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Results: 1 - 15 of 288
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, much of the reason constituents in Mississauga East—Cooksville helped elect our Conservative government was that they were tired of Liberal politicians raising their taxes. Both the Liberals and the NDP are dead set on hiking mandatory payroll taxes.
Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance give the House an update on how our government is keeping taxes low for Canadians?
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, budgets balance themselves. Do members know who said that? It was the leader of the Liberal Party. We on this side of the House can assure the Liberal leader that balancing budgets requires sound economic stewardship and a focus on creating jobs and supporting economic growth.
Supporting every Canadian family is not fair. Do members know who said that? It was the leader of the Liberal Party. He wants to take away the family tax cut, take away the universal child care benefit, introduce new taxes, and raise payroll taxes. We on this side of the House know that raising taxes and raising spending is not fair to all Canadians. We are focused on putting more money back into the pockets of hard-working families.
Budgets do not balance themselves, and supporting all Canadians is indeed fair. The Liberal leader simply is just not ready.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, our government believes in low taxes for employers and employees. In fact, we have been lowering taxes on job creators since we took office.
Can the Minister of Finance please update the House on our government's policy on taxes for job creators?
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, last week I had the pleasure to accompany the Prime Minister as part of Canada's delegation to Poland to meet with Prime Minister Kopacz and President-elect Duda.
Poland is one of Canada's key NATO allies and our biggest trading market in central and eastern Europe, as well as a major partner in the fight against Putin's aggression in Ukraine.
This trip provided us with the opportunity to further strengthen the ties between Canada and Poland, as well as discuss future collaboration in the energy sector, research and innovation.
This visit also reaffirmed our commitment to stand tall in the face of Vladimir Putin's blatant disregard for international law and Ukraine's sovereignty.
Canada will continue to stand proudly with Poland and work together to foster the relationship with this important ally.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the debate so far. It is interesting that in a debate like this we have learned, and it is a great revelation, that commodity prices go up and down.
I am very honoured to provide my input on Bill C-59, economic action plan 2015. Our government has worked hard, focusing on its commitment to the priorities of Canadians: jobs, economic stability, growth, and long-term prosperity.
By balancing the budget, we can keep our focus on lower taxes to help families and hard-working Canadians. There is something colleagues on the other side did not hear about or forgot about, and that is the fact that the overall federal tax burden is now at its lowest level in more than 50 years.
Our government understands the growing financial pressure parents are facing today. That is why we have enhanced the universal child care benefit. We call it a universal child care benefit because it will be available to all Canadian families with children under the age of 18, regardless of their income or the type of child care they choose.
We first introduced the universal child care benefit, or UCCB, in 2006. Today it provides direct support to over 1.6 million families with over two million young children.
Let me explain how the UCCB works, how much it provides, and how we are enhancing it. Currently the UCCB provides $100 per month for each child under the age of six. We are proposing to increase the amount to $160 per month, which comes to about $2,000 per year for each preschooler. We also propose to expand the reach of this benefit to include children ages six to 17. Families would receive $60 per month for each child in this age group, which would amount to $720 per year.
Once we receive parliamentary approval, the new benefit amounts would take effect retroactively to January 1, 2015. This is great news for many families across the country, including over 20,000 families in the riding I proudly represent, Mississauga East—Cooksville.
I am pleased to also see important improvements for veterans through the veterans services included in this bill. I would like to thank the Minister of Veterans Affairs for taking a major step toward implementing the veterans affairs committee's recommendations in our review of the new veterans charter last year.
Bill C-59 has three new benefits to fill gaps that were identified in veterans services. The retirement income security benefit would provide disabled veterans with a monthly income support payment, beginning at age 65, on top of their existing pension payments to make sure that injured veterans have financial security later in life.
The critical injury benefit would provide a $70,000 tax-free award for Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans who experience a sudden and severe injury in the line of duty. This recognizes the hardship armed forces members experience as they recover from a traumatic incident.
The next one is the family caregiver relief benefit, which would provide disabled veterans with $7,000 tax free per year for caregivers, often a spouse or other family member, to use in any way that helps them overcome some of the challenges of caregiver fatigue.
