (1150)  

[English]

    I would advise the hon. member that in order for the sponsor of this motion to exercise his five-minute right of reply, the member for Victoria will only have nine minutes of debate.
    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to be participating in this debate.
     I want to congratulate my friend and colleague from Burnaby—Douglas for this initiative. In a former life he was a professor of public policy at Simon Fraser University, where he studied the very issues that are before us today. I commend him for bringing them to the House of Commons.
    If ever there were a non-partisan issue, I would have thought it would be this one. It is trying to improve our democracy, trying to enhance the participation by people from all walks of life in Canada, and in particular the young people. I will come to that in a moment.
    What I would like to do first today is to describe what I understand this motion to be, and what it is not, despite some people characterizing it as such, and to talk about, if I may, the objections that might be raised to an initiative like this. I hope we can persuade all colleagues to agree that this is an initiative that is long past due in our country.
    The clear intent is to modernize our long-standing tradition of citizen petitioning of their government. That has been done to date only in paper form. What we have is a transformative technology called the Internet that has changed so many aspects of our lives. Young people come to me in my riding of Victoria and say “Well, why do you not use the Internet? Why do you have to sign the petitions? Why can I not just send an email?”
    Young people basically cannot understand why this is not already in place. They particularly cannot understand when I advise them that it has been the case in other modern democracies, like Great Britain, where it is working well, and in Quebec, the Northwest Territories and other places. They look at me and ask, “What is wrong with you? Why do you not harness this communication tool that has been made available?”
    Canadians are among the most plugged in people on the planet, and it is getting to be more and more the case that Canadians utilize the Internet. Why can we not use electronic petitions?
    This motion does not do much more than say that we should get the relevant committee, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to examine this, not to replace paper petitions but to enhance the ability of citizens to participate by way of electronic petitions, and to consider a number of things as well, which I will come to.
    This initiative comes within a broader context of parliamentary reform initiatives, such as the private member's bill introduced by the member of Parliament for Wellington—Halton Hills. His proposed reform act of 2013 was designed to reinforce the principles of responsible government by which the executive branch is accountable to the legislative branch of the government. This is just one manifestation of the hunger in our democracy for parliamentary reform and for bringing our institutions, of which Canadians should be very proud, into the 21st century to enhance and make our democracy more vibrant.
    We hear people talking about other reform initiatives. The NDP has proudly been in favour of proportional representation for many years. I believe that will go some distance, along with the reform initiatives of the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills. This electronic petitions initiative must be understood in the broader context of that reality. People want this.
    The recommendation in this motion is that the procedures committee consider the possibility of triggering a debate in the House, something like a take note debate, once a certain number of signatures, such as the proposed 50,000 that we have heard, have been obtained. What is a take note debate? For those watching, it may not be clear. Historically a minister moves a motion which includes the words “that the House take note” of something. It is designed to solicit the views of members on some aspects of government policy. It does not usually come to a vote. We have used it very effectively on issues such as peacekeeping commitments, NORAD, missile testings, and the war in Kosovo. These are all examples where this has been used.
    A take note debate is all that would be triggered under this motion. It is not a direct democracy initiative. It enhances our parliamentary procedures.
    The problem is that such online petitions cannot be tabled in the House of Commons under our rules. That is why we are debating this. The United Kingdom has a threshold of 100,000 signatures before a take note debate may be triggered.

  (1155)  

    Based on the population differential between Canada and the United Kingdom, 50,000 signatures has been proposed. That may well be the right number, but the committee should examine that and give us its response.
    Many from every side of the political spectrum have validated this, ranging from Mr. Preston Manning to Mr. Ed Broadbent. We have heard from many equality-seeking groups, such as Egale Canada, which have strongly supported this, all the way to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a group that I often do not have a meeting of minds with at the finance committee. However, the federation is completely behind this as well, as are so many other groups.
    In an effort to persuade all members to get onside with this reform initiative, I want to talk about what the objections to such an initiative might be.
    The kind of objections that have been brought forward, and for which I am indebted to the member for Burnaby—Douglas, are as follows. Maybe the initiative will be costly. What is the experience in other countries? Will frivolous issues be generated as a consequence of these electronic petitions? Perhaps the wording of the motion is problematic.
    I will examine those in the time available because we need to disabuse members of those concerns.
    First, on the cost side, the member for Burnaby—Douglas has talked to a number of members of political science departments and has used the Library of Parliament, and there have been no cost concerns. In Quebec and the Northwest Territories existing resources are mostly used. There has been no concern of that kind.
    Second, the experience in other countries has been uniformly positive. The Library of Parliament reported back that no jurisdiction has ever put an e-petition in place and then taken it out. Once enacted, it seems to have gone well. Indeed, a recent House of Commons committee in the U.K. studied it and reported back the following:
    The system introduced by the Government has proven to be very popular and has already provided the subjects for a number of lively and illuminating debates.
    That does not sound as if the U.K. government wants to get rid of it.
    As for frivolous matters being a concern, the point is that five members of Parliament would have to look at the petition. It would also require a certain threshold of signatures. That should be an effective check of any abuse.
    With respect to the question of the wording being too prescriptive, as some say, that does not seem to be the case if we examine similar motions.
    Therefore, by way of conclusion, I would urge all members of the House to reform our parliamentary institutions to allow a more vibrant, participatory democracy and to take advantage of the technology of the Internet to enhance all of our parliamentary traditions.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to speak here in the early days of the new year.
    Let me begin by thanking all hon. members for participating in this debate on my motion to bring electronic petitions to Parliament. I think the spirit of the debate has been respectful. What I will try to do in my five minutes is to give some more information that might help members decide to support this.
    I believe that we all want to find practical ways to make Parliament more accessible for our constituents. My motion is in the spirit of what I see as an emerging trend of cross-partisan efforts to reform Canadian politics.
    Next week, we will vote on a measure by the member for Saskatoon—Humboldt regarding committee reform. We will also soon consider Bill C-599, the reform act, put forward by the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills. I am proud to say that I have jointly seconded both of these efforts. In fact, I view these three proposals as somewhat of a package that would bring real change to how we do business in this place.
    It appears that this cross-partisan spirit is infectious. Former reform party leader Preston Manning and former NDP leader Ed Broadbent have endorsed my e-petitions motion, as have the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Moreover, as my colleagues mentioned, Canadians want electronic petitions. An Angus Reid poll shows that over 80% of Canadians support bringing electronic petitioning to Parliament.
    Again, though, my motion is just one step in the larger process. I would like to say that what I am proposing here is only a study. This is not a motion to bring e-petitions to Parliament; it is a motion to study this before we move to bringing e-petitions to Parliament. It is a study on how we might implement electronic petitioning only to supplement our current paper-based system.
    If it is the will of the House to modernize our democracy in this simple way, then it would be the responsibility of the procedure and House affairs committee to conduct this study and make recommendations as to how we would best accomplish this goal.
    It has been suggested that perhaps I should have introduced a bill rather than a motion. However, the respective procedures of this House are such that that Standing Orders are usually amended using motions. That is why I used this method. More important, the best laws and rules are often only reached after careful consideration and consultation. An in-depth committee study would allow us to hear from experts in civil society to ensure that we get this right. That is important.
    The issue of costs has been brought up a number of times. I have asked the Library of Parliament to look into how much it would cost if we decided to move ahead with these reforms. These costs would not be onerous at all.
     As my colleague said, the National Assembly in Quebec has looked at this. It reports that their e-petition system was developed and is maintained through existing resources. So there are no extra costs.
    In the Northwest Territories, the initial start-up cost was $8,000. However, the year-to-year cost is only $800. So it is a very low-cost way to bring thousands, if not millions, of people into this process.
    It might actually save money as well, because it might reduce the burden upon MPs who are now inundated with hundreds of electronic petitions that we cannot present here in the House but that we have to sift through and reply to.
    In the U.K. and in the U.S., citizens can create an account, and once their identity is verified they can sign on to whatever petitions they choose. That might be something we would choose to do here. Again, it would give people an official way to get into the process and, once registered, they could do it over and over again.
    Some members have expressed to me their concerns about my idea of building in a safeguard of having five MPs sign on to any petition receiving sufficient signatures to trigger a take-note-style debate. They think perhaps five members is not enough. However, the procedure and House affairs committee could certainly sort that out and might conclude that maybe 10 MPs would be the proper number.
    An hon. member: Why not?

  (1200)  

    Why not? This is what a committee does. Again, if it wants to safeguard the House of Commons through this debate, that is a very good way to do it.
    In conclusion, a lot of countries use electronic petitions. I feel that Canada is behind. No country has ever shut down an e-petitioning system once it has been installed. Every single legislature that has adopted this innovation has been sufficiently satisfied to keep it.
    If we went ahead with the study and implemented this initiative, it would better our democracy, I feel. It would allow northern and rural Canadians to overcome geographic challenges to better access their legislature.
    I ask all reform-minded MPs to join me in taking this small practical step to improve our democracy by supporting the motion.
    That brings to a conclusion the debate on this motion.

  (1205)  

     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order 93 the division stands deferred until Wednesday, January 29, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

[Translation]

Votes on Bills C-475 and C-513  

    I would like to inform the House that, pursuant to Standing Order 94, the divisions on Bill C-475, An Act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (order-making power), and Bill C-513, An Act to promote and strengthen the Canadian retirement income system, stand deferred until Wednesday, January 29, 2014, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Respect for Communities Act

    The House resumed from November 28 consideration of the motion that Bill C-2, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.
    Mr. Speaker, before I begin my comments on Bill C-2, I would like to welcome you and all my colleagues back to the House of Commons from the weeks we had with our constituents and families. I hope everyone had an informative and restful time away from the House, because the debate about the future of the country begins again.
    One always hopes, coming out of a time when politicians are separated by great distances and surrounded by friends and family, that we would return to find a new spirit from the government, a spirit in which we could start to renew and rebuild Canada and perhaps find some common ground in order to make our country a better place, which I believe we all begin our political careers hoping for.
    Unfortunately, after a very productive debate we just had on a democratic motion from one of the New Democratic members about e-petitions and restoring and enhancing democracy in our Parliament, for which we hope to see some Conservative support, we now move over to an incredibly offensive piece of legislation. This is the first one the Conservatives felt they needed to call. They often have trouble naming their pieces of legislation accurately. We have seen them time and time again borrow from the worst aspects of our neighbours in the south, particularly the Republican Party, which uses the naming of bills to inappropriately stir up feelings and emotions within the public and inaccurately reflect what is actually being proposed in the legislation. We have that here with Bill C-2. An appropriate name for the bill would be “Bill C-2, shutting down InSite”. This is essentially what the bill is meant to do.
    For those who are not familiar with InSite, it has become something that the Conservatives constantly and almost vehemently oppose. It is a program run out of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, one of the most troubled communities in the entire country but also one of our most resilient communities. I spent some time working with people who have been positively affected by InSite, a program started a number of years ago in the nineties. It is a safe injection site and the only safe injection site in Canada.
    I know some of my Conservative colleagues who choose ignorance over the facts will use this as some sort of culture war rallying cry, raising money and potentially securing votes by misinforming the people they represent. However, they cannot misinform themselves during the course of this debate, because the facts sit before us. They can choose to have their own opinions, but they cannot choose to have their own facts. What we see in this piece of legislation directly goes against science. It goes against the facts of the matter and the principles that we, at least in the New Democratic Party, think are important. Therefore, I am disappointed that this legislation continues to receive support from the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party. I am not surprised, unfortunately.
    However, I am also encouraged because it allows us to talk about such important things as public safety and the health of Canadians. InSite was at the time, and remains, a cutting-edge program, a bold initiative to try to tackle a problem that has been plaguing a community for many years. It is one that has received support, at least in British Columbia and Vancouver, from both ends of the political spectrum. Very conservative mayors and more progressive mayors, like Mayor Robertson, have supported this initiative over the years. It forms one pillar of the four-pillar approach in Vancouver, which has taken on a challenge.
    As you know, Mr. Speaker, being from Windsor and having spent some time in Toronto and other Canadian cities, within some of our neighbourhoods there can be a cycle in which crime leads to more crime, open drug use leads to more open drug use, and people stop fighting for their neighbourhoods. They leave. The people we want to move into the community will not do so because they do not feel safe, and communities spin almost out of control. The police are unable to regain a certain amount of public security, and the community ends up looking like one of those communities we fear.
    Perhaps there are better examples across the border from your home, Mr. Speaker, in Detroit, where because of economics and social malaise, entire neighbourhoods are essentially being bulldozed because no one wants to live there.

  (1210)  

    It costs communities not only the hardship, but many millions and billions of dollars in the end. The Downtown Eastside has seen a renewal and revitalization owing not just in part to InSite and the good work the people there do, but also because of many programs that progressive governments have brought to bear in dealing with issues like housing. The Conservative government would perhaps take note that housing is one of the most affordable and most essential components. The renewal has not been complete, but there is certainly an incredible difference from even 15 years ago when I spent some time working in the Downtown Eastside. It is quite amazing.
    Let us deal with the bill, because in Bill C-2 the government has found a new love for public consultation and community input. I look to my colleagues to see if they can think of anything else the government has ever done on which the public's opinion has actually mattered. Those of us dealing with the pipeline politics in northern B.C. and the Enbridge northern gateway would love to hear the Conservative government suddenly have some feeling and concern for the opinion of the public.
    For those dealing in the Toronto waterfront, such as my friend from Trinity—Spadina, to hear that the Conservative government actually cares what the public thinks would be remarkable. Right across the country we have seen the government time and time again simply invoke measures, as happened when the Prime Minister changed the age of retirement from 65 to 67. I do not remember that he consulted with Canadians and asked for their opinion, but suddenly, when it comes to a safe injection site, the Conservatives ideologically oppose it. Their opposition is not based on any facts or evidence, even though Conservatives say from time to time they have a new-found love for science.
    We asked them to help review with us the 30 peer-reviewed articles and medical journals that have studied the effectiveness of InSite. InSite is supported by the Police Association, by the Chiefs of Police, by the Nurses Association, and by the Canadian Medical Association. These must be some of those foreign-funded radical groups the Conservatives are always crying about, these well-respected institutions of our health and public safety in Canada, but each of these studies has shown time and again that this harm reduction strategy has lowered fatalities due to overdose by 35% since its inception.
    A caring Conservative would say there are fewer people dying of drug overdose, and it seems like a good thing. A Conservative who is concerned about public safety would also note that crime has dropped precipitously in the same region over the same time. Therefore, the whole idea that safe injection sites in communities cause the crime rate to go through the roof has proven to be the opposite; in fact, the spread of communicable diseases in that community, a serious public safety and public health issue, has also dropped in that same community in which InSite exists.
    Not only must we consider the pain and hardship of those who contract these communicable diseases, we must also consider the public purse and what it costs the already strained public system. It should be every government's intention and work to lower the amount of disease spreading in our communities, and drug relapse for those who have participated in this program is significantly lower than it is in any other program in this country. The addicts who go through the InSite program tend not to get back on drugs nearly as frequently as they do after any other detox or remediation program we have.
    All those facts together—public safety, the lowering of crime, the lowering of health costs, the encouragement and support of people in Vancouver and British Columbia of all political persuasions for such a program—should open the eyes of the Conservatives just a little bit.
    The medical doctors of Canada support this program, the nurses of Canada support this program, and the police in the city and the province support this program. One would think one of those groups would be of interest to Conservatives, but no, that is not the case. What is of interest is fundraising and ideological warfare. We know that when they introduced the bill, it had not even been debated for a minute in the House of Commons before the Conservative Party sent out a fundraiser to its membership asking them to send money for this great bill.
    I remember that when the Prime Minister ran for election after being in a position of minority government, he said to give him a majority and not to worry about any agenda he had, because he would be restrained by the courts. In the case of the Supreme Court of Canada, after three trials at the B.C. Supreme Court, the government took the case to the B.C. Court of Appeal and finally to the Supreme Court. What was the cost to taxpayers? I do not know, but it was millions.

  (1215)  

    Even after the Supreme Court said that this bill violates charter rights, that it may well be unconstitutional, and that the government is arbitrarily undermining the very purposes of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which includes public health and safety, that is what the government is doing.
    It is not a free and conscious clear-thinking government. It is one driven only by ideology, only by fundraising initiatives, and only by blind faith in some sort of world view that absolutely contradicts the facts in front of us.
    We will be opposing this legislation at every step of the way.
    Mr. Speaker, welcome back to all of my colleagues. Happy new year—
    An hon. member: It is Groundhog Day.
    Mr. Speaker, it is not Groundhog Day, as one of my colleagues said.
    This is a very important piece of legislation that we are discussing, because it addresses an issue that is very keen and close to a lot of people's hearts across Canada, which is how we help Canadians overcome addictions to these types of substances.
    My colleague spoke very passionately about the need to help people overcome them and the best way to do so. That is a debate that is very worthy of the House. I think we all agree that it is an important issue, but what I did not hear my colleague talk about was the impact of these sites on the communities around them. One of the things that we have been talking about in debating this bill is the right of the communities in which these centres are located to have consultation and to talk about the impact on their households and their lives.
    I ask my colleague a very honest question: How do we balance that? How do we balance the needs of the community with the needs of folks who are affected by substance abuse?
    We have put a lot of policy in place in this government in terms of addressing some of the determinants of how people fall into that type of substance use. Does the member not agree that it is important for us to consult with our communities ahead of opening up one of these sites?

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, I welcome my friend back as well. I wonder if we could apply those very same principles to energy policy in this country. I am talking about consultation with the communities that are affected.
    Communities that are affected by any government proposals—such as, say, a bitumen pipeline—should be consulted and listened to. That would be a curious thing, because in the consultations that the government has conducted with Canadians over one pipeline in northern British Columbia, if anybody opposed, the Minister of Natural Resources called them foreign-funded radicals.
    With response to safe injection sites, let us understand the process of how these things come to be.
    The initiative starts from a community that is facing an intractable problem like the one in the Downtown Eastside. The facts of the matter are that in terms of lowering the incidence of drug use in our communities, this works. The facts of the matter are that in terms of lowering crime associated with that same drug use in those same communities, this program works. It has been peer-reviewed by 30 different groups. It is supported by the police, by the nurses, and by the doctors. These groups are concerned with the same things that my friend just raised.
    If she does not want to listen to me, that is fine, but she should listen to the groups that have studied this situation. I would also encourage my friend to do as I did and actually visit InSite and talk to the people who work there. She should talk to the clients who go there and to their families. They have seen the success that has happened in this program.
    Is it perfect? No. Does it move us further along? Yes. Is there a better idea in this piece of legislation? Absolutely not. Let us not sacrifice the perfect as we seek the good.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend from Skeena—Bulkley Valley for his thoughtful and informed remarks about InSite.
    During both the campaigns of 2008 and 2011, I had questions asked of me of InSite. People had this impression that it was like people walking into a Holiday Inn and walking up to a bar where they could order drugs and have a wonderful room in which to sit and relax and take their drugs. I had to inform these people that it is not at all what it is like.
    I am taking my friend up on his last comments about visiting InSite and seeing what really goes on there. Perhaps he might tell Canadians the frame of mind that people are in when they go to InSite, what they meet, the welcoming that they have, the opportunities they have for rehabilitation, and all the other things that are afforded those who actually use InSite.
    Mr. Speaker, if we talk to the people who work on the street, the nurses and the social workers, one of the things that they will tell us, and this is clear across Canada, is that getting access to people who are addicted to harmful drugs is one of the most challenging aspects of their work. It is very difficult to access them and get them into those programs, such as the affordable housing programs or the other initiatives that may be coming from the federal government or some of the provincial governments providing health care.
    They cannot get access to people, and one of the reasons InSite has been successful is that ability to at least have the initial conversation. Not everybody is ready at the first invitation to start to move off of a destructive lifestyle, but the conversation starts and the relationship starts.
    There is not a better idea coming from government. It is not even close. All that we see is this, something that is likely unconstitutional and that breaks our charter. I think we can do better. I know we can do better. We can support InSite, not take it to court and spend millions of Canadians' dollars fighting good programs that save lives.
    Mr. Speaker, I am just going to pick up from where my colleague left off with his answer to a question about the perceived ideas of what a safe injection site is. My colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley talked about getting access to the addicts as being one of the most difficult things for people working in health care, for people working with folks on the street and for people who are trying to reach out to addicts and help them, whether to access health care or addiction services or housing. How do we actually find the addicts? How do we get to them so we can give them the supports they need?
    That is very true in my home community in Halifax. We have this incredible program right now called MOSH, which stands for mobile outreach street health. It is a van with nurses that goes around to where people are. They go to homeless shelters, under bridges and to fields. They go with the van to where they know homeless people are and try to access them and give them some very basic, rough medical attention, and maybe talk to them about the next step. They may talk to them about treatment; there is a doctor down at the North End Community Health Centre. They may talk to them about housing and ask if they know how to access housing. They might connect them to Halifax Housing Help or to Direction 180, which is our methadone clinic in Halifax. Actually having access to people with addictions is a great thing because we can give them the supports they need. We need access to people who are looking to deal with their addiction or become housed or get the health care they need, and safe injection sites are a way to access people with addictions.
    My colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley cited some great statistics about how safe injection sites work, such as InSite in particular, and how people who want support—not everyone—can actually get addiction counselling and can transition to a healthier life where they tackle their addictions. That is something we should be doing as a country and as Canadians. We should be helping. We should be thinking about ways to actually help people with addictions instead of just further marginalizing them and making it harder for them.
    So why are we here talking about Bill C-2? We are here because, in 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that InSite saves lives, that it offers life-saving services and therefore should be exempt from section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the CDSA. I really think judicial decisions are separate from who we are as legislators, but I read that decision and think it was a victory for evidence-based science over ideology. That was 2011. Here we are now at the beginning of 2014 and, unfortunately, I am standing here debating a bill that is a return of that ideology, and it makes me quite sad that we are actually moving backwards.
    This bill is deeply flawed, and it is based on an anti-drug ideology and on fears about public safety that are not necessarily rooted in evidence. The fears are not necessarily real. They are false fears.
    What are these fears? My colleague from Guelph was talking about some of these false fears: people think there are raging addicts going around our communities, who get to go into these posh sites and put their feet up and access drugs, and it is like one-stop shopping for addicts; people think that if there is a safe injection site there will be increased drug use; people think there will be more drug users on the street. When I say “people” I do not mean all people, but those are the false fears that exist. They are false fears that drug users are going to terrorize our children and our communities.
     Why do I say these false fears are out there? It is because on the Conservative Party website we see that the Conservatives are trying to capitalize on these fears. There is this beautiful page, and I say “beautiful” with a heavy dose of sarcasm. It says, “Keep heroin out of our backyards”. It is a fundraising request. People can sign up, and the big donate button is there to donate to the Conservative Party of Canada. There is a picture of a couple of needles on the ground and people milling around. They are not people in fancy dress shoes or high-heeled shoes. It is apparent that these are the shoes of drug dealers; again there is a heavy dose of sarcasm there.

  (1225)  

    It is incredible; it is fearmongering. There is a Facebook site that goes with it. If members have some time and they want to get themselves quite exercised about what state the country is in, they should read those comments. They are comments filled with vitriol and more fearmongering. It is incredible. I pulled one comment that said, “Addiction is not a health problem. Addiction...is stupidity”. The vitriol extends bizarrely into saying the civil service should be gagged and put on the EI line. I do not really know where that comes from, but it is out there. That fearmongering is being fueled by the Conservatives.
    People may say they do not want a safe injection site in their backyards, but I am going to talk about my backyard in Halifax. My office is on Gottingen Street. Gottingen is a beautiful, strong, vibrant street full of community action and community togetherness. I love the street my office is on, but Gottingen Street has its share of social problems. It is a historically poor neighbourhood. There is drug use and sex work in my community. There is a lot of poverty in this community.
    The last time this legislation was up in the House I spoke to it as well. The week before was a riding week and MPs were at home in our constituencies. Just purely by chance that it happened that week, I rode my bike to my office and right on the ground by my bike lock was a needle. I dutifully went inside, got something to pick it up with and took it three doors down to the community heath centre, which has a sharps bin. That is the reality of my community. If my community decides it is better to have a safe injection site, then why can my community not make that decision free of interference and fearmongering from the Conservatives?
    I was chatting with some folks from the Metro Non-Profit Housing Association, which is located across the street from my office. I did not know this, but they told me that it and other community organizations had rallied together to put a sharps container on a street behind my office where there is not a lot of back and forth traffic nor a lot of people, so it turns out to be a place where people do use intravenous drugs. Bushes provide privacy. It is ideal if someone is looking for a place to do something outside the eyes of the public. The association rallied together and said it would put a sharps container behind these buildings because there is so much drug use. At the very least, kids would not be walking around in the midst of needles and having an accident.
    At first I thought that was a great idea. If there are needles, then let us give people a place to put those needles. Then I found out that people were breaking into the sharps container to steal dirty needles. What kind of desperation must one feel to break into a sharps container to steal dirty needles? What kind of low is that individual at? Where is that individual who thinks that is a good idea and acts on it? Where is that individual when he or she acts on that, when that is the reality?
    That is not an awesome thing about my town, but it is real, it exists and it is not going to go away if we just ignore it and do not talk about it. My community says enough is enough. It does not want sharps containers in the café down the street anymore. It does not want sharps containers in all of the community organizations along Gottingen Street. We do not want people shooting up behind the office or behind the health centre. We want to take care of people and offer them the supports they may need. We want to help them if they want to transition away from addiction. Who is to say that we cannot do that?
    I will finish with a quote from the Supreme Court of Canada. “Insite saves lives. Its benefits have been proven.” That speaks volumes.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, having been involved with drug investigations a number of times, I understand where people are coming from with regard to InSite. However, the problem with InSite is not the building per se, but rather that 1.1 grams of heroin cannot be purchased legally in this country. The problem is that it has to be brought to that site in an illegal form to inject it legally within that site. To say that there is no drug dealing going on in east Vancouver or Halifax is really not a fair statement to make because it is still happening. It is just a matter of where the people are injecting.
    The question boils down to this. Within InSite or any of these sites, is there a way that your party would ensure that the drug being purchased is safe, because there is no way of proving that right now, and how would you do that?
    I would ask all members to direct their comments to the Chair and not to other members of Parliament, please.
    The hon. member for Halifax.
    Mr. Speaker, that is a good question and it is complicated. This is not easy stuff. It is not black and white. There are a whole lot of shades of grey here, and so we figure it out.
    Yes, there will still be people dealing in drugs if there are safe injection sites. Yes, there will be, but right now there are people dealing in drugs. We have a choice of having a community where there are drug transactions and people dying, or a community where there are drug transactions and maybe not as many people dying. Maybe one person will decide to take advantage of addiction services and will no longer be an addict. If there is just one, I consider that to be a victory.
    It is not simple. I am not standing here saying that we have the magic bullet, that we know exactly how to do this and how it should roll out, but I do know in my heart that the first thing we have to do is try to save people's lives. If that is what safe injection sites do, I am all for them.

  (1235)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague said, parents often have concerns about safe injection sites.
    Does my colleague think it is better for a child to see a building without really understanding what goes on inside or to come across an addict shooting up or even a person who died from an overdose in the park where that child plays? Does she think that such activities are better carried out inside a building or in front of a child in a place where parents have no control?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question.
    I would like to give an example of what is happening here in Ottawa. Perhaps that will help alleviate some of the concerns people in our communities have.

[English]

    In Ottawa, Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites and the Drug Users Advocacy League came together and opened a mock injection site, where people from the community could see what it was all about. Instead of fearmongering, with pictures of needles rolling around, they said, “This is what it is. Come and talk to our nurses, health experts and people who think this is a good idea. Come on in and see what it is that happens in here”. People get to see the little kits that would be given to people who access the site. It's a mock site, which helps demystify and dispel the myths, where people can ask questions. We are afraid sometimes, and that is okay. People can go there to ask questions and get educated on the issue instead of just being told that we should live our lives in fear.
    We should get educated on these issues, and the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites has done a really remarkable thing. Not everybody in Ottawa agrees, but it has created a safe space for debate and discussion, and that is a far cry from what the Conservatives are doing.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the members for Skeena—Bulkley Valley and Halifax for speaking to this issue. I am honoured to join them in talking about this bill, which will have a major and very worrisome impact.
    I will begin with a fact about what happened in Vancouver between 1987 and 1993. The number of overdose-related deaths at the end of that six-year period was 12 times higher than at the beginning.
    That is a spectacular increase over a period of six years. Even if that number had merely doubled, it would still have been a very serious problem.
    However, given the Conservatives' attitude toward this bill, the way they want to deal with the problem of hard drug use, and their attempts to undermine the amazing work done by Vancouver's InSite, it is obvious that they are refusing to face the facts.
    I would like to mention another significant statistic. Since InSite opened, there has been a 35% decrease in overdose deaths. That is a huge success. Of course it is not enough, but it is a big step forward in dealing with a problem that is beyond the control, and against the will, of drug addicts.
    Those are the indisputable facts. They are widely available for anyone to consult. Now, the real debate is about the respect that needs to be shown for the work and the rulings of our courts.
    I would like to remind the House that the B.C. Supreme Court, the B.C. Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada all supported the idea of keeping InSite open because it addresses the dangers related to drug abuse.
    The Supreme Court ruled that the minister's decision to close InSite was in violation of the clients' charter rights and that the decision was:
...arbitrary, undermining the very purposes of the CDSA, which include public health and safety.
     The government’s lack of respect for the country’s courts, a pillar of our society, is a very serious issue. It is troubling because it begs the question of how the public can maintain the same respect for, and especially the same confidence in, one of Canada’s fundamental authorities.
     However, this attitude on the part of the Conservatives comes as no great surprise. In fact, it is very much in keeping with their desire to appeal to their base, as illustrated so clearly in their “Keep heroin out of our backyards” campaign. This approach promotes fear and prejudice and denies reality. All this sorry campaign puts forward as a possible solution is to tell people that in order to guarantee their children’s safety on the streets, it is important to keep drug users out of their neighbourhoods. This is an approach worthy of the Far West.
     At least the Conservatives have not gone so far as to encourage people to get out the tar and feathers to chase away individuals who are much more in need of assistance than stigmatization to free themselves from their drug addiction.

