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40th PARLIAMENT, 3rd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 025

CONTENTS

Wednesday, April 14, 2010





CANADA

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 145 
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NUMBER 025 
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3rd SESSION 
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40th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayers


[Statements by members]

  (1400)  

[English]

The Speaker:  
    It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl.
    [Members sang the national anthem]

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Firefighters

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I hope we can take a moment today to pay tribute to Canada's firefighters.
    During a recent meeting with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, I was shocked to hear that the vast majority of volunteer fire departments are having trouble recruiting and maintaining their memberships.
    The Canadian fire services include 3,492 fire departments and more than 90% of them are volunteer departments. In fact, of Canada's 108,000 firefighters, some 85,000 are volunteers.
    I believe that this government will keep Canada's emergency service personnel vibrant and well equipped.
    The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs presented our government with the 2010 agenda for action and I hope we will support this agenda to an extent that is practical during these difficult economic times.
    Our government recognizes the excellent services Canadians receive from our firefighters. We owe it to them to carefully examine the 2010 agenda for action to protect ourselves and future generations.

Earthquake in China

Hon. Bryon Wilfert (Richmond Hill, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join the people of China in mourning the deaths of hundreds who have been killed by the devastating effects of the earthquake that has hit Qinghai province.
    The quake, measuring at least 6.9 in magnitude, struck the mountainous region injuring about 10,000 people, collapsing schools, office buildings and thousands of homes. Many more people remain trapped and the toll is expected to rise.
    My thoughts and condolences go out to the people of China who have been affected by this tragedy and to Canadians who have family and friends living in the province of Qinghai.
    In the hours and days ahead Canada and the international community may be called upon to commit resources and assist in the rescue efforts. Our prayers and thoughts are with those people.

[Translation]

Le Trou du Diable Microbrewery

Mr. Jean-Yves Laforest (Saint-Maurice—Champlain, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to learn that Le Trou du Diable, a Shawinigan microbrewery, won the silver award for its seasonal beer, La Grivoise de Noël, at the prestigious World Beer Cup competition, which was held in Chicago the weekend of April 10.
    I am extremely proud of this innovative regional company, in particular because it is the first small Quebec brewery to win an award at this competition, which experts refer to as the Olympic games for beer. This year, 3,330 beers were presented by 642 breweries from 44 different countries.
    This outstanding recognition shows just how impressive our regional products are, and how important it is to support their production. The artisans at Le Trou du Diable promote these products, as well as buying local, for which I am very grateful. Congratulations to Isaac Tremblay and André Trudel; your work is inspiring.

  (1405)  

[English]

Multiculturalism

Mr. Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, two recent events in Sault Ste. Marie highlight the growing multicultural diversity of our community. The Algoma Multicultural Centre hosted a successful dinner featuring food, music and dancing from several traditions and the ever growing 4th Annual Passport To Unity drew over 3,000 people for its celebration of traditional food and art.
    For years, the Labour Council and steelworkers have held an anti-racism day promoting this diversity with a very clear message of understanding and tolerance. The Baha'i Faith has taken a leadership role in promoting interfaith celebration and dialogue.
    All of this has helped Algoma University evolve as a centre of cultural and international exchange. New organizations are working to make Sault Ste. Marie a welcoming place where we appreciate the richness of each nationality, our customs and their talents. Sault Ste. Marie is experiencing an influx of new citizens from many different parts of the world.
    It is all about community. We want to celebrate and connect the many faces of Canada within our community.

World Curling Championship

Mr. Greg Rickford (Kenora, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it has been another great year for Canada's curling teams at the Olympics and our recent success at the World Curling Championship in Italy.
    Spring is in the air, but the curling season is not over yet. This weekend it is time to rally behind our Canadian seniors men and women teams who are heading to the 2010 World Senior Curling Championship in Russia.
    I want to make special mention of the fact that Andrea Ronnebeck from Kenora is one of the team managers.
    Our government is committed to building a stronger Canada by encouraging seniors to be role models and to be active contributors to society, including competitive sports. The World Senior Curling Championship organizing committee and the Government of Canada share a common interest in the well-being of seniors.
    On behalf of the Government of Canada, please join me in sending best wishes for the teams, coaches, managers and volunteers for proudly representing Canada, and proudly representing Canadian seniors on sports world stage.

Bullying

Mrs. Lise Zarac (LaSalle—Émard, Lib.):  
     Mr. Speaker, today is Canada's Anti-Bullying Day, also known as Pink Shirt Day. The tradition of wearing pink shirts to protest bullying originally started in 2007, when students at a Nova Scotia high school took a firm stand against bullying.
    On his first day of school, a grade 9 boy was bullied and harassed simply for wearing a pink shirt.
    On the very next day, following the leadership of grade twelvers, hundreds of students from that high school started wearing pink shirts to symbolize their stand against bullying.

[Translation]

    This story is proof that intimidation and bullying can be overcome. It is proof that little tyrants can be defeated when people of goodwill take up a cause. Intimidation has no place in our society, whether it comes from adults or children.

[English]

    By standing together, we can defeat bullies.

[Translation]

National Engineering Month

Mr. Pierre Lemieux (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as a mechanical engineer who served for 20 years in the Canadian Armed Forces Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Branch, I would like to acknowledge the contribution that engineers are making today to Canadian society and will continue to make in the future.

[English]

     Last month was National Engineering Month. This year's theme of “Designing the Future” is very timely as we look forward to creating the jobs of the future. This annual celebration of Canadian engineering excellence promotes engineering as an important career choice for youth. As engineers, they will discover that they can shape the way Canadians live, work and play.
    I invite my colleagues to recognize the valuable role that engineers play in protecting the safety and quality of life of all Canadians, and to encourage our youth to consider engineering as part of their future.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Gilles Denis

Ms. France Bonsant (Compton—Stanstead, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, on January 27, I had the opportunity to participate in the official opening of Cookshire's new IGA. This IGA, which emphasizes buying local, is the first to be LEED-certified for the sustainable management of its facilities. It is also the first to use a green refrigeration system, the Eco2-System.
    The owner, Gilles Denis, was recognized by Quebec's National Assembly for his exceptional volunteerism. He has organized many music concerts and promoted numerous beautification projects. He also helps out with the Haut-Saint-François RCM employee appreciation evening as well as Loisirs Cookshire.
    On behalf of the Cookshire and Compton—Stanstead community, I would like to wholeheartedly thank and congratulate Gilles Denis. His legendary involvement and extraordinary generosity have made him not only an exceptional volunteer, but also an exceptional person.

[English]

Railway Crossing Safety

Mr. Mike Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, every day, thousands of Canadians, including the good people of my riding of Tobique—Mactaquac, drive across rail tracks on their way to work, to visit family or to drop kids off at school.
    Today, our government is investing in their safety.
    This morning, we announced $11 million to upgrade 155 high priority rail grade crossings right across Canada, including near St. André and Grand Sault.

[Translation]

    This is yet another example of how Canada's economic action plan is helping Canadians and making a difference in their communities. This investment is already producing a positive effect. In 2009, there were 36% fewer deaths and serious injuries than in the previous year in Canada.

[English]

    One accident is too many, but our government is taking concrete steps to keep Canadians safe.

Vaisakhi

Mr. Sukh Dhaliwal (Newton—North Delta, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, today Canadians from across the country are celebrating Vaisakhi and the birth of Khalsa.
     Today is one of the most holy days for the followers of the Sikh faith as it commemorates the creation of Khalsa and the Sikh Nation by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699, when Sikhs were given a clear identity and a code of conduct to live by.
    On April 17 Dashmesh Darbar Gurdwara will host North America's largest Khalsa Day Parade in Surrey, where over 100,000 people of all faiths and backgrounds will come together to celebrate our diversity.
    I ask all members of this House to join me in wishing a very Happy Vaisakhi and a Happy Khalsa Day to all.

