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View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-06-13 21:36 [p.18355]
Mr. Speaker, I ask that you see the clock as at midnight.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-06-12 18:00 [p.18201]
Mr. Speaker, I listened to my friend across the aisle, and I understand his passion for this, but I have a question.The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which is established by Standing Orders of the House of Commons, is responsible for procedural and administrative matters, including the review of the Standing Orders. This motion appears to lift the matter of the tabling of petitions away from the context of the rest of the Standing Orders, which the committee reviews, and is very prescriptive in how the committee should study the matter of an e-petition system.
Why is the motion so prescriptive as opposed to respecting the independence and expertise of the committee to review the Standing Orders as it sees fit and to explore all evidence and possibilities that may be relevant?
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-06-12 18:04 [p.18201]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to take part in today's debate on Motion No. 428 on electronic petitions, sponsored by the member for Burnaby—Douglas.
Petitions play a fundamental and important role in our parliamentary system. Each day, members table petitions on behalf of citizens from across the country. In total, over 2,000 petitions are tabled each year on issues that concern Canadians. Motion No. 428 would require the procedure and House affairs committee to study and recommend changes to the Standing Orders to implement a new system of electronic petitions. Some jurisdictions in Canada and abroad have recently taken this step, and I will focus my remarks on the lessons from their experiences.
Before doing so, I want to take issue with a particular aspect of Motion No. 428 that should concern all of us, which is that the motion prescribes a resolution to a study the committee has not conducted. Rather than asking the procedure and House affairs committee to undertake an examination of our petitions system, the motion dictates to the committee that it must recommend changes to the Standing Orders to implement an electronic petitions system. In other words, the motion would require that the committee report lead to the implementation of an electronic petitions system for the House. I find that an affront to the members of the committee, and more fundamentally, to the principle that committees are masters of their own affairs. Instead, the committee should have the ability to review the effectiveness of our petitions system under its review of the Standing Orders and decide on its own terms whether changes are needed.
Most other jurisdictions have a petitions system similar to the one we use in the House. That said, some jurisdictions have recently adopted an electronic online petitions system. As my friend indicated, in Canada, the National Assembly of Quebec and the Northwest Territories have set up limited online systems to complement their paper-based systems. Their focus was primarily on giving citizens the option to assess and sign a petition electronically. While such an approach, on the surface, seems straightforward, there would be a need to closely examine questions of cost, particularly with regard to measures needed to verify signatures and prevent fraudulent petitions.
Looking abroad, in 2011, the United Kingdom House of Commons established an electronic petitions system, including provisions whereby petitions with at least 100,000 signatures can be debated in the House or in Westminster Hall, a parallel chamber to the House. The electronic petitions system differs from the written petitions system in that, first, the role of individual members is reduced to being able to debate only items with at least 100,000 signatures. Second, the electronic petitions website is administered by their leader of the House of Commons.
In 2012, there were 25 hours of debate in the chambers on various electronic petitions with at least 100,000 signatures. That is the total number to date. Examples of topics debated include the elimination of welfare benefits for convicted 2011 London rioters, heart surgery at a local hospital and the beer duty escalator. That is not an escalator that goes from floor to floor but a system implemented to increase the price of beer.
Public commentators have noted that changes to the system in the United Kingdom have turned petitions into a popularity contest, with a chance to debate issues whether they are serious or frivolous. The rules in this system have enabled well-organized special interest groups to force their issues onto the parliamentary agenda. For example, recently, a “no state funeral for Margaret Thatcher” electronic petition reached over 30,000 signatures.
South of our border, a “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 led to high-profile petitions on whether Texas should secede or whether President Obama should be impeached. U.S. commentators have questioned the usefulness of this system and have suggested that it has a negative impact on citizen engagement.
Our current rules allow members to table over 2,000 petitions each year on a wide range of issues of concern to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Most jurisdictions share the same approach we have with respect to petitions. The jury is still out on the long-term effect of electronic petitions. However, the experience of the United Kingdom and the United States indicates that electronic petitions can have negative consequences for citizen engagement and parliamentary operations and can empower special interest groups to advance their issues.
That is why I am going to oppose Motion No. 428, and I call on all members to do likewise.