  (1240)  

     The Conservatives refuse to address the problems and face reality. Above all, they refuse to support the people and the organizations that are not afraid to be on the ground and take steps to reach out to people and tackle the root cause of the problems. That is what is truly most important.
     The NDP believes that any legislation must be based on facts, on empirical and objective data. Above all, it must respect the spirit of the courts’ decisions and their interpretation of our fundamental laws.
     Of course, the Canadian Human Rights Act is not perfect. Any piece of legislation, anything created by man, can be made better and can be improved upon. However, when this legislation is used as a frame of reference, especially given that it was passed after major debate and that it is based on experiences in countries around the world, then it serves as a foundational text that puts basic principles to paper.
     If some elected members of this Parliament lack respect, either for the amazing results of this work or especially for the decisions made in the course of interpreting these laws, then in which direction are we heading?
     To cite the Supreme Court decision again, the approach that the government is planning to take with Bill C-2 puts too much arbitrary decision-making power in the hands of the minister. Furthermore, Bill C-2 does not even provide time limits for making a decision on a proposed safe injection site. So, in addition to the minister’s disinclination and the onerous procedures that the organizations wanting to open a safe injection site will have to contend with, they are also going to be facing a wall of silence. This decision will be one that is hidden, arbitrary and hypocritical, because neither Health Canada nor the Minister of Health will be subject to any time limits. They will not have to defend their decisions or justify their point of view about any proposal to establish a safe injection site.
     This is totally unacceptable. It is unacceptable for any of our institutions or any government representatives to subject a single one of our citizens to arbitrary decisions, inaction or silence.
     In conclusion, I would also like to speak briefly about the terms and conditions that would allow the minister to withhold approval of an application to open a safe injection site. They are found in clause 5 of the bill, which is a long list of criteria for refusing the exemption. They are so extraordinary that, taken to the extreme, they could even be yet another way to kill these proposals and put an end to such initiatives.
     It is not even a downstream evaluation of the project, that is, after the proponents and those who have decided to set up these kinds of sites have fulfilled all of the requirements; it is something that happens beforehand. It is tantamount to telling people that they can go ahead and do everything in their power and be as professional as possible, but the government will have made up its mind right from the outset. The six principles mentioned, that I will not take the time to read out loud, go so far that they will stop any proposal in its tracks long before anyone can even start working out the details.

  (1245)  

     I hope that the government members will listen to reason and that for the public good, in the interest of Canadians and for public health in general, the Conservative members will vote against this bill.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague and those who spoke about this bill earlier.
    The complexity of the situation has been mentioned. However, Canada is recognized as a compassionate nation. With this kind of values in our DNA, we must reflect on how we can do more to help people. As we have already seen, InSite in Vancouver met a desperate need among the population.
    I wonder if my colleague could elaborate on the importance of showing compassion for people who are addicted to hard drugs. This is also a health issue. These places really focus on health.

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question.
    This gives me the opportunity to talk about the situation in Quebec City and specifically in my riding, Beauport—Limoilou.
    There has been a debate in Quebec City on the appropriateness of, as well as the concerns and dangers associated with, a safe injection site. Clearly, proponents of the project have faced prejudice and resistance, but they have also faced perfectly reasonable, genuine concerns.
    I had the opportunity to speak directly to people—but more importantly, to listen to people—from certain organizations that provide direct assistance to really vulnerable people. These people are overcoming hardships like drug addiction, and they often need to take substitutes in order to be able to function. As for the will to beat their addiction, they told me that they did not want to take drugs, but they had a problem and they did want to get help.
    However, this requires infrastructure, as well as qualified people who are willing to reach out and provide assistance.
    Getting back to my colleague's question, compassion is probably one of the most important aspects. The government needs to show some compassion, and that is how it must approach this problem.
    Mr. Speaker, my question is actually very simple.
    Whenever we talk about supervised injection sites, the subject of parents and protecting children comes up. True, some addicts do come from troubled homes. Others, however, had very good parents who did their level best, but whose children, sadly, became drug addicts for one reason or another.
    Let us put ourselves in the shoes of a parent whose child is a drug addict. Would we not feel better knowing that our child has access to a safe injection site rather than constantly worrying about him shooting up in the streets? He could be assaulted or even die on the street, not to be found until two or three days later. A daughter could be sexually assaulted while under the influence of drugs she used in some backyard.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue did a nice job of summarizing the issue. This is about keeping vulnerable people safe and about the danger they pose to others. Leaving them to their own devices or making them go away shows no compassion or understanding. It is based on prejudice. It is dishonourable. This bill will create and multiply problems, not solve them or help us deal with them.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to be back in the House today, after the recess, not only as the newest member of the Green caucus of Parliament but also, as of today, as the deputy leader of that party.
    As we know, we are here to talk about Bill C-2, an Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
    It is clear to me, and I believe to at least three-quarters of Canadians, that the party across the way is of the mindset that if a person is poor, or a single mom, or a person of colour, or unemployed, or if the government has unfairly cut off EI, that is that person's fault. That also extends to addictions. If someone is in the unfortunate position of becoming addicted to a substance, all too often caused by the sorts of things I just mentioned, it is entirely his or her fault. Society and the government are not to blame.
     We have a government with a punishment attitude. Empathy is often lacking. Understanding of the root causes is often lacking. For those who fall into that class of society and who the government feels are, pardon the expression, "losers", it is their fault.
    I do not think I can do better than to read some of the recommendations of the Canadian Nurses Association on why Bill C-2 is a bad idea. They state:
    The federal government has the opportunity to create policy founded on the best scientific evidence, while reducing costs to taxpayers, supporting vulnerable members of society, providing essential disease-prevention services and encouraging access to addiction-treatment.
    Given the numerous benefits of [safe injection sites] to public health and safety...
    If I may interject, the Supreme Court has indicated that it agrees with the nurses on this.
...the [Canadian Nurses Association] recommends
    1. that the proposed legislation governing Section 56 amendments to CDSA be withdrawn; and
    2. that it be replaced by legislation that creates favourable conditions for the minister to grant exemptions in communities where evidence indicates that [a safe injection site] stands to decrease death and disease.
    The legislation must
- recognize access to health services as a human right for vulnerable groups;
- be based on the principles of harm reduction;
    It should not cause more harm. It goes on:
- be founded on evidence-based practices in public health;
- be developed in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including people who use injection drugs;
- consider the cost-savings benefits of [safe injection sites] to the Canadian health-care system; and
- provide for reasonable establishment and evaluation periods prior to renewal.
    In addition, [the Canadian Nurses Association] recommends that harm reduction be reinstated as a fourth pillar in Canada’s National Anti-Drug Strategy. [The Canadian Nurses Association] recommends that the auditor general review Canada’s National Anti-Drug Strategy every [decade]. Doing so will not only ensure that the strategy is modified if it is not meeting public health objectives, it will also allow the strategy to integrate recent, effective, evidence-based public health interventions.
    We have heard it said on many issues in this House, such as the environment, Statistics Canada, and now this, that Canada needs to have policies based on evidence and science. Today we have legislation, like this, based on an ideology that if one is rich and powerful, one is a winner. The government picks winners. If a person is a loser, it is his or her fault.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague and caucus mate for bringing forward some additional points on the ideology that underpins the bill. I spoke to it before the recess.
    One of the things I find most distressing about Bill C-2 is that it is a disguised attempt to bring in, by stealth, measures that would defeat the purpose the Supreme Court of Canada threw back to Parliament to meet, which was to ensure that the security of the person is protected.
    There are more than 40 different so-called conditions before a clinic for harm reduction can be opened in a community, including some that are practically impossible. For example, before they are even able to get permission to open such a clinic, they have to provide the background, resumé, and educational qualifications of the people they plan to hire. This is not a reasonable set of conditions.
    I certainly have a lot of sympathy with the idea that a community where an InSite harm reduction, needle exchange program facility would open, such as the one that exists in Vancouver, should be consulted. My view is that Bill C-2 is not a set of conditions for consulting a community. It is a set of conditions for defeating the instructions of the Supreme Court of Canada by stealth.
    I wonder how the hon. member feels a community should be engaged in these decisions.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands that safe injection sites should not go everywhere. They should not go anywhere. There should be community involvement by all the stakeholders. There should be thoughtful, evidence-based decisions based on some clear criteria.
    As my hon. colleague has pointed out, at least some of the members of the current governing party, not all, but many, and especially those at the top, do not believe in democracy. They do not really want to listen to the Supreme Court on several issues. We can think of others, I am sure. They are really not interested in a fair voting system. They are not interested in a fair system of parliamentary democracy at all. They are ideologically driven. They are bound and determined to do whatever it takes to gain control and push their own ideological agenda.
    Mr. Speaker, the numbers speak for themselves with respect to why the funding should continue for InSite injection clinics. The rate of overdose deaths in east Vancouver has dropped by 35% since InSite opened.
    It is about the health and safety of people and the well-being of communities. Those who use InSite services at least once a week were 1.7 times more likely to enrol in a detox program than those who visited infrequently.
    Over and over we have heard that it is about the well-being of the community, about the well-being of the person, and about trying to get people into programs so that they can get out of their dependencies.
    Does the member think that by removing the funding and not allowing these InSite programs the problem will go away, or will it get worse?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hard-working member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing for her good question.
    It is very clear that this will not be a cost-saving measure. It is very clear to anyone with a brain that doing that kind of draconian thing and forcing people eventually into our prison system, at a cost of $80,000 to $120,000 per year per person, is a really dumb thing to do.
    Mr. Speaker, today we find ourselves debating Bill C-2, a bill that has been given a pet name by the Conservative government that really does not speak to what the bill is about.
    I would like to start off with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. who once said:
    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
     I would like to ask each member in this House a question. How many people in this House have actually met and spoken with drug addicts? How many people have been witness to neighbourhoods affected by drug addiction and poverty? How many people would prefer to steer away from these areas? These are pertinent questions to put to the House today.
     I remember vividly when I was living on the west coast. I would take weekend visits to Vancouver to visit friends in the Strathcona neighbourhood. I remember walking down streets like Hastings and Cordova during the winter of 1995 and seeing people huddled on doorsteps, people who might have been dead. The rate of overdoses that winter was horrible. One could walk the streets and literally see people dying on the streets. It was devastating.
    In the media at the time, figures such as drug enforcement staff sergeant Jack Dop could see the problems that were hitting the streets in Vancouver. They were saying that we had to do something about it. They could see how this scourge was affecting the community, because it was not controlled. It was uncontrolled.
    I should point out that at the time, in 1995, the Chrétien regime had instituted cutbacks and a reorganization of Transport Canada that affected the coast guard and ports. It might have been a coincidence that shipments of heroin from Asia increased at our ports during that time of reorganization and cutbacks. It might have been a coincidence, or it might have been related. That is for the House to decide.
    This is a complex issue. We know that drugs exist in our communities, that people use drugs. As responsible legislators, we have to respond to this problem in a responsible manner.
    I asked before if anyone in this House has known a drug addict. I asked that question because I have known a drug addict. I knew a guy named Johnny. He stayed with us in Victoria for a couple of months. He was a tree planter. He was a very hard worker, and he was a recovering heroin addict. He had been clean for four or five months, and he had been planting trees in the interior of British Columbia. He worked hard. He was a funny guy and a nice guy. He could play a mean guitar and cook a great meal. We had lots of laughs with Johnny. He was a nice guy, a human being.
    Now at the time I met John in 1994, we were living in a poor neighbourhood. It was the North Park neighbourhood in Victoria. It was a pretty rough-and-tumble, poor neighbourhood. It attracted all types of people: students, artists, and coincidentally, drug addicts.
    I know that John eventually went back to using, and I lost track of him. He got swallowed up by drugs. He ended up back on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. I do not know what happened to him. I do wonder if during that winter of 1995 John was one of those people on the doorsteps who had overdosed and died because there was pure heroin and there was no one there to take care of them.
    This is a human story. This was a good guy with a bad habit. There are a lot of good people out there who have bad habits, and they need our help. They need us to stand up for them. That is why we need places like InSite.
    Ten years later, when I was doing my graduate studies at UBC, I worked with communities in the Downtown Eastside, primarily in the child care community. I talked to people in that community. They said that their fear was needles in parks and needles found in child care centres. InSite was responding to things like that. InSite was keeping these neighbourhoods safe, because it was centralizing the problem, and it was controlled.

  (1305)  

    This legislation would promote unsupervised drug consumption sites. They do exist. There are flophouses in communities. They pass under the radar because they are not official. They are drug dens. They could be anywhere in our communities and could pop up anywhere.
    InSite creates a centre that is legitimate, controlled, and visible in the community, rather than unsupervised drug consumption sites, which I would contend the government is promoting by trying to make it more difficult for supervised ones to open.
     “Keep heroin out of our backyards” is the slogan of Conservative national campaign manager Jenni Byrne. She thinks it is pretty clever. I do not think it is clever. I think it is irresponsible policy on the part of the government to make it more difficult for supervised injection sites to open.
    I do not think the bill would eradicate heroin from people's backyards. If we do not have supervised drug sites, we would have unsupervised ones, which I think could be more chaotic, dangerous and have greater criminal elements attached to them. Since they are not controlled or supervised, those criminal elements could flourish.
    We need a responsible way to frame these afflicted communities and to help them.
    The current government often talks about safe streets and communities. I think InSite contributes to safe streets and communities. As I said, maybe my friend John was one of those who overdosed. If he had been able to go to InSite, then maybe when he had a reaction the people supervising him could have seen that and contacted medical authorities to help him out.
    In terms of needles in parks and schoolyards, at least when people are injecting on those sites the needles are taken care of. They are not discarded next to a swing set at a child care centre or in a public park. It is controlled. It is supervised. That is the whole idea around it.
    When something like InSite is created, it is a community coming together to say they have to find a solution to this problem. We have addicts in our communities and they need help. They need medical help. They might need psychological help. They might need clean works. A place like InSite provides that. It is a step in a community's deciding to better its environment, not worsen it.
    I think this policy is playing a lot on people's fears. They are people who have never met drug addicts and are afraid to talk with people with these problems. As a society we all have to work together to solve these problems. We have to talk to drug addicts. We have to work with them. We have to create points of contact with these people. Otherwise, it goes under the radar and we end up with unsupervised flophouses and drug dens. The criminal element is allowed to flourish because we do not want to deal with it.
    By creating places like InSite, we have a point of contact where we start to deal with these problems and with complex questions like the hon. member from the interior of British Columbia asked about. It was a good and pertinent question. However, if we back up and move away from places like InSite, I do not think we are going to ask those important questions complex questions about drug addiction and drug importation in this country.
    Through InSite, we can start to discuss these questions. This legislation has offered a chance to debate this issue, and I look forward to questions from my colleagues on the other side concerning this. I do not think we can put on blinders and say that hard drug use in our society is going to go away if we do not do anything about it. Nobody wants a flophouse or a drug den or a crack house next to their house. If you ask anybody in Canada, they would not want that.
    InSite creates a community point of contact where these people can get help, be supervised, and where they can be kept healthy. It is a good positive step in the right direction. There is always room for improvement, but we have to start somewhere.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, I keep hearing from the NDP that InSite is meant to help people get off of drugs and be no longer dependent, but I have yet to see or hear any statistics which actually show that addicts who have gone to this site have chosen to get treatment, no longer live a life of dependence and have stopped contributing to the illegal drug industry and trafficking in Canada.
    Would the member have any statistics to prove that people who use needles to feed their addiction have instead sought the help, are no longer dependent, are free from drugs and are contributing to society and not contributing to supporting the illegal drug industry?

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is the hope of all Canadians, that people who are addicted to hard drugs such as heroin or crack cocaine should seek help to kick their habit and become responsible contributing members of society. All Canadians hope for that.
    We are saying that places like InSite offer the opportunity for them to do that. They are public points of contact, supervised and official. We can actually gather those statistics through working with that community. This is opposed to having unsupervised drug places in society; no one will be able to monitor whether anyone is getting better or kicking their habit. By having places like InSite, we have the opportunity to work with that community to see if we can help them.
    In all cases, our hope would be that these people would want to quit using drugs. That is everyone's hope. The reality is that there are so many steps to get to that point and that addiction is a complex issue. Speaking to addicts and seeing their struggles, hardships, and the complexities of their lives, it is not just a one-shot solution, where we build a centre and they will be cured. It does not work that way because drug addiction is a complex issue; it is not a simple issue. However, we have to start working on a multifaceted approach. Places like InSite are a good start. It is not a be-all and end-all solution.
    Mr. Speaker, I am standing to comment on the question by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. I have some information that she has been looking for about InSite in particular.
    InSite has generated the highest intake of people wanting to get on a program to wean themselves off whatever illegal substance they are consuming. As the members for Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Skeena—Bulkley Valley said, it is the point of first contact. It is not necessarily at the first contact that this is taken up, but it has worked. The take-up of people who have a dependency on illegal drugs in Vancouver is the highest by far from InSite.
    The parliamentary secretary may want to take that under advisement because that aspect of the program is working very well.
    Mr. Speaker, InSite created an opportunity for researchers to look at this, so there are statistics. Dr. Tyndall and a group of other researchers, in 2005, did a study over a one-year period and produced a report in 2006. They found that there were 273 overdoses at InSite and none of them resulted in a fatality. Over that year, 2,171 referrals were made for InSite users to addiction counselling or other support services. InSite created the ability for researchers to monitor and to benchmark the program to see if it was working. They found that it was successful. By having sites like these we can work with this community to learn how to conquer addiction and help people move on with their lives without drugs.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to extend to you, to all my colleagues and to my constituents in the riding of LaSalle—Émard my best wishes for health, happiness and solidarity in the new year.
    Before turning my attention to the proposed legislation to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which the Conservatives have dubbed the Respect for Communities Act, I would like to quote a firsthand account recently published in the Globe and Mail:

  (1320)  

[English]

    As I watch the daily circus and the madness surrounding Mayor Rob Ford, I envy the people of Toronto, who get to watch this on television, read it in the newspaper and listen to it on the radio. They quack about it on Facebook and laugh about it on their daily travels. I envy them because they can change the channel, stop talking about it or turn it off. In my life this is not an option.
    My daughter is 23 and she has been an addict, in one form or another, for seven years.
    She has snorted drugs, shot them in her arm, smoked them and taken pills. She has had her own version of the “drunken stupor,” and she has even been found with vital signs absent by paramedics.
    Contrasted to this is the very bizarre fact that our daughter is also a university student who pulls A grades in every subject. What she desperately wants is to be well.
    The family, if the addict still has a family intact, is swallowed whole and suffers immeasurably.

[Translation]

     On reading this account, I feel compassion for this mother who goes through this tragedy every day, a tragedy that affects the entire family, even though I cannot fully comprehend this family’s suffering or the suffering of an individual addicted to hard drugs.
     Compassion is a value Canadians hold dear. We live in a country with a harsh climate, as today’s weather attests. The population is spread over a vast area. Communities have always survived by helping each other through difficult situations. Similarly, Europeans shared with and forged mutually beneficial ties with First Nations.
     Canada therefore became a country in which communities forged close ties with one another. I am fortunate to represent the closely knit community of LaSalle—Émard, where a wide range of community groups and volunteer associations never ask whether they should assist those in need or why they need help. They simply roll up their sleeves and extend a helping hand.
     Addiction to hard drugs is a complex problem, as my colleagues noted earlier. In Vancouver an innovative approach was developed to help hard drug addicts.
     This innovative approach helps persons struggling with hard drug addictions by providing them with a safe place where they can survive. Addicts are given a helping hand and directed to services that hopefully will help them overcome an addiction that slowly kills them.
     InSite also has associated benefits, so to speak. By providing drug users with a safe injection site, this service also keeps the neighbouring community safer. As was pointed out, public places are kept free of drug addicts and their syringes. This also helps provide the health care that is so important to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and to give people the help they need.
     The current bill would amend the legislation that regulates certain drugs and other substances, but primarily it would affect the way in which supervised injection facilities can be set up. First there was the non-renewal of InSite’s licence, and then there was the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of Canada on the matter. What happened? The government decided to challenge the Supreme Court ruling and then to comply with it, more or less, by introducing this bill.
     This decision and the proposed policy in Bill C-2 garnered a variety of responses. I will mention a few, as follows:

  (1325)  

[English]

    It's difficult to imagine a more cynical and dangerous response to a unanimous Supreme Court ruling that Ottawa has a constitutional duty to protect Canadians than the...government's Respect for Communities Act announced Thursday.

[Translation]

     They say that the government, through Bill C-2, also called the “Respect for Communities Act”, is providing a very cynical and dangerous response. The government must protect all of its citizens. What is even more dangerous is the partisan way in which the current government has exploited such a situation. I will continue with the quotation:

[English]

    As [the former] Health Minister...was holding a press conference to announce details of the act that sets conditions for new safe injection sites, the Conservative party was emailing its faithful to organize opposition to such facilities.

[Translation]

     How can the Conservatives be so partisan when it comes to a safe site that—hopefully—helps improve the health of people who are addicted to hard drugs?
     How can they be so cavalier in opposing a unanimous Supreme Court ruling and propose insurmountable barriers that will allow the federal health minister to strike down any initiatives that could improve the lives of people who need them so badly? This is why the NDP will vote against Bill C-2 as it currently stands. We should show compassion and extend a helping hand to these people.

  (1330)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I come back to the problem that the issue is not InSite itself. The issue is the fact that one cannot purchase one gram of heroin in our country legally. As a result, anyone who goes out to purchase heroin anywhere does not really know what they are getting. They assume that what they are getting is between 65% and 70% pure heroin, but if they were to get 90% they would be in big trouble.
    Therefore, I go back to my continuing question. I would like to hear what the opposition's solution is with regard to heroin itself. There is no arguing that InSite in its present form in East Vancouver is there to assist, but it does not control what is coming in. It cannot. It is not possible for that to happen. Therefore, what is her party's solution from the perspective of controlling heroin that comes into InSite for injection?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, these questions have been raised a number of times by the government member. He is not addressing any of the facts relating to Bill C-2.
    With this bill, the government seeks to put up barriers to an innovative solution that would enable our cities and the rest of Canada to make a meaningful effort to tackle the problem of addiction to hard drugs. This solution would offer people with addictions a safe place where they can receive services that would help them. We must acknowledge this fact. This bill seriously hinders the establishment of supervised injection facilities.
    Mr. Speaker, when my colleague talks about people who suffer from addictions, I note that she refers to them as if they were persons. They are indeed human beings.
    On the other side of the House, it appears that they wish to take away their status as human beings by using terms such as “addict”. If we can show compassion for a mayor who smokes crack and gets drunk on bourbon at City Hall, we should also show a little bit of concern for people who have taken a wrong turn somewhere in their lives and who perhaps really want to overcome their drug addiction, instead of just giving press conferences.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments.
    I want to point out that InSite is recognized internationally. My colleague from Vaudreuil—Soulanges called this facility a safe point of contact. The facility will then make it easier for us to understand this very complex issue.
    We would rather not see people addicted to hard drugs. However, it is a reality, and InSite helps us to better understand this reality. This is how we will be able to find long-term solutions.
    This bill will prevent us from better understanding how this problem develops and will prevent more sites like this from opening in Canada. It will prevent us from answering the call for help from individuals and families struggling with an addiction to hard drugs.
    [Disturbance in gallery]

  (1335)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the gentleman in the gallery was saying “save Canada Post”. I can tell the House that at the town hall meeting I had last week, a hundred citizens in my riding were saying exactly the same thing. A lot of Canadians are very concerned about the government's mean-spirited destruction of Canada Post—
    [Disturbance in gallery]
    Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, citizens are concerned about Canada Post—
    [Disturbance in gallery]
    Mr. Speaker, for those citizens concerned about the Canada Post closures and Canada becoming the only G7 country without home mail delivery, the NDP is putting forward a motion that every MP will be voting on later this week, asking the government to maintain home service delivery. It is in the interests of Canada and communities across this country. However, we will be speaking about that in question period and in the days to come.
    Today, we are called upon to speak on Bill C-2, which is called an act to amend the controlled drugs and substances act, but should more rightfully be called an act to shut down InSite. Members will recall that the Conservative government wanted to shut down InSite. The Supreme Court justices, who are appointed to maintain the rule of law, said no, that it was not in the public interest.
    Now we have Conservatives coming back with a mean-spirited bill that attempts to do exactly the same thing. On this side of the House, within the NDP caucus, we say no to that. We stand with most British Columbians, who believe that InSite should be maintained. Why? Because the scientific evidence very clearly points to the importance of InSite.
    I grew up in the Lower Mainland. I can recall a time in the early 1990s when we saw a tragic skyrocketing of overdose deaths to over 200 people a year. That is 200 individuals. Conservatives might call them addicts, but many Canadians knew them as fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. These family members were passing away at an alarming rate. InSite was a reaction from the community to put in place a controlled injection site so that we could bring down the number of tragic overdose deaths.
    InSite has succeeded remarkably. The number of overdose deaths has decreased by more than 35%. That is an extremely important statistic to know. More importantly, InSite is keeping heroin off the streets and keeping it in a controlled injection site. Study after study has pointed out very clearly that the number of discarded syringes has decreased in the Downtown Eastside and in parts of the Lower Mainland as a result of InSite. Studies show that over 2,000 referrals to addiction counselling are being made every year. In fact, the rate of those who are looking at addiction treatment and who go to InSite is more than twice the average of those who do not go to InSite. What this means, in a very real sense, is that InSite is the first door and the first hallway into addiction treatment programs.
    The Conservative government has been equally irresponsible when it comes to addiction treatment and crime prevention programs. What we have seen under the Conservative government are severe cutbacks in addiction treatments and crime prevention programs. What we have is a Conservative government that just does not seem to get the importance that communities place on putting in place effective crime prevention measures and effective addiction treatment measures. InSite is part of that process of finding solutions.
    Many of my colleagues in the NDP caucus have spoken very eloquently. We have yet to hear from a Conservative on this issue, at least this year. The Conservatives will ask questions designed to take us away from this issue of InSite, for the simple reason that most British Columbians support it. They have yet to comment on the very compelling statistics and evidence of the success of InSite.
    A very compelling result of the success of InSite is the fact that we are now talking about dozens of similar sites around the world, particularly in places like Australia and Europe. There we are seeing the model of InSite, which of course was modelled on other similar facilities, going into other communities. Why is that happening? It is happening because of what comes from having that type of controlled injection facility.