[Translation]

Leader of the Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bernard Généreux (Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the latest Olympic Games made Quebeckers prouder than ever to be Canadian, but the Bloc Québécois leader is doing his best to ensure that their pride does not have lasting consequences for federalism in Quebec.
    The Bloc leader's cross-Canada tour, which is wrapping up this week in Vancouver, is proof of that. One wonders whether he plans to ask the province that hosted the latest Olympic Games to separate from Canada, just as he invited Newfoundland and Labrador to separate during his recent visit to that province.
    The Bloc leader should heed advice from the founding father of the Bloc Québécois, the former premier of Quebec, Lucien Bouchard, and concentrate on Quebec's true priorities, which include the economy.
    That is what Quebec needs, and that is exactly what the Conservative government has delivered with its economic action plan.

[English]

Day of Pink

Mr. Bill Siksay (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, today is the Day of Pink, the international day against bullying, discrimination and homophobia. It calls for an end to bullying of all kinds, and the end to discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual youth. It is a celebration of diversity in our schools and communities.
    This day originated after an incident at a Cambridge, Nova Scotia school where a student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. The next day many students wore pink in solidarity with him.
    This important initiative is now spearheaded by Jer's Vision, an organization that works with thousands of youth through over 40 programs and which today celebrates its fifth anniversary.
    GLBTT youth often face persecution, bullying and violence, which causes some to drop out of school, suffer serious depression or attempt suicide. We must act against homophobic, lesbophobic, transphobic and misogynistic bullying and discrimination and stand in solidarity with GLBTT youth and their friends, families and allies on this important day and in this important struggle.

  (1415)  

Liberal Party of Canada

Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, now that it has been a year since the Liberal leader said, “We will have to raise taxes”, it is no wonder that there are unhappy Liberals.
    We know that the Liberal leader had MPs ignore his divisive motion in the House. We know that Liberals meet in Ottawa restaurants to talk about removing their leader, but the most recent example takes the cake.
    Yesterday, the Liberal MP for St. Paul's gave a slide show presentation to an audience in Chicago, Illinois that suggested she was a minister of state. That same presentation was on her parliamentary website as of this morning. We do not know if it was meant to be a job application or a slip of the mind to the days of the Liberal sponsorship scandal, but the member is clearly unhappy.
    Either way, we know one thing for sure. If the Liberal leader continues his year-long endeavour to raise taxes and kill Canadians' jobs, the slide show of the MP for St. Paul's will never be accurate again.

[Translation]

Ethics

Ms. Nicole Demers (Laval, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government refuses to come clean about why it demoted the former minister for the status of women and expelled her from caucus.
    The Conservatives will only say that the matter is being investigated; they refuse to say what the member for Simcoe—Grey is alleged to have done. This is a far cry from the transparency they promised. Instead, the Conservatives are trying to cover up the matter, hoping that voters will forget about the scandal, just as they have done with the Afghan detainee file. They are washing their hands of it and turning the matter over to another authority. By doing so, they are leaving the door open to widespread speculation.
    Furthermore, the Prime Minister should have used this opportunity to appoint a new minister for the status of women and show some willingness to make progress on women's issues, particularly pay equity and assistance to women's advocacy groups. But the idea likely did not even cross his mind. This shows once again not only his lack of transparency, but also his complete indifference regarding the concerns of women.

[English]

Poland

Mr. Andrew Kania (Brampton West, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday, Poland lost its political, military and church elite, including President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria, whom I had met. They had been flying to a memorial to remember the Katyn massacre, an event not well known in world history, but one that they rightly did not want forgotten given the brutal murders of over 20,000 Polish officers and elite by Soviet forces in 1940.
    Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has called this plane crash the most tragic event of Poland's post World War II history and the Archbishop of Warsaw has stated that “words are too poor and weak” to capture the loss. As a first generation Polish Canadian, I can say that they are both correct and that the Polish community in Canada, known as Polonia, is in shock and mourning.
    On behalf of my entire family, the residents of Brampton West and Polonia, I wish the survivors of the deceased and the people of Poland our sincere condolences on this terrible tragedy.

Taxation

Mr. Andrew Saxton (North Vancouver, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, one year ago today, while our government was delivering economic results for Canadians, the Liberal leader laid an important plank in his platform. He clearly stated, “We will have to raise taxes”. Of course, he is the same Liberal leader who is on the record stating, “I am not going to take a GST hike off the table”. But why would he? He is a self-proclaimed tax-and-spend Liberal.
    The Liberal leader was among the first Liberals to call for the carbon tax that Canadians rejected in the last election. Let us not forget that to end his spenders' conference, the Liberal leader proposed job-killing business taxes.
    One year ago the Liberal leader set out to raise Canadian taxes and he has stayed true to his tired message, but Canadians know higher taxes kill jobs. It is as true today as it was a year ago.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Ethics

Mr. Michael Ignatieff (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, for more than seven months the Prime Minister has stood by and watched while Mr. and Mrs. Jaffer attached their tentacles to the neck of the government and slowly dragged it down. The question now is not about Mr. and Mrs. Jaffer, it is about the Prime Minister.
    Will he finally explain why he called in the police? Will he finally admit that in the confidence he placed in this couple, he displayed a poor lack of judgment?

  (1420)  

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as members know, the minister offered to resign and I accepted her resignation.
    I have also made it very clear that I had received information concerning some serious allegations of which I have no direct knowledge, but I did the appropriate thing and forwarded those to the authorities for them to take what action is appropriate.
Mr. Michael Ignatieff (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, by letting the rumours swirl, the cloud over the government continues.
    There is a pattern here. When Parliament gets in the Prime Minister's way, he shuts it down. When MPs ask for documents, they are blacked out. When ordinary citizens ask for access to information, they are turned down. When Parliament asks a simple question, why did he fire a minister, he will not even deign to answer.
    There is a pattern of arrogance here. When will it stop?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we received information which is obviously of serious concern. I have no direct knowledge to add to this information. The appropriate thing to do was to turn that over to the authorities.
    The consistent pattern here is the government does what is the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances.

[Translation]

Mr. Michael Ignatieff (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, there is a consistent pattern of obstruction with this government. Ministerial staff block requests for access to information. Entire pages of information and documents on torture are censored.
     Now the Prime Minister is refusing to tell us why he called in the police against his minister.
    All of this amounts to contempt for the institutions involved and for Canadians.
    When will the Prime Minister tell us why he trusted the minister last week, but no longer trusts her this week?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I reject the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition.
    In this case, the minister tendered her resignation. I received information about her conduct. I have no direct knowledge of the allegations made. It was appropriate to forward these allegations to the authorities and that is what I did.

[English]

Mr. Mark Holland (Ajax—Pickering, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, when Rahim Jaffer met with some of his more questionable clients, he said, “I have access to a green fund”. It was no idle boast.
    The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities delegated authority to review projects for the billion dollar green fund to his parliamentary secretary, a parliamentary secretary who now confirms he did meet with Mr. Jaffer and his partner last June for government cash for three specific projects.
    What are the details of these projects? Which of Mr. Jaffer's clients were involved? Why were these unregistered lobbyists not reported to the lobbyist commissioner?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary did have meetings with Mr. Jaffer and no funding was recommended to any of the projects that were discussed. That has been very clearly stated by the parliamentary secretary.
Mr. Mark Holland (Ajax—Pickering, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, a parliamentary secretary meets with Mr. Jaffer and his business partner to discuss cash for their clients. It is the very definition of lobbying. None of it was reported; none of it was registered.
    We now know the parliamentary secretary met with them again, this time on September 3, the same day Mr. Jaffer had a personal dinner with the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and eight days before Mr. Jaffer boasted of access.
    How can we believe the lobbying efforts did not continue with the minister over dinner? Why were these unregistered lobbyists given this kind of access and not reported as required by law?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the law in this case is very, very clear. It imposes obligations on those who lobby government. They are very specifically prescribed in the act and all lobbyists are expected to follow that important legislation.

