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View Joe Comartin Profile
NDP (ON)

Question No. 1261--
Mr. Andrew Cash:
With regard to individuals detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act: (a) broken down by province and by gender, how many individuals were detained in the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (b) what was the cost of detaining the individuals in (a) for the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (c) broken down by province, how many of the individuals in (a) were under the age of six in the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (d) broken down by province, how many of the individuals in (a) were between the ages of six and nine in the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (e) broken down by province, how many of the individuals in (a) were between the ages of ten and 12 in the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (f) broken down by province, how many of the individuals in (a) were between the ages of 13 and 17 in the years (i) 2011, (ii) 2012, (iii) 2013, (iv) 2014; (g) broken down by province, what is the average duration of stay in detention; (h) of those who were in detention between January 2011 and January 2015 how many individuals have remained in detention longer than (i) one year, (ii) two years, (iii) three years, (iv) four years, (v) five years; and (i) as of the most recent information, how many individuals are detained in cells with (i) one other person, (ii) two other persons, (iii) three other persons, (iv) four or more other persons?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1276--
Ms. Christine Moore:
With regard to contracts under $10,000 awarded by Health Canada since April 1, 2014: what is (i) the name of the supplier, (ii) the contract reference number, (iii) the contract date, (iv) the description of services provided, (v) the delivery date, (vi) the original contract amount, (vii) the final contract amount, if different from the original amount?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1283--
Hon. Carolyn Bennett:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Public Works and Government Services Canada since February 5, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1284--
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Justice Canada since January 29, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1286--
Hon. Irwin Cotler:
With regard to designated countries of origin (DCO): (a) what is the process for removing a country from the DCO list; (b) does the government conduct regular reviews of countries on the DCO list to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria for designation; (c )if the government does not conduct regular reviews of countries on the DCO list to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria for designation, (i) how is a review triggered, (ii) who decides whether to conduct a review, (iii) based on what factors is the decision to conduct a review made; (d) since the inception of the DCO list, has the government conducted any reviews of countries on the list to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria for designation; (e) for each review in (d), (i) what was the country, (ii) when did the review begin, (iii) when did the review end, (iv) how was the review triggered, (v) who decided to conduct the review, (vi) who conducted the review, (vii) what documents were consulted, (viii) what groups or individuals were consulted, (ix) what ministers or ministers’ offices were involved in the review, (x) what was the nature of any ministerial involvement, (xi) what was the outcome, (xii) based on what factors was the outcome determined; (f) based on what factors does the government decide whether to remove a country from the DCO list; (g) in what ways does the government monitor the human rights situation in countries on the DCO list to ensure that the countries continue to meet the criteria for designation; (h) who does the monitoring in (g); (i) what weight is given to the situation of minority groups in countries on the DCO list when evaluating whether the countries continue to meet the criteria for designation; (j) what weight is given to the situation of political dissidents in countries on the DCO list when evaluating whether the countries continue to meet the criteria for designation; (k) what type or extent of change in the human rights situation in a country on the DCO list would trigger a review of whether the country continues to meet the criteria for designation; (l) what type or extent of change in the situation of one or more minority groups in a country on the DCO list would trigger a review of whether the country continues to meet the criteria for designation; (m) what type or extent of change in the situation of political dissidents in a country on the DCO list would trigger a review of whether the country continues to meet the criteria for designation; (n) what type or extent of change in the human rights situation in a country on the DCO list would lead to the removal of the country from the list; (o) what type or extent of change in the situation of one or more minority groups in a country on the DCO list would lead to the removal of the country from the list; (p) what type or extent of change in the situation of political dissidents in a country on the DCO list would lead to the removal of the country from the list; (q) in what ways does the government discourage refugee claims from countries on the DCO list; (r) since the inception of the list, how much money has the government spent outside Canada to discourage refugee claims from countries on the DCO list, broken down by year and country where the money was spent; (s) since the inception of the list, how much money has the government spent within Canada to discourage refugee claims from countries on the DCO list, broken down by year, province or territory where the money was spent, and DCO country in question; (t) since the inception of the list, how much money has the government spent on advertising outside Canada to discourage refugee claims from countries on the DCO list, broken down by year and country where the money was spent; (u) since the inception of the list, how much money has the government spent on advertising within Canada to discourage refugee claims from countries on the DCO list, broken down by year, province or territory where the money was spent, and DCO country in question; (v) what evaluations has the government conducted of the advertising in (t) and (u); (w) for each evaluation in (v), (i) when did it begin, (ii) when was it completed, (iii) who conducted it, (iv) what were its objectives, (v) what were its outcomes, (vi) how much did it cost; (x) for each year since the inception of the list, how many refugee claims have been made by claimants from countries on the DCO list, broken down by country of origin; (y) for each year since the inception of the list, broken down by country of origin, how many of the claims in (x) were (i) accepted, (ii) rejected, (iii) abandoned, (iv) withdrawn; (z) for each year since the inception of the list, broken down by country of origin, how many of the failed claimants in (y) sought a review of their claim in Federal Court;(aa)for each year since the inception of the list, broken down by country of origin, how many of the claimants in (z) were removed from Canada while their claim remained pending in Federal Court; (bb) for each year since the inception of the list, broken down by country of origin, how many of the claimants in (z) left Canada while their claim remained pending in Federal Court; (cc) for each year since the inception of the list, broken down by country of origin, how many refugee claimants from countries on the DCO list have been deported; (dd) has the government monitored the situation of any failed refugee claimants from countries on the DCO list after they returned to their countries of origin; (ee) broken down by DCO country, how many failed claimants have been the objects of the monitoring in (dd); (ff) broken down by DCO country, regarding the monitoring of each failed claimant in (ee), (i) when did it begin, (ii) when did it end, (iii) who did it, (iv) what was its objective, (v) what was its outcome; (gg) broken down by year and country of origin, how many refugee claims by claimants from countries on the DCO list were accepted by the Federal Court after having been denied by the Immigration and Refugee Board; (hh) broken down by year and country of origin, how many of the claims in (gg) were accepted by the Federal Court after the claimant had left Canada; (ii) broken down by country of origin, how many of the claimants in (hh) now reside in Canada; (jj) what evaluations has the government conducted of the DCO system; (kk) for each evaluation in (jj), (i) when did it begin, (ii) when was it completed, (iii) who conducted it, (iv) what were its objectives, (v) what were its outcomes, (vi) how much did it cost; (ll) since the inception of the DCO list, what groups and individuals has the government consulted about the impact of the DCO list; (mm) for each consultation in (ll), (i) when did it occur, (ii) how did it occur, (iii) what recommendations were made to the government, (iv) what recommendations were implemented by the government?