  (1340)  

    As I mentioned earlier, there are fewer addicts. I go through the Downtown Eastside and past InSite regularly, including last Saturday. So I can see first hand, as a resident of the lower mainland and someone who grew up there, the difference it has made to the Downtown Eastside. There are fewer addicts shooting up in the streets around the area in the Downtown Eastside. There are fewer discarded syringes.
    What this has done is to take heroin off the streets to a certain extent. Instead of trying to shut down InSite, many cities in Canada are looking at the possibility of establishing an InSite-type facility. Because of Bill C-2, they cannot seriously look at doing that because, very clearly, the Conservative government, instead of looking at solutions and harm reduction and at expanding addiction treatment and crime prevention programs and allowing, as the Supreme Court very clearly said, a controlled injection site like InSite to exist, is endeavouring instead to shut down InSite by bringing forward Bill C-2.
    Canadians, certainly in my area of the Lower Mainland, who have followed the debate, very clearly express support for InSite. Polls show that over 80% of the residents of the Downtown Eastside support InSite. They are the ones who are closest to it. A few minutes ago my colleague from Vaudreuil-Soulanges very eloquently mentioned that the Conservatives need to understand the neighbourhood and the situation before they start putting forward legislation based purely on ideology. There is no doubt about that. The reality is that those closest to InSite support it, some 80%. Most British Columbians support it.
    That is not all. Let us look at some of the world's most prestigious medical journals that have looked at the issue of InSite and controlled injection sites and have seen the medical benefits and the harm reduction benefits that come from having a site such as InSite: the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, the British Medical Journal. This is not a question where one member of Parliament should express his or her personal opinion compared to another member of Parliament's. All members of Parliament are called upon to look at the evidence, to look at the medical professionals and what they say. When the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and The Lancet all say there is real merit in the harm reduction approach embodied in facilities such as InSite, one would think that the Conservatives would be willing to listen, rather than pushing forward what is a very narrow-minded ideology and attacking addiction treatment programs and crime prevention programs. Those things are terrific investments of taxpayer money, because if we spend one dollar on crime prevention or addiction treatment programs, we are saving six dollars later on in policing, court, and prison costs. So it makes a lot of sense from the taxpayers' standpoint to put in place a process and a philosophy where we are saving taxpayer money and stopping the crime from occurring in the first place.
    The Conservative government has gutted crime prevention and addiction treatment, and now we see it attacking InSite. It makes no sense at all, except when we look at what the Conservatives have done since they introduced the bill. My colleague from Halifax was very eloquent in this regard: “Keep heroin out of our backyards”. The Conservatives have been using this as a fundraising tactic, which is absolutely reprehensible. The reality for anyone who knows the issue is that what the government is doing in shutting down InSite is putting heroin back on the streets of the Downtown Eastside. By shutting down InSite, there would be more syringes in children's playgrounds throughout the Downtown Eastside and throughout the Lower Mainland. There would be more overdose deaths as a result of the current government's mean-spirited drive to shut down InSite. The reality is that there would be fewer addicts looking for addiction treatment programs, because one thing that is clear from every study that has been done on InSite is that addicts are more likely to go into addiction treatment and counselling if they can go to a supervised injection site. It is a two for one proposition: there is twice the possibility they will look for treatment.
    That is why, on the basis of evidence, the NDP is voting against this bill.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on a point with regard to InSite.
    Stakeholders from all areas became engaged in developing and promoting and putting this program in place, whether the national government back in 2003, provincial governments, municipal governments, local police forces, first alert attendants and users. A strong push was made for it. The community itself was consulted.
    InSite has been in place for over 10 years now and the results have been outstanding in their positive impact. The very same stakeholders who helped put it in place are now saying that it has really saved lives and added value to the community in many different ways. Surrounding communities are finding fewer needles on the street and the community is safer. It seems to be an all-win proposition.
    In listening to some of the Conservative debate the issue, it would seem to me that they are opposed to safe injection sites period.
    Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt that the Conservatives are now making a concealed attempt to shut down InSite, having seen how they have acted in the past in trying to shut it down and when the Supreme Court of Canada clearly said that it would be irresponsible to do so.
    I cannot tell the House what a difference InSite has made to the Downtown Eastside. Being a long-time resident of the Lower Mainland, I will go back in history. It was when the former Liberal government callously destroyed the national housing program that we started to see overdose deaths skyrocketing in the Downtown Eastside. We have seen under both Liberal and Conservative governments very meanspirited policies that have helped to contribute to what has been an appalling abuse of the public.
    The reason we are opposing Bill C-2 and are promoting such things as housing being put back in the hands of the public is that we understand that we have to build stronger communities to tackle issues like drug addiction.

  (1350)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a two-part question for my colleague.
    The first part of the question is a little sarcastic. I would like to know whether the roles have been reversed in 2014. Since we have resumed debate on Bill C-2, we do not seem to be hearing the Conservative government's position, even though it introduced this bill. On a few rare occasions, a Conservative member rises to ask a question about our suggestions to support an organization like InSite. I get the impression that we are ready to govern and they are ready to cede power.
    More seriously, does the member think that an organization like InSite is the first step towards rehabilitation and, eventually, reintegration into the workforce for drug addicts?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières for the question. He exhibits considerable leadership by saying that the NDP is ready to take up the reins of government. In fact, our party is proving itself up to that task every day by its statements in the House.
    The truth is very clear. On looking at the statistics, we note that in a one-year period, over 2,000 users of InSite were directed to counselling services. This has already made a difference. In the case of persons with access to InSite, twice as many addicts go on to follow a drug treatment program as compared to those without access. There is no question that this program is working.
     What I find interesting about the last comment by my colleague from Trois-Rivières is that the Conservatives do not have the guts to rise and defend their bill. This bill is indefensible. It is a bad bill.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to categorically voice my opposition to Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. That is what the bill’s title says, but if we read a little further, we see that this bill is really a completely incredible ideological stand against supervised injection sites. In fact, this is not the first time the government has tried to abolish this sort of site.
    InSite is one such site that currently exists in Canada. Much has been said about InSite during the course of this debate. In 2008, it was denied, to some extent, the right to exist because of legislation governing drugs and other substances.
    The government tried to put InSite out of business. The matter ended up before the Supreme Court, and InSite was ultimately granted the right to operate. The court recognized that it provided valuable services and called on the government to relax the rules to allow sites such as this to operate and provide much-needed services to the public.
     Today is a sad day because we are reopening the whole debate. This bill is nothing short of another attempt to shut down facilities such as InSite. By calling for incredible regulations and requirements, it attempts to discourage people who might want to open this kind of site or offer these kinds of services. Instead of making it easier for sites that have proven their worth to operate — and I will talk more about that later — the Conservatives have decided to hold obstinately to a certain ideology and to try once again to shut down this debate and dismiss such options.
     I have listened to several of my colleagues’ speeches, and I have heard some rather absurd comments. One Conservative parliamentary secretary expressed concern about the market value of buildings in proximity to any supervised injection sites that could open. If this is the government’s main priority, then we can understand their ideological opposition. Never mind that property values may be affected. We are talking about services that save lives. That is the priority. Quite frankly, if our focus shifts to matters like property values, we are all losers and it is clear that we are not on the same page.
    I would like to talk about something that happened in my riding and that is reminiscent of the kinds of arguments I heard from the parliamentary secretary. An agency was providing care for people with intellectual disabilities, and not just care, but supervised apartments. The agency had to rebuild completely after there was a fire and the site was inadequate. It faced opposition from the people in the neighbourhood. When the plan was announced, the neighbours were worried that people with mental health problems would be moving in. They were afraid for the value of their homes and the safety of their children.
     The city could very well have cultivated their fear to show them it was on their side and could have banned any initiative to provide supervised apartments for these people.
     In politics, of course, the easy option is always to use, foster and inflame people’s fear in order to prove them right and put an end to a plan, without even examining the facts and the benefits.
     Instead, these people sat down, they knocked on doors, and they talked to the residents with reservations to try to change their minds, to provide them with the right information and the facts. Finally, after much consultation and consensus building, the Centre Bienvenue opened its doors. It now provides services for dozens of individuals who need care. People were able to work together to implement these essential services.
     Surely members can see the parallel I am drawing with this debate on Bill C-2. The Conservatives could have given information to the people who are afraid of having supervised injection sites in their neighbourhood and shared with them the facts, the statistics, the successes and even neighbourhoods’ level of satisfaction with having a supervised injection site close by. Instead, the Conservatives are taking the easy way out, the cowardly way out, if I may say. They are cultivating people’s fear and supporting their ideological opposition by putting forward draft legislation like Bill C-2.

  (1355)  

     I heard another peculiar argument during this debate: according to many Conservatives, supervised injection sites encourage the use of hard drugs. It is unbelievable that we hear these kinds of comments even though there are many studies, whose validity has been proven, that show the opposite is true. The people who go to these sites will go on to detox and are followed by social workers who try to help them reduce their drug use.
     When we help school dropouts by providing them with services, are we encouraging students to drop out of school? Of course not. Nobody would say that, because it has been proven and it has been accepted for a long time that young people have problems in school. Rather than ignoring them and throwing them out of our school system, we involve them and offer them appropriate services.
     I could give a number of other examples of agencies in my riding, such as the À ma baie youth centre and the La corde centre, that offer motivation and support programs. They do an exceptional job, and I would like to commend them for it.
     I heard another strange comment: that safety would be at risk in these neighbourhoods. Some Conservatives on the other side of this House believe that supervised injection sites jeopardize the safety of children and the safety of the neighbourhood. Once again, the opposite is true and it has been proven.
     I will continue my speech after question period, and I look forward to it.

  (1400)  

    The hon. member will have three minutes and twenty seconds to finish her speech.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

L'Isle-Verte

    Mr. Speaker, when we experience a tragedy like this, there are simply no words. All we can do is lean on one another and know that we are not alone. Tragedies have a strange way of bringing us closer together. When our constituents suffer, we do as well. Every week, as I return to my riding, I go through the tiny town of L'Isle-Verte, along the lower St. Lawrence. There, you can smell the salty air and breathe it in. It really is beautiful.
    I find it hard to accept that now, as I go through this town that was struck by a horrible tragedy that no one should ever have to experience, I will be thinking about this terrible event that has wounded and left a mark on this beautiful community.
    No, when people think of L'Isle-Verte, I do not want them to think of this fire that caused the death of far too many seniors who did so much for Quebec society. I want them to think of the solidarity, friendship, dedication and courage of the women and men who, day after day, are trying to clean up the devastation, console others, mourn and pay tribute to the missing. That is what I will think of as I go through L'Isle-Verte.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I offer my condolences to all of the families affected and to the entire community of L'Isle-Verte.

[English]

John Ross Matheson

    Mr. Speaker, I am saddened today to note the passing on December 27 of the hon. John Ross Matheson, retired judge and former member of Parliament for the riding of Leeds, which is now part of my riding.
    Born in 1917 and injured in World War II, Mr. Matheson became a respected and successful lawyer in Brockville. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1961. Three years later, his knowledge of heraldry landed him an important role on the flag committee. It was his introduction of the red maple leaf with two bars, an idea that was presented to him by Royal Military College Dean of Arts George Stanley, and his insistence on the precise colours of red and white that gave us the flag we so proudly fly today.
    Called the father of the Canadian flag, John also played a key role in the establishment of the Order of Canada and saw many other accomplishments in his careers and personal life.
    On behalf of all members and all Canadians, I extend the deepest condolences to his surviving family.

[Translation]

Family Literacy Day

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to speak on this Family Literacy Day, which is a Canada-wide initiative that has been going on for 15 years now. It is an excellent opportunity for parents to introduce their children to the pleasure of reading and writing.
    Let us not forget the democratic aspect of teaching these fundamental skills. Everyone must have the opportunity to understand the world and form their own opinions. I urge all Canadian families to take some time today to visit a library or a literacy organization to promote reading in their community.
    I also want to acknowledge the volunteers who are devoted to the cause of literacy across the country, including in French Canada. I thank the Fédération canadienne pour l'alphabétisation en français, the Table des responsables de l'éducation des adultes et de la formation professionnelle des commissions scolaires du Québec, and Collège Frontière for their hard work. I invite all my colleagues to promote literacy in their ridings.

[English]

Evelyn Onofryszyn

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a community leader who will be greatly missed. Evelyn Onofryszyn passed away peacefully on December 20, 2013, surrounded by her family.
    I came to know the passion Evelyn had for the Eckville community as we crossed paths at various events and functions. In fact, during my first trip through Eckville in my first campaign, I was taken straight to meet Evelyn at Blindman Valley Propane Co-op, a place she managed for 40 years, retiring just last year at the tender age of 78.
    Evelyn was a dedicated member of the Eckville Hospital Board, Eckville Manor House Board, the local 4-H chapter, the Eckville Chamber of Commerce; a passionate member of the St. Paul's Presbyterian Church and so many other community groups and initiatives. In fact, if there was something going on or a need in Eckville, one only had to go to Evelyn to get things started.
    Evelyn gave her best to her community. Unlike most people, she wanted all the benefits to go to those around her. She kept none for herself. Her daughters wrote in the obituary that Evelyn was known to be gracious, diligent, capable, ambitious, wise and a role model for many.
    I want to extend my deepest condolences to Evelyn's daughters, Elaine, Sharon, Noreen and Karen; her brothers, Jack and Mark; her sister, Helen; and all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren; our best.

  (1405)  

Douglas Sheppard

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House of Commons to pay tribute and to recognize an outstanding citizen, Newfoundlander and Canadian, Douglas Sheppard of Gander, who passed away on December 25, 2013, at the age of 86.
    Doug was a very well known, well respected member of our community, who will be forever remembered for his commitment and dedication to the town of Gander. He was first elected to council in 1969, serving as councillor and deputy mayor. In 1981 he was elected mayor and served until 1993. He served on many boards and committees, including the Gander and Canadian chambers of commerce, the Gander International Airport Authority and Gander Lodge 16.
    Doug was presented with a lifetime achievement award from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2003.
    Doug loved playing cards, especially with his grandchildren. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and dear friend. In a word, he was a gentleman, a kind and giving person who was always there to lend a helping hand to those in need.
    Doug Sheppard was a man who will be dearly missed by us all.

Business

    Mr. Speaker, Bloomberg has just released its ranking of the best countries in the world for doing business, and it is big news for Canadians. Our country jumped from sixth place to second. Canada is now challenging Hong Kong for the top spot.
    Canada's total business tax costs are the lowest in the G7. In fact, they are more than 40% lower than in the U.S. Why is this big news for Canadians? It is because businesses are a country's job and wealth creators. The more we leave in the hands of entrepreneurs, investors, business people and workers, the more they can create economic growth and jobs that benefit all citizens.
    The economic action plan introduced by our first-class Minister of Finance is opening the way to tremendous opportunity for Canadians. It is a blueprint for our long-term prosperity and for maintaining our enviable quality of life.
    The world recognizes our success.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, I and my constituents were deeply concerned to learn of the closure of the Kellogg's cereal plant in London. This is yet another devastating blow to the community and will result in another 550 jobs lost from the area.
    The Conservative approach to the manufacturing sector is broken. That is confirmed by the abysmal job numbers. Londoners know this first-hand, especially when we look at the government's own data. Since November 2006, there are 11,300 fewer manufacturing and food processing jobs in London and 2,600 more unemployed workers.
    As with the Heinz factory, set to close later this year, we are placing families, our farmers and our cities in a precarious position. Farmers produce the food, and people in the cities manufacture it. When we lose the manufacturing plants, we put everyone at risk. It is an economic and food security gamble that benefits no one.
    We need a government willing to protect the jobs of our citizens, whether they live on a farm or in a city. Only then can we ensure a strong rural and urban Canada.

Winter Olympic Games

    Mr. Speaker, in less than two weeks' time, the world will be going to Sochi for the Olympic Winter Games.
    Among our contingent of proud Canadian athletes will be three Olympians from my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla. Competing in both the two-man and four-man bobsleigh event is Justin Kripps, from Summerland, B.C. I also congratulate Justin and his brakeman, Bryan Barnett from Edmonton, for winning their first world cup two-man bobsleigh event in Germany this past weekend.
    Also competing in Sochi is Matt Margetts from Penticton, who will be competing as a freestyle skier in the halfpipe event.
    Finally, Penticton's very own Duncan Keith will return to the blue line as a member of our national hockey team for the second time.
    These young athletes are great role models for our future leaders and I ask all members of this House to join me in wishing our athletes the best of success in Sochi.

  (1410)  

International Day of Commemoration of the Holocaust

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark international Holocaust memorial day and to commemorate the victims of the Shoah.
    Last week I had the honour of joining the Prime Minister on his historic tour and visit to the Middle East, where he laid a wreath at Yad Vashem in memory of the six million men, women and children brutally murdered simply because they were Jewish.
    I reflected again on the dangers of such hatred and the importance for us and future generations to draw lessons from this dark chapter of world history. I am proud that Canada has become a global leader in Holocaust education, culminating in a successful chairmanship year of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
    I especially want to note the good work of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. I encourage everyone to visit the centre's Tour for Humanity mobile tolerance education centre here on the Hill.
    Through remembrance and reflection about the tragedy of the Holocaust, we commit ourselves to fighting all forms of hatred and to fulfill our promise: “never again”.

International Day of Commemoration of the Holocaust

    Mr. Speaker, on this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah, we join Canadians in paying tribute to the millions of innocents who died during this dark chapter in history. We remember not only those whose lives were so brutally taken, but we remember and pay tribute to the survivors. Equally important is to remember and honour those who helped save lives during this massive-scale human tragedy.
    Today as we remember, we must remind ourselves of our duty to teach our children and generations to come that it is our solemn responsibility to combat racism wherever we find it. We must fight discrimination whenever and wherever we find it. History tells us those who promote bigotry for political advantage plant the very seeds for the crimes against humanity that in the past led to atrocities of such a massive scale.
    When we say “never again”, that is our pledge to ensure that such seeds of bigotry and hate never, ever flourish again.

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, I stand in solidarity with the millions of Ukrainians who have spoken out courageously in support of a free and democratic Ukraine. I condemn President Yanukovych and his regime's heavy-handed authoritarian actions and intimidation of peaceful protesters.
    I was deeply saddened by the news of the tragic deaths of innocent activists last week. All officials who are complicit in this violence must be held responsible.
    I am calling on the Ukrainian government to cease and desist in its oppression of the free citizens of Ukraine, the silencing of critics, and the intimidation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Ukraine's parliament must repeal its undemocratic and draconian martial law. A true democracy cannot function without dialogue, compromise, the right to peaceful dissent, and a legislature that enjoys the people's trust.
    Ukraine is at a crossroads: democracy, liberty, and independence on one hand, or Soviet imperialistic totalitarianism on the other. If we do nothing, all that Ukraine has accomplished since 1991 will be for naught. Canada and the world will not sit idly by and watch the illegitimate Yanukovych regime destroy Ukraine.

[Translation]

L'Isle-Verte

    Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday night, in bitterly cold temperatures, a horrible tragedy struck L'Isle-Verte, in the Lower St. Lawrence.
    The fire at the Résidence du Havre seniors' home has deeply affected this tight-knit community. Today, many are mourning a friend, relative, or loved one. L'Isle-Verte is overcome with sadness.
    I do not have the words to express the pain that the residents are experiencing. I am sure that all members of Parliament, from all parties, will join me in expressing our support for the people of L'Isle-Verte.
    I want to commend the dedication of the first responders, who have given their all in these trying circumstances, and I want to offer my most sincere condolences to all the grieving families.
    Our hearts go out to you.

  (1415)  

[English]

Super Bowl XLVIII

    Mr. Speaker, history will be made this Sunday when, for the first time in history, a Saskatchewan-born athlete will be playing in the Super Bowl. That is right. Regina's very own Jon Ryan, a punter for the Seattle Seahawks will be suiting it up against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
    Mr. Speaker, I know you understand all of this very well, that Jon Ryan was a superb amateur football player, made it to the pros in 2005 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and set a CFL record for the longest average punt over the course of the season, over 50 yards. The reason I know that you know this, Mr. Speaker, is that Jon Ryan is your brother-in-law. I know that you and your lovely wife, Jill, who of course is Jon's sister, will be travelling to the New York area this weekend to watch Jon compete in the Super Bowl.
    While I know where your sympathies lie, Mr. Speaker, and who you will be cheering for, I ask all of my colleagues, regardless of their football affiliations, to join with me in wishing Jon Ryan, a true Canadian football hero, all the best this Sunday.
    Go, Jon. Go, Seahawks.

International Day of Commemoration of the Holocaust

    Mr. Speaker, today Canadians join together to honour the memory of the more than six million lives lost in the Holocaust. We also acknowledge those who survived the unprecedented evil of the Holocaust, including many Jewish Canadians; the importance of their stories; and the many who have endured unimaginable suffering with strength and courage.
    This year marks the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and we pledge that never again will we be indifferent to the incitement of hate or silent in the face of evil.
     In spite of everything we have come to learn of the Holocaust, we as a society must never stop working to educate others and combat hatred and bigotry in all its forms. While this is a day for solemn remembrance, it is also a poignant opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to never again allow such horrors to occur.

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, the situation in the Ukraine is grave, and the slow, insidious creep of tyranny is evident. The elite few subordinate the future of Ukraine for their own selfish interests. These same elites, masters of those members of the regime, repeal democratic laws blindly. Stalin once called people like this “useful idiots”.
    We are witnessing a regressive and brutal regime stripping away the pretense of democratic governance, overlaying Orwellian measures on media, and using cellphones to locate, target, and intimidate individuals. This is right out of 1984. This is no longer just about the rejected EU deal. It is about civil liberties, democratic will, fair and transparent elections, and selective justice through which opposition leaders are not jailed. Most importantly for Ukrainians, it is about culture and identity. Ukrainians are struggling for hope, for a future that they can be proud of, and for a nation that is secure and democratic.
    This Prime Minister and all Canadians stand with the Ukrainian people. Slava Ukraina.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, a new budget is only a few weeks away, but the Minister of Finance is busy cleaning up the mess he created in last year's budget. He has admitted that the government was wrong and finally he is reversing the insensitive tax on hospital parking. After a year of targeting credit unions, he is finally planning to clean up the mess the Conservatives made there.
    While the Conservatives are busy trying to fix the messes they created, New Democrats are putting forward ideas that will make life more affordable for Canadians. Canadians continue to get squeezed by unfair banking charges and predatory credit card interest rates, and gouging is still happening at the gas pumps.
    Canadians deserve better. They know that it is only the NDP that will fight for good jobs and a more affordable life.

  (1420)  

[Translation]

L'Isle-Verte

    Mr. Speaker, a terrible tragedy struck the municipality of L'Isle-Verte on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. Thirty-two people are missing after a fire destroyed the Résidence du Havre seniors' home. The unthinkable has happened. These women, men, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends have left those who loved them, their families and their community, to wrestle with sadness, pain and bewilderment.
    Today, let us remember those founders, the people who spent decades building the municipality of L'Isle-Verte. We must hold on to the happy memories when a tragedy such as this strikes. Together, the people of L'Isle-Verte will get back on their feet, cherishing the memories of their loved ones.
    I would also like to commend the dedication and excellence of the teams of first responders who have been working tirelessly since the fire, despite the cold and the difficult conditions, sifting through the rubble so that families can deal with their grief. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[Translation]

New Member

    I have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer a certificate of the election and return of Mr. Emmanuel Dubourg, member for the electoral district of Bourassa.

New Member Introduced

    Mr. Emmanuel Dubourg, member for the electoral district of Bourassa, introduced by Mr. Justin Trudeau and Mr. Marc Garneau.

[English]

New Member

    I have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer a certificate of the election and return of Mr. Ted Falk, member for the electoral district of Provencher.

New Member Introduced

    Ted Falk, member for the electoral district of Provencher, introduced by the Right Hon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Hon. Shelly Glover.

New Member

    I have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer a certificate of the election and return of Ms. Chrystia Freeland, member for the electoral district of Toronto Centre.

New Member Introduced

    Chrystia Freeland, member for Toronto Centre, introduced by the Mr. Justin Trudeau and the Hon. Carolyn Bennett.

  (1425)  

New Member

    I have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer a certificate of the election return of Mr. Larry Maguire, member for the electoral district of Brandon—Souris.

New Member Introduced

    Larry Macguire, member for Brandon—Souris, introduced by the Right Hon. Stephen Harper and the Hon. Shelly Glover.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by extending my best wishes for 2014 to you and your extraordinary team, which operates primarily under the guidance of Madam Clerk, who is always there with her staff to make our democratic lives run so smoothly and efficiently.

[English]

    Can the Prime Minister update the House on the deeply troubling situation in the Ukraine and what action Canada is taking to play a positive role in resolving this matter?

[Translation]

    The situation in Ukraine is very troubling. Can the Prime Minister update Canadians regarding the latest developments and tell the House what Canada intends to do to resolve this crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has already condemned the actions of the Ukrainian government.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as you know, this government has been very outspoken with many around the international community in condemning some of the actions of the Ukrainian government. We are very concerned that these actions speak of not moving toward a free and democratic Euro-Atlantic future but very much toward an anti-democratic Soviet past. We will continue to vocalize our concerns to work with the Ukrainian Canadian community and our allies to take all appropriate actions necessary to encourage the government of Ukraine to move in a positive direction.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his response.

[English]

    Earlier this month I wrote the Prime Minister about the deepening tragedy of suicides in Canada's military. The total number of deaths due to suicide in the last two months alone now stands at eight. That is eight in two months.
    Will the Prime Minister make this growing crisis a personal priority?

[Translation]

    Will the Prime Minister make the suicide crisis among Canadian soldiers a personal priority?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have stated many times, this government has invested record amounts in the mental health of our veterans and soldiers.

[English]

    Canada has some of the most developed programs in mental health for people in the armed forces in the entire world. Obviously, we are concerned about individual cases and express our deep sympathies to those involved.
    What I think remains very important is that our military people should be aware that mental health challenges are very real for people throughout society, including in the military. Supports are there, and we encourage those who need support to come forward.

Consumer Protection

    Mr. Speaker, with the budget approaching, will the Prime Minister make good on his promise in last fall's throne speech to rein in basic banking fees at ATMs and on credit cards? Will the Prime Minister keep that promise to Canadians, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, this government has expressed, on a number of occasions, our concerns with the effect of certain banking fees and practices on consumers and small business. We have taken various actions in the past, and we will continue to work with Canadians to take the appropriate actions in the future.

  (1430)  

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office, which reports directly to the Prime Minister, has just refused to release 27 of 28 documents about the expenses of Senators Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau and Harb. I have a very simple question. Is the Prime Minister going to release those documents, yes or no? If he has nothing to hide, why will he not release them?
    Mr. Speaker, access to information requests are handled by independent public servants and by lawyers who make those judgments according to the law. Obviously, it is up to them to respond in the appropriate manner.
    Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office is under the direct authority of the Prime Minister. Those people can say what he is allowed to not release. They cannot stop him from releasing something in the public interest. Why does he not release them if he has nothing to hide?

[Translation]

    Former Liberal senator Mac Harb is also under criminal investigation for fraud in connection with the sale of 99.99% of the ownership of his home near Ottawa to a diplomat from Brunei, Magdalene Teo. Ms. Teo told the RCMP that she has a personal relationship with the former Liberal senator, but she is refusing to help with the investigation.
    Will the government force Brunei—
    Order. The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, just like with access to information, the RCMP has an investigative process. The government does not interfere in that process. We put our complete trust in the RCMP to handle this investigation.