[Translation]

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is refusing to investigate the affair involving the former minister for the status of women and Rahim Jaffer. She says that it is not up to her to look into this matter. We are forced to conclude that the allegations forwarded to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner are of a criminal nature.
    Will the Prime Minister finally agree to show some transparency and explain what the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner does and does not have the authority to do?

  (1425)  

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I received serious allegations, which I forwarded to the RCMP and the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
    It is up to the authorities to take the appropriate action.
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner said she did not have the authority to conduct an inquiry into the matter. But the commissioner reports to Parliament. We are therefore entitled to know why she does not have the authority to look into the affair involving the former minister for the status of women and her husband, Rahim Jaffer.
    Will the Prime Minister finally disclose the exact nature of the allegations that forced him to put the matter in the hands of the RCMP?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as I just said, I received serious allegations, but I do not have direct knowledge of this information. That is why I forwarded it to the RCMP and others.
    It is perfectly appropriate for the authorities to take the necessary action.
Mrs. Carole Freeman (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has refused to examine the allegations concerning the former Minister of the Status of Women. She maintains that such matters do not fall within her mandate. Shady business relations, drug trafficking, bribery, the use of Parliamentary assets for questionable purposes are all matters within the authority of the RCMP.
    Because these are serious allegations that are criminal in nature, does the government acknowledge that the specific information provided to the RCMP should be revealed to clear the air?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that when the Prime Minister and his office were apprised of new information, they did two things: they forwarded this information to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, who operates independently of the House, as well as to the RCMP.
    Those are the actions of a government that is very aware of the ethical standard in Canada. That is why the RCMP should have the time to study the information.
Mrs. Carole Freeman (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, since the government is refusing to come out with the facts, we have to rely on the media to learn more.
    We have learned that the minister's dismissal was prompted by the actions of a private detective. Bribery, drug use and trafficking are allegedly central to the revelations in the hands of the Prime Minister's Office
    Can the government confirm what information was forwarded to the RCMP?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, all the information was sent to the RCMP and Parliament's Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
    These two organizations are independent and we should give them the time to deal with the matter.

[English]

Access to Information

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the culture of secrecy of the Conservatives is reaching new heights. We have the Information Commissioner telling us that our system is in tatters. We had the Eyes Wide Shut approach on torture in Afghanistan, and so on. Now we learn that the Prime Minister referred a matter to the RCMP based on a report from Magnum, P.I.
    Why? What is the origin here? What we see today is the chief stonewaller refusing to tell us. Would he tell us what the private eye told him? At least he should give us a hint as to why the RCMP is involved.
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, of course, it is not appropriate that I would comment on any such information. It is appropriate that the authorities would have that information and would look into it. Of course, if the hon. member would have any similar information, I am sure he would do the same.
    However, I have to reject the premise of the question. I think it has been very apparent for many years in Afghanistan now that whenever Canadian officials or Canadian military personnel receive any problems in their dealings with Afghan prisoners, they take the appropriate action.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

Canada Health Act

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Canada Health Act is the result of work started by the NDP 50 years ago. It is also an agreement between the federal government, the provinces and the territories to provide Canadians with health care that is free, universal, portable from province to province, and publicly administered. It is of the utmost importance to us.
    Does the government intend to strictly enforce the Canada Health Act, yes or no?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Canada Health Act is the law in this country. We expect the provinces to respect the law.

[English]

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP has always been steadfast in our support of the Canada Health Act. We have denounced violations of this act time and time again and we are going to keep on doing it.
    Some have recently opened up discussions about the possibility of imposing user fees on patients. A number of members of the House have taken a position in favour of such a proposal and they are in fact willing to amend the Canada Health Act.
    Is the government committed to enforcing the Canada Health Act or is it preparing to amend it?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly respect the willingness of the NDP to enforce the Canada Health Act against any violations but it should first be sure that violations have actually occurred.
    The reality is very clear. The Canada Health Act is the law of the land and this government has indicated that it expects the provinces to follow the law.

[Translation]

Ethics

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, we now know that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities had the authority to review projects for the billion dollar green fund. This same parliamentary secretary spoke to Mr. Jaffer about his business plans, and then reviewed three plans submitted by Mr. Jaffer and Mr. Glemaud's business.
    Why did the parliamentary secretary not report this meeting to the lobbying commissioner, as required by law?

[English]

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it will come as no surprise that I completely reject the premise of the question raised by the member for Beauséjour. The parliamentary secretary has been very clear that he did have a meeting and that no funding was recommended. No funding was awarded to such grants.
    I think that shows that this government places a high priority on ethical conduct. I understand that the Liberal Party has referred this matter to the independent lobbying commissioner. It was this government that appointed an independent lobbying commissioner to look into these things.

[Translation]

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary himself admits that he was not sure whether or not it was lobbying. These doubts clearly did not prevent him from meeting Mr. Jaffer again on September 3, 2009, the same day that the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities was having dinner with Mr. Jaffer. Eight days later, Mr. Jaffer bragged to his clients about having privileged access to the green fund.
    Does the minister still claim that Mr. Jaffer was not lobbying?

[English]

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I said in this place on Monday that at no time did Mr. Jaffer ever raise any particular grant applications with me with respect to the green fund or any other fund for that matter. I was very clear about that on Monday and I am happy to remind the member for Beauséjour again.

Access to Information

Ms. Judy Foote (Random—Burin—St. George's, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, “totally obliterated” is the phrase used by the Information Commissioner about what is happening to access to information in Canada. She said she has seen “no evidence” of a culture of transparency in the government.
    The Prime Minister's chief of staff helped to prove that point at committee yesterday when he refused to answer if political staff had intervened to stop information from being released. Documents about torture have been censored, information requests have been blocked and criminal allegations against a minister have been covered up. Why the secrecy?

  (1435)  

Mr. Andrew Saxton (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we appreciate the advice that the Information Commissioner has given. The majority of requests were responded to within 30 days. Some requests took longer than 30 days but we are working to ensure that those numbers improve.

[Translation]

Mr. Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré-Mercier, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, a report has revealed that Canadian Heritage received an F on its access to information report card. The report shows that requests take an average of 107 days because the minister wants to control everything. An F is the worst grade you can get. It means fail. It is terrible.
    Can the minister tell us why he got this grade? Is it (a) because he thinks he is above the law; (b) because he is incompetent; or (c) because he has something to hide?
    What is the answer?
Hon. James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, there is nothing to hide. Our government is very proud of its commitment to arts and culture. We are making unprecedented investments in arts and culture and we are proud of what we have done. During the election campaign we made a commitment and we invested in television, arts, culture, museums, youth and festivals. That is what we have done. I am very proud of it. The doors are wide open on everything we have done. I am very proud of our commitment.

Rights & Democracy

Ms. Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l'Île, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, on the pretext that Rights & Democracy was being mismanaged, the government took control of that organization. Interestingly, in recent months, compensation paid to the board of directors has doubled. Its president, Jacques Gauthier, works five days and bills for 11. Contracts are being awarded to friends without calls for tender. Along the way, the reputation of the former president, Rémy Beauregard, is being tarnished because someone leaked a false report, which should be withdrawn.
    Will the government acknowledge that it is turning a blind eye because it agrees with these actions?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would remind my hon. colleague that Rights & Democracy is an arm's-length organization run by its board of directors and that its staff are not part of the public service. The parliamentary committee is meeting as we speak, giving it the opportunity to ask the board of directors all the questions it likes. I invite my colleague to do so.
Ms. Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l'Île, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, the members of Rights & Democracy's board of directors must account for their management to Parliament, and it is our duty as parliamentarians to get to the bottom of what is going on in that organization.
    In the name of transparency, will the government hand over copies of the contracts they have granted, specifically to Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche? We want the contracts, their cost and the accounting reports.
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would remind my hon. colleague that it was not the government that awarded the contracts. If she wants that information, she will have to ask the board of directors, who, as I said, have had an opportunity to appear before the parliamentary committee. And they will appear again if they are called as witnesses.