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1290--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to hydrocarbon spills in Canada’s waters by commercial entities: (a) how many spills of oil, gas, petrochemical products or fossil fuels have been reported in Canada’s oceans, rivers, lakes or other waterways, broken down by year since 2006; and (b) for each reported spill in (a), identify (i) the product spilled, (ii) the volume of the spill, (iii) the location of the spill, (iv) the name of the commercial entity associated with the spill?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1291--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to government-supported, rental housing in Canada: (a) how many new units were built using federal funding from the Investment in Affordable Housing bilateral agreements, since 2006, broken down by (i) unit size, (ii) province, (iii) year; (b) how many new units were built using federal funding from the National Homelessness Initiative, since 2006, broken down by (i) province, (ii) year; (c) how many new units were built using federal funding under the auspices of any other program, since 2006, broken down by (i) unit size, (ii) year; (d) how many Proposal Development Funding loans were granted by the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation, since 2006, broken down by (i) province, (iii) year; and (e) how many Seed Funding grants were granted by the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation, broken down by (i) value under $10,000, (ii) value over $10,000?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1292--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to the Live-in Caregiver and Caregiver programs, broken down by year, from 2010 to 2014: (a) how many applications were received by Citizenship and Immigration Canada; (b) how many applications for Live-in Caregiver and Caregiver visas were approved; (c) how many Canadian residents with Live-in Caregiver or Caregiver visas applied for permanent residency; (d) how many permanent residency applications by Live-in Caregiver or Caregiver visa-holders were approved; (e) what are the top three source countries for live-in caregivers in Canada; and (f) how many residents with Live-in Caregiver visas applied to sponsor their spouses or children, broken down by (i) raw numbers, (ii) percentage of the total?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1294--
Mr. Nathan Cullen:
With respect to the Canada Border Services Agency’s decision to close the border crossing between Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder, Alaska for eight hours per day, effective April 1, 2015: (a) what is the cost of keeping the border crossing open 24 hours per day; (b) what is the expected savings from this decision; (c) how many entries and exits have occurred at this border entry since April 1, 2005; and (d) what consultations were undertaken by the Canada Border Services Agency with the District of Stewart in advance of this decision being taken?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1298--
Mr. Mathieu Ravignat:
With regard to the investments made in forestry companies in the riding of Pontiac since 2011, (a) how many projects received funding through federal programs such as Canada Economic Development; and (b) of the projects identified in (a), what is the total amount of these investments, broken down by company?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1300--
Hon. Ralph Goodale:
With regard to the following telephone services (i) Service Canada’s (SC) “1-800 O Canada”, (ii) SC’s “Canada Pension Plan (CPP)”, (iii) SC’s “Employer Contact Centre”, SC’s “Employment Insurance (EI)”, (iv) SC’s “Old Age Security (OAS)”, (v) SC’s Passports”, (vi) Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) “Individual income tax and trust enquiries”, (vii) CRA’s “Business enquiries”, (viii) CRA’s “Canada Child Tax Benefit enquiries”, (ix) CRA’s “Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit enquiries” for the previous fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date: (a) what are the service standards and performance indicators; (b) how many calls met the service standards and performance indicators; (c) how many did not meet the service standards and performance indicators; (d) how many calls went through; (e) how many calls did not go through; (f) how does the government monitor for cases such as in (e); (g) what is the accuracy of the monitoring identified in (f); and (h) how long was the average caller on hold?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1303--
Ms. Élaine Michaud:
With regard to government funding, provided by the Department of the Environment, in the riding of Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier since 2011-2012 inclusively, what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1304--
Ms. Élaine Michaud:
With regard to government funding granted by the Department of Employment and Social Development, including the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in the constituency of Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier since 2011-2012 inclusively, what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to any organization, body or group, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the municipality of the recipient, (iii) the date on which the funding was received, (iv) the amount received, (v) the department or agency providing the funding, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, and (vii) the nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1306--
Ms. Élaine Michaud:
With regard to government funding granted by the Department of Infrastructure, including the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, in the constituency of Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier since 2011-2012 inclusively, what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to any organization, body or group, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the municipality of the recipient, (iii) the date on which the funding was received, (iv) the amount received, (v) the department or agency providing the funding, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, and (vii) the nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1308--
Ms. Nycole Turmel:
With regard to Infrastructure Canada, from fiscal year 2011-2012 up to and including the current fiscal year, broken down by fiscal year, what was the total amount allocated, including direct investment from the Government of Canada, in (a) the City of Gatineau, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the amount allocated to the recipient, (iii) the program under which the amount was allocated; (b) the federal constituency of Hull–Aylmer (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the amount allocated to the recipient, (iii) the program under which the amount was allocated; and (c) the administrative region of Outaouais (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the amount allocated to the recipient, (iii) the program under which the amount was allocated?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1311--