[English]

Intergovernmental Relations

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried because they know they need training to get good jobs. However, the provinces have rejected the Canada job grant, the signature economic policy of last year's budget. No wonder, the program would cost more money and help fewer people.
    Will the Prime Minister finally listen to the premiers and abandon his failed plan?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the Liberal Party, we think it is necessary for the Government of Canada to act directly to deal with job creation and a skills mismatch in the labour market. We provide significant support directly to the provinces for post-secondary education and for skills training.
    This government remains absolutely committed to the notion that to address some of these problems we need to get employers and institutions and individuals who are looking for work working together to fill jobs that can be filled.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, each province has its own unique challenges when it comes to the job market. This government came up with an unacceptable policy program that the provinces rejected wholesale.
    When will the Prime Minister drop his paternalistic approach and work with the provinces to help Canadians get the training they need to find work?
    Mr. Speaker, this government has already transferred massive amounts of money to the provinces for post-secondary education and skills training.
    However, there is still a shortage of some skills in the job market, and we have to solve this problem if we want to create jobs. Obviously, our thinking differs from the Liberal Party's. We think that it is also our responsibility to support job creation for Canadians.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear on this. The Canada job grant was the government's signature economic policy of the last budget. It spent millions of taxpayer dollars on partisan ads boosting it, but it is a mess. It was rejected by the provinces. It will cost more and help fewer people.
    Will the Prime Minister listen to the premiers and scrap this plan?
    Mr. Speaker, I noted that the Canada job grant was in fact very well received by those in the marketplace, by people who want to upgrade their skills, want to receive more training, want to gain jobs, and by employers who want to create jobs.
    For that reason, we remain fully committed to ensuring we do everything we can to build upon the very good job creation record of this country and to make that record even better.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, has the Prime Minister had any contact whatsoever with the RCMP since we last met here in the House before the holidays?
    Mr. Speaker, as I and the RCMP have said many times, this government will give the RCMP any information that it requests.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the RCMP has submitted documents, emails, in Federal Court, where Nigel Wright states that the Prime Minister gave the good to go on the deal with Duffy.
    If that is not true, the question is, did the Prime Minister so inform the RCMP?
    Mr. Speaker, on the financial transaction, the RCMP is investigating. The RCMP itself has been very clear that I had no knowledge of that.
    Great answer, Mr. Speaker. It just had nothing whatsoever to do with the question.
    There is another Nigel Wright in this whole scandal. It is the Prime Minister's chief fundraiser sitting in the Senate, Irving Gerstein. On page 12 of the RCMP documents, Nigel Wright tells police that Senator Gerstein approved the initial $32,000 payoff to Mike Duffy.
    Why then is Mr. Gerstein still sitting next to the Prime Minister in the Conservative caucus?
    Mr. Speaker, the RCMP has made very clear that there are two individuals under investigation. The individual referred to by the leader of the NDP is not under investigation.
    Mr. Speaker, he is in the caucus, and here is the problem. Is the Prime Minister's position that giving a $90,000 payoff to sitting Senator Mike Duffy is morally reprehensible, but approving a $32,000 payoff is good to go?
    Mr. Speaker, again, the leader of the NDP knows that those facts are not accepted. As a matter of public record, the individual he is making accusations against is not under any investigation.
    Mr. Speaker, in June 2012, Conservatives replaced Arthur Porter, the disgraced chair of the CSIS watchdog committee, with Conservative Chuck Strahl. We were already concerned about CSIS spying on Canadians and environmental charities that had the audacity to be critical of Enbridge's northern gateway pipeline proposal. Then we learned that Mr. Strahl was moonlighting as a paid lobbyist for who? For Enbridge, the same company that this watchdog was meant to be protecting.
    Mr. Strahl was forced to resign. But why did no Conservative recognize this blatant conflict of interest?
    Mr. Speaker, Mr. Strahl was not only not forced to resign; the Ethics Commissioner said very clearly there was not a scintilla of evidence that he had done anything wrong whatsoever.
    Chuck Strahl is one of the most honourable and decent people I have ever worked with in the Parliament of Canada. It is a shame that for the sake of his personal reputation, he decided he is no longer willing to provide his services.
    Mr. Speaker, speaking of questionable ethics, recently the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke had the bright idea to campaign against the incandescent light bulb. She tried to turn the light out on her own government's legislation. Not only did she campaign against her own party's policy, if we go to the website, we can donate. Where does it bring us? To a Conservative riding association.
    This clearly breaks the rules. The question is: What sanctions is this member facing for breaking the rules?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, the members of this caucus are working day in and day out to represent their constituents. In this particular case, the member wanted to express an opinion that had been brought to her by her constituents.
    As the members opposite know, on this side of the House, we are very free to represent our constituents, as is evidenced by our voting patterns when private members' business comes before the House. Unlike the opposition, which is whipped for every private members' vote, on this side of the House, we consider everything, we vote our conscience, and we do what is right for our constituents.
    Mr. Speaker, talk about turning out the lights on accountability.
    The principle of ministerial responsibility is a fundamental of the Westminster system, but the Conservatives have turned this on its head. They give their ministers a “get out of jail free” card any time they need it. The latest to make use of it is the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
    Has nobody told her that she cannot charge admission to the very groups coming to her for grants? What sanctions will the minister face?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I have said clearly on a number of occasions, I had absolutely nothing to do with the planning of this event. I proactively and very swiftly took action to address the situation, and I proactively reported it to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
    While she is doing her examination, I am happy to help her with her work.
    Mr. Speaker, that was great. I think we could get her a third-party manager just to help her in helping the Ethics Commissioner with her work.
    The Conservative government is under investigation for a cover-up in the Prime Minister's Office. On December 19 the Prime Minister was asked about plausible deniability in his office. He said:
    Yeah, well, Mr. Wright knows full well that I don’t believe in that doctrine.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us, when did he made that clear to Mr. Nigel Wright?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said on a number of occasions, and as the Prime Minister has said, the moment he found out about this, he instructed his office to work with and assist the RCMP in an investigation. It is quite clear from the number of emails and the information that has been turned over that we are continuing to assist the RCMP in this investigation.
    I would also like to take a moment to congratulate the member for recognizing all of the investments we continue to make across northern Ontario. Over the holidays, he issued a press release outlining the number of investments we have made in his riding. I congratulate him for recognizing that. Unfortunately, he voted against all of those investments, but we will continue to invest in northern Ontario to create jobs and economic growth in the area.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday, the NDP received a response to an access to information request regarding the Privy Council Office's documentation on senators Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau.
    The problem is that the response was a series of blank pages. It is not that the Privy Council Office does not have the documentation, but that it does not want to share it.
    What is the Privy Council Office hiding, and at whose request?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, rules with respect to access to information are handled and requests are made by independent public servants. The information that is required is made by those individuals, following the law.

International Relations

    Mr. Speaker, there is deep anguish in Canada about the Yanukovych regime in the Ukraine and its attacks on human rights and freedoms.
    Beyond general statements about considering options with respect to Yanukovych, will Canada specifically, one, send official observers to scrutinize what is going on; two, provide expedited visas to any victims who need to leave that country for their own safety; and three, target Yanukovych and his crowd with personal sanctions, asset freezes, and travel bans, for example, to push them to stop their anti-democratic behaviour?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been active on this file. I can tell him that the minister has condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the killing of protesters by the Ukrainian police force. He has personally spoken to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara. In addition, the deputy minister has called in the Ukrainian ambassador to express Canada's condemnation of the violence that has occurred.
    We fully support the efforts of the members for Etobicoke Centre and Selkirk—Interlake to bring this issue forward for emergency debate in the House of Commons. We are urging the Ukrainian government to find a political solution by engaging in a real dialogue.
    We stand with the Ukrainian people, who courageously continue to speak out in support of democracy.

[Translation]

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, December's disastrous employment statistics should serve as a wake-up call for this government.
    Today there are 275,000 more unemployed Canadians than before the recession.
    The Conservatives' solution is to run an ad campaign to promote an employment program that does not even exist.
    Will the minister come up with a real plan to help unemployed Canadians in his upcoming budget?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his first question in the House.
    Our government is focused on the creation of jobs. In fact, over one million net new jobs have been created in Canada since July 2009, since the end of the recession. Over 80% of those jobs have been in the private sector.
    For the sixth straight year, the World Economic Forum ranked our banks the soundest in the world. As members know, it was just last week that Bloomberg rated Canada the second best place, after Hong Kong, in the world in which to do business.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, in December, young Canadians lost another 12,000 jobs. There are 264,000 fewer jobs for young Canadians today than before the downturn.
    Canadian youth struggle to find work, and Canadian parents struggle to pay the bills. Instead of wasting millions of tax dollars to advertise a jobs program that does not even exist, will the Minister of Finance admit there is a problem and commit to a real jobs plan for young Canadians in the upcoming budget, or is he so out of touch with young Canadians and their struggling middle class families?
    Mr. Speaker, I have triplet young Canadians who would disagree with the member.
    We have a great job creation record in this country, the best among the western democracies since the end of the recession. As I said a moment ago, they are mainly full-time jobs. That is something I think best serves young Canadians well. We also have a good education system. That serves them well as well.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, we are witnessing an urgent and growing need for better access to mental health services for Canadian Forces members. However, the hiring of mental health professionals was stymied by internal red tape and budget cuts. Under the Conservatives, we are not meeting the needs of the military. This is unconscionable. Military suicides have shocked the country.
    The Leader of the Opposition has asked the Prime Minister to make this a personal priority. Will he now do so?
    Mr. Speaker, this certainly has been a priority for this government and our armed forces. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have suffered and to the families who have suffered in these instances.
    With that being said, we do take the issue very seriously. We are reviewing whether further enhancements are needed to ensure that the armed forces are responding to the needs of its members and veterans.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of respecting our troops.
    With the current crisis in the Canadian Forces, it is extremely urgent to take concrete measures to address mental health. Our requests are clear, namely to make hiring mental health professionals a priority and to speed up the work of the 50 or so commissions of inquiry into the suicides of Canadian Forces members. We have to give the families the answers they are looking for to help them in their grieving process.
    What is the minister's response to this?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is the same answer I just gave to her colleague. We will continue to make this a priority, because that is entirely appropriate.
    What she and the members of her party could do is start supporting the efforts that we have made to support our men and women in uniform and our veterans. That would certainly be a welcome change. I think everybody would appreciate that.

[Translation]

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the budget for this is simply inadequate. It is not just the delivery of services to our troops that is affected by the Conservatives' cuts.
    This week, the Conservatives are closing eight Veterans Affairs offices. Many veterans will no longer be able to have their file properly processed in their own community.
    Does the minister realize that these human resources that are being cut absolutely cannot be replaced by voice mail or a website?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government has made substantial investments to support Canada's veterans, including almost $5 billion in new additional dollars since taking office. This funding has been put toward improved financial benefits, world-class rehabilitation, and tuition costs to help veterans transition to civilian life.
    While our government is making improvements to veterans' benefits, the Liberals and the NDP have voted against this new funding for mental health treatment, financial support, and home care services.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, what utter nonsense. The fact is, these offices provide invaluable services to the heroes of our country. Those offices that are closing on Friday will no longer be able to deliver that one-on-one personal care that the heroes of our country so rightfully deserve. The offices are closing on Friday, but the government has a chance to do the right thing. Many veterans are on the Hill this week. Many veterans, RCMP members, and their families across the country are watching the government closely.
    Will the government now do the right thing, reverse that decision, and keep these offices open so the heroes of our country can get the valuable service they so rightfully deserve?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has created 600 new points of service across the country to assist Canadian veterans. Canadian veterans have access to 17 operational stress injury clinics across Canada to help them rehabilitate from service injury. Critically injured veterans do not have to drive to a district office. Our government will send a registered nurse or a case manager to visit them in the comfort of their own home.
    Veterans who are seriously injured can count on their government to shovel their driveways, clean their homes, and cut their grass so they can remain in their homes comfortably, with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, since 2006, our Conservative government and our Minister of Finance have brought forward eight consecutive budgets to promote a low-tax plan to create jobs and economic growth in Canada, including over one million net new jobs since 2009. But the economy remains fragile, and Canada is not immune to those economic challenges beyond our borders. We need to move forward with a low-tax plan for jobs and growth, not an NDP plan of higher taxes and massive deficit spending.
    Would the Minister of Finance inform the House as to when our government will present budget 2014?
    Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is focused on what matters to Canadians; that is jobs and economic growth. Economic action plan 2014 will continue our government's focus on keeping Canada's economy stronger by introducing positive measures to grow our economy, create jobs, keep taxes low, and return to balanced budgets in 2015.
    I am pleased to request the designation of an order of the day for the Minister of Finance to present economic action plan 2014 on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 4 p.m.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I hope not to have to read the details of the budget in The Globe and Mail this year.
    While the Minister of Finance keeps trying to fix the mistakes in his last budget, Canadians are paying the price. The number of job losses increased in December and the unemployment rate went up.
    Instead of making cuts to employment insurance and announcing measures on the fly, measures they will have to reverse in their upcoming budget, will the Conservatives make helping the unemployed a priority in the upcoming budget?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is precisely what was done by this government in January 2009, which resulted in a large deficit but did protect Canada.
    It protected Canada from double-digit unemployment, much better than other western democracies. We have kept our promise to get back to a balanced budget in the medium term, which we will in 2015.
    Mr. Speaker, it just shows what an effective opposition can do to force the government to take action. When it is time to act, the only action the Conservatives take is to attack the unemployed as if they were the problem.
    Canadians are unhappy about the mess Conservatives have created with EI. Even the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans recognized that people are angry and are leaving her province because of it.
    Will the Conservatives stop sitting on their hands and do something about the harmful impact of their own actions on the unemployed?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was here in 2009. I think the hon. member was also.
    She and her party voted against that budget. That was the budget that kept Canada out of double-digit unemployment, which brought Canada out of a recession the fastest of all the western democracies, after only three quarters. How short memories can be.

[Translation]

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, given the Conservatives' spotty memory, I think we should remind them about what is happening today.
    The Conservatives have no plan whatsoever when it comes to the rail system and rail safety. Freight transportation is far from safe, and all of eastern Canada is about to lose its VIA Rail passenger service. Gaspé has already lost this service. Now, CN's plans to abandon a rail line in New Brunswick will leave thousands of people without service.
    Will the minister explain to Quebeckers and eastern Canadians why they do not have the right to safe and reliable passenger rail service?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, VIA is an independent corporation from the Canadian government, and as such it takes its own decisions when it comes to the provision of services across this great country.
    However, that being said, I am very proud that we do have great outreach, both within Transport Canada and my office as well, in talking to Canadians across the country. I can say one thing, that we do listen and do hear what people are saying.
    However, the fact of the matter is that if people are not utilizing the service, it is not for the rest of the country to supplement it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, VIA Rail needs tracks to run on.
    The Conservatives did nothing when VIA Rail dropped Gaspé. The Government of New Brunswick and CN invested $25 million each in the rail line that connects Moncton to Miramichi and Bathurst to Campbellton. When CN abandons the line between Miramichi and Bathurst, all of eastern Canada will find itself in the same predicament.
    The province repeatedly asked the federal government for help to keep this line, but the Conservatives did not provide any financial assistance.
    What will the government do to keep VIA Rail's east-west line through Miramichi and Bathurst? Where are the Conservative members—
    The hon. Minister of Transport.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that our government supports a VIA Rail system that provides excellent service to passengers, but at the same time is respectful of the efficient use of the taxpayer dollar.
    Unfortunately, VIA has to make decisions all the time when it comes to the provision of passenger service, based upon the volume of people utilizing the service. I encourage the member to talk to VIA about the provision of service, and I would like to thank the member for his question.

Elections Canada

    Mr. Speaker, in November 2010 the Conservatives held a tele-town hall in the tightly contested Vaughan byelection. Once again, the Conservatives are over-spending in elections, since this was never reported to Elections Canada by the now Minister of International Cooperation. Apparently, 15,000 people took part in this town hall. What was the big draw? None other than their buddy, Mike Duffy.
    My question is for the Minister of—
    Order, please. I have not heard anything at this point that has to do with government business. The member has a few seconds left. I urge that the question actually touch on the administration of government. I will allow him to finish his question, but I do hope that it actually addresses ministerial responsibility.
    Mr. Speaker, yes, my question is for the Minister of State for Democratic Reform. Can he confirm that Elections Canada is actively investigating this breach?
    Mr. Speaker, of course Elections Canada governs itself and will make its own determinations.
    Mr. Speaker, Conservative candidates appear to have a big problem respecting election campaign laws. This question will relate to government business.
    There is a long list of Conservatives who have been caught cheating on campaign spending and reporting, and they got little more than a slap on the wrist for it. The Vaughan telephone town hall is just the latest example of systemic campaign rule breaking.
    Can the minister tell us if the long-delayed Elections Act amendments will include serious penalties for those who violate campaign spending limits, finally?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, the bill that the member mentioned will be introduced in time for implementation before the next election.

Government Advertising

    Mr. Speaker, how much of our money is the current government going to waste? That is the question that people in my riding are asking. They are sick of seeing these non-stop economic action plan ads on TV. Yet, the Conservatives keep spending our money on them. The $10 million that was budgeted to brag about it was not enough. They blew that budget, spending $14.8 million of taxpayer money on blatant self-promotion. When is it going to stop?
    Mr. Speaker, the responsibility of any government is to communicate with the population on the plans and priorities and policies that are actually passed by Parliament. It is our obligation and indeed our pleasure to do so. Of course, we want to inform Canadians about the great economic policies that are found each year in the budgets, and we will do so again I am sure.
    However, the hon. member should look within his own house. Speaking of advertising, the New Democrats had hundreds of thousands of illegal advertising at their last convention. How about that? That is a violation of trust, I would say.
    Mr. Speaker, we are talking about taxpayer money.

[Translation]

    It is completely ridiculous. The Conservatives are running ads to promote programs that do not even exist. Advertising Standards Canada has indicated that these ads constitute false advertising. The Conservatives have not put a single penny into TV advertising to make people aware of the importance of getting the flu shot, for example. Conservative propaganda is more important than public health. Will the Conservatives stop wasting money on improving their image?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, the government's responsibility is to make Canadians aware of programs and services that are important to them. In the 2012-13 economic action plan, advertising was an essential means for informing Canadians about the policies passed by this Parliament.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, what an honour this is. Last week, our Prime Minister made history by being the first Canadian Prime Minister to address the Knesset. His trip to Israel reinforced the close friendship between our countries and our partnership and the solidarity that exists between our countries on a range of global issues. Israel has no closer friend than Canada. Our government is committed to advancing a principled foreign policy that is based on the values of freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
    Can the Minister of Natural Resources please update this House on the Prime Minister's recent trip to Israel?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome again the member for Provencher.
    I was honoured to join the Prime Minister on his historic visit to Israel, a friend and ally with whom we share the core values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
    The Prime Minister's extraordinary speech in the Knesset, the receipt of an honorary doctorate, the moving visit to the Holocaust museum in Yad Vashem and the Western Wall were among the memorable visits. I was also encouraged by the potential to build our bilateral trade and co-operation in science and technology and our overall strategic relationship.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, last month's ice storm was devastating across the whole of the greater Toronto area. Citizens of the GTA are looking to their national government to be there with them in their time of need. GTA mayors and regional chairs voted unanimously to ask the provincial and federal governments to help cover the estimated $275 million cost.
    Will the government confirm it will release the necessary funds through the disaster financial assistance arrangement and support the GTA?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have a program that is working with all provinces and territories. It is the disaster financial assistance arrangement. It is a cost sharing program with a threshold that is triggered. This is a non-political program that is working very well for all parts of the country. We will always stand by provinces and territories who need help, while following the rules of this program.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, I have here a list of 35 qualified construction workers who were refused work at the new women's hospital project in my riding because temporary foreign workers are already doing the job on a phoney permit that they should never have received.
    The Prime Minister says he is getting tough on foreign worker fraud, yet they have known about this situation for more than 10 months. There should not be a single foreign national on that site if there is a single qualified Canadian ready and able to take that work. Why will the minister not stand up for Canadian workers, tear up this bogus permit and let the Canadian taxpayers who paid for this project get the jobs, the wages and the benefits from this project?
    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear that it is illegal to use temporary foreign workers to do work that has not been offered to Canadians at the prevailing regional wage rate, jobs that of course receive the same protection and legal framework as jobs available to Canadian citizens. Therefore, I would appreciate receiving information from the member.
    We are bringing forward a regulatory package to crack down with much more stringent sanctions on employers who abuse the temporary foreign worker program, to ensure that it is only and always a last resort and that Canadians always have first crack at available jobs.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to be able to represent the people of Brandon—Souris, who last fall once again voted for trusted leadership and strong economic management.
    Since being elected I have been meeting with constituents, who all understand that one of the main industries driving our local economy is agriculture. Pork and cattle producers in southwestern Manitoba have been calling for a timely and responsive program to help protect them when commodity prices go down.
    Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture please tell the House about the recent launch of the livestock price insurance program?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the new member for Brandon—Souris for taking his place among us here today.
    He is absolutely right. Canadians want a government that puts the economy first. The livestock price insurance program will help protect western livestock producers against unexpected price declines. The Canadian Cattlemen's Association has said the following: “This program gives more producers access to a solid tool to manage price and basis risk”.
    The constituents of Brandon—Souris can rest assured that under our Prime Minister we will continue to give farmers the tools they need to grow jobs and strengthen our economy.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, in mid-January there was yet another incident involving toxic red dust in Limoilou.
    The Quebec Port Authority has acknowledged that the dust came from the port, but the port and the company are hiding behind the federal government to avoid taking action. The federal government, in turn, is hiding behind the provincial government to avoid taking action.
    The people of Limoilou deserve better than to be caught in the middle of jurisdictional bickering simply because no one wants to take responsibility.
    Why are the Conservatives refusing to protect the health of the people of Limoilou?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, while the Quebec Port Authority is indeed an organization at arm's length from the federal government, it is my understanding with respect to this emission that the company involved, the tenant, is working with the provincial authorities regarding environmental issues and will continue to do so. Of course, we encourage the court of Quebec to do so as well.

[Translation]

Intergovernmental Relations

    Mr. Speaker, not only is the federal government trying to impose a job training program and a securities commission on Quebec—both of which have been rejected by the province—but now it is also trying to interfere in another area of exclusive provincial jurisdiction: education.
    Ottawa wants to decide on the number of foreign students and their countries of origin, without taking into consideration Quebec's unique characteristics, such as its language and cultural ties with other countries.
    The Government of Quebec's position is clear: Quebec, not Ottawa, will make the decisions about recruiting foreign students.
    Will the Minister of International Trade respect Quebec's jurisdiction over education and give the province the right to opt out with full compensation, as it is calling for?

  (1510)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, international education is a priority sector and a key component of Canada's new global markets action plan, which seeks to advance Canada's commercial interests in our priority markets.
     International education is a key driver of economic growth in Canada, with over 265,000 students generating over $8 billion a year in our economy. The international education strategy is a product of extensive consultations with the provinces, territories, and stakeholders. We will continue to advance Canada's interests on the international stage by promoting our world-class education system.

Library and Archives Canada

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been outraged by the dismantling of government libraries, such as those dealing with fisheries, forests, and health. Under the Library and Archives of Canada Act, these materials are protected as the documentary heritage of Canadians. Surplus materials are to be placed in the care and control of the Librarian and Archivist, and materials and records cannot be destroyed without written consent. I have spoken to the current Librarian and Archivist of Canada, and it appears to me the act was not followed.
    Will the Prime Minister commit to immediately investigating whether these acts of closing libraries and casting the materials to the winds, to dumpsters and to looters, are legal, and will he restore and protect the documentary heritage of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, nothing of the sort could be any further from the truth. Original materials will be preserved. Duplicate materials that nobody wants will be disposed of in the usual manner. Information that was available in the libraries continues to remain available in the digital world. Welcome to this century.
    I will say that this allows more people to access that information and at less cost to the taxpayers. That is the truth.

[Translation]

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, on December 20, the Supreme Court struck down the provisions on procuring, solicitation and keeping a bawdy house under the existing legislative framework.
    However, prostitution is a system of exploitation and a form of violence against women and girls.
    Does the Minister of Justice plan to propose a new legislative framework to combat prostitution by making it officially illegal and criminalizing the purchase of sexual services rather than prostitutes?
    Mr. Speaker, clearly, we are very concerned about the Supreme Court's recent decision, which struck down certain provisions of the Criminal Code.
    We are in the process of exploring all possibilities in order to protect women and girls who are vulnerable because of this practice. Unlike the Liberal Party, whose proposal to completely legalize prostitution would put women in more danger, we will be examining the most prudent solutions in order to protect vulnerable women.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1515)  

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, five treaties, entitled, one, Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, adopted at Madrid on June 27, 1989, as amended on October 3, 2006, and on November 12, 2007; two, the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, adopted at Singapore on March 27, 2006; three, the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classifications of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks, adopted in Nice on June 15, 1957, as revised at Stockholm on July 14, 1967, and at Geneva on May 13, 1977, and amended on September 20, 1979; four, the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs adopted at Geneva on July 2, 1999; and, five, Patent Law Treaty, done at Geneva on June 1, 2000.
    An explanatory memorandum is included with each treaty.

[Translation]

Canadian Security Intelligence Service

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I am pleased to table, in both official languages, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's public report for 2011-13.

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 147 petitions.

Pan-Canadian Strategy on Concussion Act

     She said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present an act representing a comprehensive pan-Canadian strategy on concussion, inspired by three and a half years of work by extraordinary twin sisters in my riding, Sandhya and Swapna Mylabathula. These University of Toronto students, who have won numerous academic and leadership awards for their concussion work, met with top researchers and stakeholders across the country to determine the needs for concussion.
    The bill aims to increase public awareness and education and improve current practices respecting the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of concussion. It would establish a pan-Canadian concussion awareness week and would require the Minister of Health to initiate discussions with provincial and territorial counterparts to develop a pan-Canadian strategy on concussion, including a centre of excellence in concussion research.
    It is my hope that hon. members will support the bill.

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

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to designate Tuesday, January 28, 2014, as the first allotted day.

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and if you seek it, I believe you would find unanimous consent of the House for the following motion:
    That this House:
    Condemns the draconian law that was adopted in Ukraine on January 17, 2014 that severely limits the right of Ukrainians to peacefully organize, assemble or protest;
    Recognizes that such a law undermines freedom and democracy in Ukraine;
    Condemns the Ukrainian government's use of violence and threats of legal action against the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for helping peaceful protesters;
    Expresses condolences to the friends and families of those who lost their lives at the hands of the Ukrainian security forces on January 21, 2014;
    Calls upon the Ukrainian government to bring those responsible for these acts of violence and repression to justice;
    Continues to call for Ukrainian security forces and government to refrain from the use of violence and respect the people of Ukraine's right of peaceful protest;
    Urges the Government of Canada, in collaboration with like-minded nations, to consider all options, including sanctions, to ensure that the democratic space in Ukraine is protected;
    And that this House stands united with the Ukrainian people, who believe in freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

  (1520)  

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

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions from constituents of my riding and the surrounding area of Kitchener-Waterloo.
    The petitioners ask members of Parliament to condemn discrimination against females that is occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.

Shark Finning  

    Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to wish you and all members of the House a happy new year.
    I have a petition from thousands of Canadians across the country calling on the government to ban the importation of shark fins to Canada. They say measures must be taken to stop the global practice of shark finning and to ensure the responsible conservation and management of sharks. They call on the Government of Canada to immediately legislate a ban on the importation of shark fins.

Dementia  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition calling for a national dementia strategy. The petitioners want to draw the attention of the Minister of Health to the fact that the federal government needs a strategy on dementia because of the many Canadians afflicted by Alzheimer's disease or other dementia-related diseases.
    The petitioners want discussions on the strategy to be initiated with provincial and territorial ministers within 30 days after the act comes into force.They want to see an annual report based on an assessment of Canada's progress and to see a round table established to receive advice from Canadians on this strategy.

Privacy  

    Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions today on the subject of a U.S. law, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, from my constituents and others throughout Ontario.
    The petitioners are worried about the American legislation that conflicts with Canadian law, in particular the Bank Act and the privacy rights of Canadians.
    Therefore, they ask the Canadian government to assure Canadian citizens and residents that their privacy rights will be respected and that Canadian sovereignty will also be respected as banks are pressured to comply with this American legislation.

[Translation]

Canadian Mining Companies Abroad  

    Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to present a petition from young activists from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
    They work with Development and Peace and are concerned about certain actions and behaviours on the part of Canadian mining companies abroad, particularly concerning respect for human rights and democratic consultation with local communities. The petitioners are calling for the creation of a legislated ombudsman mechanism for Canada's extractive sector.
    Today I present this petition on their behalf.

[English]

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I table a petition today from the residents of Winnipeg North, who want the Prime Minister to understand that people should be able to continue to have the option to retire at the age of 65 and that the government should not in any way diminish the importance and value of Canada's three major seniors programs, the OAS, GIS, and CPP.

Dementia  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present a petition from Torontonians for the Minister of Health and the House as a whole to support Bill C-356, An Act respecting a National Strategy for Dementia, which was introduced by the hon. member for Nickel Belt.
    Diseases like Alzheimer's take a huge toll on individuals suffering from them and on their families and friends. I know this from the experience of my own aunt and from the experience of friends who just lost their mother, Sylvia Mackenzie, a woman of extraordinary strength and character. She is survived by a remarkable and loving family: David, Dan, Andrew, Lori, Kim, and Stephen. I am sure they would want to join these petitioners.

  (1525)  

Creosote  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two petitions.
    Forgive me for taking a moment to tell my fellow members of the House of Commons that the first petition was put together and signed entirely by grade 5 students of Salt Spring Elementary School. They have done their own research. They are terribly concerned about creosote coating on poles and the effect that it has on the herring population. They ask the House of Commons to discontinue the use of creosote in herring waters.
    It is a very impressive petition, and I commend it to the House.

Roberts Bank Terminal  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition comes from more than a thousand residents of Delta, British Columbia, who are very concerned about the expansion of Terminal 2 at Roberts Bank in Delta.
    The Roberts Bank ecosystem could be endangered by this expansion and by human-built extensions into the harbour. At this point, now that there is an environmental review, they are hoping that it will include proper and full public consultation.

[Translation]

Experimental Lakes Area  

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition regarding the Experimental Lakes Area. This file has been unresolved for quite some time, and yet petitions continue to come in. The petitioners are calling on the government to recognize the importance of the Experimental Lakes Area in fulfilling its mandate to study, preserve and protect aquatic ecosystems.

[English]

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.
    The first petition is from concerned Londoners. After a terrible tragedy in London, Ontario, the petitioners are asking that the Government of Canada and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration look at what is happening in our immigration system.
    First and foremost, putting their lives on hold for years to wait for a decision on their status puts stress on families and, second, the staffing in immigration and citizenship offices is continually being reduced, so people are waiting longer and longer.
    The petitioners want the staff to be returned and they want immigration officials to consider all factors with respect to individual applications for status, including humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

VIA Rail  

    As members will know, in southwestern Ontario, and indeed across Canada, we are suffering from a terrible loss of VIA Rail service.
    The petitioners ask the Government of Canada to reverse the funding cuts that the government has initiated on VIA Rail, and like every other country in the developed world to invest in rail travel to ensure that Canadians have a 21st century transportation system, a system they absolutely deserve.

Dementia  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition on behalf of residents of the greater Toronto area.
    The petitioners wish to draw the attention of the Minister of Health and the House of Commons to the fact that the federal government needs a national strategy for dementia and the care of persons afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease or other dementia-related diseases.
    The petitioners call upon the Minister of Health and the House of Commons to pass Bill C-356, an act respecting a national strategy for dementia.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 102, 109, 111, 112, 113, 118, 125, 126, 128, 135, 136, 138, 145, 147, 154, 158, 160, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168 and 169.