Afghanistan

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, the government refused to see that it was sending detainees to be tortured. Diplomat Richard Colvin's many reports were ignored. When Mr. Colvin suggested putting an end to the transfer of detainees who were at risk of being tortured, the government note-taker stopped recording what he was saying. She simply put down her pen. Every time Richard Colvin sounded the alarm, this government plugged its ears.
    Will the government admit that its lack of transparency today is hiding the fact that the former practice was to deny the risk of torture in order to get rid of detainees as soon as possible?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, that is completely false. When the government was able to look at allegations or when allegations were made, it took action. As members are aware, we have put in place a new system for transferring Taliban detainees to the Afghan authorities, who give us access at any time. In the event of a problem, we interrupt the transfer.

  (1440)  

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, Lieutenant-Colonel Sansterre was in charge of investigating the mistreatment of Afghan detainees. He stated that he took the word of the Afghan authorities, even though they were accused of torturing detainees. He even said he was not aware of the Federal Court ruling that detainee safety was threatened. It defies belief.
    How can this government guarantee the safety of detainees when its investigator was given a political order—I repeat, a political order—not to bother the Afghan torturers too much?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, every time allegations were made, they were analyzed and investigated by Canadian army authorities.
    We have put in place an improved system, better than the one the previous government had, that guarantees us access and allows us to verify any allegations that are made. And I want to remind the House that these are allegations.

[English]

Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh (Vancouver South, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, Richard Colvin told us previously and yesterday that there was actual knowledge at the highest civilian levels in the government of substantial risk of torture. Other memos and all other evidence, including evidence adduced at the Military Police Complaints Commission this morning, indicate the same. Yet the government deliberately set out to obstruct the ability of the Red Cross to monitor the detainees.
    Do the Prime Minister and the defence minister not realize that, if true, this means the Conservative government has been in violation of the Geneva convention and the Canadian Criminal Code?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, these allegations have been made previously. There is nothing new in all of these stories. Every opportunity, every time there have been serious allegations we have looked into it.
    I will remind the colleagues in the House that we are the government that changed the regime. We are the government that made it a better regime. We corrected the skewed regime that was in place by the Liberals.
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh (Vancouver South, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I remind the government benches that they are the government of cover-up and it is a continuing cover-up.
    The fact is the unredacted documents of Colvin, other memos, including the evidence adduced at the Military Police Complaints Commission this morning, all indicate the government has been in violation of the Geneva convention and the Criminal Code by forcing our military to transfer detainees to a substantial risk of torture.
    It is the government that has to be accountable. If the government believes it has nothing to hide and it is right, why not call a public inquiry and make full disclosure to Canadians?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have made all the documentation that is legally capable to be made. We have given it to the committee. We have given it every opportunity to question witnesses.
    These allegations that have been put forward have always been looked at in a very serious manner. They have been investigated. There is no substantive evidence to what the colleague has said.
    We have been quite clear. We are doing what needs to be done in the name of transparency.

Haiti

Hon. Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the people of Haiti are digging themselves out of the earthquake with their bare hands, with wheel barrels, with picks and shovels. The Minister of International Cooperation and I were down there last week. We could see it very clearly.
    I would like to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs this. Did the Government of Canada realize that when it withdrew the troops, the impact of that withdrawal would mean the withdrawal of heavy equipment, which is essential to deal with the impact of the earthquake?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I participated two weeks ago, on March 31 more specifically, in the donors' conference in New York.
    I can tell the members of the House that Canada was applauded long and loud by other countries because of the work we have done there, particularly the Canadian armed forces and our civilian component. I hope the hon. colleague was able to see that, not only when he went to Haiti but when he was able to look at all the information available. People are very happy with what Canada has done.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

Hon. Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, all governments and all Haitians have made an extraordinary effort, but the problem persists. UN representatives and the mayors of Léogâne and other Haitian cities have clearly stated that Canadian heavy machinery and bulldozers are no longer on site.
    That is a huge problem for the Haitian people. I hope that the government understands that it has to go back to Haiti with bulldozers, not with vague intentions.
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it would have been nice if the hon. member could have come to New York to learn more about the action plan proposed by the authorities—
    Hon. Bob Rae: I was not invited.
    Hon. Lawrence Cannon: His colleague from Montreal was invited. He could have learned more about the action plan put forward by the Haitian government. He would have discovered that every community and all participating countries support the action plan. He is on his own with his own action plan. We support the Haitian government and the other countries that want to rebuild Haiti.

[English]

Taxation

Mr. LaVar Payne (Medicine Hat, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, one year ago today the Liberal leader lifted the veil on his high tax plans. On April 14, 2009, the Liberal leader said, “We will have to raise taxes”. Whether it is a GST hike, talking up carbon taxes or proposing job-killing business taxes, the Liberal leader just cannot stop talking about raising taxes.
    Could the Minister of Transport tell the House how the Liberal leader's high tax proposals differ from that of our Conservative government?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, last year, on April 14, the leader of the Liberal Party did very clearly tell Canadians that he wanted to raise taxes, and for the last year he has been planning how to raise these taxes on families and now on Canadian businesses.
    Our government has been focused on the economy and on Canada's economic action plan. We are working on year two of the plan. We are seeing a fragile recovery take place.
    The very last thing that would help the recovery would be a big tax increase brought forward by a man who self-describes himself as a “tax and spend Liberal”.

[Translation]

Industry

Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's decision to export raw bitumen means that this government will be exporting our jobs to other countries. Jobs in the refining industry are at risk throughout Canada. This decision also puts our energy security in jeopardy.
    Why is the government forcing Canada to deal with all the environmental and social problems related to tar sands operations, but exporting the jobs?

[English]

Mr. Mike Lake (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the federal government will review Sinopec's bid, as it does with any other foreign investment. Under the Investment Canada Act, the acquisition of control by a foreign investor of a Canadian business with assets of $299 million or more is subject to review.
    As the hon. member knows, the minister only approves applications where an investment demonstrates that it is likely to be of net benefit to Canada.
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians want a government that will stand up for our interests, not one that surrenders our natural wealth to every foreign investor that comes along.
    The Prime Minister is breaking his own fundamental promise not to export raw bitumen to countries with lower environmental standards. He is exporting raw resources and Canadian jobs. He is helping triple the tar sands production and rubber-stamping more pipelines that will carry unrefined crude to the U.S. and China. Canada will be left with all the pollution and a government only interested in making friends in Texas and Beijing.
    Why is the Prime Minister breaking his own promise to Canadians?
Mr. Mike Lake (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the hon. member's rhetoric, any business, any company that operates in Canada operates under Canadian law.
    I will reiterate that the minister only approves applications where an investment demonstrates that it is likely to be of net benefit to Canada. The review process is rigorous, involves consultations with affected provinces and territories and other key stakeholders.

[Translation]

Ethics

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs responded earlier to a question about those who turned a blind eye to allegations of torture of Afghan detainees and did not take any action, since it was a matter of allegations. A little earlier, the Prime Minister told us that the Minister for the Status of Women had resigned following serious allegations.
    Could the government explain its rationale? In one case of allegations it takes action and in another case it does not. Why the double standard?

  (1450)  

Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois' logic is rather convoluted. I would simply say to my hon. colleague that we have taken action in every case.
    I did indeed mention that there had been allegations concerning the transfer of Afghan detainees. We took action and the Canadian Forces verified those allegations. We did our job.
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, I get the impression that the Minister of Foreign Affairs was not sure how he was going to conjure up an answer to that question. That being said, in one case, they turn a blind eye because there are only allegations and no action is taken, but in the other case, they take action.
    Does that mean the case of the former minister for the status of women was more serious than simple allegations and that is why action was taken? Is that what this means?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have given the leader of the Bloc Québécois clear answers every time. We have said that when there are allegations we take action. It would be like me asking the leader of the Bloc Québécois whether, during his cross Canada tour, he took the time to stop in Fort McMurray, Alberta, to check on the status of his personal shares and investments.