I would like to add that, pursuant to Standing Order 103(3)(a)(iii) and a February 17, 2012 House order, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs has begun a study on the standing orders. The committee could be asked to include our petitions rules in its review of the effectiveness of the standing orders. I would contend this is a more appropriate avenue for consideration of the issue.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-06-07 11:02 [p.17910]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize the Beachville District Museum, in my riding of Oxford, as it commemorates the 175th anniversary of the first recorded baseball game in North America last weekend.
I had the honour of throwing the first ball for the opening ceremonies, which, I might add, was a real hit.
Long thought to be a sport invented in the United States, Brian Chip Martin explains in his new book, Baseball's Creation Myth: Adam Ford, Abner Graves and the Cooperstown Story, that baseball can actually be traced back to a young boy named Adam Ford. On June 4, 1838, Adam sat and watched a group of men play baseball in a pasture in Beachville, Ontario. In 1886, Adam, now a doctor, wrote to the magazine Sporting Life explaining the game and its rules. From there, baseball evolved into the game we know and love today.
There were several exciting events that celebrated the anniversary of this great sport, and I would like to congratulate all those involved who made this momentous anniversary one to remember.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-06-07 12:07 [p.17923]
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 60th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House and I should like to move concurrence at this time.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-05-30 19:31 [p.17404]
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to rise to add my voice in support of Bill C-51. As my colleague is leaving the room, I would like to remind her that we support the Charbonneau inquiry and truthfulness at that inquiry looking into the corruption in Quebec in the construction trades.
Bill C-51, the safer witnesses act, a strong federal witness protection program is critical to helping our law enforcement and justice systems work effectively. Over the years, the federal witness protection program has frequently proven itself to be a useful and important tool for effectively combatting crime, particularly organized crime.
However, the Witness Protection Program Act has not been substantially changed since it first came into effect in 1996. During that time there have been enormous changes in the nature of organized crime. It has adapted to become more transnational and pervasive. Organized crime groups are increasing in sophistication and becoming adept at using new cybertechnologies to avoid detection and arrest. These groups are known to be exceedingly secretive and difficult to infiltrate, often posing unique challenges for law enforcement officials.
Meanwhile, crimes committed by organized crime networks present a serious threat to the safety of our communities and are of great concern to police and to Canadians.
Many organized crime networks are involved with the illicit drug trade, a lucrative business that has been growing significantly. For instance, according to Statistics Canada, cocaine trafficking, production and distribution in Canada has grown nearly 30% over the last decade.
Bill C-51 is a practical and comprehensive piece of legislation that effectively addresses the need to modernize the witness protection program. It would amend the Witness Protection Program Act to improve the effectiveness and security of the federal witness protection program and make it more responsive to the needs of law enforcement from across Canada.
The bill was designed to do four main things: improve the process to obtain secure identity changes for witnesses from provinces and territories that have designated programs; broaden prohibitions against the disclosure of information; expand admissions for national security, national defence and public safety sources; and extend the amount of time emergency protection may be provided.
From day one, this government has been quite clear that keeping all Canadians and Canadian communities safe is one of our top priorities. We have taken strong action to address this priority by providing law enforcement officials with the tools they need to do their jobs more effectively. This government has provided law enforcement officials with more resources.
We have enacted legislation to stiffen sentences and to increase the accountability of offenders. We have taken steps to modernize Canada's national police force. We have enhanced the ability of all law enforcement officials to keep Canadians safe. Bill C-51 further builds on our track record and would go a long way to enhancing our collective efforts to combat organized crime. Not one of us here today would argue against the critical role that witness protection plays in the criminal justice system.
Most of us know that for many cases, law enforcement officials have had to rely on the co-operation of individuals formerly involved with organized crime organizations in order to combat their activities or to successfully prosecute ringleaders. In other cases, law enforcement has relied on the testimony of key eyewitnesses. These were individuals who agreed to help law enforcement or provide testimony in criminal matters with the end goal of removing criminals from our streets and making our communities safer.
In many cases, these individuals often had inside knowledge about organized crime syndicates or the illicit drug trade because they themselves were involved with these elements. The information they provided to authorities was often invaluable, but sharing it with law enforcement officials could often also place their lives at risk. Witnesses are all too aware of the risk and they fear not only for their own safety, but for the safety of their family and loved ones.