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre:
With regard to the advisory council created by the government in 2012 mandated to promote women on the boards of public and private corporations: (a) in total, how many individuals are on this advisory council, broken down by (i) gender, (ii) name, (iii) position; (b) when did the meetings take place; (c) what were the subjects discussed by this council; (d) what is the expected date for this council’s report; (e) what was discussed during this council’s meetings with respect to (i) pay equity, (ii) the representation of women on the boards of public and private corporations; and (f) can the government table the minutes of this advisory council’s meetings?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1312--
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre:
With regard to the Canada Post service reductions announced in December 2013: (a) what are the planned locations for community mailboxes in Laval; (b) how many employees were assigned to Laval before the elimination of home delivery was announced; (c) how many Canada Post employees will be required following the mailbox transition; (d) what was the volume of mail sent in the last ten years (i) from Laval to another destination, (ii) to Laval; (e) how many complaints have been received concerning (i) the transition from home delivery to community mailboxes, (ii) the location of community mailboxes in Laval; (f) how many complaints resulted in (i) an opened file, ii) a change of location of these community mailboxes; (g) what steps are being taken to look after the needs of (i) persons with mobility impairments, (ii) seniors; (h) will current post offices still be active following the transition to community mailboxes; (i) what recourse will be available to residents affected by the location of mailboxes they consider to be dangerous or harmful; (j) what recourse was or continues to be available to residents affected by the installation of a community mailbox over the last 30 years, excluding the current transition; and (k) how many customer service employees at Canada Post, broken down by language of service, are assigned to complaints concerning the installation of community mailboxes from (i) across Canada, (ii) Quebec, (iii) Laval, (iv) the residents of Alfred-Pellan?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1317--
Hon. Stéphane Dion:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Canadian Heritage since January 30, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1318--
Hon. Stéphane Dion:
With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Natural Resources Canada since February 5, 2015: what are the (a) vendors' names; (b) contracts' reference numbers; (c) dates of the contracts; (d) descriptions of the services provided; (e) delivery dates; (f) original contracts' values; and (g) final contracts' values, if different from the original contracts' values?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 1319--
Mr. Jack Harris:
With regard to the United Nations Chiefs of Defence Conference of March 26-27, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, and the absence of Chief of Defence Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces, General Thomas Lawson, from the Conference: (a) what was the reason for General Lawson’s absence; (b) which members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development were present at the Conference; and (c) what measures were taken to communicate Canada’s priorities and concerns with regard to international peacekeeping to those present at the Conference?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-412-1261 Detainees8555-412-1276 Government contracts8555-412-1283 Government contracts8555-412-1284 Government contracts8555-412-1286 Designated countries of origin8555-412-1290 Fuel spills8555-412-1291 Affordable housing8555-412-1292 Live-in caregivers8555-412-1294 Canada Border Service Agency8555-412-1298 Government investments8555-412-1300 Telephone services ...Show all topics
View Mike Sullivan Profile
NDP (ON)
View Mike Sullivan Profile
2015-06-11 11:18 [p.14937]
Mr. Speaker, the bill, as I understand it, would protect all forms of service dogs, both service dogs in the forces of law enforcement, but also service dogs that are helping persons with disabilities, such as the blind, persons who use dogs as therapy, et cetera.
We really appreciate the fact that the government is trying to protect these animals, but we are concerned that the use of mandatory minimums, as always, goes too far with the current government. It could, in fact, result in judges being unable to hand down convictions because they realize the mandatory minimum would in fact be too harsh a penalty.
Would the member like to comment?
View Ève Péclet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Ève Péclet Profile
2015-06-11 11:19 [p.14937]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the question. I know how important matters related to persons with disabilities are to him.
Diane Bergeron from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind came to committee to testify and said how extremely important the bill is to her because it acknowledges the value of service animals for persons with disabilities or reduced mobility. To her, it is essential that we finally recognize how important these animals are to people's daily lives.
As the hon. member said in the second part of his question, the problem that often comes up in animal cruelty cases is that these offences are withdrawn when there is an agreement between the Crown and the defence lawyers. Offenders often are not prosecuted because the offences are considered less serious than others.
Mandatory minimum sentences could cause a problem. If an agreement is made, a person will agree to plead guilty to some offences, but not to animal cruelty offences because they come with a minimum sentence. As I said, we should take a balanced approach to animal cruelty offences. We must ensure that there are more convictions and not prevent convictions.
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2015-06-09 10:06 [p.14782]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-687, An Act respecting the development of a national employment strategy for persons with disabilities.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise to introduce a private member's bill, seconded by the hon. member for Newton—North Delta. The bill is a product of the Create Your Canada contest in my riding. It owes its genesis to the imagination and hard work of a young high school student in Vancouver Kingsway, Harriet Crossfield from Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School.
Harriet's idea, enshrined in this bill, calls for the development of a national employment strategy for persons with disabilities. This legislation would require the Minister of Employment and Social Development to draft a plan to improve the economic participation of persons with disabilities throughout Canada. Included in this plan would be measures to educate private-sector employers about the great potential of persons with disabilities to contribute to the workforce, encourage more inclusive hiring practices, and reduce stigma. Harriet's idea would tackle the unfair social exclusion faced by too many persons with disabilities in Canada, and create new potential for a more dynamic and inclusive labour force.
I would like to congratulate Harriet on her contribution to Parliament and our country, and thank her teachers and all who entered this contest from Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School.
View Manon Perreault Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Manon Perreault Profile
2015-05-29 13:04 [p.14360]
moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
She said: Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to present my bill entitled An Act to establish National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day. I am very pleased that it has reached this stage and that it was all done so cordially.