I guess I have to wrap up. I would encourage every member in this House to support this bill.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise in this House to recognize a very special person in my life, my wife Gosia. Thirty-seven years ago today, we both said “yes” and became husband and wife. Ever since, I have been blessed with her unconditional love and support. When I decided to enter public life, she became my great mentor and supporter.
I thank Gosia for our two wonderful children we raised, our son Marcin and daughter Kinga.
Gosia is the best wife, mother, and now grandmother of our amazing grandchildren: Benjamin, Jan, and Alexandra. This is a little poem for Gosia:
I don't know what it is that you saw in me,What I saw in you was the utmost happiness that can ever be,Even more so on the day when you and I became “We”,I can still smile and say with love and truth, Honey, I love you.
Happy Anniversary.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to the health committee's report, “Marijuana's Health Risks and Harms”, and how this Conservative government is addressing the problem of youth smoking marijuana.
I would first like to thank the committee for its excellent work on this issue, and especially for the detail that the report offers regarding the lasting and serious harms that come from smoking marijuana. This report makes it clear for all to see that the Liberal leader's plan to make marijuana more available to kids is irresponsible and disturbing.
The Liberal Party wants to legalize marijuana, making it even more accessible to young Canadians. This is irresponsible and completely ignores the scientific evidence regarding its health risks and harms. The serious and lasting health risks of smoking marijuana are irrefutable. The rate of marijuana use among youth in Canada is already twice the rate of use among adults. The committee also found that Canadian youth age 11 to 15 are among the highest users of marijuana compared to their peers in other countries. Evidence suggests that Canadians are also not as well informed about the risks of smoking marijuana as they are about other illicit drugs. These statistics are alarming, and this Conservative government is concerned about the harmful effects of marijuana on youth.
Unlike the Liberal leader, we do not support making access to illegal drugs easier. Marijuana is dangerous, and it is irresponsible for governments to communicate that it is somehow safe and normal for kids to smoke it. Research has already shown that marijuana is harmful to the lungs and brain. The Liberal leader wants to make smoking marijuana a normal, everyday activity for kids and have it sold in stores just like cigarettes and alcohol. The Liberal leader has chosen to ignore the serious and lasting health effects of smoking marijuana, which the health committee has painstakingly detailed in the report before the House today. Marijuana is illegal and is so for a reason. Its lasting and serious health effects cannot be understated.
That is why our government's anti-drug approach through the national anti-drug strategy is working to stop Canadians of all ages, especially kids, from smoking marijuana. Since the launch of the strategy, its drug treatment funding program has provided funding for 29 projects across Canada. Concerning problems related to smoking marijuana, we are also helping with efforts to treat dependency for those people who have serious addiction problems.
We are also providing $1.2 million to the Nova Scotia government for a project entitled “Nova Scotia's strengthening treatment systems project” to increase the uptake of treatment practices by addictions workers. A key target group for these projects are those suffering from concurrent mental health and substance use disorders. This client group suffers from two serious health problems: illicit drug use, like marijuana; and ongoing mental health concerns. The Liberal leader ignores these vulnerable individuals when he attempts to normalize the smoking of marijuana and its lasting and serious health risks.
Our government is also providing $1.2 million to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health to undertake its project implementing evidence-informed practice in Saskatchewan's addiction treatment program. This project is working toward improving its standardized treatment practices across addiction and mental health sectors. When addiction is coupled with problems such as anxiety and depression, the related challenges are compounded for clients as well as the professionals in charge of their care.
The good news for my colleagues is that the rate of kids smoking marijuana in Canada is actually trending down, thanks to this good work. According to a Canadian drug-use monitoring survey's most recent report, marijuana use by youth has dropped by almost 30% since 2008 and by 45% since 2004. The same report noted that, while 20% of youth smoked marijuana in 2012, 70% of youth drank alcohol.
The Liberal leader's plan to make marijuana available in stores, just like alcohol and cigarettes, would mean increasing the rate at which youth smoke marijuana to the same rate at which they consume alcohol, almost tripling its use.