That is why witness protection programs in Canada and around the world offer protection, including new identities, for certain individuals whose testimony or co-operation can be so vital to the success of law enforcement operations. I believe most Canadians understand that.
In order to give our police and courts the best chance to apprehend and convict offenders, we need individuals to feel confident and safe in coming forward to help with investigations. In fact, protecting witnesses is vital to our justice system. Witness protection is recognized around the world as one of the most important tools that law enforcement has at its disposal to combat criminal activity. In the case of organized crime in particular, these witnesses are often the key component to achieving convictions.
The safer witnesses bill contains several changes to the Witness Protection Program Act that would help better protect informants and witnesses. Together, these proposed changes would strengthen the current Witness Protection Program Act, making the federal program more effective and secure for both the witnesses and those who provide protection, because this is really the crux of this program, to keep those involved and their information safe and secure.
As I said at the outset, a strong federal witness protection program is critical to helping our law enforcement and justice systems work effectively. We must take steps to ensure that individuals who decide to become informants or to testify against criminal organizations do not face intimidation or danger. This is why our government is committed to strengthening our federal program and to ensuring a stronger, more streamlined connection with designated provincial programs.
In order to address the threat of organized crime and drugs in our communities, it is critical that informants and witnesses collaborate with law enforcement. Therefore, it is vital that we continue to support an effective federal witness protection program and make it more responsive to the needs of law enforcement, while ensuring the safety of the program participants.
We believe very strongly that Bill C-51 does just this, and the response we have received from stakeholders and parliamentarians only increases our confidence in this legislation. Strong witness protection programs are invaluable to investigations and court proceedings. I believe we are on the right track with this legislation. The proposed amendments would modernize the act that is key in our collective fight against serious and organized crime, in collaboration with provinces and territories. They would enhance protection provided to key witnesses and those involved in administering witness protection programs across Canada.
The changes our government is proposing also respond to many of the needs of provincial and territorial governments. They respond to the needs of law enforcement officials and other stakeholders involved in the criminal justice system. They respond to the needs of Canadians from coast to coast to coast who wish to see our government continue to build safe communities for everyone.
I therefore encourage all hon. members to support Bill C-51 and help us keep our witnesses and all Canadians safe.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-05-30 19:40 [p.17406]
Mr. Speaker, I come from a community with a smaller police agency than many of the large communities have.
This particular program is actually one that assists us in our resources. It means that the RCMP will handle the witness protection. We are not able to do that with a smaller community and smaller police agency. This program, which is funded by the federal government and administered by the RCMP, is a great tool for police agencies across the country.
Police agencies are always concerned about resources, as they should be. There is never enough in any circumstance, but this particular program is one that I think will go a long way to providing that opportunity for smaller departments to have opportunities to deal with witness protection in conjunction with the RCMP.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-05-30 19:42 [p.17406]
Mr. Speaker, some of the provinces have their own programs, which operate somewhat independently from the federal program and yet in conjunction with it. They are fairly seamless. They operate well and they provide the protection to witnesses that all of the programs are intended to do.
I heard numbers here a few minutes ago about how only so many people were admitted into the program. That may not have anything to do with the resources that are available. They may be folks who, for whatever reason, decide that when they understand what is involved and no longer wish to go into the program.
There has not been an issue about a lack of resources hindering the program itself. We are always cognizant that there are never enough resources to do all the things that we would like to do.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-05-30 19:44 [p.17406]
Mr. Speaker, there will be a lot of discussion about who may or may not go into the program. He talks about someone who may be responsible for a crime, but that is one of the issues that the witness protection program has do deal with in one way or another.
Many of these people are the people who have been in the middle of the organized crime unit, drug unit or whatever it might be. However, we have to have them as witnesses, so the program provides that protection for them to be used as witnesses.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-05-24 11:47 [p.16980]
Mr. Speaker, since 1947 Canadians have been proud that the International Civil Aviation Organization has been headquartered in the world-class city of Montreal. It provides immense economic benefits to the greater region, including over 1,000 jobs and more than $1 million each year.