[Text]

Question No. 102--
Hon. Hedy Fry:
     With regard to the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-Being (NDPHS): (a) on what date did the government commit to participate in the Partnership; (b) what was Canada’s committed annual financial contribution; (c) has Canada ever made a financial contribution to the NDPHS and, if so, how much; (d) what groups and organizations did the government consult in its decision to withdraw from the NDPHS; (e) has the government received any form of communication from other members of the NDPHS regarding Canada’s withdrawal from the Partnership; and (f) was the Minister of Health ever advised on withdrawing from the NDPHS by her department and, if so, what was the department’s recommendation?
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being, NDPHS, was established through the Oslo declaration on October 27, 2003. Canada participated in the adoption of the declaration.
    With regard to (b), in September 2004, at the second NDPHS meeting of the committee of senior representatives a voluntary financing model for the NDPHS secretariat was agreed upon. Under this model, Canada was scheduled to contribute 8% of the secretariat budget. As countries--France, Denmark--withdrew from the NDPHS, Canada’s contribution grew to almost 12%, or 38,517 euros in 2011.
    With regard to (c), Canada contributed to NDPHS between 2004 and 2011, with the amounts varying depending on the secretariat’s budget and the percentage requested from Canada. Over the course of eight years, Canada contributed 217,871 euros.
    With regard to (d), Health Canada held interdepartmental consultations with the departments that had been engaged in the work of NDPHS. These included the Public Health Agency of Canada, Correctional Services Canada, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Health Canada also consulted the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, ITK, the national Inuit organization in Canada, as well as the Assembly of First Nations.
    With regard to (e), the response is no.
    With regard to (f), yes, Health Canada’s recommendation was to withdraw from the NDPHS, noting Canada’s limited engagement in NDPHS activities and overlap in programming with other key multilateral organizations that Canada is actively engaged with, including the World Health Organization; the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO; and UNAIDS.
Question No. 109--
Hon. Wayne Easter:
     With regard to the news release dated May 8, 2013, in which the Minister of National Revenue announced “new measures” to fight overseas tax evasion including “An additional $15 million in reallocated CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) funds that will be used to bring in new audit and compliance resources dedicated exclusively to international compliance issues and revenue collection identified as a result of measures outlined in Economic Action Plan 2013”: (a) what, specifically, are these “new audit and compliance resources”; (b) what is each projected to cost; and (c) from where, within the CRA, will the $15 million be “reallocated”?
Hon. Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay (Minister of National Revenue, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the additional $15 million over five years in reallocated Canada Revenue Agency, CRA, funds will be used to bring in new audit and compliance resources to address international compliance issues and revenue collection identified as a result of measures outlined in economic action plan, EAP, 2013. The new audit and compliance resources will be used to hire additional audit staff to target the high-risk workload and to counter international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. The new audit and compliance resources in respect of the additional $15 million in reallocated CRA funds, together with the $15 million that was announced in EAP 2013 in support of the electronic funds transfer measure, will be implemented over time as the EAP 2013 measures come into force.
    The new audit and compliance resources will complement the EAP measures to enable the CRA to more effectively address international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. Specifically, the new audit and compliance resources will be used to undertake the highest risk cases of international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance identified as a result of enhanced business intelligence tools, treaty exchanges, and other information sources; to pursue additional high risk international cases; and to fund other directly related program specific costs, such as appeals and revenue collection.
    These resources will be phased in over the course of the five-year period commencing within the next year.
    With regard to (b), as was mentioned in response to (a), as of the date of the question, new resources will be implemented over time as the EAP 2013 comes into force, phased in over a five-year period. As a result, the CRA is unable at this time to confirm the specific breakdown of the projected cost by audit and compliance resources beyond the $15 million figure cited.
    With regard to (c), the $15 million will be reallocated from within existing CRA funding as approved by Parliament and Treasury Board. It is a common practice to monitor spending across all programs and activities and, where operational efficiencies can be realized, to reallocate savings to high priority activities accordingly.
Question No. 111--
Hon. Ralph Goodale:
     With regard to the Privy Council Office, and to the following documents: the Information to Obtain a Production Order and a Sealing Order, made on June 24th, 2013 by Corporal Greg Horton of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa, Ontario, before Chantal Dominique Marie Lurette, a Commissioner for the Taking of Oaths in the Province of Ontario, in which he states he has reasonable grounds to believe and does believe that offences contrary to an Act of Parliament have been made by Michael Duffy; the statements made in the Senate by Senator Michael Duffy on October 22, 2013, and statements made to the press on October 21, 2013 in Ottawa by Donald Bayne, a lawyer of that city acting on behalf of Senator Duffy: (a) does the Access to Information Directorate of the Privy Council Office still conclude that no records exist with regard to Access to Information requests A-2013-00231, A-2013-00232, A-2013-00233, A-2013-00075, A-2013-00076, A-2013-00077, A-2013-00080, A-2013-00085, A-2013-00099, A-2013-00101, A-2013-00103, A-2013-00104, A-2013-00105, A-2013-00106, A-2013-00113, A-2013-00114, A-2013-00116, A-2013-00120, A-2013-00125, A-2013-00126, A-2013-00131, A-2013-00132, A-2013-00139, and A-2012-00751; (b) will the Directorate re-examine the handling of those requests in light of the new information outlined above; (c) did the Privy Council Office formerly hold records which would have satisfied one or more of those requests; (d) if so, were the records transferred, removed, or destroyed; (e) if transferred or removed, to whose custody or control were they transferred or removed; (f) if destroyed, when were they destroyed, on what date or dates was the destruction approved, and what is the file number of any order, instruction, directive, or authorization concerning their transfer, removal, or destruction?
Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office, PCO, offers non-partisan, objective policy advice and information to support the Prime Minister and cabinet. For more information on PCO’s mandate please visit pco.gc.ca.
     Subsection 4(1) of the Access to Information Act states:
    “Subject to this Act, but notwithstanding any other Act of Parliament, every person who is (a) a Canadian citizen, or (b) a permanent resident within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, has a right to and shall, on request, be given access to any record under the control of a government institution.”
    The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Canada (Information Commissioner) v. Canada (Minister of National Defence) clearly states that the Prime Minister’s Office and ministerial offices are not part of the “government institution” for which they are responsible, thus exempting these offices from the provisions of the Access to Information Act.
     PCO did not advise the Prime Minister on this matter. Therefore, it is not unexpected that records were not found within PCO with regard to access to information requests A-2013-00231, A-2013-00232, A-2013-00233, A-2013-00075, A-2013-00076, A-2013-00077, A-2013-00080, A-2013-00085, A-2013-00099, A-2013-00101, A-2013-00103, A-2013-00104, A-2013-00105, A-2013-00106, A-2013-00113, A-2013-00114, A-2013-00116, A-2013-00120, A-2013-00125, A-2013-00126, A-2013-00131, A-2013-00132, A-2013-00139, and A-2013-00751.
Question No. 112--
Hon. Ralph Goodale:
     With respect to Senate motions No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 seeking to suspend Senators Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin without pay: (a) was the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) or the Privy Council Office (PCO) consulted or involved in the drafting of the motions, and, if so, who was involved; (b) what are the details of the emails, briefing notes, reports or other documents that were prepared by, or provided to, the PMO or the PCO for the purpose, in whole or in part, of drafting the motions, specifically the titles or files or reference numbers of those documents; (c) what meetings have the PMO or the PCO had, or been involved in, regarding, in whole or in part, the motions; (d) who attended the meetings in (c); (e) what are the details of the emails, briefing notes, reports or other documents that were prepared for or provided, in whole or in part, at these meetings, specifically the titles or files or reference numbers of those documents?
Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office was not consulted or involved in the drafting of Senate motions No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4.
Question No. 113--
Hon. Ralph Goodale:
     With regard to contracts that have been entered into by the government, which require the other contracting party to provide “industrial regional benefits” or other similar offsets across the country, since January 1, 2006: (a) how many have there been; (b)what were the specific commitments made in each case; (c) what is their individual and cumulative dollar value; (d) in which provinces were each of the said benefits/offsets to accrue; and (e) in each case, to what extent have the commitments been honoured?
Hon. James Moore (Minister of Industry, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to contracts that have been entered into by the government that require the other contracting party to provide industrial regional benefits or other similar offsets across the country, since January 1, 2006, Industry Canada reports the following.
     In response to (a), the projects are listed on the Industrial Regional Benefits, IRB, website, www.ic.gc.ca/irb.
    In response to (b), in 54 of the contracts, the contractor’s IRB commitment is 100% of the contract value. In 2 contracts, the IRB commitment is 80% of the contract value.
     In response to (c), the IRB obligation value for these contracts is available on the IRB website, www.ic.gc.ca/irb.
     In response to (d), while there are IRB commitments and activities occurring in all provinces in Canada, provincial statistics are not tracked and reported.
     In response to (e), contractors report to Industry Canada annually on their IRB activities. All contractors are on track to meet their IRB obligations by the end of their contract.
Question No. 118--
Mr. Mathieu Ravignat:
     With regard to pensioners’ contributions to the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) for retired public servants: (a) does the government intend to double or increase plan premiums; (b) is it accurate to say that PSHCP contribution rates (as a percentage for the pensioner and the government) are the result of an agreement between these two parties and, if so (i) when was this decision made, (ii) what is the rationale for this possible increase, (iii) how will the government go about implementing it; (c) what real savings will result from this premium increase; and (d) have studies been carried out in this regard, (ii) what were the findings?
Hon. Tony Clement (President of the Treasury Board, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, budget 2013 identified the Government of Canada’s intention to continue to ensure that the public service is affordable, modern and high-performing. To help do this, the government also indicated that it would examine overall employee compensation and pensioner benefits. Discussions are under way on the public service health care plan in a forum that includes bargaining agents and the National Association of Federal Retirees to ensure that retiree health benefits remain financially sustainable and comparable with other private and public sector organizations. At this time, no specific decisions through this forum have been made.
Question No. 125--
Mr. Justin Trudeau:
    With regard to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office: (a) how many records exist regarding the letter of understanding between the Prime Minister’s former Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, and Senator Mike Duffy regarding the payment of $90,127 to cover Senator Duffy’s living expenses; and (b) what are the details of each record?
Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office, PCO, offers non-partisan, objective policy advice and information to support the Prime Minister and cabinet. For more information on PCO’s mandate please visit pco.gc.ca.
     The PCO has no records of information regarding a letter of understanding between the Prime Minister’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, and Senator Mike Duffy.
Question No. 126--
Mr. Justin Trudeau:
     With regard to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office, what are the details of the letter of understanding between the Prime Minister’s former Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, and Senator Mike Duffy regarding the payment of $90,127 to cover Senator Duffy’s living expenses?
Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office, PCO, offers non-partisan, objective policy advice and information to support the Prime Minister and cabinet. For more information on PCO’s mandate please visit pco.gc.ca.
    The PCO has no records of information regarding a letter of understanding between the Prime Minister’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, and Senator Mike Duffy.
Question No. 128--
Mr. Ryan Cleary:
     With regard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) what programs does the Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ (FFAW) union administer for DFO; (b) does the FFAW have any contracts with DFO; (c) does the FFAW administer the Dockside Monitoring Program for DFO; (d) does the FFAW receive any money for administering this contract; (e) does the FFAW administer the Stewardship Fisheries for DFO; and (f) does the FFAW receive money for administering this contract?
Hon. Gail Shea (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the FFAW delivers the cod sentinel survey; the fisheries science collaborative program, FSCP; and post-season snow crab pot surveys, the aquaculture impact on lobsters and crab in Connaigre Bay and Eastport lobster marine protected area.
    The FFAW applied for and received funding under the Atlantic lobster sustainability measures, ALSM, program and administers it on behalf of lobster harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador.
     With regard to (b), while these are not contracts, under the ALSM program, DFO and the FFAW signed contribution agreements. The remaining programs listed above are administered via contracts from DFO through PWGSC.
    With regard to (c), the FFAW does not administer the dockside monitoring program for DFO.
    With regard to (e), no, the FFAW does not administer any stewardship fisheries for DFO.
    With regard to (d) and (f), it is not applicable.
Question No. 135--
Ms. Libby Davies:
     With regard to the Respect for Communities Act: (a) how many of the following were consulted in the development of the legislation, (i) health care providers, (ii) front-line service providers, (iii) medical research professionals specializing in addictions treatment, (iv) medical research professionals specializing in concurrent mental health and addictions treatment, (v) police departments, (vi) police officers; (b) of the organizations mentioned in the answer to (a), who from each organization was involved; (c) over what time period did the consultations take place; (d) which ministries were involved in the development of the legislation; and (e) from those ministries listed in the answer to (d), who from each ministry was consulted?
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-2, the respect for communities act, was developed further to the 2011 Supreme Court of Canada decision regarding InSite.
    In this decision, the Supreme Court of Canada set out five factors that the Minister of Health must consider when assessing any future applications of this nature, including evidence, if any, of the impact of such a facility on crime rates; the local conditions indicating a need for such a supervised injection site; the regulatory structure in place to support the facility; the resources available to support its maintenance; and expressions of community support or opposition. Bill C-2 builds and expands upon these factors, setting out criteria that applicants would need to address when seeking an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for activities with illicit substances at a supervised consumption site.
    The proposed legislation was designed to allow for a range of stakeholders to provide their opinion on an exemption application for a specific supervised consumption site. For example, letters of opinion would be required from provincial/territorial ministers responsible for health and public safety, local government, the lead public health official in the province, and the head of the local police force.
     Individual Canadians would be engaged directly through the proposed authority to allow the Minister of Health to publicly post a notice of application regarding proposed supervised consumption sites. Once posted, members of the public would have 90 days to provide comments to the minister.
    Applicants would also have to provide a report of consultations with professional licensing authorities for physicians and nurses. The applicant would also have to consult community stakeholders and provide to the minister, among other things, a description of how any relevant stakeholder concerns would be addressed.
    By addressing the criteria set out in the proposed act, applicants would provide the Minister of Health with information needed to balance public health and public safety considerations in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when assessing such applications.
    In the development of the proposed legislation, Health Canada consulted with Public Safety Canada, Justice Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and central agencies.
Question No. 136--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     On what date and in what manner did the government receive a payment from Mike Duffy or his associates for expense claims?
Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office has no information regarding a payment from Senator Mike Duffy or his associates for expense claims. The Senate would have information about payments it has received.
Question No. 138--
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day:
     With regard to jobs in the public service between May 2011 and September 2013, broken down by department, located in the ridings of (i) Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier, (ii) Charlesbourg–Haute-Saint-Charles, (iii) Louis-Hébert, (iv) Louis-Saint-Laurent, (v) Québec, (vi) Beauport–Limoilou: (a) how many positions were cut; and (b) how many full-time and part-time employees were hired?
Mr. Rick Dykstra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the Public Service Commission does not collect data with respect to how many positions were cut in the federal government.
    With regard to (b), the commission’s information systems do not capture public service hiring information by federal riding.
Question No. 145--
Mr. Sean Casey:
     With regard to the Privy Council Office, and to the following documents: an e-mail, dated December 4, 2012, between Nigel Wright and Senator Duffy, tabled in the Senate on October 28, 2013 as Sessional Paper No. 2/41-112S; e-mail correspondence, dated February 11, 2013, between Senator Duffy and Nigel Wright, tabled in the Senate on October 28, 2013 as Sessional Paper No. 2/41-113S; an e-mail, dated May 15, 2013, between Senator Duffy and Chris Woodcock, referenced on the CBC News Network program “Power and Politics“ on October 28, 2013, and published on the program's Web site; and the statements made in the Senate by Senator Michael Duffy on October 28, 2013: (a) does the Access to Information Directorate of the Privy Council Office still conclude that no records exist with regard to Access to Information requests A-2013-00231, A-2013-00232, A-2013-00233, A-2013-00075, A-2013-00076, A-2013-00077, A-2013-00080, A-2013-00085, A-2013-00099, A-2013-00101, A-2013-00103, A-2013-00104, A-2013-00105, A-2013-00106, A-2013-00113, A-2013-00114, A-2013-00116, A-2013-00120, A-2013-00125, A-2013-00126, A-2013-00131, A-2013-00132, A-2013-00139, and A-2012-00751; (b) will the Directorate re-examine the handling of those requests in light of the new information outlined above; (c) did the Privy Council Office formerly hold records which would have satisfied one or more of those requests; (d) if so, were the records transferred, removed, or destroyed; (e) if transferred or removed, to whose custody or control were they transferred or removed; (f) if destroyed, when were they destroyed, on what date or dates was the destruction approved, and what is the file number of any order, instruction, directive, or authorization concerning their transfer, removal, or destruction?
Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office, PCO, offers non-partisan, objective policy advice and information to support the Prime Minister and Cabinet. For more information on PCO’s mandate, members may visit pco.gc.ca.
    Subsection 4(1) of the Access to Information Act states:
    Subject to this Act, but notwithstanding any other Act of Parliament, every person who is (a) a Canadian citizen, or (b) a permanent resident within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, has a right to and shall, on request, be given access to any record under the control of a government institution.
    The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Canada (Information Commissioner) v. Canada (Minister of National Defence) clearly states that the Prime Minister’s Office and ministerial offices are not part of the “government institution” for which they are responsible, thus exempting these offices from provisions of the Access to Information Act.
    PCO did not advise the Prime Minister on this matter. Therefore, it is not unexpected that records were not found within PCO with regard to Access to Information requests A-2013-00231, A-2013-00232, A-2013-00233, A-2013-00075, A-2013-00076, A-2013-00077, A-2013-00080, A-2013-00085, A-2013-00099, A-2013-00101, A-2013-00103, A-2013-00104, A-2013-00105, A-2013-00106, A-2013-00113, A-2013-00114, A-2013-00116, A-2013-00120, A-2013-00125, A-2013-00126, A-2013-00131, A-2013-00132, A-2013-00139, and A-2013-00751.
Question No. 147--
Mr. Guy Caron:
     With regard to the report by Caroline Desbiens, the lawyer mandated in June 2012 by the Minister of Transport to investigate the notices of objection to the proposal to repeal the Laurentian Pilotage Authority District No. 3 Regulations: (a) when is the report scheduled to be released; (b) which groups and individuals did Ms. Desbiens consult as part of her investigation; and (c) how many submissions or written notices have been sent to Ms. Desbiens?
Hon. Lisa Raitt (Minister of Transport, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Transport Canada is presently studying the report. The release date has not been established.
    With regard to (b), in the framework of the investigation, representatives from Transport Canada, the Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association, the Laurentian Pilotage Authority, the Agence Océanique du Bas-Saint-Laurent, the Agence Marine Montreal Inc., and other individuals were met with or reached by telephone.
    With regard to (c), Transport Canada did not submit any memorandum or written comments to Ms. Desbiens during the investigation.
Question No. 154--
Ms. Libby Davies:
    With regard to the letters that Health Canada mailed to over 40 000 participants in the current medical marihuana access program (MMAP), which disclosed their personal address information on an envelope marked as being from the MMAP: (a) what are the standard protocols governing the communication of changes to medical programs from Health Canada, and what laws or regulations govern these protocols; (b) which branch and department is responsible for mailing out correspondence about the MMAP; (c) how many full-time employees and managers were involved in communicating the MMAP changes in this mail-out; (d) what protocols are followed once a breach of privacy has occurred; (e) what were all of the steps taken when this MMAP privacy breach occurred in November 2013; (f) were the changes that were made to the MMAP subject to a privacy impact assessment; and (g) was that assessment reviewed with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner?
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Health Canada is governed by the same communications protocols as other government departments, including the communications policy of the Government of Canada and any directives and guidelines set forth by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, TBS.
    With regard to (b), typically correspondence with respect to the program is mailed out by the Bureau of Medical Cannabis, which is part of the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, or HECSB, of Health Canada. In the case of this mail-out, considering the volume of letters to be sent and the number of pages per envelope, Health Canada entered into a memorandum of agreement with Canada Post to conduct this mailing.
    With regard to (c), it is not possible to accurately quantify the number of people involved in the mail-out.
     With regard to (d), Health Canada has a comprehensive process that is followed in cases where a privacy breach may have occurred. When a possible breach is reported to the Access to Information and Privacy Division, ATIP, privacy and program officials work together to gather facts and assess next steps. In keeping with the TBS guidelines on privacy breaches and Health Canada’s own process, when the department assesses that a breach may have occurred, the principles of containment, notification, and mitigation are followed. Through this process a review of the incident and all associated events occurs.
    With regard to (e), although it has not been determined by the courts or by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the OPC, that this incident constitutes a privacy breach, Health Canada has taken the expressed privacy concerns very seriously. The department is taking steps to ensure this does not happen again. Given ongoing litigation and OPC investigation, Health Canada is not in a position to comment further.
    With regard to (f), Health Canada met with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner during the development of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, MMPR, to review the new framework. In addition, as part of the implementation of the new regime, a PIA process is in progress for the MMPR. Under the MMPR, Health Canada will no longer collect personal information on program participants, who now number over 37,000 Canadians, as it did under the old program. Instead, it will be in receipt of information from those applying to become licensed producers. The PIA is focused on ensuring adequate protection mechanisms for this type of data.
    With regard to (g), once the PIA process is complete as required by Treasury Board policy, the PIA will be submitted to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
Question No. 158--
Ms. Irene Mathyssen:
     With regard to occupation of the former Embassy of the United States of America, located directly across from Parliament Hill at 100 Wellington Street, and its annex at 128 Wellington Street, which are listed on the Treasury Board of Canada website as “fully occupied”: (a) by whom are the buildings occupied; (b) since when have they occupied the building and annex; (c) how long is the lease for the building and annex; and (d) for what purposes are they occupying the building and annex?
Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the 100 Wellington Street and the 128 Wellington Street buildings owned by the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada are vacant.
    With regard to (b), the buildings have been vacant since the late 1990s.
    With regard to (c), no lease exists.
    With regard to (d), no tenants occupy the buildings.
     Members should note that PWGSC is working with the Treasury Board Secretariat to correct the outdated information in the Directory of Federal Real Property.
Question No. 160--
Ms. Chris Charlton:
     With regard to the City of Hamilton's legal action against the government over the environmental assessment of the Red Hill Creek Expressway: (a) what is the amount of money spent by the government on this action to date; (b) what is the current status of the legal action; and (c) which documents filed with the court from either party can be accessed by the public and made available?
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), to the extent that the information that has been requested is protected by solicitor-client privilege, the federal crown asserts that privilege and, in this case, has waived that privilege only to the extent of revealing the total legal cost.
    The total legal cost is approximately $2,390,600.61.
    With regard to (b), this action is currently at the oral discovery stage. The plaintiffs have completed examinations for discovery of 11 defendants.
     With regard to (c), all documents filed with the court are accessible by the public.
Question No. 163--
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:
     With regard to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act (CATSA): (a) how many aerodromes have submitted a request to be added to the schedule of the CATSA Aerodrome Designation Regulations since 2002, broken down by year; (b) which aerodromes have submitted a request to be added to the schedule of the CATSA Aerodrome Designation Regulations since 2002, broken down by year; (c) what criteria must be met for an aerodrome to be added to the schedule of the CATSA Aerodrome Designation Regulations; and (d) since 2002, have there been any changes to the criteria for assessing a request to be added to the schedule of the CATSA Aerodrome Designation Regulations and, if so, (i) what criteria have been added, (ii) what criteria have been removed?
Hon. Lisa Raitt (Minister of Transport, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), since 2002 there have been 12 requests for aerodromes to be added to the schedule of the CATSA Aerodrome Designation Regulations, most within the last two years. It should be noted that some of these requests were submitted by municipalities or others on behalf of an aerodrome.
    With regard to (b), the aerodromes in question are as follows: Mont Tremblant, Québec, in 2004; Red Deer, Alberta, in 2004; Puvirnituq, Québec, in 2009-2013; Trois-Rivières, Québec, in 2009-2011; Schefferville, Québec, in 2012; St. Catharines, Niagara District, Ontario, in 2012-2013; Bromont, Québec, in 2013; Cold Lake, Alberta, in 2013; Dawson City Airport, Yukon, in 2013; Edson, Alberta, in 2013; Sherbrooke, Québec, in 2013; and Northern Rockies Regional Airport, Fort Nelson, B.C, in 2013.
    With regard to (c), Transport Canada’s security risk methodology is used to determine whether CATSA screening is required at a Canadian airport through the assessment of various criteria including, but not limited to, passenger volumes and threat information. Together the criteria capture the overall risk environment at a particular airport. For security reasons, Transport Canada does not discuss the specific criteria used in the risk assessment.
    With regard to (d), the security risk methodology was established in 2005. There have been no changes to the criteria since that time.
Question No. 164--
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc:
     With regard to the $14 million referred to by Mr. Terrance McAuley, Assistant Commissioner, Compliance Programs Branch, Canada Revenue Agency, in the following comments made at the February 5, 2013, meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on the case of Canadians with secret bank accounts in Liechtenstein, “That project is virtually complete now… We have gone through the list and we have conducted 47 audits and identified $22.4 million in outstanding tax from a base of approximately $100 million in raw assets. From that, we are now in the process… we have finished collecting approximately $8 million of that. With respect to the balance, roughly $14 million is currently before the courts.”: (a) how many cases does that represent; (b) how many of these assessments were appealed; (c) what are the dates when each appeal was filed; and (d) in what courts were these appeals filed?
Hon. Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay (Minister of National Revenue, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, during a study of tax evasion and the use of tax havens at the February 5, 2013, meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, the following question was put:
    “I understand Project Jade was the ability of the CRA to go after those who came out of the Liechtenstein tax evasion situation in 2008. Apparently, 106 Canadians were involved. It was expected that millions of dollars in back taxes and penalties would result. Could you update us on what happened with respect to that?”
    This question prompted the reply cited in written question Q-164.
    Through its objection process, the CRA provides a fair and impartial administrative process for resolving disputes between taxpayers and the CRA. Filing a notice of objection is the first step in the process of resolving a dispute between a taxpayer and the CRA. If a taxpayer does not agree with the CRA’s decision resulting from a notice of objection, a further appeal can be brought to the Tax Court of Canada, the TCC. The TCC is an independent court of law that regularly conducts hearings in major centres across Canada.
    With regard to parts (a) and (b), members should please note that the stated amount of “roughly $14 million” refers to matters being considered under dispute resolution processes, which include cases under the objection process as well as cases before the court.
    With respect to Project Jade, as of December 4, 2013--i.e., the date of the question--eleven taxpayers have filed objections with the CRA, i.e., its administrative process. Of these, the CRA has reviewed and resolved the objections of ten taxpayers. The objections of one taxpayer are currently under review.
    With respect to the appeal process, as of December 4, 2013--i.e., the date of the question--one taxpayer has filed an appeal with the court.
    With regard to (c), it is possible for taxpayers to each file more than one objection. For example, one could be filed for each tax year assessed. For the eleven taxpayers referred to in part (b), 19 objections in all were filed between May 2009 and March 2013.
    With respect to appeals before the court, court records are a matter of public record and are available for consultation by the public. However, confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act limit the information the CRA can provide when the release of that information might lead, either directly or indirectly, to the identification of a taxpayer. With respect to the appeal in court mentioned in part (b), providing the exact date the appeal was filed could indirectly lead to the identification of the taxpayer involved with Project Jade; therefore, the CRA is unable to respond in the manner requested.
    With regard to part (d), the objections referred to in parts (b) and (c) were filed with the CRA.
    The appeal referred to in parts (b) and (c) was filed with the Tax Court of Canada, the TCC. The date the taxpayer’s appeal will be heard will be determined by the TCC in due time.
Question No. 165--
Mr. Scott Simms:
     With regard to (41-2) Q-42, (41-1) Q-1057, and all other Order Paper questions in the 41st Parliament that the government has only partially answered or not answered at all, for the government as a whole and broken down by department: (a) in terms of staff time required to answer a question, does the government consider the following numbers of hours to be higher than the number beyond which it will refuse to answer a question: (i) 1-40 hours, (ii) 41-80 hours, (iii) 81-120 hours, (iv) 121-160 hours, (v) 161-200 hours, (vi) 201-300 hours, (vii) 301-500 hours, (viii) 501-1000 hours, (ix) 1001-2000 hours, (x) 2001-5000 hours, (xi) 5001-10000 hours, (xii) 10001-20000 hours, (xiii) more than 20000 hours; (b) in terms of cost expended to answer a question, does the government consider the following costs to be higher than the number beyond which it will refuse to answer a question: (i) $1-$100, (ii) $101-$500, (iii) $501-$1,000, (iv) $1,001-$1,500, (v) $1,501-$2,000, (vi) $2,001-$2,500, (vii) $2,501-$3,000, (viii) $3,001-$3,500, (ix) $3,501- $4,000, (x) $4,001-$5,000, (xi) $5,001-$7,500, (xii) $7,501-$10,000, (xiii) $10,001-$20,000, (xiv) $20,001-$50,000, (xv) $50,001-$100,000, (xvi) $100,001-$500,000, (xvii) $500,001-$1,000,000, and (xviii) more than $1,000,000; (c) for each Order Paper question that the government has only partially answered or not answered at all, (i) what was the anticipated cost in staff time and money, (ii) by how much did this exceed the tolerance for answering the question in time and money; and (d) for each Order Paper question that the government has only partially answered or not answered at all, (i) how many days did it take for the government to conclude the question could not or could only partially be answered, (ii) how many days prior to the answer being tabled in the House was this conclusion reached?
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the preamble to the question as well as the preambles to parts (c) and (d), the government has responded to all questions placed on the order paper during the 41st Parliament with the exception of questions on the order paper when the House adjourned in December 2013, questions withdrawn by the member who asked the question, and questions on the order paper at the time of the prorogation of the first session.
    If a member designates a question as a priority question, the government’s time period to produce a response is limited to 45 days. Except as noted earlier, the government has provided a response on or before this 45-day deadline to every such priority question.
    With respect to parts (a) and (b), the government has not refused to answer any questions on the order paper. A response has been provided to each question, subject to the limited exceptions noted earlier.
    Extensive manual searches, tabulations, and organization of information, which would divert a number of public servants away from their primary responsibilities, are sometimes required for preparing a comprehensive response to a question. If this is required, it may be determined that preparing a comprehensive response to a question, or some part of it, is not feasible. Such a determination is made in view of the resources then available, rather than applying an arbitrary threshold of time estimated for, or cost associated with, preparing a comprehensive response.
    Ministers remain responsible for the content of responses that they sign or that their Ministers of State or parliamentary secretaries sign on their behalf.
    With respect to parts (c) and (d), and despite the earlier response with respect to the preambles to those parts, from the opening of the 41st Parliament until December 10, 2013, Members of the House of Commons have posed some 1,662 written questions, including many questions which each contain dozens of parts or sub-questions. An extensive manual review of each response provided by the Government, together with the processes associated with preparing each response, would be required to provide a comprehensive response in the present case; such reviews are not feasible given the 45-day limit placed on responding to this question.
Question No. 166--
Mr. Scott Simms:
     With regard to the snowmobile protests that took place in Terra Nova National Park between January 2010 and December 2011 and all events and circumstances related to these protests, what are the details of all ministerial correspondence, letters, emails, internal recommendations, internal correspondence, internal action plans, briefing notes, or other written material pertaining to these events, including those relating to any related Access to Information requests?
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, a breakdown of all ministerial correspondence, letters, emails, internal recommendations, internal correspondence, internal action plans, briefing notes, and other written material pertaining to the snowmobile protests that took place in Terra Nova National Park between January 2010 and December 2011 is as follows:
    Briefing notes, 15; emails, 417; internal action plans, 20; internal recommendations, 3; ministerial correspondence, 22; letter, 1; and other written material, 23.
Question No. 167--
Mr. Denis Blanchette:
     With regard to the legal action taken by the 2005 government against Canadian National (CN) about respecting agreements for maintaining the Quebec Bridge, which has since split into two lawsuits: (a) what were the legal costs, broken down by year, for both lawsuits from 2005 to today; (b) what portion of the amount spent on legal fees for these lawsuits was spent on accommodation, travel and meals; (c) what firms are defending or have defended the government in these two lawsuits against CN; (d) what is the average hourly rate charged by the firms representing the government during the CN lawsuits; (e) what is the total number of hours billed to the government between 2005 and today, broken down by year; and (f) what are the projected annual budgets in the years ahead for the lawsuits against CN?
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a) and (b), to the extent that the information that has been requested is protected by solicitor-client privilege, the federal crown asserts that privilege and, in this case, has waived that privilege only to the extent of revealing the total legal cost.
    The total legal cost is approximately $381,792.94.
    With regard to (c) through (e), a legal agent was not retained to represent the interests of Her Majesty the Queen.
    With regard to (f), no formal budget has been established.
Question No. 168--
Ms. Yvonne Jones :
     With regard to National Defence, what are the details of the projects which will be funded by the $107 million which has been allocated for planned investments in infrastructure at 5 Wing Goose Bay, as referred to in the government’s response to Q-61 in the current session of Parliament?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, on June 4, 2013, the former Associate Minister of National Defence spoke about $407 million in investments at 5 Wing Goose Bay, which included approximately $107 million that was spent or has been allocated for planned investments in infrastructure at 5 Wing Goose Bay. The details of the investments are as follows: central heating plant maintenance, aerodrome main ramp repairs, Hangar 8 repairs, building repairs to replace windows and roofs, infrastructure maintenance to various building and taxiways, conversion of the residential housing units’ heating system from steam to electric heating, and minor projects such as providing a Canex refrigeration system and doors for Hangar 7.
Question No. 169--
Mr. Jean Rousseau:
     With regard to the Canadian Initiative for the Economic Diversification of Communities Reliant on Chrysotile: (a) how many private businesses have applied for repayable loans to date and what are these businesses; (b) what are the amounts of the repayable loans extended to private businesses to date, broken down by business; (c) how many business support organizations have applied for grants to date and what are these organizations; (d) what are the amounts granted to business support organizations to date, broken down by business support organization; (e) how many non-profit organizations have applied for grants to date and what are these organizations; (f) what are the amounts granted to non-profit organizations to date, broken down by organization; (g) how many municipalities and RCMs have applied for grants to date and what are these municipalities and RCMs; and (h) what are the amounts granted to municipalities and RCMs to date, broken down by municipality and RCM?
Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian initiative for the economic diversification of communities reliant on chrysotile was launched on June 13, 2013.
    In effect until March 31, 2020, with a budget of $50 million over the next seven years, the Canadian initiative for the economic diversification of communities reliant on chrysotile aims to help communities and businesses in the Des Sources and Des Appalaches regional county municipalities, or RCMs, make the transition to new economic activities, particularly in the secondary and tertiary sectors.
    Managed by the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec through its Quebec economic development program, this initiative builds on the priorities stated in the Government of Canada’s budget 2013, including investing in communities.
    With regard to parts (a) and (b), between June 13, 2013, and December 5, 2013, the agency received seven applications for contributions from private businesses as part of the Canadian initiative for the economic diversification of communities reliant on chrysotile. As of December 5, 2013, the agency has granted three contributions for a total amount of $338,500. The names of the businesses that applied for loans could be considered third party information under the Access to Information Act. As no third party was consulted, the agency will not release that information. Since the agency adheres to the rules and principles governing government grants and contributions outlined in the Treasury Board policy on transfer payments, it will proactively disclose the names of the businesses that received a contribution and the amount awarded on its website at the following address: http://www.dec-ced.gc.ca/eng/disclosure/grant-contribution-awards/index.html.
    With regard to parts (c) through (h), as of December 5, 2013, the agency did not receive any application for contributions from business support organizations, from non-profit organizations, or from municipalities and regional county municipalities as part of the Canadian initiative for the economic diversification of communities reliant on chrysotile.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

     Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 100, 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 110, 115, 116, 117, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 127, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 137, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 146, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 155, 156, 157, 159, 161, 162 and 170 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 100--
Hon. Hedy Fry:
     With regard to funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees the government issued through its various departments and agencies in the areas with postal codes beginning in V6B, V6E, V6G, V6J, V5Y, V5Z, V6A, V7Y, V6H, V6Z, V6C, V7X and V5T for the period of January 24, 2006, to May 27, 2013, inclusive, what funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees has the government issued and, in each case, where applicable, (i) what was the program under which the payment was made, (ii) what were the names of the recipients, (iii) what was the monetary value of the payment made, (iv) what was the percentage of program funding covered by the payment received?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 101--
Hon. Hedy Fry:
     With regard to Marchese Hospital Solutions’ (MHS) communications with Health Canada (HC) from January 1, 2010, to May 15, 2013: (a) on what dates did HC receive any form of communication from MHS; (b) what was the subject-matter of each form of communication; (c) did HC respond to each form of communication received; and (d) did MHS request to be regulated by HC?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 103--
Hon. Hedy Fry:
     With regard to the Federal Framework on Suicide Prevention: (a) what actions has the government taken to implement this framework; (b) what groups and organizations have made submissions to Health Canada (HC) or the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC); (c) has HC or the PHAC invited any groups, individuals or organizations to make submissions; (d) what is the department’s timeline to implement the framework; (e) will there be public consultations on the framework and, if so, when will they be held; and (f) what are the departments or agencies involved in the development of the framework?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 104--
Hon. Wayne Easter:
     With regard to imprisonment for life: (a) what offences in the Criminal Code allow for imprisonment for life; (b) how many individuals have been charged with an offence carrying with it a sentence of imprisonment for life, for each of the last ten years, broken down by province and offence; (c) for the individuals charged in (b), how many were convicted; (d) for the individuals in (c), how many received a sentence of life imprisonment; (e) how many individuals in Canada are serving a sentence of “imprisonment for life” and broken down by province and offence, (i) in what year were they sentenced, (ii) how many have been designated as dangerous offenders, (iii) of those designated in (ii), how many have received parole in the last 20 years, broken down by year, (iv) of those designated in (iii), how many have reoffended while on parole; (f) how many prisoners serving a sentence of imprisonment for life applied for parole and how many of them received parole, broken down by year, for the last 20 years; (g) what is the percentage of prisoners sentenced to life whose parole is approved, broken down by year, for the last 25 years, (i) of those sentenced to life, what type of parole was granted, (ii) of the breakdown in (i), how many committed an offence, (iii) what is the recidivism rate of those sentenced for life who are granted parole; (h) what is the percentage of prisoners not sentenced to life whose parole was approved, broken down by year, for the last 25 years, (i) of those not sentenced to life, what type of parole was granted, (ii) of the breakdown in (i), how many committed an offence, (iii) what is the recidivism rate of those not sentenced for life who are granted parole; (i) is there evidence to demonstrate that offenders sentenced to life and granted parole are more likely to reoffend while on parole than offenders not sentenced to life who are granted parole, (i) what evidence has the government sought in relation to this question, (ii) on what dates; (j) what studies has the government undertaken with respect to life imprisonment; (k) is there evidence to suggest that dangerous offender legislation is ineffective, (i) what evidence has the government sought in relation this question, (ii) on what dates; (l) what studies has the government undertaken with respect to dangerous offenders; (m) what evidence has the government sought in relation to assessing the effectiveness of parole; (n) what studies has the government undertaken in relation to assessing the effectiveness of parole; (o) what studies have been undertaken with regard to what effect eliminating imprisonment for life would have on prison violence, (i) on what dates, (ii) with what result; (p) what studies have been undertaken with regard to what effect eliminating imprisonment for life would have on prison overcrowding, (i) on what dates, (ii) with what result; (q) what evidence has the government sought in determining that eliminating imprisonment for life would improve public safety; (r) what studies have been undertaken as to whether removing parole for those imprisoned for life would serve as a deterrent; (s) is there any evidence to suggest that removing parole for those imprisoned for life would serve as a deterrent to criminal activity; (t) has the government assessed the cost of removing parole for those imprisoned for life, if so, what (i) are the figures for each of the next ten years, broken down by province and year, (ii) is the information as to how these figures were assessed; and (u) has the government assessed whether removing the possibility of parole for those sentenced to life would result in any increased cost to the provinces, and if so, (i) to what extent, broken down by province and territory, (ii) for what purpose(s), (iii) were the provinces consulted in this regard, (iv) if so, when and by whom?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 105--
Hon. Judy Sgro:
    With regard to the use of Minister’s Permits by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, how many Minister’s Permits were issued each year from 2006 to 2013?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 106--
Hon. Judy Sgro:
     With regard to government grants, contributions and loans made between fiscal years 2007-2008 and 2011-2012 inclusive to organizations or businesses located in the postal Forward Sortation Areas M8X, M9A, M9B, M9C, M9P, and M9R, what are the details of such funding, including (i) funding program, (ii) date of funding or contribution agreement, (iii) total funding amount, (iv) recipient, (v) nature or purpose of the funding?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 107--
Mr. Scott Simms:
     With regard to government communications, what were the costs of transmitting each of the following press releases using Marketwire (or Marketwired) or Canada NewsWire: (a) “Harper Government continues to engage industry on the Canadian surface combatant project”, issued by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) on March 8, 2013; (b) “Harper Government Invests in Canadian entrepreneurial business in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec”, issued by PWGSC on March 15, 2013; (c) “Harper Government kick-starts entrepreneurial and innovative business in Beaconsfield, Quebec”, issued by PWGSC on March 18, 2013; (d) “Harper Government's ship strategy bolstering Canada's economy”, issued by PWGSC on March 7, 2013; (e) “National Fighter Procurement Secretariat awards contract for next independent cost review”, issued by PWGSC on March 11, 2013; (f) “Work progresses on Harper Government's evaluation of options to replace Canada's CF-18s”, issued by PWGSC on March 3, 2013; (g) “Harper Government and Wounded Warriors Canada Continue to Work Together in Support of the Vancouver Homeless Veterans Project”, issued by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) on March 11, 2013; (h) “Harper Government Commends Queen's University for Offering Priority Hiring to Veterans”, issued by VAC on February 27, 2013; (i) “Harper Government Marks the End of the Italian Campaign”, issued by VAC on February 22, 2013; and (j) “Harper Government Announces Funding to Support Brain Research”, issued by Health Canada on May 3, 2012?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 110--
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay:
     With regard to the consolidation of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' library system, for each of the following locations, (i) the St. Andrews Biological Station, St. Andrews, N.B., (ii) the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre, St. John’s, Nfld., (iii) the Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, B.C., (iv) the Pacific Region Headquarters Library, Vancouver, B.C., (v) the Eric Marshall Aquatic Research Library, Winnipeg, Man., (vi), the Maurice Lamontagne Institute Library, Mont-Joli, Que., (vii) the Mère Juliette Library of the Gulf Fisheries Centre, Moncton, N.B.: (a) how many items from the library’s collection have been retained for consolidation in another regional library; (b) how many items have been (i) deposited in other federal government collections, specifying which collections, (ii) offered to libraries outside the federal government, specifying which libraries and how many have been accepted, (iii) sold, (iv) discarded; (c) for each location, how many items have been digitized, distinguishing government of Canada publications, other government publications and items other than government publications; (d) for each location, what have been the costs associated with discarding surplus items; and (e) what are the file numbers of any contracts or invoices for the removal and disposition of discarded material?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 115--
Hon. Carolyn Bennett:
     With regard to First Nations education: (a) how many First Nations elementary and secondary schools received Instructional Services funding or band-operated funding formulae by the department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013; (b) what is the total amount of Instructional Services funding allocated nationally and by region for each year; (c) what is the methodology utilized to ensure that allocations under the formula respond to actual costs incurred by First Nations schools; (d) how many teachers and teacher aides in First Nations schools were funded, nationally and by region, by the Instructional Services formula; (e) what is the average salary, nationally and by regional breakdown, for teachers and teacher aides in First Nations schools for each year; (f) how are employee benefits for teachers and teacher aides calculated, (i) how much was allocated to employee benefits for teachers and teacher aides, nationally and regionally, from the Instructional Services formula from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013, (ii) how much was allocated to employee benefits for teachers and teacher aides from the Band Employee Benefits program, nationally and regionally, from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013, (iii) how does the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development ensure that benefit amounts available for First Nations to pay teachers and teacher aides are comparable to those benefits available for teachers in provincial schools; (g) how much of the Instructional Services budget is comprised of salaries for teachers and teacher aides; (h) what was the total nominal roll (number of funded students attending First Nations schools and provincial schools but “normally resident on reserve”) nationally and by region for each year from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013; (i) what is the total number of First Nations students ordinarily resident on reserve, age 6-18, who do not appear on the nominal roll; (j) what was the total national allocation to First Nations schools for the following targeted (proposal-based) programs from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013, (i) New Paths, (ii) Parental and Community Engagement, (iii) Teacher Recruitment and Retention, (iv) First Nations SchoolNet; (k) for each program listed in (j), how many recipients were funded; (l) for each program listed in (j), how many First Nations schools belong to the recipient organization; (m) how many recipients of the First Nations Student Success Program were funded and how much funding went directly to a First Nations school; (n) how many recipients of the Education Partnerships Program were funded and how much of the funding went directly into a First Nations school; (o) how many students recipient of the Special Education Program were funded, nationally and regionally, and how many eligible students for the Special Education Program were not funded; (p) how many program applicants of the Indian Studies Support Program were funded, nationally and regionally and how many programs were funded in colleges, universities, First Nations post-secondary institutions and First Nations organizations; (q) for each targeted program (proposal based) listed in (j), (m) and (n) above, how much was allocated internally for departmental use from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013; (r) what was the total amount billed by each province for the education of First Nations students “ordinarily resident on reserve” each year from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013; (s) what are all the required services provincial governments are obliged to provide First Nations students ordinarily resident on reserve in exchange for the government paying the bill for the services; (t) what conditions are put in place to ensure First Nations students ordinarily resident on reserve but attending provincial schools receive instruction in their languages and reflecting their cultures; (u) how does the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development assess programs and services provided by provincial schools for First Nations students ordinarily resident on reserve; (v) what are the federal accountability standards placed on provincial schools for programs and services provided to First Nations students ordinarily resident on reserve; (w) how many First Nations students accessed funding under the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) regionally and nationally for each year from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013; (x) what were the national transfers to First Nations for each year from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013; (y) how many eligible students were not able to access the PSSSP funds from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013; (z) how much was allocated internally to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development; (aa) what was the national and regional allocation for the University College Entrance Program for each year from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013; (bb) how many students were funded for each year from 2006-2007 to 2012-2013, nationally and regionally; and (cc) what is the total value of the contract numbered #9200-07-0040/04 done by KPMG for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to study education funding on reserve, (i) how were First Nations consulted in the preparation of KPMG’s resulting report, (ii) how is KPMG’s report being utilized by the Department to improve education funding for First Nations schools, (iii) when will the KPMG report be shared with First Nations, (iv) when will the KPMG report be shared with Parliament, (v) what are the results of the KPMG report?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 116--
Hon. Carolyn Bennett:
     With regard to human trafficking in Canada and the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking: (a) how many individuals were charged with human trafficking, specific offences under sections 279.01, 279.011, 279.02, and 279.03 of the Criminal Code from January 2005 to February 2012 and, in each case, what was the person charged with; (b) how many convictions were there of human trafficking specific offences under sections 279.1, 279.011, 279.02, and 279.03 of the Criminal Code from January 2005 to February 2012 and, in each case, (i) what was the person convicted of, (ii) what was the sentence, (iii) what other offences (if any) in the Criminal Code was the person charged with, (iv) what other offences, if any, in the Criminal Code was the person convicted of, (v) what was the sentence for each conviction for offences in the Criminal Code; (c) was there consultation done with stakeholders, non-governmental organizations or other interest groups in the development of the government’s National Action Plan to combat Human Trafficking and, if yes, (i) with which stakeholders, non-governmental organizations or other interest groups, (ii) did the stakeholders, non-governmental organization or other interest groups make recommendations to the government, (iii) what were these recommendations, broken down by each stakeholder, non-governmental organization or other interest group, (iv) which recommendations did the government incorporate into the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, (v) which recommendations did the government not incorporate into the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and why were they not incorporated; (d) what metrics will the government use to evaluate the effectiveness of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and who developed these metrics; (e) what are the metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the Human Trafficking Taskforce led by Public Safety Canada and who developed these metrics; (f) are there reporting mechanisms in place to report on the effectiveness of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and, if yes, (i) what are these reporting mechanisms, (ii) when is the first report expected, (iii) how often will reports be made, (iv) will these reports be made available to the public and, if not, why not; and (g) are there reporting mechanisms in place to report on the effectiveness of the Human Trafficking Taskforce led by Public Safety Canada and, if yes, (i) what are these reporting mechanisms, (ii) when is the first report expected, (iii) how often will reports be made, (iv) will these reports be made available to the public and, if not, why not?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 117--
Mr. Sean Casey:
     With regard to government institutions within the meaning of the Access to Information Act, for each fiscal year from 2006-2007 to 2013-2014 inclusive, what was or is the budget and total employment, distinguishing full-time and part-time employees, for the Division, Directorate, Office, Secretariat, or other like organization within that institution who are responsible for processing Access to Information requests?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 120--
Mr. David McGuinty:
    With respect to the Canada Revenue Agency lawyers: (a) how many were employed for each of the years 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; and (b) how many were working as tax prosecutors for each of the years in (a)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 121--
Mr. Ted Hsu:
     With regard to the implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): (a) what steps has Canada undertaken to complete an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with the United States; (b) with what type of legal instrument will the government enact a FATCA implementation agreement; (c) will the government bring an IGA before Parliament and, if so, in what form; (d) what steps are in place to ensure parliamentary review of an IGA; (e) what studies have been undertaken as to whether an IGA can be implemented as an interpretation of the existing double tax treaty; (f) in what ways will the government involve Parliament in any process to amend interpretation of the double taxation treaty; (g) who is involved in the process indicated in (a); (h) by what criteria is the government evaluating any proposed IGA with the US; (i) who established the criteria in (h), (i) on what date, (ii) under what authority; (j) is a draft IGA currently being negotiated, and if so, what is the status of said negotiations; (k) when will the draft IGA be made public; (l) will the public be consulted for input on any agreement, and if so, by what means; (m) with which specific individuals and groups did the Minister of National Revenue consult regarding FATCA, and on what dates; (n) with which specific individuals and groups did the Minister of National Revenue consult regarding any IGA, and on what dates; (o) with which specific individuals and groups did the Minister of Finance consult regarding FATCA, and on what dates; (p) with which specific individuals and groups did the Minister of Finance consult regarding any IGA, and on what dates; (q) what studies and analyses has the Department of Finance undertaken with respect to FATCA; (r) what studies and analyses has the Department of National Revenue undertaken with respect to FATCA; (s) what analyses and studies have been undertaken as to whether the proposed FATCA regime constitutes an override of the existing double tax convention; (t) what were the conclusions of the studies in (s); (u) what steps is the government taking to ensure that, as a result of FATCA or an IGA, the US will not be allowed to impose higher taxes on Canadian persons than those agreed under the current convention; (v) what studies and analyses have been undertaken to determine whether Canadian citizens and residents are or will be denied financial services in Canada owing to US tax law in general and FATCA in particular; (w) what are the conclusions or recommendations of the studies in (v); (x) what mechanisms are in place to ensure that Canadian citizens and residents are not and will not be denied financial services in Canada owing to US tax law in general and FATCA in particular; (y) what measures will be taken to remedy denial of services to Canadians as a result of FATCA; (z) what studies and analyses will be undertaken to assess FATCA’s impact on the availability of TFSAs and RESPs for dual US-Canada citizens; (aa) what are the conclusions of any studies in (z); (bb) what analyses and studies have been undertaken regarding whether the US definition of “resident” for tax purposes, and its impact on Canadians with dual status, is compatible with Canadian law, including the Charter of Rights and freedoms; (cc) what analyses and studies have been undertaken regarding whether the US definition of “resident” for tax purposes, and its impact on Canadians with dual status, as will be enforced by FATCA or by an IGA, is compatible with Canadian law and, in particular, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; (dd) what analyses and studies have been conducted with respect to FATCA's consequences upon Canadians who believed their US Citizenship had been relinquished; (ee) with respect to the studies referenced in (dd), what particular efforts has the government undertaken to ensure no violation of a Canadian's charter right would be occasioned by implementing FATCA or an IGA; (ff) what studies and analyses have been undertaken regarding the likely cost of FATCA implementation to (i) Canadian private institutions, (ii) Canadian individuals, (iii) the government; (gg) how were the figures in (ff) arrived at, by whom, when, and in consultation with whom; (hh) what studies and analyses have been undertaken as to whether the likely cost of FATCA implementation to Canadian private institutions, Canadian individuals, and the government will be offset by the receipt of reciprocal tax information and Canadian tax law enforcement by the US; (ii) what analyses and studies have been undertaken as to whether the likely costs and benefits described in (ff) and (hh) are likely to be greater, lesser, or the same as under the current tax-information-sharing relationship with the US; (jj) what agencies, boards, tribunals, or commissions of the government have studied, interpreted, analyzed, or commented upon FATCA, (i) to what extent, (ii) on what dates, (iii) with what conclusion(s); (kk) what specific steps has the government taken to assess the privacy implications of FACTA; (ll) on what dates and with respect to what topics has the government met with the Privacy Commissioner to discuss FATCA or the effect of any IGA; (mm) broken down by province or territory, (i) on which dates and (ii) with what individuals in the provincial and territorial governments did the government consult on the subject of FATCA; (nn) broken down by province or territory, (i) on which dates and (ii) with what individuals in the provincial and territorial governments did the government consult on the subject of any IGA; (oo) does the government have the support of every province and territory with respect to any proposed implementation of FATCA, and what evidence does the government have that this support exists; (pp) has the Department of Justice developed any policy relative to the implementation of an IGA and, if so, (i) how was it developed, (ii) in consultation with whom, (iii) to whom was it provided, (iv) who requested it, (v) what were its findings, conclusions, and recommendations; (qq) how will the government monitor and enforce compliance by Canadian institutions with FATCA requirements; (rr) how will the government monitor and enforce regulatory oversight of the bank due-diligence efforts required by FATCA and its implementation, including (i) by whom (ii) how, (iii) using what standards such efforts will be evaluated; (ss) what penalties exist and what penalties does the government intend to establish for failure to adhere to standards indicated in (rr); (tt) has the Department of Justice or the Department of Revenue developed any legislation or guidance relative to the implementation of an IGA or FATCA and, if so (i) how was it developed, (ii) in consultation with whom, (iii) to whom was it provided, (iv) who requested it, (v) what were its findings, conclusions, and recommendations; (uu) has the Department of Justice reviewed any proposed legislation relative to the implementation of an IGA; (vv) with what individuals or groups has the Department of Justice consulted relative to the implementation of FATCA; (ww), what steps have been undertaken to assess regulatory changes to federal institutions at the provincial and territorial level that would be required as a result of FATCA or any IGA; (xx) what steps has the Canada Revenue Agency taken with regard to developing or implementing FATCA or any IGA; (yy) what tax information does the Canada Revenue agency currently share with the US, (i) when, (ii) under what circumstances, (iii) in what form; (zz) has the government assessed whether FATCA and its implementation would require changes to the ways in which tax information is currently shared with the US; (aaa) what has the government sought, or does the government plan to seek from the US, in terms of reciprocal information sharing as a result of the FATCA or IGA negotiations, and what is the current status of negotiations on this point; (bbb) what measures are in place to ensure that no privacy laws or policies are violated in any transfer of information contemplated in (aaa); and (ccc) by what process(es) and on what dates will any IGA and its enacting legislation be vetted for compliance with the (i) Constitution Act, 1867, (ii) Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, (iii) Canadian Bill of Rights?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 122--
Mr. Kennedy Stewart:
     With regard to scientific research and the communications policies of Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the National Research Council of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, for each of these departments or agencies during the years (i) 2000, (ii) 2001, (iii) 2002, (iv) 2003, (v) 2004, (vi) 2005, (vii) 2006, (viii) 2007, (ix) 2008, (x) 2009, (xi) 2010, (xii) 2011, (xiii) 2012, and (xiv) 2013: (a) how many total media inquiries were received; (b) how many total media inquiries were completed; (c) how many media inquiries relating to scientific issues were received; (d) how many media inquiries relating to scientific issues were completed; (e) how many media inquiries relating to scientific issues were completed within 24 hours of the initial request; (f) how many media requests for an interview with scientists were received; (g) how many media requests for an interview with scientists were denied by or did not receive approval from communications, media relations, or ministerial staff; (h) how many media requests for an interview with scientists were instead responded to by communications, media relations, or ministerial staff; (i) how many media interviews were given directly by scientists; (j) prior to how many media interviews in (i) were scientists required, instructed, or asked to use prepared responses or approved lines; (k) prior to how many media interviews in (i) were scientists required, instructed, or asked by communications, media relations, or ministerial staff to omit scientific information; (l) how many media interviews in (i) were also attended, observed, or recorded by communications, media relations, or ministerial staff; and (m) how many media interviews in (i) were completed within the requested deadline of the inquiring journalists?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 123--
Mr. Kennedy Stewart:
     With regard to the subsection of the 2013 Speech From The Throne entitled “Science and Technology”: (a) what accounting methodology was used to determine that, since 2006, the government “has invested more than 9 billion dollars to support science, technology and innovative companies”; (b) was the figure of “more than 9 billion dollars to support science, technology and innovative companies” adjusted for inflation since 2006; (c) was the figure of “more than 9 billion dollars to support science, technology and innovative companies” given in current dollars or constant 2006 dollars; (d) if the figure was given in current dollars, what is the value of the “more than 9 billion dollars to support science, technology and innovative companies” in current 2006 dollars; (e) how much of the “more than 9 billion dollars to support science, technology and innovative companies” was spent during fiscal year (i) 2005-2006, (ii) 2006-2007, (iii) 2007-2008, (iv) 2008-2009, (v) 2009-2010, (vi) 2010-2011, (vii) 2011-2012, (viii) 2012-2013, and (ix) 2013-2014; (f) how much of the “more than 9 billion dollars to support science, technology and innovative companies” was spent as part of the Stimulus Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan between January 2009 and March 2012; (g) what is the complete and detailed spending breakdown of the “more than 9 billion dollars to support science, technology and innovative companies” since 2006; (h) what portion of the “more than 9 billion dollars to support science, technology and innovative companies” since 2006 was invested in basic, fundamental, or pure scientific research; (i) what portion of the “more than 9 billion dollars to support science, technology and innovative companies” since 2006 was invested in applied research, industrial research and development, or commercial applications; (j) what methodology was used to determine that “Canada now leads G-7 countries in post-secondary research investment”; (k) where does Canada rank among the countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in regard to “post-secondary research investment”; (l) has Canada’s ranking among OECD countries for “post-secondary research investment” increased or decreased since 2006; (m) during the most recent fiscal year for which comprehensive data is available, what percentage of Canada’s total “post-secondary research investment” was made by (i) the federal government, (ii) provincial and territorial governments, (iii) municipal governments, (iv) the private sector, (v) charities, (vi) individuals and households, (vii) other sources; (n) what was the government’s total expenditure on “post-secondary research investment,” in current dollars, during fiscal year (i) 2000-2001, (ii) 2001-2002, (iii) 2002-2003, (iv) 2003-2004, (v) 2004-2005, (vi) 2005-2006, (vii) 2006-2007, (viii) 2007-2008, (ix) 2008-2009, (x) 2009-2010, (xi) 2010-2011, (xii) 2011-2012, (xiii) 2012-2013, (xiv) 2013-2014; (o) what was the government’s total expenditure on “post-secondary research investment,” in constant 2006 dollars, during fiscal year (i) 2000-2001, (ii) 2001-2002, (iii) 2002-2003, (iv) 2003-2004, (v) 2004-2005, (vi) 2005-2006, (vii) 2006-2007, (viii) 2007-2008, (ix) 2008-2009, (x) 2009-2010, (xi) 2010-2011, (xii) 2011-2012, (xiii) 2012-2013, (xiv) 2013-2014; (p) what measures or outcomes is the government using to evaluate whether or not the “[t]ransformation of the National Research Council” is effectively “helping to promote greater commercialization of research and development”; (q) what empirical evidence does the government have that the “[t] ansformation of the National Research Council” is effectively “helping to promote greater commercialization of research and development”; (r) what was in the annual budget of the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), in current dollars, during fiscal year (i) 2000-2001, (ii) 2001-2002, (iii) 2002-2003, (iv) 2003-2004, (v) 2004-2005, (vi) 2005-2006, (vii) 2006-2007, (viii) 2007-2008, (ix) 2008-2009, (x) 2009-2010, (xi) 2010-2011, (xii) 2011-2012, (xiii) 2012-2013, (xiv) 2013-2014; (s) what was in the annual budget of the IRAP, in constant 2006 dollars, during fiscal year (i) 2000-2001, (ii) 2001-2002, (iii) 2002-2003, (iv) 2003-2004, (v) 2004-2005, (vi) 2005-2006, (vii) 2006-2007, (viii) 2007-2008, (ix) 2008-2009, (x) 2009-2010, (xi) 2010-2011, (xii) 2011-2012, (xiii) 2012-2013, (xiv) 2013-2014; (t) what measures or outcomes is the government using to evaluate whether or not “doubling the Industrial Research Assistance Program” is effectively “helping to promote greater commercialization of research and development; (u) what empirical evidence does the government have that “doubling the Industrial Research Assistance Program” is effectively “helping to promote greater commercialization of research and development”; (v) what measures or outcomes is the government using to evaluate whether or not “the new Venture Capital Action Plan” is effectively “helping to promote greater commercialization of research and development”; (w) what empirical evidence does the government have that the “the new Venture Capital Action Plan” is effectively “helping to promote greater commercialization of research and development”; (x) on what date does the government expect to “release an updated Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy”; (y) will the government be conducting open consultations with the Canadian scientific, research, and academic communities prior to releasing “an updated Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy”; (z) what commitments did the government make as part of its previous Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy; (aa) which of these commitments in (z), if any, have not been met; (bb) what “targeted investments in science and innovation chains from laboratory to market in order to position Canada as a leader in the knowledge economy” has the government made since 2006; (cc) what measures or outcomes is the government using to evaluate whether or not its “targeted investments in science and innovation chains from laboratory to market” are effectively positioning Canada “as a leader in the knowledge economy”; (dd) what empirical evidence does the government have that its “targeted investments in science and innovation chains from laboratory to market” are effectively positioning Canada “as a leader in the knowledge economy”; (ee) what measures or investments has the government implemented since 2006 to “promote Canada as a world-class destination for international students”; (ff) how many international students have studied in Canada as a direct result of the measures or investments in (ee); and (gg) how many international students were studying at Canadian universities and colleges during calendar year (i) 2000, (ii) 2001, (iii) 2002, (iv) 2003, (v) 2004, (vi) 2005, (vii) 2006, (viii) 2007, (ix) 2008, (x) 2009, (xi) 2010, (xii) 2011, (xiii) 2012, (xiv) 2013?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 124--
Hon. Judy Sgro:
     With regard to the Prime Minister’s undertaking to establish new mandatory reporting standards for Canadian extractive companies: (a) what steps has the government taken since the 39th G8 Summit to develop a comprehensive bill that would require Canadian companies to disclose any payments made to foreign governments; (b) what steps did the government take prior to the 39th G8 Summit to develop a comprehensive bill that would require Canadian companies to disclose any payments made to foreign governments; (c) does the Prime Minister’s commitment, as referred to in (a), apply exclusively to Canadian extractive corporations, (i) does it apply exclusively to Canadian corporations as regards extractive operations in foreign countries, (ii) what is the scope of said commitment; (d) has the government prepared or reviewed any draft bill that proposes to implement such reporting requirements as referred to in (a) and if so, to what extent has it consulted on this issue, (i) with whom, (ii) when; (e) has the government conducted or reviewed any studies regarding the effect of mandatory reporting requirements on increasing corporate accountability and combatting corruption; (f) has the government compiled or reviewed any other evidence regarding the effect of mandatory reporting requirements on increasing corporate accountability and combatting corruption; (g) has the Department of Justice been consulted with regard to the formulation of a comprehensive reporting regime that would apply to Canadian companies; (h) has the government consulted with the Department of Justice, or sought a legal opinion from any other source, as to the constitutionality of a mandatory disclosure regime as referred to in (a); (i) has the government expressed any position, either publically or internally, as to the constitutionality of such a mandatory disclosure regime as applied to Canadian companies; (j) has the government consulted with provincial and territorial First Ministers regarding the Prime Minister’s commitment referred to in (a) and, if so, (i) who were the parties to any such consultations, (ii) what was the outcome of any such consultation; (k) has the government consulted with provincial securities regulators regarding the Prime Minister’s commitment referred to in (a) and, if so, (i) who were the parties to any such consultations, (ii) what was the outcome of any such consultation; (l) has the government consulted with oil, gas, or mining executives regarding the Prime Minister’s commitment referred to in (a) and, if so, (i) who were the parties to any such consultations, (ii) what was the outcome of any such consultation; (m) has the government consulted with representatives of First Nations regarding the Prime Minister’s commitment referred to in (a) and, if so, (i) who were the parties to any such consultations, (ii) what was the outcome of any such consultation; (n) regarding the Prime Minister’s commitment referred to in (a), does the government have any consultations currently planned with (i) the First Ministers of any provinces or territories, (ii) representatives of any First Nations, (iii) provincial securities regulators, (iv) Canadian corporate executives, (v) others; (o) has the issue of a mandatory reporting regime as referred to in (a) been raised in the context of the Canada-European Union (E.U.) trade negotiations and if so, (i) when and with whom was this issue raised, (ii) what was the outcome of these discussions; (p) does the government currently have a strategy in place to develop a mandatory reporting regime as referred to in (a) that is harmonized with such regimes as they exist in either the United States (U.S.) or the E.U. and (i) what are the details of this strategy, (ii) has the issue of a mandatory reporting regime as referred to in (a) been raised with American or E.U. officials at any time; (q) regarding the government’s recently announced extractive transparency partnerships with both Peru and Tanzania, what specific steps have or are being undertaken to ensure (i) the increased transparency of payments by Canadian extractive companies to these governments, (ii) the increased efficiency and transparency of mining royalty management by local and regional governments, (iii) the improvement of living conditions for communities located near extractive operations in foreign countries; (r) has the government begun the process of creating an “action plan on corporate transparency,” as per the Prime Minister’s commitment at the 39th G8 Summit; (s) does the action plan referred to in (p) include any proposed steps to (i) ensure consistent and up-to-date information on corporate beneficial ownership, (ii) prevent corrupt practices with regard to bribes to foreign governments, (iii) prevent money laundering, (iv) prevent tax evasion; (t) has the government conducted or reviewed any studies, or compiled or reviewed evidence from any other source, regarding the effect of corporate beneficial ownership on corrupt practices by Canadian multinational corporations, including but not limited to the paying of bribes by extractive corporations to foreign governments and, if so, (i) what specific studies have been conducted or reviewed and what are their conclusions, (ii) what other evidence has been compiled or reviewed and what does it indicate in this regard; (u) has the government engaged in any consultations or reviewed any relevant evidence regarding possible consequences of the sale of Canadian corporation Uranium One, Inc. to JSC Atomredmetzolo to (ARMZ), a Russian corporation, with respect to (i) any foreign assets previously held by Uranium One, Inc., (ii) the human rights and environmental concerns of populations living near foreign extractive operations previously under the control of Uranium One, Inc., (iii) the possible sale of uranium previously or potentially extracted by Uranium One, Inc. to countries currently within the scope of Canadian, U.S., E.U., or United Nations sanctions regimes; (v) has the government received any communications regarding the sale of Uranium One, Inc., (i) from government officials in the U.S., (ii) from government officials in any other country; and (w) has the government communicated any concerns to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or to any other U.S. government official or agency, regarding the sale of Uranium One, Inc.?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 127--
Hon. Scott Brison:
     With regard to the United States (U.S.) Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): (a) when was the government first made aware of this legislation and how; (b) what steps has Canada taken since the legislation's introduction in the U.S., broken down by year; (c) during the consideration of this legislation in the U.S., did Canada make any representations to the U.S. government and if so, (i) when, (ii) by whom, (iii) to whom, (iv) on what dates, (v) by what authority (vi) with what desired effect (vii) and with what outcome; (d) how many individuals in Canada will be affected; (e) how was the figure in (d) calculated; (f) how many Canadian citizens residing in Canada are U.S. persons under FATCA; (g) how many Canadian permanent residents are U.S. persons under FATCA; (h) how many applications for permanent residency is Canada currently processing from persons who are or will be treated as U.S. persons under FATCA; (i) broken down by province and territory and status, how many persons in Canada are projected to be affected by FATCA; (j) how was the figure in (l) calculated; (k) how many Canadian financial institutions will be impacted by FATCA; (l) how was the figure in (k) calculated; (m) how many non-financial Canadian entities will be impacted by FATCA; (n) how was the figure in (m) calculated; (o) what consultations has the government undertaken with respect to FATCA's impact on persons resident in Canada; (p) what consultations has the government undertaken with respect to FATCA's impact on financial institutions; (p) what consultations has the government undertaken with respect to FATCA's impact on non-financial entities; (q) what estimates and studies have been undertaken with respect to the consequences of a 30% withholding of U.S. sourced income to financial institutions; (r) when did the studies in (q) occur and what were their conclusions; (s) how much has been spent evaluating FATCA's impact on Canadians; (t) broken down by department, how was the figure in (s) determined; (u) what estimates have been undertaken with respect to FATCA's cost to implement for Canada and with what conclusions; (w) for the five years starting 2014, how much is FATCA implementation expected to cost (i) Canada Revenue Agency, (ii) the department of Finance, (iii) the department of Justice, (iv) other government departments, agencies, boards, or tribunals; (x) broken down by year and cost from 2010-2020, what is the total financial impact of FATCA implementation expected to be on Canadian taxpayers; (y) how were the figure in (x) obtained; (z) what outside legal opinions has the government sought with respect to FATCA's compatibility with Canadian law; (aa) when were the opinions in (z) sought and at what expense; (bb) have unsolicited legal opinions been sent to the government regarding FATCA; (cc) how many opinions in (bb) have the government received, (i) on what dates, (ii) with what conclusions, (iii) with what impact on the Government's actions; (dd) has the government assessed the possibility of not acceding to FATCA in any way and, if so, with what conclusion and with what cost to Canada or to Canadians when compared to accession; (ee) how much has been spent on negotiations surrounding FACTA, broken down by year and expense; (ff) which individuals from the government have negotiated on Canada’s behalf regarding FATCA; (gg) what has the Minister of Finance's personal role been with respect to FATCA negotiations; (hh) what has the Minister of National Revenue's personal role been with respect to FATCA negotiations; (ii) what has the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ personal role been with respect to FATCA negotiations; (jj) what plans or strategies has Canada developed regarding enforcement of any FACTA related agreement with the United States; (kk) what penalties will there be for U.S. failure to meet any of its negotiated obligations; (ll) has the litigation risk regarding any FATCA implementation agreement been evaluated and, if so, (i) how, (ii), when, (iii), by what means; (mm) broken down by department and agency, and with specific record numbers and titles, what briefing materials and files have been developed regarding FATCA; (nn) what measures are in place to assess the lawfulness and legality of any implementation of FATCA in Canada; (oo) have any future public consultations with respect to FATCA implementation been planned and, if not, why not; (pp) what is the projected impact of FATCA on the Bank of Canada; (qq) what efforts has the government made with respect to informing financial institutions of their obligations under FATCA; (rr) what efforts has the government made with respect to informing non-financial entities of their obligations under FATCA; (ss) what efforts has the government made with respect to informing individuals residing in Canada of their obligations under FATCA; (tt) has Canadian non-compliance with FATCA been assessed as a possibility and, if so, to what extent; (uu) has FATCA been raised in discussions between Canada and countries other than the U.S. and, if so, (i) with which countries, (ii) at what level(s) did the discussion occur (iii) on what dates (iv) in what forum (v) and with which individuals from Canada participating; (vv) have any studies or analysis taken place with respect to FATCA’s impact on immigration to Canada by persons subject to this legislation and, if so, with what conclusion; (ww) has the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. raised the issue of FATCA in any discussions and if so, (i) which discussions, (ii) on what dates, (iii) with what desired goal; (xx) has the American Ambassador to Canada raised the issue of FATCA in any discussions and if so, (i) which discussions, (ii) on what dates, (iii) with what outcome; (yy) has the government considered the correspondence of Peter Hogg regarding FATCA and if so, (i) with what impact on policy development, (ii) with what conclusion; and (zz) what steps will the government take to minimize any infringement of Canadian Charter rights by any implementation of FATCA?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 129--