This bill made it through all of the previous stages and has progressed nicely to this point. That is the result of everyone working together, and I sincerely hope that this will be a turning point in the lives of people living with a spinal cord injury.
I must also mention our partners who have supported us throughout this process and who were all involved in some way in the development of this bill. I am thinking about the Rick Hansen Institute, which provided us with data, Bobby White, the director of Spinal Cord Injury Canada, and Walter Zelaya, from MEMO-Que, who gave their full support without reservation.
With this bill, we want to designate the third Friday of September as national spinal cord injury awareness day. After a number of discussions, we concluded that this awareness day could be very useful to individuals, employers and stakeholders in various fields. It will certainly also have a very positive and significant impact on people living with spinal cord injuries.
I am quite certain that I will be able to show my esteemed colleagues that implementing this bill, which will not cost anything, can have a major and meaningful impact on people with spinal cord injuries. It will do so much to raise widespread awareness of their needs and abilities.
This bill would designate the third Friday of September as national spinal cord injury awareness day. Why that day? We took a number of factors into consideration, including two major ones: accidents that happen in the summer and accidents related to winter sports. The third Friday of September is also symbolic. There is an analogy here. When someone has just suffered a spinal cord injury, it is like autumn: they see dark days ahead. In the months after a spinal cord injury, patients have to cope with a kind of darkness that is comparable to a difficult and trying winter.
This simple and effective bill that will cost nothing provides one more tool to those involved in helping people with spinal cord injuries, as well as to agencies that work on prevention and raising public awareness and recognize the harsh reality just outside the door of the rehabilitation centre. That is exactly when spinal cord injury patients first feel that those around them really are looking at them differently, that each and every outing will require considerable effort and that their new limitations mean that they have to dig to the very depths of themselves as they try to improve their lives each day and start living anywhere close to the way they did previously. They have to have the courage to forgo some activities or to summon the perseverance they need to adapt those activities to their new reality.
This bill has three components. Naturally, raising awareness among our fellow Canadians is the first objective. We want people with spinal cord injuries to feel more encouraged to take an active part in society without any prejudice towards them. If possible, they should be encouraged to develop a talent and, even better, to use it for the benefit of others. In my view, that is a fundamental part of human activity.
This day will allow people with spinal cord injuries to communicate with each other, gather information about the possibilities open to them, and listen to people with experiences to share.
It is also about recognizing the determination of those with spinal cord injuries to build a new life. One of the biggest accomplishments for anyone with a spinal cord injury is understanding that life is going to have its challenges and costs. The higher the injury is on the spinal cord, the more severe the physiological damage is and the faster the aging process seems to go.
Even people whose work requires little physical effort run into problems in terms of getting around, transfers, personal care, housekeeping, ice, snow clearing and so on.
We also want to recognize the dedication of the people who help out on a daily basis. Thanks to them, the injured persons can resume a nearly normal life. This help goes a long way toward alleviating anxiety, problems of all kinds, and especially physical exhaustion. However, what is most important in my view is that these people gently force the injured to be disciplined and to tune out the little voice in their head that tells them in the morning that they do not have the desire, energy or need to get out of bed. Believe me, that little voice is tenacious and having someone to rely on during those times is truly a blessing.
I want to acknowledge the perseverance of scientists who, through their research, are improving the lives of thousands of people with spinal cord injuries. In recent years, there have been significant advances in the neurosciences, which study everything to do with the nervous system, such as the mapping of the sensorimotor cortex.
At the trauma unit at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, you learn that the spinal cord is made up of nervous tissue and cells and that it looks like a cable the thickness of your little finger. It begins at the base of the brain and passes through each vertebra, ending between the first and second vertebrae. Basically, the spinal cord is the communication link between the brain and the body.
Adapting to a spinal cord injury is very difficult and takes a long time. It requires a great deal of personal effort by the injured person and the people around him or her. It turns a person's life upside down and is often accompanied by many negative emotions such as fear, anxiety and anger. It brings long hours of reflection interspersed with highs and lows.
However, as with any situation, there are also positives. Those with new injuries are taken care of by an interdisciplinary team that quickly addresses the objectives identified by specialists based on the injuries.
For several years, the notion of inclusion has dominated the debate on the place of people with disabilities in our society. A so-called inclusive society adapts to individual differences and anticipates people's needs in order to give them the best possible chance of success in life. As a result, in order for a society to be truly inclusive, collective will and collective mobilization are needed, on the part of society and the economic and political communities. They need to change their way of thinking and the way they organize things in order to integrate people who are sometimes more fragile.
Every little action to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities requires a collective and political effort, and I think that we are making such an effort today.
I also believe that as elected representatives, we must promote inclusiveness. We must position ourselves as open people who create bridges with our living environments. Of course, the inclusion of people with disabilities in society cannot be done without the support and knowledge of the medical, social and political sectors.
Finally, I sometimes get the impression that we have incorporated the notion of inclusion into our speeches, but it is difficult for a person with a disability to be convinced that political authorities are truly committed to the notion of inclusion because so much remains to be done in terms of accessibility and home care.
It is important to understand that the bill to designate a national spinal cord injury awareness day is much more than symbolic. It has the potential to help save lives and reduce the number of spinal cord injuries that happen in Canada every year.
Let us not miss this opportunity to help everyone. As I often say, spinal cord injuries do not discriminate.
As I went through the process that got me to the point of talking about this bill again today, I believe that I developed a better understanding of the real needs of people with spinal cord injuries. Let me explain. Naturally, people might think that I do not really understand them, but talking to other people can sometimes help us see other problems.
I gained a better understanding of what this special day on the calendar can contribute. This bill is representative of the political work we are all here to do because it helps us all better ourselves as a society in meaningful ways.