The president of the Canadian Medical Association said:
Any effort to highlight the dangers, harm and potential side effects of consuming marijuana is welcome.
We know that work needs to be done to reduce the rate at which our kids smoke marijuana, but the Liberal leader is choosing to ignore the advice of experts, showing once again that he is just not ready for the job. The Liberal leader's own MPs are even on the record defending illegal marijuana storefronts in B.C. and elsewhere. His refusal to condemn these illegal operations, which are regularly caught peddling marijuana to kids, should not surprise anyone. These storefronts are the Liberal vision of Canada.
Make no mistake, storefronts selling marijuana are illegal under this Conservative government and will remain illegal, and we expect the police to enforce the law. A marijuana store on every street corner fits perfectly with the Liberal leader's on-the-record statements defending the dangerous home grow ops in Canadian neighbourhoods, which this Conservative government is fighting in court to shut down.
The irony of the Liberal plan to legalize marijuana is that it would in no way reduce the rates of youth smoking marijuana or, indeed, the illegal drug trade. Expert witnesses who contributed to this report by the health committee actually spoke to this point at length. I will quote Dr. Harold Kalant, who said:
...I would point out that the hope that legalizing would eliminate the black market would be true only if it were sold legally at a lower price than the black market. If you do that, the use is likely to increase greatly.
However, this expert's testimony conflicts with the Liberal vision of Canada, so its leader will pay it no mind. Dr. Kalant offered further thoughts on the subject, which I will highlight here before I conclude. He said:
...the use of cannabis for pleasure comes at a cost, and society must ponder whether the pleasure is worth the cost. ...society as a whole must give careful thought to changes in policy that could increase the number and severity of health problems caused by use by its more vulnerable members, which, as I have pointed out, means its younger users.
The Liberal leader asserts that our government's work, which actually shows results in stopping kids from smoking marijuana, is a “hyper-controlled” approach. He cannot even agree with the actions being taken against home growers. He wants to make smoking marijuana an everyday activity for Canadians and completely ignore its serious and lasting health risks. He ignores the risks that the home grow ops put on communities.
The Conservative government is making significant progress on the complex issue of drug addiction. We all have a role to play and a contribution to make. Our government believes in collaborating with our key partners in these efforts. We applaud the work being done and support these efforts by our partners in undertaking research and knowledge brokering, by making intelligent policies, crafting important legislation, and providing funding where appropriate.
The Conservatives' approach to stopping kids from smoking marijuana is working. It is the right public health message to send to Canadian families, and above all, it is responsible.
Again, I want to thank the Standing Committee on Health for undertaking this work and for this insightful report on marijuana's health risks and harms. My hope is that the Liberal leader takes this report seriously and takes the time to listen to the medical experts who agree with the former president of the Canadian Medical Association, who said, “especially in youth, the evidence is irrefutable—marijuana is dangerous”.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, as the member probably knows, I do serve on the health committee, and I was at the meetings and listened to the witnesses.
What the member did not say was that the marijuana that is available today is from 10 to 30 times stronger than it was in the 1970s. It is stronger and, therefore, it is more dangerous.
When I was growing up, there was no culture of smoking marijuana. I never saw it. I was never offered it. I never tried it. However, I did witness the tragedies of people addicted to alcohol, and I do not think this is any different. This is an addictive substance. It does not do anybody any good.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, the member serves on the health committee. We work together.
I remember all the testimony. The member probably remembers the testimony of one scientist from Toronto. He concluded by saying that if the members of the committee ever decided to legalize this substance, he wished we would not make the same mistake that was made when alcohol was legalized. The member probably remembers that.
I do not understand the concept. How is it supposed to be good for our citizens, our youth? What purpose does it serve to bring another addictive substance to the market and make it widely available to everybody? What good is that?
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, none of these substances are good, not cigarettes and not alcohol. As I said in my first response, I have personally witnessed the tragedies of people addicted to alcohol, tragedies for families and society. I do not think we are making any progress by introducing another addictive substance for wide consumer use.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, I would like the member to respond to the following findings of the Gomery report. The report states:
The Commission of Inquiry found:
Clear evidence of political involvement in the administration of the Sponsorship Program....