[English]

Government Appointments

Ms. Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation put up $5.2 million for tobacco control at the International Development Research Centre. However, when the foundation discovered that a board member of the IDRC was also on the board of Imperial Tobacco, it sent a letter expressing this blatant conflict of interest. After no response from the government, it pulled the funding.
    Why did the government show such little respect to the largest philanthropic organization in the world? Was it incompetence or indifference?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, let me remind my colleague that if she is alluding to the chairman of the board's position, I understand the chairman of the board has, within the last month, month and a half, resigned her position from that company.

Research and Development

Ms. Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, this was not the first time the Conservatives showed a lack of respect to the Gates Foundation. An agreement was reached to help fund an HIV vaccine facility in Canada, but the government cancelled it for no apparent scientific or economic reason. This bungling and possible political interference cost our researchers funding and may cost lives in the long run.
    Why does the government continue to damage Canada's standing in the world?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to correct the perception that is here. In fact, the IDRC continues to partner with the Gates Foundation in a number of worthy areas, and I will be able to send my hon. colleague that information if she requests it.

Rights & Democracy

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday we heard shocking testimony regarding Rights & Democracy, where government appointees handed out unauthorized contracts to friends, broke accountability rules and spent like drunken sailors. Half a million dollars of public funds have been squandered in less than two months. In fact, when I asked the interim president how much the recent contracts he signed were worth, he could not even give me a ballpark figure.
    The buck stops with the minister. What will he do about this? He should fire these rogue board members.

  (1455)  

Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, when I had the opportunity to go to the committee and to speak about our main estimates, we did have a period of time where we did discuss this specific issue. I invited colleagues around the table to ask the board of directors of Rights & Democracy to come in and to explain their position.
     Rights & Democracy, I recall, is an arm's-length organization, and I am waiting for the parliamentary committee to come forward with its recommendations.
Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, we just heard it. They are out of control. They are spending half a million dollars in a couple of months. The buck stops with the minister. If he is not going to do it, granted, we will do his job. We will look and make sure that every dollar is spent well.
    The question is: What is going on over there? We had a parliamentary appointments commission that is supposed to be going. They get a million dollars a year. Those guys are still appointing their friends. No accountability. This is from a government that was going to be different, the new era of accountability. Where is the new era? When will they get with the program, and when will we see accountability with those guys over here?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I will remind my hon. colleague that as of October 29, 2009, the organization got a clean bill of health. The committee, indeed, had the opportunity of hearing the members of the board of directors, and they all said that the job that was being completed by Rights & Democracy was a fine job.
    Tomorrow, I understand that the committee will have the opportunity to question the person who is in charge, Mr. Latulippe. Those questions can be asked of Mr. Latulippe and I am sure that they will find the proper response.

Railways

Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, railways are an integral part of the Canadian economy. Every year, there are more and more trains on the tracks carrying Canadian goods. At the same time, every day Canadians drive across rail tracks on their way to work, to visit families, to drop kids off at school. Our government wants to ensure that they can cross the line safely.
    Would the Minister of State for Transport please inform the House of the announcement he made this morning to support these objectives?
Hon. Rob Merrifield (Minister of State (Transport), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we are a government that takes safety very seriously. That is why, this morning, I was able to announce $11 million toward 155 projects for rail safety crossings right across this country. We take safety very seriously and we hope that these dollars will do the same as the last investments, which was to reduce, last year, rail crossing incidents by 36%.
    The government is getting the job done for Canadians.

British Columbia Economy

Hon. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the government is so busy thinking up new excuses to avoid accountability that it has completely ignored British Columbians.
    In my province, most so-called new jobs are part-time and short-term; EI recipients' benefits are long gone; lumber mills are closing; there are no salmon left; and welfare rates have gone up 17%.
    Does the government have a plan to deal with these urgent problems, or will it treat it like everything else it wants to avoid and refer it to the RCMP?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, this government has made unprecedented investments in British Columbia. The first province that we could make substantial infrastructure announcements was where?
    An hon. member: British Columbia.
Hon. John Baird:  
    We have an excellent working relationship. We are making unprecedented investments, not just under building Canada, not just under the stimulus program, but with major investments in the Asia-Pacific gateway, step by step. No government in Canadian history has delivered more for British Columbia than this team right here.

[Translation]

Broadband Canada Program

Mr. Serge Cardin (Sherbrooke, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, last September the government stated that the projects selected as part of the broadband Canada program would be announced at the end of 2009. Here it is April 2010 and still no projects have been announced. The Fédération québécoise des municipalités has complained about the significant delays with this program.
    Will the minister announce all of the selected projects immediately, or will municipalities have to keep waiting, at the risk of compromising other projects?
Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as part of our digital economy strategy for Canada, we are taking measures to extend broadband service to all provinces and territories. The 2009 budget directed $225 million to extending the broadband Canada program.
    Industry Canada launched an application process that has been very successful. We are taking a final look at these applications and we will announce those selected at a later date, no thanks to the Bloc, which, once again, voted against this project.

  (1500)  

[English]

Automotive Industry

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the American transportation secretary has labelled Toyota “safety deaf”. He has actually levied millions of dollars of fines and is considering more. Now Consumer Reports has put a Toyota vehicle on the rare “do not buy” list. What is happening on the Canadian side? The minister actually issued a statement and a press release applauding Toyota's behaviour.
    Meanwhile, American, Japanese and European governments are investigating Toyota executives for failure to act. The minister and the Prime Minister know how to call the RCMP. When will Toyota executives be investigated in Canada just as they are being investigated across the planet?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, let me say two things. One is that officials within Canada's defect investigations and recalls division are in fact conducting an investigation. The member knows that, because these officials appeared before committee. With respect to the Lexus issue he raised, coming from Consumer Reports, our defect investigations and recalls division has received no complaints of rollovers and no complaints about steering systems from the 2007-11 years.

Taxation

Mr. Mike Wallace (Burlington, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, one year ago today, the Liberal leader issued his pledge to raise Canadians' taxes and kill jobs. The Liberal leader called for higher taxes on all Canadians. He has been joined by key Liberal spokespersons like the members for Parkdale—High Park and Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.
    Can the Minister of Finance please inform the House how many jobs the Liberal leader's GST hike will kill?
Hon. Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Burlington for his historically accurate question about the Liberal leader and tax hikes.
    Canadians are, of course, concerned with the Liberal plan to recklessly raise taxes. A 2% hike in the GST by the Liberals would kill 162,000 jobs in Canada. While they dream of tax hikes, our government is cutting taxes and helping fuel job growth, with 18,000 new jobs in the month of March and 180,000 new jobs since July 2009.

Ethics

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, information in the public domain suggests Nazim Gillani has unsavoury connections, including public links to organized crime, and is reported to be the subject of police investigations. Today we learned that he put his business associates in compromising positions by taking photographs as a means to ensure their silence. Given this, is the government aware of any risk that Mr. Jaffer or the former minister was or could have been compromised by Mr. Gillani or anyone associated with him?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Malpeque certainly has quite the imagination. I do not know the individual in question so I cannot speak to the issue. But what I can say is that when allegations were brought to the Prime Minister's attention, what he did was refer the issue to an independent officer of the House, what he did was refer it to the relevant police authorities. That is ethical conduct. That is doing the right thing.

[Translation]

Competition Bureau

Mr. Robert Vincent (Shefford, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, the government has announced that it will crack down on gas stations that are overcharging customers because of inaccurate pumps. But the real problem is that the retail price of gasoline systematically increases just before long weekends or vacation. The near-monopoly held by oil companies needs to be watched more closely.
    Why is the government not really dealing with the problem by giving the Competition Bureau more power, as the Bloc proposes in Bill C-452?