Sometimes we get the feeling that we are not doing enough, but in this case, even though this bill seems like a modest initiative at first glance, it is an incredible tool that leads us to a new stage in our progress toward accepting people with disabilities in Canada.
This step forward will lead to others and so on. The quality of life of all our fellow citizens, whether they are affected by spinal cord injuries or not, will certainly improve.
Creating a national spinal cord injury awareness day will ultimately significantly help improve health care, promote treatment advances, technological innovations and research in medical science, and even contribute to the Canadian economy.
Raising hope is a winning strategy, and today, the first thing we must do is make sure that this bill continues to make its way through the legislative process. We also need to make social acceptance more universal and to raise awareness among employers of the unsuspected qualities of those with spinal cord injuries, thereby making our communities more effective, productive and just.
The practical nature of this reality and the idealism of these principles work well together in this much-needed bill. We have to promote acceptance within social networks and value inclusion because it is both compassionate and for the common good.
I should mention that governments are doing their part when it comes to research, but most of the funding comes from appeals to the public's generosity. Creating a national spinal cord injury awareness day will allow for new fundraising opportunities. It will not cost us anything to provide this opportunity to organizations that offer services to persons with disabilities, and the potential returns could be extremely beneficial.
To sum up, this bill will help raise public awareness and acceptance of spinal cord injury victims. It will maximize funding and research initiatives and stimulate volunteer support and personal involvement in general. It can help communicate and draw attention to specific issues, while bringing together people on similar paths. It will validate the help and support provided by loved ones, family members, colleagues, neighbours and specialists, as well as the exceptional contribution of researchers in this area of expertise.
We are all equal before this terrible scourge and every bit of progress is a victory for all. My personal experience and that of the people I consulted, as well as the conversations I have taken part in, have convinced me that creating a national spinal cord injury awareness day is a productive, effective, economical and sensible way to do our part for Canadians with disabilities.
I often say that people living with a physical limitation who meet daily challenges have the same very strong abilities, qualities and character of people drawn to extreme sports. I am sure that my colleague across the way will agree with me. They have to have determination, courage, perseverance, and especially the will to improve their daily lives.
I think that we can do a better job of equipping these people to deal with what others would see as insurmountable obstacles. I recognize that it is often stressful and painful for the people around us, because they are not living it and do not truly understand. It is up to us to reassure them, if we want to maintain their friendship and respect, and to recognize that they may be an incredible, and even vital, source of support.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2015-05-29 13:16 [p.14362]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the bill before the House and applaud the member for the effort she has no doubt put in to making this possible. I understand that September 18, the third Friday, would be our first national awareness day.
Could the member provide some further comment on the importance of health care services for spinal cord injuries? Designating this day would provide an opportunity for those individuals to look at appealing to governments at different levels and different organizations. The member made reference to fundraising. There are all sorts of unlimited possibilities in recognizing this.
Could she provide some comment on the importance of research and health care dollars for this?
View Manon Perreault Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Manon Perreault Profile
2015-05-29 13:17 [p.14362]
Mr. Speaker, when it comes to research I naturally think of the Rick Hansen Institute. The institute has done much to advance research on spinal cord injuries.
There is still a lot of work to be done, but nevertheless there have been some significant advances. I am not a doctor, but rehabilitation centres are currently working very hard to ensure that spinal cord injury victims are taken care of as quickly as possible after their accident. Over the years, they have come to realize that the earlier you can operate on these individuals, the greater the chance of their muscles responding to rehabilitation.
View Steven Fletcher Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Montcalm for bringing this bill forward. Could the member elaborate on how society could remove systemic barriers that historically prevent persons with disabilities or mobility challenges? What can society do to be inclusive for all Canadians of every ability?
View Manon Perreault Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Manon Perreault Profile
2015-05-29 13:19 [p.14362]
Mr. Speaker, when someone asks me what we could do to make our society more inclusive, two things quickly come to mind: accessibility and transportation. I would like to focus on transportation, because right now, that is really the biggest problem for people in wheelchairs who need to get to work. Often these people do not have access to transportation. For example, if I take the Montcalm commuter train, not all of the exits are wheelchair accessible. Some exits are, but not all of them. Nevertheless, this infrastructure was just built in the past few years. There is therefore an enormous amount of work to be done to make transportation and buildings accessible.
I would like to add that just because there is a sign saying that a building is wheelchair accessible, that does not make it true. One of the biggest problems we have is simply going to the washroom. Wheelchairs cannot always fit through the washroom door. The member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia is laughing, but I know he knows exactly what I am talking about.
I would like to invite all of my colleagues to come spend an entire day following us around in wheelchairs and to do push-ups every time we have to transfer in and out of our wheelchairs. They will see that it is very physically demanding.
With regard to both transportation and accessibility, there is still much to be done.
View Steven Fletcher Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Montcalm for her leadership in the area of spinal cord injury and disability and for her contribution to Canada as a whole. Public service is difficult, and the member for Montcalm has distinguished herself.
I would like to pick up where the member left off on the washroom issue and the idea of encouraging everyone to spend a day in a wheelchair. We do that. My colleague from Edmonton has done that.
I used to bring people together in the morning. They would come and gather in my office. They would get their wheelchair, and I would be sure to give them lots of coffee. At the end of the day, if anyone said that he or she had spent the entire day in the wheelchair, I knew for sure that the person was telling a white lie, because the washrooms are hard to find, and when one gets there, it is hard to know what to do if one is in a wheelchair.
That is something that is really emblematic of what happens. Just having a flush entrance does not mean a facility is accessible.