A veil of secrecy surrounding the administration of the Sponsorship Program and an absence of transparency in the contracting process....
The use of the Sponsorship Program for the purposes other than national unity or federal visibility because of a lack of objectives, criteria and guidelines for the Program.
Deliberate actions to avoid compliance with federal legislation and policies....
Certain agencies carrying on their payrolls individuals who were, in effect, working on Liberal Party matters.
The existence of a “culture of entitlement” among political officials and bureaucrats involved with the Sponsorship Program, including the receipt of monetary and non-monetary benefits.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to speak today in support of Bill C-52, the safe and accountable rail act.
This bill is an essential milestone in the government's ongoing work to strengthen railway safety. I would like to use my time to demonstrate to this House all the hard work we have collectively accomplished with regard to railway safety.
In November 2013, the public accounts committee tabled its seventh report that contained an examination of railway safety oversight related issues. The report's five recommendations followed similar railway safety oversight themes that were outlined in the 2013 fall report of the Auditor General of Canada.
Similarly, the Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities completed an in-depth review of the Canadian regime for the safe transportation of dangerous goods and the role of safety management systems across all modes of transportation.
Before proceeding, I would like to thank the members of both committees for their thorough exploration of these issues, which serve to further enhance transportation safety for all Canadians. I would also like to thank the witnesses for participating and providing their invaluable knowledge and insight. These railway safety and transportation of dangerous goods studies and recommendations are important considerations to further enhancing the national transportation system. Let me assure the House that the safety of Canadians remains this government's biggest priority.
As such, it is important to review the many activities and measures that our government has taken to strengthen railway safety, transportation and movement of dangerous goods.
Following the tragic derailment in Lac-Mégantic in July 2013, our government took decisive action to ensure the safety and integrity of our railway system. The Minister of Transport directed Transport Canada to issue an emergency directive to railway companies. This included requiring a two-person minimum for locomotive crews on trains carrying dangerous goods. We also imposed stricter rules for securing unattended trains, and companies importing or transporting crude oil were also directed to conduct classification testing of that oil.
In January 2014, our government also launched a comprehensive review of the current liability and compensation regime for federally regulated railways. The goal was to ensure that a polluter pays and that there are resources available to compensate potential victims, pay for cleanup costs and ensure that taxpayers are protected. Input received from stakeholders during the review informed the development of the strengthened liability and compensation regime for federally regulated railways included in this bill, Bill C-52, the safe and accountable rail act. The regime includes enhanced insurance requirements for railways and a supplementary shipper-financed fund for incidents involving crude oil or other designated dangerous goods. In addition to addressing liability and compensation, we also introduced strengthened oversight and enforcement under the Railway Safety Act.
Additionally, to provide emergency planners and first responders with information to assess risks in their communities and to plan and train for emergencies, last fall we directed railway companies to share with municipalities and first responders data on dangerous goods being transported. I am happy to report that communities across Canada are now receiving this data from railway companies.
While Canada has one of the safest and most efficient railway systems in the world, we know that we can always do more and we are committed to restoring the public's confidence in our railway system. In addition to the actions I have already noted, we have taken further measures to enhance the safety of railway operations and the movement of dangerous goods, and we will continue to do so.
I can assure members that we are well advanced on implementing each recommendation the Transportation Safety Board has made. As I stated, our government is committed to restoring confidence in our railway system.
We will continue to work closely with stakeholders, including municipalities, provinces and officials in the Unites States to assess what more we can do to enhance safety.
In April 2014, our government announced measures to address initial recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board into the derailment in Lac-Mégantic. First, we ordered the immediate removal of the least safe tank cars from dangerous goods service. We also introduced new safety standards for DOT-111 tank cars and required those that do not meet these new standards to be phased out. I am pleased to say that the new safety standards for DOT-111 tank cars were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, in July 2014. A detailed update was published on March 11, 2015, outlining the new specifications for the TC-117 tank cars that go beyond any requirements proposed for improved TC/DOT-111s. These improved tank cars would be the only option for newly built cars for the transportation of flammable liquids as soon as October 15, 2016. An aggressive phase-out program starts to remove legacy DOT-111s carrying crude oil two years from now and allows only fully retrofitted and TC-117 compliant tank cars 10 years from now.