[English]

Mr. Mike Lake (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our government has always been supportive of the Canadian consumer, and although of course I cannot speak specifically to the issue the member is referring to, I look forward to this possibility. This is a great example of a positive change that will benefit Canadians where it matters most. There are those in the opposition who want to talk about raising taxes, but our government believes in instituting measures that will positively affect Canadian consumers.

  (1505)  

Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Points of Order]
Mr. Michael Savage (Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order on something that was raised in question period.
    A few minutes ago the member for Burlington, in his fiction about the Leader of the Opposition calling for more taxes, invoked my name, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, suggesting that I had suggested we should have higher taxes. I am not suggesting that we should have an incredibly high standard such as truth from the government side. I never did that.
    I did an interview where the Tory war room put out a quote suggesting a whole bunch of things that journalists have pointed out were totally inaccurate and untrue. I never said that. I do not expect an apology from that side because I do not know if it is capable of it, but I would ask the member for Burlington to check those little notes that he got from the apparatchiks in the back room and see if it is true before he stands up and besmirches himself.
The Speaker:  
    I am sure the hon. member for Burlington will be paying close attention to the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Hon. Vic Toews (Minister of Public Safety, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), it is my pleasure to table, in both official languages, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service public report for 2008-09.

Government Response to Petitions

Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 19 petitions.

Committees of the House

Public Safety and National Security  

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present today the first report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in relation to a motion adopted on Thursday, April 1, 2010, on prison farm closures and food provisionment.

Transport, Infrastructure and Communities  

Mr. Merv Tweed (Brandon—Souris, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in relation to a question of privilege resulting from the actions of the member for Parkdale—High Park.

Public Accounts  

Hon. Shawn Murphy (Charlottetown, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present in the House, in both official languages, the following reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: the fourth report on Chapter 1, Gender-Based Analysis, of the Spring 2009 Report of the Auditor General of Canada; the fifth report of the committee on Chapter 1, Safeguarding Government Information and Assets in Contracting, of the October 2007 Report of the Auditor General of Canada; the sixth report of the committee on Chapter 3, Human Resources Management--Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, of the May 2007 Report of the Auditor General of Canada; and, finally, the seventh report of the committee on Chapter 4, Interest on Advance Deposits from Corporate Taxpayers--Canada Revenue Agency, of the Spring 2009 Report of the Auditor General of Canada.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109 of the House of Commons, the committee requests the government table a comprehensive response to these four reports.

  (1510)  

National Appreciation Day Act

Mr. Daryl Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings, CPC)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-505, An Act respecting a National Appreciation Day.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to stand in the House of Commons to reintroduce my private member's bill, an act representing and respecting a national appreciation day.
    This enactment designates the third day of March in each and every year as a day for the people of Canada to express appreciation for the heroic work of members of the Canadian Forces and emergency response professionals, including police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

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

Canada Elections Act

Mr. Daryl Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings, CPC)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-506, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (telephone, fax and Internet service to campaign offices).
     He said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand in the House of Parliament today to reintroduce my private member's bill, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act.
    The purpose of this enactment is to ensure that telephone, fax or Internet service is provided in a timely manner to the campaign offices of candidates in federal elections.
    There are many occasions during an election when members of all parties occasionally are not able to access these services in a fair and equitable manner. This would provide equality across the country.

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

[Translation]

Federal Spending Power Act

Mrs. Josée Beaudin (Saint-Lambert, BQ)  
    moved for leave to introduce Bill C-507, An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (federal spending power).
    She said: Mr. Speaker, I have the immense pleasure today of presenting my very first bill, which deals with the federal spending power. For decades, all Quebec governments have demanded that encroachment cease in matters that should concern Quebec and Quebec only. That is the purpose of this bill.
    It would explicitly abolish the power that the federal government has given itself to introduce an automatic and unconditional right to opt out with full financial compensation and would establish permanent compensation in the form of the transfer of tax room. In order for the recognition of the Quebec nation to be more than just an empty gesture, the federal government must stop imposing programs on Quebec that belong under Quebec jurisdiction and must collaborate in good faith to transfer to Quebec the means and resources it needs to makes its own social, economic and cultural decisions.
    The time has come to put words into action and not to limit the federal spending power but to eliminate it completely.

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

[English]

Canadian Human Rights Act

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-508, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (genetic characteristics).
     She said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and honoured to introduce this bill to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act in order to protect Canadians from discrimination on the basis of their genetic characteristics.
    I want to thank my colleague, the member for Hamilton Mountain, for her support with this bill, and I want to urge all members to consider passing it as quickly as possible.
    It addresses the fact that genetic discrimination is already targeting and penalizing some persons, and is increasing as genetic testing proliferates. The bill is consistent with the Canadian Human Rights Act principles and is a statement about our acceptance of personal differences and about the integrity of the person whose most basic traits and genetic makeup must not be the basis for discriminatory treatment.
    I o thank those who helped make this bill possible, starting with Jo Anne Watton, who is with the Huntington Society of Canada; Vern Barrett, the Huntington Society in Winnipeg; Howard Koks, the Parkinson Society in Manitoba; and all members of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness.

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

  (1515)  

Canada Post Corporation Act

Mr. Merv Tweed (Brandon—Souris, CPC)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-509, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials).
     He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is a reincarnate of Bill C-458 and Bill C-322. Due to some technical changes we had to make, we needed to reintroduce, but I assure the thousands of Canadians who have signed petitions that the bill remains intact.
    The amendment would do two things. It would preserve a reduced rate for postage on books between libraries in Canada and would expand the library book rate program to include magazines, records, CDs, CD-ROMS, audio cassettes, video cassettes, DVDs and other audio-visual materials.
    This is something that Canadian libraries and, indeed, all Canadians have been asking for since 1967.

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

An Act to Prevent Coercion of Pregnant Women to Abort (Roxanne's Law)

Mr. Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-510, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (coercion).
     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to introduce this private member's bill. This bill would be known as Roxanne's law and it is based on the untimely death of Roxanne Fernando.
    Roxanne Fernando was coerced into having an abortion but she did not go through with it. In the end, her boyfriend decided to kill her for not going through with it.
    This bill would protect vulnerable pregnant women. I hope everyone in the House can support it.

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

Proactive Enforcement and Defect Accountability Legislation (PEDAL) Act

Hon. Joseph Volpe (Eglinton—Lawrence, Lib.)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-511, An Act respecting the reporting of motor vehicle information and to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (improving public safety).
     He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a bill that would strengthen the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. This bill comes in direct response to the legislative shortcomings resulting in the consequences from the Toyota recalls.
    The bill, called the proactive enforcement and defect accountability legislation, PEDAL act, would mandate four major changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. First, to clarify definition of safety-related defect; second, to provide new powers to the minister to initiate a recall of vehicles and equipment if the minister makes a preliminary determination that a vehicle or equipment contains safety-related defects; third, to initiate an early warning detection system that requires manufacturers to provide the minister with quarterly reports containing domestic and foreign data related to potential safety-related defects; and fourth, compel the installation of brake override systems on vehicles that use electronic throttle controls.
    Canadian drivers are depending on us to ensure that their government has the tools and legislative authority needed to protect them.
    As public safety is a non-partisan issue, I look forward to working with all members of the House from all parties on getting this bill passed, along with my colleague who was so good to second my bill, the member for Cardigan.

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

Mr. Andrew Kania:  
    Mr. Speaker, consultations have taken place between all parties and I ask for unanimous consent that the first report of the Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations be concurred in.
    The Speaker: Does the hon. member for Brampton West have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

  (1520)  

Mr. Bev Shipley:  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wonder if we could revert to reports from interparliamentary delegations.
    The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to revert to reports from interparliamentary delegations?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Interparliamentary Delegations

Mr. Bev Shipley (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation to the Economic Affairs and Development Committee of PACE and the First Part of the 2010 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe held in London, United Kingdom and Strasbourg, France from January 21 to 29, 2010.