With regard to spinal cord awareness week, the United Kingdom has a day and Australia has a week. Part of spinal cord awareness week is awareness. What happens to the body when people have a spinal cord injury is not well understood. It is because nobody wants to talk about what it actually means. It is very uncomfortable. I am going to use this opportunity to explain some of the uncomfortable realities of a spinal cord injury.
Generally, there are quadriplegics and paraplegics. A paraplegic is one who has use of his or her arms. A quadriplegic is someone who is, like me, paralyzed from the neck down.
What does paralyzed from the neck down mean? The obvious thing is that the person cannot move any muscles below the neck. However, it also means not feeling hunger, not feeling hot or cold, not having the sense of touch. It is a bit like being a turtle on a log. One moves toward the ambient temperature of the room or the environment in which one finds oneself.
People who are quadriplegics cannot feed themselves. They cannot dress or undress themselves. They cannot shower. People at a high level, as in my case, need people 24 hours a day to help with the activities of daily living, including going to the washroom. Again, this is really icky, but it is a reality. There are a variety of things that people do, such as using indwelling catheters and other kinds of medical devices. It is the same situation on the bowel side. The individual with the injury needs help with all of that. That is really difficult.
Then we combine it with the need for proper care, which is always difficult to find and finance. Some people are fortunate to have insurance. In most cases the insurance is not nearly enough. That is something auto insurance companies and workers' comp need to look at because most spinal cord injuries occur come from a driving or work accident.
Also, the issue of reproduction is compromised as well. It is a fundamental part of being human. We are physical creatures. The change in the lifestyle that the member for Montcalm describes is almost a metamorphosis into a different kind of existence. I have to live in my mind and I am very glad that I live in Canada where someone like the member for Montcalm, or myself or many others can be a quadriplegic or paraplegic and still contribute to society.
However, there are many barriers and they include attitudinal issues. I am sure the member for Montcalm has had this happen to her. When I go to a restaurant, someone asks the person who I am with what I want to eat. The person responds “Why don't you ask the person in the wheelchair?” Then the person will sort of raise their voice and say “What would you like to eat?” It is like there is some sort of cognitive or hearing impairment associated with the wheelchair.
These are well intentioned people, but too many people do not have the awareness. I admit that I was one of those people before my accident in 1996.
Another thing is accommodation in the workplace. In the House of Commons, I would like to thank all my colleagues for allowing a stranger in the House, my caregiver who sits with me. Here, in committees and in cabinet, no one raises an eyebrow.
There have also been efforts to adjust the seating to accommodate wheelchairs. I remember when I got here, they put me over on the opposition side because we were in opposition. Claude, the architect, described all the things he had to do to accommodate me. I told him all of that was temporary, and he kind of looked at me. I told him that in a few months I would be on the government side of the House. He laughed. Then I looked him in the eye and said “Then I'm going to run for Speaker”. If we want to see an architect melt down, that is one way to do it.
I give those examples as if those most sensitive committees at the highest level in Canadian society can accommodate a quadriplegic who cannot even move a finger, there is no reason workplaces, educational institutions or any other part of society cannot accommodate people with a disabilities. They may not be able to answer or solve a problem the same way most people can, but they will get there. Technology is a great equalizer.
Since I am not competing to play football or anything, I focus on my strengths. When I ran the first time, people said interesting things. First was that I did not sound disabled. That was a classic. I was asked why would anyone vote for me, given I was really a nobody and in this physical situation. This was on the radio too. My response to that was “I would rather be paralyzed from the neck down than from the neck up“.
The point is that we need to evaluate people on the content of their character and their ability to contribute, and we need to be creative in how that contribution is made. We also have to ensure that we have the supports in home care, transportation, and the education system. We need to empower people so that they can make the best decisions for themselves, so we need to remove the systemic barriers that exist.
What we need for spinal cord injury applies to senior citizens. Members may be interested to know that. It applies as well to people with temporary or episodic disabilities. It goes on and on.
The last comment I would like to make is that Dr. Fehlings at Toronto Western Research Institute is a medical hero in Canada. Just last week in the media he announced that research had allowed paraplegics to gain more sensation through his work and that of his team with respect to the central nervous system. That is a game changer.
The government has invested in this, and I know all of the parties support that kind of investment. Would it not be wonderful if someday spinal cord or brain injuries were something for the history books and that we would all be able to live long and prosperous lives?
We live in the best country in the world. It is the best time in human history to be alive. God bless Canada.
View Mike Sullivan Profile
NDP (ON)
View Mike Sullivan Profile
2015-05-29 13:34 [p.14364]
Mr. Speaker, as I rise in my place, and I say that because my two colleagues who preceded me could not rise in their place. They are the bravest human beings in this room. I want to thank both of them for all their courage, efforts and wonderful heartfelt speeches.
I certainly cannot add anything to what was said by those two incredible individuals. Both of them are living proof that we can adapt our society no matter what the need to accommodate those individuals who need accommodation in the workplace, society and ordinary daily living, and on transportation, as the member for Montcalm has said,
On the spinal cord awareness day, I tried to be in a wheelchair for a full day, and it was not easy. Bathrooms were difficult to manoeuver, but I did stick to it. Eventually I had to give up waiting for a bus because the folks running the buses said that they did not have enough buses and that were unable to transport me in time to make it back for a vote. However, I did get back into the chair after that occurrence.
My brother has multiple sclerosis, and while it is not a spinal cord injury, he is well on his way to being full-time in a wheelchair. He is not there yet, but I watch him and realize that, in his case, it is not a sudden and traumatic injury but a long, gradual, painful transition to where the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia and the member for Montcalm are now.
It is sad and hard to watch, but it makes me all the more determined, as the critic for persons with disabilities, to create a Canada in which everything we can possibly do is done, not just to raise awareness and to do research but to actually make it possible for everyone to live as though they were no different than anyone else.