Earlier this month, a last-minute bid was made to move the International Civil Aviation Organization from Montreal. On May 3, our government announced the launch of team Montreal and promised to fight tooth and nail to ensure that the ICAO remains where it is.
Would the fine Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism please update the House on the result of our government's efforts?
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-05-07 10:54 [p.16386]
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-60, a bill that is focused on what matters most to Canadians: jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
Canada has experienced one of the best economic performances among the G7 countries, both during the global recession and throughout the recovery. Due to our strong economic policies, our global reputation is highly respected and admired by countries around the world. It has earned us, for the fifth year in a row, the reputation of the soundest banking system in the world from the World Economic Forum.
Bill C-60 would only enhance this strong record with decisive action in all areas that drive economic progress and prosperity. This includes connecting Canadians with available jobs, helping manufacturers and businesses succeed in the global economy, creating a new building Canada plan, investing in world-class research and innovation, and supporting families and communities.
Our government understands that, while we have a strong economic reputation, we need to remember that Canada is not immune to the instability of the global economy. We need strong leadership, and that is exactly what our government would provide with Bill C-60, as I will outline in my remaining time.
In my riding of Oxford, manufacturing is the source of employment for many residents and is one of the key engines of the Canadian economy. Since 2006, our government has supported the manufacturing industry by lowering business taxes to 15%, which allows manufacturers to keep more of their money to invest and hire more employees; investing $110 million to double support to manufacturers and other entrepreneurs through the industrial research assistance program; eliminating the job-killing corporate tax; and much more.
With Bill C-60, we would provide even more support for new investments in machinery and equipment for the manufacturing and processing sector. This would be done by extending the accelerated capital cost allowance for two years, which would increase the support for manufacturers by almost $1.4 billion. I know this support would benefit manufacturers in Oxford and across Canada.
Our government believes in keeping taxes low for all Canadians. Since 2006, we have cut taxes more than 150 times, reducing the overall tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years. That translates into a total savings of $3,200 for a typical Canadian family of four.
We would build on these already astounding savings with even more tax relief for Canadians. In Bill C-60, we would eliminate consumer tariffs on babies' clothing, sporting goods and exercise equipment. In total, this would provide $76 million in tariff relief for Canadians.
We would also introduce a temporary first-time donor's tax credit to encourage more Canadians, and those who had not donated recently, to give to charity. This would not only help a plethora of charities but also provide $25 million in annual tax relief. The savings just keep getting better and better under our government.
Youth are the future, and that is why our government believes in providing young Canadians with the information and opportunities they need to make smart education and employment decisions. Our investments in youth since 2006 have included expanding the eligibility for Canada student loans through a reduction in the expected parental contribution; investing more than $300 million per year through the youth employment strategy to help young Canadians get the skills and work experience they need to transition into the workplace; and reducing the in-study interest rate for part-time students to zero, saving them approximately $5.6 million per year.
In Bill C-60, we would support Canadian youth even more by providing funding of $18 million in multi-year support for the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. This foundation is a national not-for-profit organization that works with young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 34 by helping them become the business leaders of tomorrow through mentorship, expert advice, learning resources and start-up financing. Over the past 10 years, the foundation has worked with 5,600 new entrepreneurs, helping to create 22,100 new jobs across Canadian communities.
Canadian farmers are the backbone of our country and represent an important industry in my riding of Oxford. For generations, our farmers have fed Canadians and the world while providing jobs and opportunities across Canada.
Our government has supported Canadian farmers with strong investments and programs since 2006. We have provided over $7 billion to farmers through a new suite of business risk management programs, including AgriStability, AgriInsurance, AgriInvest and AgriRecovery; over $2.3 billion toward Growing Forward 2, which invests in innovation, competitiveness and market development for Canada's agriculture sector; $370 million to the hog industry; support for debt restructuring to help sustain the industry and much more. In Bill C-60, we would be supporting farmers across Canada.
We would provide $165 million in multi-year support for genomics research through Genome Canada. This funding would enable Genome Canada to launch new large-scale research competitions over the next three years, would support continued participation by Canadian genomics researchers in national and international partnership initiatives, and would maintain Genome Canada's operations and the operations of the regional genome centres and science and technology innovation centres until the end of 2016-17.