Petitions

Assisted Suicide  

Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions to present today.
    The first petition is in regard to Bill C-384, which is referred to as the assisted suicide and euthanasia bill. I continue to receive many petitions in the mail on this issue.
    The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to vote against Bill C-384.

Animal Welfare  

Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the second petition, signed by many people, asks that the Government of Canada support a universal declaration on animal welfare.

Canada Post  

Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the third petition, which has been signed by many Canadians, states that whereas the federal government is allowing Canada Post to close public post offices in spite of a moratorium on closures in rural and small towns, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to maintain and improve its network of public post offices.

Middle East  

Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Nepean—Carleton, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of Canadian citizens who call upon the House of Commons to urge the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas on sovereign Israeli territory on June 25, 2006.
    They respectfully ask that Mr. Shalit's situation be raised whenever possible and also that the House of Commons work to help secure the release of other Israeli soldiers, such as Zachary Baumel, Tzvi Feldman, Yehudah Katz, Ron Arad and Guy Hever, all of whom have been victims of the terrorist kidnapping operations that occur around and even inside Israeli borders.
    This government has stood strongly against Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups and in favour of our friends and democratic allies in Israel.

Fisheries   

Mr. Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition signed by people all over British Columbia to establish an independent judicial inquiry on the salmon crisis, which we know by now the government has done, for which I congratulate it, but the petitions keep coming in. I think this shows just how critically important and profound this issue is to British Columbians and to all Canadians.
     Last summer, 9 million sockeye salmon disappeared during the summer's migration to the Fraser River, the lowest return in 50 years. Millions of dollars in economic activity are at stake. The aboriginal culture and fisheries are at stake as well as people's intimate connection with a species on the west coast that is so important, not only to Canadians but to all life forms on the west coast.
    I am proud to present this petition and hope the judicial inquiry will get to the bottom of this so we can have sound, prudent and responsible management of this wonderful resource for generations to come.

Haiti  

Hon. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by Canadians from eastern Ontario and western Quebec, all of whom have either family ties or interest in the situation in Haiti. It has now been more than three months since the earthquake.
    These Canadian citizens are calling upon the government to be more flexible with the eligibility requirements for family class sponsorships and, in particular, to create a special immigration measure allowing Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor members of their family in Haiti who have been personally and directly affected by the earthquake of January 12, 2010, regardless of their age.

  (1525)  

Trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years)  

Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have with me 1,500 signatures or more regarding my Bill C-268. People are encouraging the bill to become a law very soon. Many people are waiting for it so they have sent those petitions in.

Assisted suicide  

Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition here on Bill C-384 calling upon the House of Commons to reject this bill that deals with euthanasia. Many people in my riding do not want to support this bill and I feel the same way.

Firearms Registry  

Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I also have petitions here from my riding on Bill C-391, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (repeal of long-gun registry). Many people in my riding want to see that happen.

Investment Canada Act  

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am bringing forward the concerns of hundreds of residents of Timmins—James Bay from Peawanuck, Moosonee and down through Timmins, who are very concerned that the federal government rubber-stamped the sale of the key base metal industries in our country, Falconbridge and Inco, to the corporate raiders Xstrata and Vale without any oversight.
    What we are seeing in Sudbury right now is brutal: nine months into a lockout strike, where they are trying to turn our workforce into third-world Brazilian-style workers. In Timmins, we are seeing the shutdown of Ontario's only copper refining capacities. Xstrata will probably start to move toward refining in China.
     People are asking for action because they saw the government's response to the crisis in the auto sector when the government said that this was the public good. However, when it comes to the future of Canada's base metal mines and the future of northern Ontario, we see a government that is more than willing to let foreign capitalist interests dictate the future of our communities.
    The petitioners are asking for the government to come clean with the Canadian people, open up section 36 of the Investment Canada Act and show us the secret deals that were signed with Xstrata and Vale.

Limousine Service  

Mr. Devinder Shory (Calgary Northeast, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present another petition on behalf of more than 300 of my constituents and other residents of Calgary.
    The petitioners call upon this House to protect the livelihood of hundreds of families and the choice of consumers against the Calgary Airport Authority's exclusive contract for limousine services awarded to a single company, which takes away employment from hundreds of limo operators in Calgary, and also kills healthy competition in the market.
    I am pleased to present this petition with signatures affixed on the back.

Nuclear Weapons  

Ms. Denise Savoie (Victoria, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to present several petitions on behalf of my Victoria constituents which reflect their engagement in a wide variety of issues.
    In the first petition, they ask for a review of NATO and its nuclear weapons policy. That policy states that nuclear weapons are essential. This runs counter to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. They want Canada to move toward being, once again, a global voice for disarmament.

  (1530)  

Climate Change  

Ms. Denise Savoie (Victoria, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions in support of Bill C-311, the New Democratic Party's bill on climate change accountability. It is based on science-based targets, not politically watered-down ones, and they ask, in this petition, for a national plan to achieve them.

Housing  

Ms. Denise Savoie (Victoria, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the last petition from Victoria is in support of Bill C-304, calling for a national housing strategy, for secure, adequate, accessible, affordable housing for all of us.

Child Pornography  

Mr. Dean Allison (Niagara West—Glanbrook, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by over 1,000 Canadians asking Parliament to take all the necessary steps to stop the Internet from being used as a medium for the distribution of child pornography.
    Canadians Addressing Sexual Exploitation, or CASE, reminds us that the production and distribution of child pornography is a serious crime that has devastating consequences on its young victims.

Credit and debit Card Industry  

Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood—Transcona, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.
    The first is from dozens of Canadians who signed a petition, calling upon the government to bring greater accountability and transparency to the credit card industry.
    Debit card transactions are currently handled by Interac, which is a non-profit organization made up of Canadian national banks. The debit card fees are currently flat fees. There is no review process for increases to credit card or debit card fee increases. In addition, there is no requirement that credit card and debit card fees be disclosed at the point of sale to the final customer. As well, debit card and credit card fees can be increased without justification.
    Credit card fees are a percentage of a total sale and the federal government is prepared to allow Visa and MasterCard to enter the debit card business, effectively allowing Visa and MasterCard to change from small flat fees to a fee which will greatly increase the cost of all purchases.
    The petitioners demand that the Conservative government enshrine in legislation that debit card fees be kept at a flat fee, and that credit card fees be made transparent and accountable.

Afghanistan  

Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood—Transcona, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is also signed by dozens of Canadians and it is a call to end the war in Afghanistan.
    Canadian soldiers and Afghan citizens continue to die in a never-ending war that gets worse with each new deployment of troops. There has been a 40% increase in civilians killed in 2008, with more than 100 tons of bombs dropped by NATO each month.
    Clearly, women's rights are not on the agenda of the Afghan government and therefore the petitioners call upon the government to withdraw now, not wait until 2011.
The Deputy Speaker:  
    There are about four minutes left in presenting petitions, so I am going to ask members to be a little more brief in their summaries so we can try to accommodate everyone.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Canada Post  

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of constituents who are very concerned about the decision by Canada Post to arbitrarily remove street letter mailboxes from the community I represent, Winnipeg North.
    In fact, they know the importance of speaking up on this issue because four of the five mailboxes that were arbitrarily removed by Canada Post in recent months have been returned to the community. There is one remaining at the corner of McAdam Street and Scotia Street in Winnipeg. They urge the government to require Canada Post to return the mailbox to this neighbourhood and to the people that Canada Post is supposed to be serving.

Animal Welfare  

Mrs. Carol Hughes (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table this petition about strengthening the animal transportation regulations.
    The petitioners state that the regulations for the transport of animals under the Health of Animals Act are outdated and they ask that they be reviewed. Some of the animals, cattle, sheep and goats, have to be legally transported up to 52 hours and for pigs, poultry and horses it is 36 hours.
    In addition, the petitioners indicate that the allowable times are among the longest in the industrial world and that this affects injuries and diseases. Living in northern Ontario, where it is really cold, I know how these transports come through, so I am pleased to table this petition.