I am thankful for this opportunity. I want to again thank my colleagues for their incredible speeches.
God Bless Canada. God bless them.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2015-05-29 13:37 [p.14364]
Mr. Speaker, I too would like to add a few thoughts on this issue and thank the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia for a very passionate speech and the member for Montcalm for her tenacity. It does take a great deal of tenacity in order to not only generate the idea and put it on a piece of paper but also to get it through the House. It depends upon a bit on luck too, I must say. She was in a great position to do something of some substance, and we are debating this issue today because of her efforts.
However, let me get back to my friend from Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, who I think articulated exceptionally well why we as a society need to get a better understanding of the impact of some of the things that happen virtually every day in our community or in our vast country, and their consequences. He speaks with obvious first-hand experience.
I have known of the member for many years, probably more years than he has likely known of me, and I am in admiration of the member's desire to have change and the recognition that is necessary, not only on this particular issue but on other issues as well, whether at the University of Manitoba or on the streets in Winnipeg.
I applaud the fact that he took the time to share some of those personal stories, because we do take things for granted, whether it is changing or eating or some of those normal daily functions. It is hard for individuals to have empathy unless they have experienced these situations first-hand, as the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia has.
It is very enlightening for all of us, and the viewers, to listen to what the member was sharing with not only members of this chamber but with those who were tuned in through CPAC.
Recognizing a national spinal cord injury awareness day is important. It is important for the very reasons we just witnessed—that is, it would enlighten and bring awareness to a wide variety of Canadians.
I would like to share some thoughts with respect to just how wide a variety it really can be. Both speakers, the introducer and the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia in particular, talked about some of the issues they have to face. Government spends literally hundreds of millions of dollars annually dealing with this issue in our health care system through hospitals or other types of institutions, but what we really need to focus on is ensuring a sense of independent living. This is something both speakers referred to, whether directly or indirectly.
There are very tangible things that government can do. The single largest landlord is, in fact, the Government of Canada, in co-operation with the different provincial governments. We build non-profit housing or low-income housing or provide life-lease housing. We promote housing co-ops and all sorts of government-initiated programs to revitalize communities, which includes the revitalization of housing units. All of these, I would suggest, should always take into consideration the issue of disabilities. Accessibility is an issue. It is a very serious issue.
I was intrigued when the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia described his office gathering, where he provided a lot of coffee for those individuals who were about to make the commitment to spend the day in a wheelchair, and his reference to the white lie. It is very much a valid story that provides a better understanding of that one very basic issue.
I have the privilege of having Parminder Buttar working in my constituency office. He is in a wheelchair and is very dependent on the rest of civil society, as people in wheelchairs are, in ensuring that we are sensitive to the needs and respect those needs, and where we can take action that we do so.
It means ensuring that washrooms are accessible. It is to ensure that when we look at purchasing or acquiring new city buses that we take that into consideration. It is to ensure that when it comes time to build another large housing complex, that disability is taken into consideration.
So much can be done, and it is not only at the federal level. What I like about the motion before us today, is that it is Ottawa recognizing the importance of the issue and designating a day in the year. This year will be the first year we recognize it, with the understanding that the bill will get royal assent. September 18 will not only be a wonderful opportunity to educate people, but also to promote the many different positive attributes individuals, whether they are paraplegic or quadriplegic, have contributed to our society in every aspect.
In many ways it is special and is a different type of challenge. When the mover of the bill made reference to the super sports athletes, we will find that also applies to individuals in wheelchairs. They are exceptionally well motivated. Their contributions are immense and of equal nature in many different ways.
I have had the opportunity to speak on other days of action. With the passage of this legislation, members of Parliament will be afforded the opportunity to promote this going forward. The most obvious ways of promoting this are with our ten parceners or householders, or through other forms of communication that we might have with technology, the Internet and so forth.
Other ways would be to look at our local schools, taking the time where it is possible, to encourage education or awareness within a school atmosphere or to look at employers and encourage them to get more engaged in the day. I suspect there will be wide and a fairly general appreciation of the true value of having a day of this nature designated.
If we were to look at the number of days of recognition that have been passed through the House, this would be ranked as one of those issues that really and truly merits a much wider appreciation not only in Ottawa but also at the different levels of government.
I do not know, for example, if my provincial government of Manitoba has acknowledged the importance of this day. If it has not, hopefully one of the MLAs in the Manitoba legislature will do so. Even local municipalities and city councillors can get engaged on this issue. We can do much more and I encourage people to do what they can, given what has been asked of us today.
On behalf of the Liberal Party, I want to thank the mover of the motion for coming up with the idea and bringing it forward. I suspect that it will receive the unanimous support of the House as we try to deal with those important issues Canadians have to face day in and day out.
The issue of disability deserves a great deal more debate in the House of Commons, in the different legislatures, and by the public at large.
View John Duncan Profile
CPC (BC)
View John Duncan Profile
2015-05-29 13:48 [p.14365]
Mr. Speaker, I will not take all of the time, but I did want to speak to this motion from the member for Montcalm and seconded by the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia.
I cannot remember the exact year, but I was the seatmate of the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, and it was during that time that he wrote his book. We had a book unveiling in Ottawa. As a member of the caucus, and particularly because the member was my seatmate, it was incumbent upon me to get to know him much better. Now we have been caucus colleagues for at least a decade. The adversity that I realize the member has gone through, and the inspiration he provides, have carried on. There is no member of this caucus of which the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia is a member who has ever heard him utter a complaint. The member is constructive, and as everyone has witnessed today, he is quite hilarious.
I realize that I am restricting my comments to the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia rather than to the member for Montcalm. It is not for any reason other than that I know the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia much more intimately. There is no slight intended.