Mr. Alex Atamanenko:
    With regard to the horse slaughter industry in Canada: (a) what is the government’s policy on requiring medical history on equine identity documents (EID) only for the last six months of a horse’s life, and not for an entire lifespan; (b) does the government have information on what happened to the meat from the racehorse Backstreet Bully, who had been administered several courses of a variety of banned medications throughout its lifetime, prior to being sold into the slaughter pipeline, and what are the details of Backstreet Bully’s EID and all other traceability documents and records; (c) does the government have information on what happened to the meat from the racehorse Silky Shark, who had been administered the drug phenylbutazone prior to being sold into the slaughter pipeline, and what are the details of Silky Shark’s EID and all other traceability documents and records; (d) what system is in place for owners to report the history of banned drugs they have administered to a horse that they previously owned, when they discover that a subsequent owner has sold that horse into the slaughter pipeline; (e) when such instances as mentioned in (d) are reported, and it is found that the meat was sold as human food, what system is in place to recall that meat from domestic and international retailers, (i) how many such instances have been reported, (ii) what were the results of the government’s investigations into these reports; (f) how does the government keep count of the number of horses being imported from the United States (U.S.) for slaughter; (g) how does the government explain the discrepancy between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)/Agriculture Canada and U.S. Department of Agriculture figures; (h) what were the findings of the government’s investigation into the large numbers of emaciated horses arriving from the U.S. in 2011 destined for Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation slaughter plant, and what system has the government put in place to quell these importations; (i) what system has the government put in place to quell the loading and importation of near-term pregnant mares arriving into Canada from the U.S.; (j) what actions or procedures were taken by the government to address the potential biohazard noted in the June 2011 Verification Report by the plant inspector at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation slaughter plant, namely, that not only was blood visible to the naked eye but that there were improperly cleaned saw blades upon the resumption of horse slaughter following the slaughter of cattle; (k) how many racehorses (thoroughbreds and standardbreds) were processed at Canadian abattoirs in each of the years between 2007 to 2013, and how many of these horses were pregnant; (l) what number or percentage of horses currently being slaughtered have been raised expressly for human consumption, broken down by (i) Canadian horses, (ii) U.S. horses; (m) what is the overall value to the Canadian economy in terms of job numbers and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by (i) the horse slaughter industry, (ii) the equine industry; (n) is there any regulatory requirement for veterinarians, prior to administering medications to horses, to question owners about the likelihood of them being sold into the slaughter pipeline for human consumption; (o) has the government engaged in discussions with U.S. officials with a view to implementing an equine passport or other system to record the medical history of all U.S horses beginning at birth and, if so, (i) what was the outcome of these discussions, (ii) on what dates did these discussions occur; (p) how many equine fatalities and injuries have occurred during the live shipment of horses from Canada to Japan while loading the animals onto aircraft or in flight, and what were the circumstances surrounding these fatalities and injuries, for the period January 1, 2008 to August 30, 2013; and (q) is it the government’s policy to make publicly available the names of all meat-processing companies that are licensed to export horsemeat, as well as the countries they are licensed to export to?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 130--
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
     With regard to rail safety in Canada: (a) for the period of 2006-2012, which railways were permitted to operate with a single operator; (b) for the period of 2006-2012, which railways had permission to leave trains unattended for limited periods of time on main lines with or without an idling locomotive(s); (c) for the period of 2006-2012, which railways had permission to leave trains unattended for limited periods of time on side lines with or without an idling locomotive(s); (d) with regard to the railways in (b) and (c), under what specific conditions could the trains be left unattended; (e) what legislative or regulatory framework governs local emergency preparedness plans in the event of a rail accident; (f) with respect to the plans in (e), (i) who is responsible for creating and executing such plans, (ii) by whom are they audited, (iii) how often are they audited, (iv) against what criteria are they audited; (g) by whom and how often are municipalities through which freight trains pass provided with regular reports on (i) the state of local emergency preparedness in the event of a rail accident, (ii) the state and maintenance record of the railway lines within their borders, (iii) the materials, hazardous or not, that are transported through their jurisdiction; (h) if reports referred to in (g) are not provided, why not; (i) how many of the DOT-111 railway tank cars and the DOD-112 tank cars are in use in Canada, for each year since 2006; (j) for each year since 2006, how many rolling stock and track safety inspectors were employed at Transport Canada, broken down by (i) province of work, (ii) oversight responsibility; (k) for each year since 2006, how many rolling stock and track safety inspectors employed by Transport Canada were responsible for inspections in (i) the Greater Montreal Area, (ii) the municipality of Pointe-Claire (iii) the municipality of Beaconsfield, (iv) the municipality of Baie d’Urfé, (v) the municipality of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue; (l) how frequently are railway tracks inspected in (i) populated areas, (ii) unpopulated ones; (m) since 2006, when have the rail tracks between downtown Montreal and the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion been inspected; (n) does Transport Canada have a system of evaluation in place, based on the results of inspections by its inspectors, that ranks the operational state of different sections of railway tracks; (o) with regard to the system in (n), if it exists, does this system or database correlate with allowable train speeds on each section of track and with which company owns each section; (p) for each year since 2006, how many freight train derailments, minor and major, have taken place in Canada, broken down by province; (q) with respect to the derailments in (p), how many took place on (i) a horizontal track, (ii) a sloping track, (iii) curved track, (iv) straight track; (r) for each year since 2006, how many cases of runaway freight trains have been reported in Canada, broken down by province; (s) for each year since 2006, how many train accidents, derailments or other, involving hazardous materials have there been; (t) how are the contents of rail cargo verified by the government or its agencies to determine if the contents conform to the contents labels/markings on the individual rail cars; (u) what is the process by which environmental risks of the transport by rail of oil and gas or other hazardous material are assessed; (v) what quantity and type of goods that are shipped annually by Canadian National and Canadian Pacific on lines that run through Montreal’s West Island in each of the last 5 years; (w) what are the allowable speeds for freight trains travelling different rail segments in the southwestern corridor of the island of Montreal from downtown Montreal to the city of Vaudreuil-Dorion; (x) with regard to the speed limits in (w), how is adherence to these limits monitored by Transport Canada; (y) with respect to the slowing of rail speed due to poor track conditions, how does Transport Canada verify that rail operators are implementing reduced speeds; (z) what is the slowest speed at which a rail operator will be allowed to operate its trains over a portion of track experiencing poor conditions before all traffic must be halted due to the poor track condition; and (aa) subsequent to the fatal accident in Lac-Mégantic, what plans are in place for reducing the speeds of freight trains passing through Canadian municipalities?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 131--
Mr. Robert Chisholm:
     With regard to the Social Security Tribunal (SST): (a) how many appeals have been sent to the General Division level; (b) how many appeals have been heard; (c) how many appeals have been allowed; (d) how many appeals were summary dismissals; (e) how many appeals were dismissed; (f) how many appeals are pending; (g) what is the average time for appeals to be heard; (h) how many appeals are dealt with per month; (i) what proportion of appeals are heard within the SST's timelines; (j) is there a backlog of cases; (k) how many cases are waiting to be heard; (l) where are cases coming from by rural/urban, or geographic region; (m) what are the common issues being (i) heard, (ii) allowed, (iii) dismissed; (n) how many appellants were granted access to consult their case file ahead of a hearing by the General Division, (i) by number, (ii) as a proportion of all appellants at this level; (m) how many appellants were granted access to consult their case file ahead of a hearing by the Appeal Division (i) by number, (ii) as a proportion of all appellants at this level; (n) how are the cases being heard; (o) how many cases are heard via telephone; (p) how many questions and answers in person; (q) how many questions and answers via email; (r) has there been any feedback from SST members on the process; (s) what kind of training for SST members has been implemented; (t) given that SST members work from home, has any kind of networking system been put in place to support SST members; (u) given that decisions made by the Umpire and higher courts were provided in a jurisprudence library online, will the General Division or Appeals Division decisions be available in the jurisprudence library; and (v) will the more specific “Decisions Favourable to Workers” website be continued?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 132--
Mr. Robert Chisholm:
    With regard to Employment lnsurance (EI) for fiscal years 2006-2007 through 2012-2013 (year-to-date): (a) what was the volume of EI applications, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where claim originated, (iii) region/province where claim was processed, (iv) the number of claims accepted and the number of claims rejected, (v) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (b) what was the average EI applications processing time broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where the claim originated, (iii) region/province where the claim was processed, (iv) the number of claims accepted and the number of claims rejected, (v) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (c) how many applicants waited more than 28 days for a decision and, for these applications, what was the average wait time for a decision, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where the claim originated, (iii) region/province where the claim was processed. (iv) the number of claims accepted and the number of claims rejected, (v)-for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (d) what was the volume of calls to EI call Centres, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (e) what was the number of calls to EI call centres that received a high volume of messages, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (f) what were the national service levEI standards for calls answered by an agent at EI call centres, broken down by year; (g) what were the actual service levEI standards achieved by EI call centres for calls answered by an agent at EI call centres, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (h) what were the service standards for call backs by EI call centre agents broken, down by year; (i) what were the service standards achieved by EI call centre agents for call backs, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (j) what was the average number of days for a call back by an EI call centre agent, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (k) for EI processing centres, what was the number and percentage of term employees and the number and percentage of indeterminate employees, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province (iii) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (l) for EI call centres, what was the number and percentage of term employees and the number and percentage of indeterminate employees, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (m) how many complaints did the Office of Client Satisfaction receive, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where the complaint originated, (iii) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (n) how long on average did a complaint take to investigate and resolve, broken down by (i) year, (ii) for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; and (o) what were the major themes of the complaints received, broken down by year?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 133--
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
     With regard to subsidies to rail operators for track repair and improvements: (a) what is the process for determining how funds are distributed; (b) for each year since 2006, what is the breakdown of the distribution of such funds, by rail operators; (c) were funds intended for the rail operator Montreal, Maine and Atlantic ever (i) withheld, (ii) reassigned to other operators; and (d) with regard to any funds mentioned in (c), for what reason were these withheld or reassigned?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 134--
Ms. Libby Davies:
    With regard to the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS) in fiscal year 2012-2013: (a) what was the budget for the FTCS; (b) how much of that budget was spent within the fiscal year; (c) how much of the FTCS was spent on (i) mass media, (ii) policy and regulatory development, (iii) research, (iv) surveillance, (v) enforcement, (vi) grants and contributions, (vii) programs for Aboriginal Canadians; and (d) were any other activities not listed in (c) funded by the FTCS and, if so, how much was spent on each of these activities?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 137--
Mr. François Lapointe:
    With regard to the Port of Gros Cacouna (QC) breakwater repair: (a) what is the government funding provided, by department or agency, initiative and amount concerning the Port of Gros Cacouna breakwater repair; (b) was there a public tender; (c) what is the project start date; (d) what is the expected project completion date; (e) what is the total project value; (f) what are the specifications for the production of the stone required for the project; (g) who are the bidders for the production of stone; (h) what is the outcome of the tender for the production of stone; (i) what is the complete list of names of all individuals who were at the time of the tender directors of the winning bidder; (j) what is the complete list of names of all individuals who are currently directors of the winning bidder; (k) what are the technical explanations for the decision regarding the lack of stone density in the Cacouna region; (l) further to these investments, will the project to transfer the Port of Gros Cacouna be abandoned; and (m) will Transport Canada give a public presentation on the short-term planning regarding the Gros Cacouna port facilities?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 139--
Ms. Lise St-Denis:
     With regard to Canadian Forces (CF) pensions: (a) for each of the last five years, how many people have been eligible to begin receiving a pension; (b) how many people have retired from the CF in the past year and have become eligible for a pension; (c) for the next five years, how many retirees are projected to become eligible for a pension; (d) what is the average amount of a monthly pension cheque; (e) how much money was spent on pensions for each of the last five years; (f) how much money is allotted for pensions for each of the next five years; (g) what is the process by which one applies for a pension; (h) between the last CF pay cheque and the first pension payment, how much time elapses, (i) what is the service standard for the department with regard to time lapses between the last pay cheque and the first payment, (ii) how is the service standard determined; (i) what are the current delays between the last pay cheque and first pension payment processed, broken down by province or territory; (j) what are the current delays between the last pay cheque and first pension payment processed, broken down by facility; (k) how many retirees have had to wait longer than 12 weeks for their first payment to be processed; (l) how many applications currently remain to be processed, broken down by province or territory; (m) how many applications currently remain to be processed, broken down by facility; (n) what steps are in place to mitigate any delay in processing pensions; (o) what additional procedures will be enacted to mitigate delays in processing pensions; (p) what studies have been undertaken with respect to the effects of delayed pension payment on former CF members; (q) what studies and analyses have been undertaken with respect to ensuring immediate processing and service of the pension payment; (r) with regard to the previously-mentioned studies and analyses, have any budget forecasts been prepared, and if so, (i) on what date, (ii) by whom, (iii) using what standard; (s) who is responsible for the administration of payment of pensions, (i) in what ways is the process reviewed, (ii) at what intervals is the process reviewed, (iii) by what standards is the process reviewed; (t) what is the average processing time per pension claim, broken down by province and territory; (u) what is the defined range of acceptable processing times, broken down by province and territory, (i) how is this timeline determined, (ii) by whom is this timeline determined, (iii) with what metrics is this timeline determined; (v) where is the payment of pensions processed and (i) by whom, (ii) with what qualifications for employment, (iii) how many are employed in said capacity, broken down by facility in the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; (w) what consultations have taken place with the Veterans Ombudsman regarding timeliness of payment delivery; (x) what consultations have taken place with veterans groups regarding the timeliness of payment processing and delays; (y) what consultations are scheduled with veterans groups regarding the timeliness of payment processing; (z) with what individuals has the Minister of Veterans Affairs met regarding the issue of payment and processing for veterans pensions; (aa) with what individuals have officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs met regarding the issue of payment and processing for veterans pensions; (bb) what other government departments or agencies are involved with the processing of pensions and benefits and to what extent; (cc) broken down by month, how long on average have individuals waited in the last five years to receive their first pension cheque; (dd) what measures are in place to communicate delays in payment and processing of pensions to applicants; (ee) what specific statistics are tracked by the department with regard to applications for, processing of, and payment of pensions?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 140--
Mr. Randall Garrison:
    With regard to the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee established under the authority of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act: (a) what is the current list of committee members; (b) on what date were each of these members appointed or reappointed; (c) what is the term of appointment for each member, including dates; (d) what is the position on the committee of each member; (e) how many times has the committee met since its creation, (i) on which dates, (ii) in which locations; (f) what were the topics discussed at each meeting; (g) which meetings has the minister participated in, by phone or in person; (h) how many departmental staff are assigned to support the committee; (i) what is the budget provided for the committee; and (j) how much has the committee spent on travel and hospitality since its creation, broken down by year?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 141--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With regard to ministerial offices using private legal counsel, for each year from 2003 to 2013: (a) what is the dollar figure spent on such counsel per year per ministerial office, including the Prime Minister's Office (PMO); (b) for the figures referred to in (a), what is the breakdown (i) by minister, (ii) by staff member, (iii) by investigation or case; (c) for the investigations or cases referred to in (b), who are the lawyers or firms hired per case; (d) what studies has the government conducted as to what the comparable cost would be per year per ministerial office, including the PMO, if legal counsel were kept in-house, and what are the results of those studies; (e) has legal counsel been retained in the matter of the involvement of ministerial offices (including the PMO) in Senate affairs, and, if so, what is the cost of that counsel broken down (i) by ministerial office (including the PMO) per year, (ii) by minister and staff member, (iii) by investigation or case; and (f) of the investigations or cases referred to in (e)(iii), (i) who are the private lawyers or firms hired per case, (ii) how many lawyers have been retained per office and per case?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 142--
Hon. Gerry Byrne:
     With regard to the loss or theft of “weapons and accessories” in the Department of National Defence (DND) as reported in the Public Accounts of Canada, for each year between 2006 and 2013: (a) which weapons and accessories were lost by DND due to an offense or other illegal act, broken down by (i) weapon or accessory, (ii) individual cost to the government for each item lost; and (b) which weapons and accessories were lost by the DND due to accidental loss, destruction, or damage, broken down by (i) weapon or accessory, (ii) individual cost to the government for each item lost?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 143--
Hon. Gerry Byrne:
    With regard to the government's spending for fiscal years 2008-2009 to 2012-2013, what are the spending levels (i) by program activity, (ii) for each program activity, by standard object?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 144--
Ms. Hélène Laverdière:
     With regard to the government’s policy on fully autonomous weapons and autonomous robotics systems: (a) has the Department of National Defense (DND) provided financing, logistical assistance, or any other means of support for the research and development of fully autonomous weapons; (b) has DND provided financing, logistical assistance, or any other means of support for the research and development of autonomous robotic systems; (c) has DND awarded any contracts to develop or contribute to the development of autonomous robotic systems, and, if so, (i) what is the value of each contract, (ii) what entity was awarded each contract, (iii) what were the objective, terms, and conditions of each contract, (iv) what controls were put in place to prevent the future weaponization of this research; (d) has the government entered into any agreements with universities or research institutes in Canada to study or develop autonomous robotic systems, and, if so, for each respective agreement, (i) what is the value of the government’s contribution, (ii) with which entity was the agreement signed, (iii) what were the objective, terms, and conditions of the agreement, (iv) what controls were put in place to prevent the future weaponization of this research; (e) do DND or the Canadian Forces (CF) have written policies, regulations, rules, or guidelines on the use of robotics by DND or CF, and, if so, what are those policies, regulations, rules, or guidelines; (f) do DND or CF have written policies, regulations, rules, or guidelines on the use of fully autonomous weapons by DND or CFs, and, if so, what are those policies, regulations, rules, or guidelines; and (g) what steps has the government taken in applying Article 36 of Additional Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions (new weapons), in regard to funding, research, developing and testing of new weapons systems?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 146--
Mr. Romeo Saganash:
     With regard to the total expenditure of the government, incurred by all departments, defending against Aboriginal rights claims made against the government, and appealing against case decisions upholding Aboriginal rights in court: for each fiscal year from 2002-2003 to the current fiscal year, (a) what was the actual amount spent on these activities; and (b) what was the amount budgeted to be spent on these activities?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 148--
Ms. Megan Leslie:
     With regard to fast-start climate change commitments made by the government in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord: (a) what analysis does or has the government used to analyze the results of funded projects; (b) when will the government announce its financial plans for fulfilling climate change mitigation and adaptation commitments to developing countries past the 2012-2013 fiscal year; (c) what are the conditions necessary for the government to renew its contribution of public funding in support of the 2020 goal, committed to under the Copenhagen Accord, to mobilize up to $100 billion per year in financing by 2020; (d) what public funds will the government commit to fulfill its climate finance pledges between the fiscal year 2012-2013 and 2020-2021, broken down by year; (e) broken down by year, (i) what amount (in Canadian dollars) and what percentage of the funds referred to in (d) will be delivered as loans, (ii) what amount (in Canadian dollars) and what percentage of these funds will be delivered as grants; (f) has the government done any analysis of the social and economic impacts and benefits of loans versus grants for recipients; (g) what will be the percentage of funds allocated to mitigation, compared to funds allocated to adaptation to climate change, between the fiscal years 2012-2013 and 2020-2021; (h) how will future climate change mitigation and adaptation financing meet the requirements for Canadian official development assistance under the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act, namely with respect to poverty reduction, taking account of the perspectives of the poor, and the promotion of human rights; and (i) with respect to future climate finance funding delivered as loans or grants to multilateral banks, how will the government ensure that projects receiving funds meet the required aid effectiveness principles?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 149--
Ms. Libby Davies:
     With regard to Canada Summer Jobs: (a) for each year from 2010-2013, what have been the criteria used to evaluate applications for Canada Summer Jobs funding; (b) for each year from 2010-2013, what was the total amount of Canada Summer Jobs funding awarded to applications in Vancouver East, listed by organizations; and (c) what is the total amount of funding allocated for Vancouver East applications through the Canada Summer Jobs funding for the summer of 2014?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 150--
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims:
     With regard to Service Canada Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan call centres for fiscal years 2006-2007 through 2012-2013 (year-to-date): (a) what was the volume of calls received by these centres, broken down (i) by year, (ii) by province or region, (iii) for the years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (b) what was the number of calls that received a high volume message, broken down (i) by year, (ii) by province or region, (iii) for the years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (c) what were the national service level standards for calls answered by an agent, broken down by year; (d) what were the actual service level standards achieved for calls answered by an agent, broken down (i) by year, (ii) by province or region, (iii) for the years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (e) what were the national service level standards for call-backs, broken down by year; (f) what were the actual service level standards achieved for call-backs, broken down (i) by year, (ii) by province or region, (iii) for the years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; (g) what was the average number of days for a call-back by an agent, broken down (i) by year, (ii) by province or region, (iii) for the years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month; and (h) what was the number and percentage of term employees and of indeterminate employees respectively, broken down (i) by year, (ii) by province or region, (iii) for the years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, by month?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 151--
Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan:
     With regard to government spending on family planning initiatives: (a) what is the total amount of funding that has been disbursed so far as part of the Muskoka Initiative, broken down by specific category or initiative; (b) what is the amount of funding allocated for family planning that has been disbursed so far as part of the Muskoka Initiative, (i) in total, (ii) broken down by specific category or initiative; (c) how will the government spend the $58 million allocated to family planning as part of the Muskoka Initiative between 2012 and 2015; (d) what will be the government's overall spending on sexual and reproductive health between 2012 and 2015; and (e) how does the government intend to meet its 10% Official Development Assistance commitment to sexual and reproductive health, as agreed to at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 152--
Mr. Malcolm Allen:
     With regard to the loss of honey bee colonies in Canada: (a) what are the results of the joint study led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) under Health Canada; (b) what international partners is PMRA consulting in the re-evaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides; (c) how many currently registered products contain at least one of the three neonicotinoids under re-evaluation by PMRA; (d) what is the volume of neonicotinoids used every year in Canada, expressed in litres, and on which crops are they used; (e) what plans does Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada currently have in place should there be more incidents of mass honey bee losses; (f) how many mass honey bee loss incidents have been reported in (i) 2008, (ii) 2009, (iii) 2010, (iv) 2011, (v) 2012, (vi) 2013 thus far, broken down by province; (g) when is the final joint study by CFIA and PMRA going to be completed; (h) what stakeholders were consulted for the joint study; (i) do Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Health Canada have an official response to the European Commission’s decision to place a moratorium on neonicotinoid pesticides; and (j) what written questions have been asked in Parliament on this issue?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 153--
Mr. Malcolm Allen:
     With regard to imported spent fowl products: (a) how many Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) agents are trained to identify the difference between spent fowl and other chicken products which are imported; (b) how many Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) staff are trained to identify the difference between spent fowl and other chicken products which are imported; (c) what tests do CFIA or CBSA staff carry out to distinguish between spent fowl and imported chicken meat; (d) how many kilograms of spent fowl were imported into Canada in (i) 2009, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2011, (iv) 2012; (e) how many kilograms of spent fowl were imported into Canada, from the United States in (i) 2009, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2011, (iv) 2012; (f) how many kilograms of spent fowl were imported into Ontario from the United States in (i) 2009, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2011, (iv) 2012; and (g) what plans does Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada currently have to change the labelling of spent fowl to distinguish it from other chicken products?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 155--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With regard to ministerial offices outside of the National Capital Region: (a) what is the rationale for operating these offices; (b) what criteria are used to determine the location of the offices; (c) what branches or programs are operated out of the offices; (d) what is the name and purpose of each office, broken down by region and province; (e) what is the address and location of each office; (f) what are the annual costs of operating each office for each of the past five years; and (g) what is the number of (i) full-time staff, (ii) temporary staff, in each office?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 156--
Mrs. Maria Mourani:
     With regard to the files of people with cancer who were subject to removal orders, from 2006 to 2013, under the responsibility of Dr. Patrick Thériault, a doctor with Citizenship and Immigration Canada in Ottawa: (a) how many such cases have there been, broken down by year; (b) of the cases mentioned in (a), (i) how many stays of removal were granted, (ii) what were the time frames for these stays, broken down by year, (iii) what reasons were given to justify granting each stay; (c) of the cases mentioned in (a), (i) how many stays of removal were not granted, broken down by year, (ii) what reasons were given to justify not granting each stay; (d) what are the names of the cancer treatment services Dr. Thériault called upon, broken down by (i) year, (ii) date, (iii) method Dr. Thériault used to contact these services; (e) did Dr. Thériault exchange emails with cancer treatment services in Canada regarding the cases mentioned in (a) and, if so, what are the details; and (f) did Dr. Thériault exchange emails with medical services in the country of origin of the cases mentioned in (a) and, if so, what are the details?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 157--
Mrs. Maria Mourani:
     With regard to the files of people with cancer who were subject to removal orders from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), from 2006 to 2013: (a) how many such cases have there been, broken down by year; (b) of the cases mentioned in (a), (i) how many stays of removal were granted, (ii) what were the time frames for these stays, broken down by year, (iii) what reasons were given to justify granting each stay; (c) of the cases mentioned in (a), (i) how many stays of removal were not granted, broken down by year, (ii) what reasons were given to justify not granting each stay; and (d) how many CIC physicians are assigned to this type of file, and what are their names?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 159--
Mr. François Lapointe:
     With regard to the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and its network of regional offices past and present: (a) how many full-time employees and administrators have worked there in the past 10 years, broken down by year and regional office; (b) how many part-time employees and administrators have worked there in the past 10 years, broken down by year and regional office; (c) how many contract employees have worked there in the past 10 years, broken down by year and regional office; (d) how many days of sick leave have employees taken in the past 10 years, broken down by year and regional office; (e) how many full-time employees and administrators have taken retirement in the past 10 years, broken down by year and by regional office; (f) how many full-time employees and administrators have left for reasons other than retirement in the past 10 years, broken down by year and by regional office; (g) how many part-time employees have taken retirement in the past 10 years, broken down by year and by regional office; and (h) how many part-time employees have left for reasons other than retirement in the past 10 years, broken down by year and by regional office?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 161--
Mr. Ted Hsu:
     With regard to violent incidents related to overcrowding in federal prisons: (a) for each of the ten years from 2003-2004 to 2012-2013, and for each of the nine maximum security Correctional Services Canada (CSC) institutions, namely, Atlantic Institution, Donnacona Institution, Port-Cartier Institution, Quebec Regional Reception Centre and Special Handling Unit, Kingston Penitentiary, Millhaven Institution, Edmonton Institution, Saskatchewan Penitentiary maximum security unit, and Kent Institution, what were the numbers of inmates; (b) for each of the ten years from 2003-2004 to 2012-2013, and for each of the nine maximum security CSC institutions, namely, Atlantic Institution, Donnacona Institution, Port-Cartier Institution, Quebec Regional Reception Centre and Special Handling Unit, Kingston Penitentiary, Millhaven Institution, Edmonton Institution, Saskatchewan Penitentiary maximum security unit, and Kent Institution, what were the rated capacities of each institution; (c) if each of the 90 data points in part (a) is denoted by nij where i=1,10 runs over the ten years and j=1,9 runs over the nine institutions in the order given, and if each of the 90 data points in part (b) is denoted by cij, where i=1,10 runs over the ten years and j=1,9 runs over the nine institutions in the order given, then what are the values of the fractional excess of inmates over the rated capacity of each of the nine institutions, for each of the ten years, namely, fnij = (nij - cij)/cij; (d) for each of the ten years from 2003-2004 to 2012-2013, and for each of the nine maximum security CSC institutions, namely, Atlantic Institution, Donnacona Institution, Port-Cartier Institution, Quebec Regional Reception Centre and Special Handling Unit, Kingston Penitentiary, Millhaven Institution, Edmonton Institution, Saskatchewan Penitentiary maximum security unit, and Kent Institution, what were the numbers of violent incidents; (e) if the 90 data points in part (d) are denoted vij, where i=1,10 runs over the ten years and j=1,9 runs over the nine institutions in the order given, what are the average numbers of violent incidents for each institution, averaged over the ten years, namely, Vavgj =(Si=1,10 vij)/10; (f) what are the values of the fractional excesses of violent incidents for each of the nine institutions, over and above each institution's respective ten year average, for each of the ten years, namely, fvij = (vij - Vavgj)/Vavgj; (g) what is the correlation between the fractional excesses of violent incidents and the fractional excesses of inmates over the rated capacity, for all combinations of years and institutions, for which the inmate population was more than 10% over the rated capacity, namely, the sample correlation coefficient between the set of all fnij such that fnij > 0.1, and the corresponding members of the set of all fvij such that fnij > 0.1; and (h) what is the graph of all the pairs (fnij, fvij) which satisfy fnij > 0.1, plotted with the linear regression line?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 162--
Mr. Glenn Thibeault:
     With regard to Industry Canada’s “More Choices” campaign, relating to the government’s upcoming auction of the 700MHz spectrum, what is the total spending by the government for online or web advertising through (i) Facebook, (ii) Twitter, (iii) Google, (iv) Yahoo, (v) Bing, (vi) Bell-Globe Media, (vii) Rogers Communications, (viii) PostMedia, (ix) Toronto Star, (x) Sun Media, (xi) Shaw Communications, (xii) Huffington Post Canada, (xiii) other websites, broken down by distinct URL?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 170--
Hon. Irwin Cotler:
     With regard to the victims' surcharge: (a) for each of the last ten years, broken down by province and year; how much was collected; (b) broken down by program and service, how was the money in (a) spent; (c) broken down by province and year, in what percent of cases was a surcharge imposed; (d) since the enactment of the Increasing Offenders’ Accountability for Victims Act (IOAVA), how much, broken down by province and territory, has been collected; (e) for the ten years prior to the enactment of the IOAVA, how much money has the government given to victims' programs and services, broken down by program or service; (f) for the ten years prior to the enactment of the IOAVA, how much money has the government transferred to provinces for victims' programs and services, broken down by program or service; (g) for the ten years prior to the enactment of the IOAVA, broken down by year and province, in how many cases did a judge provide more than 20 years for surcharge repayment; (h) for the ten years prior to the enactment of the IOAVA, broken down by year and province, what were the mean, median, mode, and value of surcharges collected; (i) since the enactment of the IOAVA, broken down by year and province, what were the mean, median, and mode, and value of surcharges collected; (j) since the enactment of the IOAVA, how much money has the government given to victims' programs and services, broken down by program or service; (k) since the enactment of the IOAVA, in what specific cases, broken down by province, has a surcharge not been imposed; (l) since the enactment of the IOAVA, in what specific cases, broken down by province, has the collection of a surcharge been delayed more than 20 years; (m) prior to the enactment of the IOAVA, in which specific cases was the constitutionality of the surcharge challenged; (n) prior to the enactment of the IOAVA, in which specific cases did the Crown appeal on a matter solely related to the amount of the surcharge; (o) prior to the enactment of the IOAVA, in which specific cases did the Crown appeal on a matter solely related to the imposition of the surcharge; (p) since the enactment of the IOAVA, in which specific cases did the Crown appeal on a matter solely related to the amount of the surcharge; (q) since the enactment of the IOAVA, in which specific cases did the Crown appeal on a matter solely related to the imposition of the surcharge; (r) prior to the enactment of the IOAVA, in what circumstances did the Crown refer the matter of surcharge collection to a collection agency; (s) since the enactment of the IOAVA, in what circumstances has the Crown referred the matter of surcharge collection to a collection agency; (t) who was consulted with respect to the mandatory nature of the surcharge occasioned by the enactment of the IOAVA; (u) with respect to the IOAVA, were judges consulted, and if so, (i) to what extent, (ii) on what dates, (iii) by whom, (iv) with what outcome(s); (v) with respect to the IOAVA, were defense counsels consulted, and if so, (i) to what extent, (ii) on what dates, (iii) by whom, (iv) with what outcome(s); (w) with respect to the IOAVA, were Crown counsels consulted, and if so, (i) to what extent, (ii) on what dates, (iii) by whom, (iv) with what outcome(s); (x) did the government have any evidence to suggest judges would not delay the collection of surcharges upon enactment of the IOAVA; (y) did the government have any evidence to suggest judges would not reduce fines imposed upon enactment of the IOAVA; (z) since the IOAVA came into force, how many cases is the government currently appealing or did it appeal, broken down by province and with style of cause provided, in matters related to fine or surcharge imposition or collection; (aa) of the cases in (z), what offence was committed; (bb) of the cases in (z), what amount of fine was imposed; (cc) of the cases in (z), what amount of surcharge is to be imposed; (dd) of the cases in (z), what timeline for surcharge repayment was provided; (ee) of the cases in (z), how much is expected to be spent on the government’s appeal; (ff) of the cases in (z), what specific victims can be identified; (gg) of the cases in (z), in what way would victims be aided by the imposition of the surcharge; (hh) for the next fiscal year, how much is projected to be gained through the victims' surcharge, broken, down by province; (ii) for the next fiscal year, how much is to be transferred by the government to the provinces for victims' services; (jj) for the next fiscal year, how much is to be provided by the government directly for the provisions of victims' services; (kk) what are the specific services or programs in (jj) and how were they selected; (ll) what is the projected amount that victims' services will require to be fully funded in the next fiscal year; (mm) what requests for funding for victims' services has the government received for the next fiscal year; (nn) in what form(s) did the requests in (mm) come; (oo) how many of the requests in (mm) have been fulfilled or will be fulfilled, and by what amounts; (pp) what specific measures is government adopting, broken down by province and territory, to ensure fully funded victims' services; (qq) what specific benefits and objectives are sought through the surcharge that could not be sought through direct funding of victims' services or additional transfers to the provinces; (rr) are the benefits in and objectives in (qq) quantifiable, and if so, what are the most recent pieces of evidentiary proof that said benefit or objective is being achieved; (ss) how are the benefits and objectives in (qq) being evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the surcharge; (tt) has any direct correlation between offender deterrence and victim surcharge imposition been observed and, if so, what is it and by what measure was it determined; (uu) has any direct correlation between recidivism and victim surcharge imposition been observed and, if so, what is it and by what measure was it determined; (vv) is there any direct correlation observed between the collection of the victims' surcharge and the rate of victimization and, if so, what is it and by what measure was it determined; (ww) what additional policies are in place to ensure the timely and full funding for the provisions of victims' services; (xx) what measures are in place to ensure the timely and full funding for the provisions of victims' services should the mandatory surcharge be found unconstitutional; (yy) how will it be ensured that no victim will suffer as a consequence of litigation relating to the imposition or collection of the victim’s surcharge; (zz) how will it be ensured that the victims' surcharge is effective and (i) by what measures is it being evaluated, (ii) with what frequency, (iii) by whom; (aaa) what other metrics does the government track with respect to the victims' surcharge; (bbb) how much has been spent on the victims' surcharge program since its first inception; (ccc) during the development of the IOAVA, how was accountability defined and how is it measured; (ddd) does the victim's surcharge increase offenders' accountability for victims, and if so, how and by what measure; (eee) how does the government define “victimless crime”; (fff) is imposition of the victims' surcharge appropriate in cases of “victimless crime”; (ggg) to whom would the victims' surcharge fees go in in cases of “victimless crime”; (hhh) during the policy development of the IOAVA, what considerations were given to “victimless crime” and how was it determined to make the surcharge applicable in such cases?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