On train speeds, we require railway companies to slow key trains transporting dangerous goods and introduce other improved operating procedures. For example, we are requiring railways that transport dangerous goods to permanently address route planning and risk analysis.
We also require emergency response assistance plans for tankers, including single tank cars carrying crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel and ethanol. These plans have been reviewed and approved. As of September 20, 2014, there are now expert teams ready to respond to any petroleum spill, if needed. A task force has also been created to bring key groups like municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers together to strengthen the emergency response capacity across the country.
As members may recall, the Transportation Safety Board released its final report and recommendations regarding Lac-Mégantic in August 2014. The government officially responded on October 29, 2014.
First, the board recommended that Transport Canada require railway companies to put in place additional physical defences to prevent runaways. To this end, the Minister of Transport issued an additional emergency directive and ministerial order to implement significant changes to improve train securement and require railway companies to meet standardized brake requirements. The board's second recommendation emphasized the need for regular and thorough audits of railway safety management systems. In response, Transport Canada has revised its inspection and audit plans to allow for the increased frequency of safety management system audits, and allow for full audits to be completed on a three- to five-year cycle.
In addition to its two recommendations, the Transportation Safety Board also issued two safety advisories on mined gas and flammable liquid classification and on short-line railway employee training. These are being addressed as well.
Following the July 2013 Lac-Mégantic accident, we immediately required classification testing of crude oil. We also required emergency response assistance plans for specific flammable liquids and ethanol.
In July 2014, our government introduced a regulatory amendment that provides authority for our inspectors to conduct a more thorough verification of classification of dangerous goods. This amendment means that industry must now prove the results of its testing.
To wrap up, I will speak about employee training. We are requiring railways to submit training plans to the department for review. In 2015, the department will also carry out targeted audits to determine specific gaps in industry training plans. The results will help us determine what new or improved requirements are required for a strengthened training regime.
Our government remains committed to further strengthening railway safety for all Canadians. We will continue to take concrete action going forward.
I would like to ask all of my colleagues to support this bill and vote for it.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for his question. I am not sure exactly what he is suggesting.
I guess the safest measure would be for the trains not to move and then we would not have any dangerous situations. However, in order to transport goods, the trains have to move, but lowering the speed would improve safety, which is one of the measures that has been taken. We have to look at all the factors that can cause accidents and look at all the factors to improve safety, which include speed, technical requirements and new requirements for tanker cars. All put together, this would greatly improve safety.
Even driving in a car at a very slow speed, one may get into an accident. Therefore, I think we have to be reasonable in how we look at this issue.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am very passionate about technology, improvements, and the implementation of research and technology in the railway industry. My first degree after I graduated from high school was railway technician. I was an intern on a steam locomotive, and I know how far we have come.
There are technological innovations that can be implemented and used for railway safety, whether that be electronics or other devices, and some are used. I mean, we have a very advanced railway system in this country. However, there are new things that can be used that would not only enhance the safety but also make the work of those people the member mentioned much easier and more effective. I think that the corporations, railways, will and should implement these new technologies, new innovations and new inventions to the system to make it safer and better.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is focused on the priorities of Canadian families. That is why we introduced the family tax cut and the universal child care benefit, which would put more money into the pockets of every Canadian family. This is in stark contrast to the NDP and Liberal plans to raise taxes for all Canadians.
The Liberal leader even said that “benefiting every single family is not what is fair”. Maybe the Liberal leader believes it is fair to pick one family over another family and somehow not be fair to all families who helped the budget balance itself.
We believe it is fair to benefit every single family and provide opportunities for all Canadians. We will make sure that families receive those benefits. We make no apologies for helping all Canadian families and we understand that benefiting every single family is, indeed, fair.
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