We are reminded every time we see the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia attending meetings, whether they are early or late, that whatever adversity or struggles we may be going through, they pale in comparison. This is part of the ongoing inspiration we all feel.
There was a time, after 13 years of serving in the opposition in this place, that I actually lost an election. It was the very year we formed government. On my way, as I departed from Ottawa by car, guess who called? It was the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia. He was thinking about me. I have never forgotten that.
We all have to recognize that these members who brought this motion forward are more than contributing members of Parliament. They are much more than full members, in a sense. I know from many discussions that the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia is actively engaged in the Treasury Board, for example. He is pursuing advanced education. He is a great student of Canadian history. There are many things all of us could learn about Canadian history from just having a short conversation with the member.
I believe that we have a strong responsibility to know our colleagues who face adversity. Today is one of those opportunities, but there is another opportunity, and it is called “every day”.
What we witnessed today is consistent with the motion that has been put forward by the member for Montcalm and seconded by the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia. I congratulate them, and I know that this place will be happy to adopt this motion.
View Manon Perreault Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Manon Perreault Profile
2015-05-29 13:53 [p.14365]
Mr. Speaker, I often tell people that it is more difficult for them to approach us than it is for us to go and talk to them. I think that this national day will make more and more people aware of this issue.
When I came to this place in 2011 and I met people, they told me that they were surprised to see me in a wheelchair, and all I could do was nod. However, when I was campaigning, I did not hide it from anyone. It seems that people did not realize it until they met me.
I also realized that people often say that they think we are very nice. That makes me laugh, because everyone is nice. Being in a wheelchair does not stop you from being nice.
Last week I received an invitation from Mr. Demers to take a horse out on a racetrack. I think everyone here knows that I had a riding accident and that horseback riding was one of my great passions. A little earlier, we were talking about accessibility and changing how we look at things. That gentleman let me take his racehorse out on a track. That was such a wonderful thing for me.
When something like that happens, you have to take another look at everything you used to love doing so you can do it again. Excuse me, I am having a hard time because this is so emotional for me.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Demers from the bottom of my heart. He helped me understand that even though my accident happened in 1993, and even though I could no longer ride, I could find other ways to pursue my passion. I honestly never thought I would be able to do it. I am very proud of that.
We have to salute those who are open-minded and are helping our society become more inclusive so that everyone has a place in it.
I often say that people with disabilities have their limitations, and that is true, but we all have our limitations, and in many cases, we impose them on ourselves. When we meet people who are ready to help us challenge those limitations, they almost become heroes to us.
My colleague may understand what I am saying. Regardless, I am very happy to see that all of my colleagues in the House have so readily supported my bill. I realize that there are many national days and that they are all important. However, I know that this national day will help give people a greater voice in society.
I will end my speech there, since I am a bit overwhelmed talking about all of this.
View Manon Perreault Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Manon Perreault Profile
2015-05-26 19:07 [p.14209]
Mr. Speaker, this morning I was speaking with a woman from my riding of Montcalm, Ms. Francoeur, of the Résidence coopérative Quatre-Soleils in Saint-Lin–Laurentides. She was very pleased to have finally received funding from the Government of Canada for accommodations at her centre.
I would like to recognize the efforts that are made every year in Quebec and Canada to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities. The resources invested mean a great deal to people living with physical limitations. The government plays a key role, but there is so much work still to be done before we can talk about a truly inclusive society.
These resources, as much as they are appreciated, are certainly very modest. Investing in the integration of people with disabilities and in accessibility is something that goes far beyond compassionate or altruistic considerations. To put it simply, such investments are good social decisions and actions that demonstrate the goodwill behind the government's public policies.
I have said it before and I will say it again: an investment in people with disabilities is, above all, an investment that is good for everyone and one that contributes directly to our communities.
Had we gotten into the habit of handling funding requests for projects that meet the needs of people with disabilities the same way we handle economic requests, we might have much more effective practices for those people now.
People with disabilities are people first, and each step toward social inclusion is a sure way to help all of them and all affected families thrive.
I deplore the lack of stable programs and the dearth of information about their recurrence. The government has to be consistent and offer more independence to people with disabilities and greater social cohesiveness for all.
The enabling accessibility fund accepts applications at much too unpredictable intervals, making it impossible for organizations to prepare applications in advance for specific projects.
When an organization that helps people with disabilities has a specific need, it asks many community groups for help finding solutions. Everyone—from family caregivers to workers in the network, advocates, professionals and volunteers—pitches in to improve services and contribute to a solution. Funding is piecemeal. Donations from members of the public, private interests and civil society all do their part.
To give an idea of the situation, these organizations often survive thanks to charitable individuals and the generosity of their community. However, there comes a time when the federal government must take responsibility and encourage such efforts, resourcefulness and ingenuity.
Good programs do exist, and their impact has been measured at length. They are clearly beneficial. Unfortunately, the lack of consistency of programs provided to organizations that help people with disabilities, as well as the stability, recurrence and coherence of the programs, must be vastly improved.
Would it be possible to make the enabling accessibility fund a permanent program, with recurring application dates everyone is aware of, in order to improve the stability of government assistance provided to organizations that help people with disabilities?
I realize that reviewing the enabling accessibility fund requires that we be prepared, above all, to implement diverse solutions in order to improve this program's performance. I also believe that as elected officials, we must promote inclusiveness. We must position ourselves as open people who create bridges with our living environments.
The inclusion of people with disabilities in society cannot be done without the support and knowledge of the medical, social and political sectors. It is difficult for a disabled person to be convinced that political authorities are truly committed to the notion of inclusion because so much remains to be done in terms of accessibility, transportation, home care and so forth.
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