We owe a lot of gratitude to our Canadian veterans who fought with bravery and courage for the freedom we enjoy today. We will always be indebted to them for the great sacrifices they made. Our government stands up for veterans, and that is why in Bill C-60 we are improving the war veterans allowance program. This program provides assistance to low-income veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War, as well as their survivors. Under the current program, a veteran's total calculated income includes a disability pension provided by Veterans Affairs Canada. This pension is automatically deducted from the amount of benefits available to veterans and survivors under the war veterans allowance. Amendments in Bill C-60 will no longer allow the government to take the disability pension into account when determining eligibility and in calculating benefits provided under the war veterans allowance. Under this government, veterans will be taken care of and will never be forgotten.
An investment in Canada's public infrastructure creates jobs and economic growth and provides a high quality of life for families in every city and community across the country. Canada's economic prosperity is supported by a network of highways and roads, waste water infrastructure, transit systems and recreation and cultural facilities. This network reaches into every community and touches every Canadian. In recognition of the importance of efficient prosperity and quality of life, our government has made significant investments since 2006 to build roads, bridges, subways, rail and much more.
In Bill C-60, we are continuing this support through the community improvement fund. This fund includes $21.8 billion over 10 years through the gas tax fund payments. Currently at $2 billion per year, we are proposing that these payments be indexed at 2% per year starting in 2014-15, with increases applied in $100-million increments. The list of existing eligible investment categories would be expanded to include highways, local and regional airports, short-line rail, short-sea shipping, disaster mitigation, broadband and connectivity, brownfield redevelopment, culture, tourism, sports and recreation. The fund would also include $10.4 billion over 10 years under the incremental GST rebate for municipalities to provide communities with additional resources for the maintenance and operation of existing public infrastructure and facilities.
Canada's gas tax fund would provide predictable and long-term funding for Canadian municipalities to help them build and revitalize their public infrastructure assets.
I am proud of the investments our government is making with Bill C-60. I and the residents of Oxford look forward to the speedy passage of Bill C-60, and I encourage all parliamentarians to seize this opportunity of unity in Parliament and give Canadians what they deserve, and in many cases, what they desperately need.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-05-07 11:05 [p.16388]
Mr. Speaker, what my colleague forgets is that this is going to a number of committees, and there will be debate at those committees, so it is not being limited.
The member went on about the municipalities and the money. I would remind him of what the Federation of Canadian Municipalities said about budget 2013:
Today's budget delivers significant gains for Canada's cities and communities. We applaud the government for choosing to continue moving our communities forward even as it meets its immediate fiscal challenges.... By maintaining and extending unprecedented investments in our cities' infrastructure, it will spur growth and job creation....
I do not know why the other side would not get behind this budget and get it passed in a hurry.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-05-07 11:07 [p.16388]
Mr. Speaker, I guess doing publications and papers and so on is muzzling. I would say to my hon. colleague across the floor that this is a good budget. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities knows the difference between this government and the former government.
Workers in this country know the difference. They know about the $48-billion EI surplus taken out of their funds. Municipalities in Ontario and across the country remember the $25 billion the Liberals took out of social transfers.
This is a good government. The municipalities in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities recognize this.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-05-07 11:08 [p.16388]
Mr. Speaker, we not only have a Toyota plant in my riding, we have a General Motors CAMI plant in my riding.
Both of those funds are essential to the Canadian auto industry as we move forward. We compete around the world, but we also compete with our American neighbours. Keeping the Canadian auto industry strong is important to ridings, not just for the auto plants but for all the supplier industries across Ontario that supply these plants. Our government recognizes the importance of manufacturing, and certainly, my riding is a beneficiary of those things.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2013-05-02 13:59 [p.16210]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize National Youth Arts Week, a series of week-long events happening across Canada from May 1 to May 7.
National Youth Arts Week was initiated by the Arts Network for Children & Youth, a national non-profit community organization that is based in my riding of Oxford. It is partnering with the Michaëlle Jean Foundation to coordinate events in local communities that encourage and display youth artistic talents.
These events are sure to bring out the very best talent among our youth and support local artists in their endeavours. I look forward to seeing their creativity being displayed for all of Oxford to see and enjoy.
I would like to thank all those involved for their hard work and wish all the participants the best as they share their artwork.
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