  (1530)  

Request for Emergency Debate

Situation in Ukraine   

[S. O. 52]
    Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the letter I filed with you, it is important that the House of Commons express itself on this grave matter in Ukraine and demonstrate that all the people of Canada, including the Ukrainian-Canadian community, are outraged by the tragic events in the Ukraine. This chamber has one great ability, and that is to speak out.
    Since the House last debated the protests that were taking place in Ukraine in December, the Ukrainian government has imposed martial law and is using lethal force to quash freedoms, violate human rights, and suspend the civil liberties of the people of Ukraine.
    For those reasons, and for those that I have outlined to you in my letter, I urge you to authorize an emergency debate on this topic.

Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I thank the member for Etobicoke Centre for raising this matter in the House. I am inclined to grant the debate and will schedule it for after government orders today.

Request for Emergency Debate

Mental Health Services in the Canadian Armed Forces  

[ S. O. 52]
    Mr. Speaker, in accordance with my letter to you today, I rise to seek an emergency debate on the question of the chronic shortage of mental health staff currently affecting the Canadian Armed Forces.
    We do know that the number of mental health professionals in the Canadian Forces has remained constant since about 2008, despite the urgent and growing need for mental health services to our Canadian Forces veterans of Afghanistan and other conflicts.
    We have a problem, a bottleneck, in failing to fill these positions. We have had 50 boards of inquiry into suicides in the military that have gone without completion since 2008. We have had a spate of suicides in the last couple of months that have caused shock to the national consciousness. We have further statements on positions that are available to be filled which have not been filled. The current Surgeon General said that in November 2012 over 200 applicants were waiting to fill vacant positions, yet we have seen no action on this.
    The urgency is the fact that we have no allotted days available on the agenda, aside from tomorrow, and it is too late today to give notice for that. Therefore, we want an opportunity for hon. members to speak to this issue and offer their opinions as to what might be done. This is an urgent and serious concern for Canadian Forces members and their families. We need to determine ways to move forward in addressing the mental health needs of the Canadian Armed Forces.
    For these reasons and those outlined in my letter today, I would urge you to allow an emergency debate on this issue.

Speaker's Ruling 

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I thank the hon. member for St. John's East for bringing this matter to the attention of the House as well, given that it has been a subject that has been raised several times this session. I understand it is a matter of some importance to many members. However, I do notice that we are into the season of supply days and I am not prepared to grant it at this time.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Respect for Communities Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, be read for the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to continue my speech on Bill C-2.
    As I said earlier, despite all the scientific evidence and literature, the Conservatives hold obstinately and unreasonably to a certain ideology by introducing a bill like this.
    I have heard my Conservative colleagues make some incredible arguments in their speeches. For instance, some members believe that supervised injection sites encourage the use of hard drugs. Others feel that neighbourhood safety is compromised if a supervised injection site opens its doors. Those arguments are completely ridiculous and they definitely fly in the face of the evidence available to us.
    I would like to turn briefly to AJOI, a community organization from Pierrefonds—Dollard that does amazing work with street youth at risk of joining street gangs or in very precarious situations. When AJOI was ready to start its activities, people said that West Island had no street youth. It took some time for reality to be accepted and for the organization to be able to take action.
    Does this organization want young offenders to be on the street? No. Is having case workers helping youths in the streets a danger to the community or to neighbourhood safety? Not at all. In fact, the opposite is true. These people provide medical, moral and social support to youth in need to help them get out of that situation.
    The parallel with what we are seeing in this debate on Bill C-2 is very relevant, and it is easy to understand why. I would like to give you a few facts that have emerged from the experiences of InSite in Vancouver.
    Eighty percent of people polled who live or work in downtown Vancouver support InSite. Therefore, these neighbours do not feel threatened by having a site in their neighbourhood.
    The rate of overdose deaths in East Vancouver has dropped by 35% since InSite opened. In one year, 2,171 InSite users have been directed to addiction counselling or other support services. I could go on. The facts speak for themselves.
    I would just like to wrap up by saying that a number of studies have been done in Quebec. A very serious process is under way to support a position for or against supervised injection sites.
    The Institut national de santé publique du Québec stated that sites like these could meet some needs and should be encouraged. They came to a number of positive conclusions after analyzing the facts and the literature.
    This is something this government clearly did not do before introducing Bill C-2, which is unfortunate. It is a completely thoughtless way to act and, I will say it again, it amounts to incredible ideological obstinacy.

  (1535)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard for her speech. I have a question for her.
     The majority of studies show that people who have a drug dependency or addiction very quickly become isolated. InSite, like many other organizations, is probably the first step toward finding their way back into society and eventually into the labour force.
     Some of my Conservative colleagues argued that they could not support a facility like InSite because there was no legal way to obtain cocaine in Canada and that since it was a crime, that would be contemptible.
     Is it not true, however, that InSite, as a transition house, could give addicts access to methadone treatments, which are completely legal, and help them gradually find their way back into society?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières for his question.
    Quebec's Institut national de santé publique has noted that one of the benefits of a supervised injection site is that it provides a way to reach the most vulnerable members of our society. It is a front-line service for individuals who do not usually turn to traditional health services. To argue that this is impossible is completely false.
    The truth of the matter is that the Conservatives do not want to do this. The Liberals also mounted some opposition to supervised injection sites for many years prior to 2003. The fact is that it is possible to make life difficult for such sites with legislation such as Bill C-2. It is also possible to facilitate the opening of well-regulated supervised injection sites, but that is not what the Conservatives have decided to do.

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her excellent speech, and I would also like to give her some new information.
    Just before the holidays, I spoke to the Standing Committee on Health, on which I sit, about harm reduction, which is part of the government’s national anti-drug strategy. The InSite supervised injection site contributes to harm reduction.
    I asked people from the Canadian Nurses Association, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Medical Association if they thought that harm reduction, which includes supervised injection sites, should be part of the government's national anti-drug strategy. This was the case in the past, before the Conservatives changed tack and eliminated this fourth pillar of Canada’s anti-drug strategy. They all said that we should keep harm reduction in Canada’s anti-drug policy.
     Does my colleague also believe that we should integrate harm reduction, to which InSite contributes, into Canada’s national anti-drug policy?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his comments, and also for his serious work on the Standing Committee on Health. He deserves our congratulations.
    Yes, I agree with him. I will again quote the Institut national de santé publique du Québec. I come back to this frequently because, as a Quebecker, I am very interested in the processes that the Province of Quebec has followed in giving serious consideration to this matter. The institute recognizes that, in the literature, supervised injection sites are seen to have beneficial effects on public order, such as fewer injections in public, fewer syringes discarded in an unsafe manner, fewer fatalities, fewer infections from syringes, and so on. Supervised injection sites are essential for the prevention and enhancement of public order and public health.
    My colleague mentioned a number of important stakeholders who support this type of proposal. I have others here. A number of associations of health care professionals, doctors and nurses, as well as police forces, support supervised injection sites.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to rise to speak to this bill, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or the respect for communities act.
    As man advances in civilization...the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him.
    Who said that? It was Charles Darwin. That was a long time ago, but it is more necessary today than ever. There are some opposite who might not agree with what Mr. Darwin had to say.
    Bill C-2 is, we believe, another example of knee-jerk, mean-spirited, ill-informed, anti-science, anti-evidence, anti-taxpayer, anti-health, Conservative fundraising propaganda disguised as legislation. We, as parliamentarians, are sent here to make the tough choices. We are sent here to make decisions on behalf of all Canadians to advance our civilization forward, not backward. It is really easy to foment alarm and outrage among Canadians who are not generally exposed to the darker side of humanity. This is the choice made by the Conservatives.
    The right choice is to explain to those who might be susceptible to such fomentation that the better path is to create safe places for the darker side that most of us do not see. The explanation that the Conservatives should give would include the science and evidence that providing a safe place for persons who are addicted to drugs, requiring needles, is ultimately making the rest of Canadians safer. It is a win-win. It will not generate a lot of reactionary donations, but it is the right thing to do.
    However, that is not how the Conservatives work. They work through fear, intimidation and keeping their constituents in the dark about the truth as much as possible. Eliminating data such as the long-form census, repressing and firing scientists whose findings may not agree with their point of view and deliberately spreading the falsehood that suggests that denying licences to places such as InSite will make communities safer, are not just the wrong choices; they are chosen for the wrong reasons.
    Canadians expect their government to protect them from harm. This bill would do the opposite, but it is just part of a long line of Conservative actions that make our Canada more harmful to more Canadians. Conservatives got rid of ways for the police to keep track of where guns were. That action will cause harm to many Canadians, including those in my riding of York South—Weston.
    Conservatives cut budgets for the department responsible for meat inspections. This action caused many Canadians to get ill from eating meat. Some died. Are we or our communities safer?
    Conservatives have continued the Liberal practice of permitting the railways themselves to manage their own safety. Clearly, that is not keeping Canadians safe either. The three massive explosions and fires last year, one of which claimed 47 lives and destroyed a Quebec city, are all the evidence Canadians need that the Conservative safety system is not working. Except for a bit of tinkering around the edges, no concrete actions have been taken. Indeed, the present government has consistently ignored the findings of the Transportation Safety Boar