Aboriginal Healing Foundation  

Mr. Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present this petition in the House of Commons today.
    The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to extend the funding for healing programs under the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Residential schools caused extensive physical and mental trauma experienced by the survivors that was also passed on to future generations. Healing from the impacts of residential schools is far from complete after 10 years, which is the length of time that the Aboriginal Healing Foundation has existed
    The petitioners are asking the Government of Canada to leave a true legacy of action to residential school survivors and support the process of healing through an extension of funding for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

  (1535)  

Questions on the Order Paper

Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 19 and 49.

[Text]

Question No. 19--
Hon. Larry Bagnell:
     With regard to the proposed new Arctic Research Station: (a) what has been done to date in the creation of this research station; (b) where will it be located; (c) what is the cost for this new facility; (d) who is doing the design, architectural and construction work; (e) what will be the annual operating and research budget for the facility; (f) how many people will staff the facility with regard to (i) operating, (ii) research; (g) when will the facility open; and (h) who will head up the facility?
Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, CPC):
     Mr. Speaker, the answer is as follows:
    a) Canada’s economic action plan provided Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, INAC, with $2 million to undertake a feasibility study for the proposed High Arctic Research Station, which will lever existing research infrastructure by serving as the hub for scientific activity in Canada's vast and diverse Arctic region. The feasibility study will be led by INAC with support from Public Works and Government Services Canada and private contractors. Contracting opportunities will be publicly advertised. The feasibility study will establish the functions of the facility; outline the preliminary project costs and schedule to build it; and, provide an analysis of the location options. It will also set out the operational requirements necessary for the facility to become a hub of research activities in Canada's North. The feasibility study is the first phase in the realization of the High Arctic Research Station and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2010. This study will provide information and analysis necessary to inform the next stages of the process, namely, the designing, building and then operation of the station.
    As part of the process for developing the feasibility study, INAC will be engaging stakeholders through a variety of means. INAC initiated community consultations and the analysis of stakeholder needs in the spring of 2009. This has included consultations with each of the three candidate communities and the creation of the High Arctic Research Station experts and users group composed of representatives from the North, academia, the private sector as well as the federal and territorial governments. Through this engagement, components of the feasibility study are being developed.
    Budget 2010 is taking a further step by providing $18 million over five years to INAC to commence the pre-construction design phase for the station. This phase will produce an initial design concept for the platform, including green building options and how the station fits into the community. Upon concept approval, the design firm will develop detailed design and material specifications, floor plans, telecommunication strategies, and detailed cost and scheduling estimates for both the construction and operation phases. They will develop all required construction tender documents. The outcomes of the pre-construction design phase will form the basis for the construction and operation phases of the new station.
    b) On February 20, 2009, INAC announced the three locations being considered for Canada's new High Arctic Research Station. Communities being considered are: Cambridge Bay, Pond Inlet and Resolute Bay, all of which are in Nunavut. As part of the feasibility study, INAC has been engaged in community consultations with each of the three candidate communities since the summer of 2009.
    c) As part of the feasibility study, work currently being carried out will help to determine preliminary costs for the High Arctic Research Station. No decisions have been taken on the costs of the facility.
    d) As the High Arctic Research Station project is currently in the feasibility study phase, no decisions have been taken on who will be engaged in the design, architectural or construction work associated with the station. The contracting opportunities for such work will be publicly advertised.
    e) Part of the current analysis being undertaken within the feasibility study is to determine preliminary estimates for the ongoing costs associated with operating the High Arctic Research Station.
    f) No decisions have been taken regarding the size of the staff for the facility.
    g) Analysis being undertaken as part of the feasibility study with regard to the building and designing of the High Arctic Research Station will help to determine the possible date for when the facility will open. No decisions have been taken on the expected date that the station will open.
    h) Governance options for the High Arctic Research Station are being considered as part of the feasibility study. No decisions have been taken on who will head the High Arctic Research Station
Question No. 49--
Ms. Siobhan Coady:
     With regard to Canada’s Economic Action plan signs the government has purchased: (a) how many signs were purchased; (b) what was the cost of each sign; and (c) what was the total cost to the government?
Mrs. Sylvie Boucher (Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, in regard to part a) of the question, the Privy Council Office, PCO, coordinates communications for the implementation of the economic action plan, EAP. However, departments and agencies are responsible for the execution and funding of EAP projects, including signage. As part of this role, PCO monitors progress on the installation of signage. As of the week ending March 5, 2010, 5,337 signs have been installed across Canada.
    In regard to parts (b) and (c) of the question, the costs for signs vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the type, size, location for installation or the availability of bulk purchasing. For the majority of EAP projects, signage is part of the agreements negotiated by the Government of Canada with its partners—the provinces, territories and municipalities. The costs for signs are also covered by the same agreements, where project partners share the cost of the signs. Moreover, signage costs are often included in overall project costs in the same way as engineering, construction supplies, fencing and other expenses. A separate budget is not identified for such signs, and so, determining costs for signage would be a difficult and lengthy exercise. This work would also require federal-provincial-municipal discussions and would result in incomplete and unreliable information given that total costs will not be available until all invoices are received. Detailed accounting for all Government of Canada expenditures will be available through the Public Accounts of Canada.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 6, 28 and 50 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Deputy Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 6--
Mr. David McGuinty:
     With respect to consular services for Canadians abroad: (a) how many Canadians travel abroad every year without international health coverage; (b) is the government considering forcing Canadians to have health care coverage when they travel abroad; (c) how many consular assistance cases in the past 10 years are health-care related, broken down by country, detailing the total number of cases on any subject and indicating how many were health or medical issues; (d) how many of these cases as broken down in question (c) involved medical evacuations; (e) what were the specific costs of those medical evacuations, broken down by country; (f) what coverage is provided for Canadian government officials and their families when they are working abroad, and what exactly does that coverage entail (medical evacuations, hospitalization, etc.), broken down by country; (g) what is the cost of the coverage that is provided for these Canadian government officials and their families, broken down by country of service; (h) what company or companies are providing that coverage, by country; and (i) what criteria are considered in the selection of these providers, by country?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 28--
Mr. John Cannis:
     With regard to the Knowledge Infrastructure Program: (a) what projects are being funded; (b) in what federal electoral district is each project located; (c) who applied for the funding for each project; and (d) what is the exact amount of money allocated to each project?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 50--
Ms. Siobhan Coady:
     With regard to the Privy Council Office: (a) what are the total number of contracts under $10,000 awarded between January 2008 and December 2009; (b) what were the names of the suppliers; (c) what services did they provide; (d) what were the start and end dates of each contract; and (e) what was the contractor code for each supplier?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

Motions for Papers

Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.
    The Deputy Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—The Environment  

Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.)  
     moved:
    That, in the opinion of this House, this government has lacked a commitment to principled environmental policy backed by action which is urgently needed to address the climate change crisis, and it is the further opinion of this House that the government has consistently ignored the legislative and regulatory powers at its disposal that allow the government to take immediate and decisive action to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve meaningful and science-based reduction targets, and therefore the House calls upon the government to: (a) use the legislative, regulatory and fiscal authorities already available to the Government of Canada to put in place immediately a national climate change plan that implements economy-wide regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, and invests in renewable energy, clean technology and energy efficiency in order for Canada to compete in the new green economy; (b) stop putting Canada’s environmental and economic future at risk by insisting that Canada must wait for the United States to act first before showing our own leadership on this most vital issue; (c) set a domestic legally-binding long-term greenhouse gas reduction target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050; (d) report to Parliament annually on its policies and proposals to achieve the trajectory toward the 80 percent target and revise as necessary; (e) establish a non-partisan expert group approved by Parliament to set a science-based emissions trajectory to reach that 80 percent reduction target so that Canada does its part to keep global temperature increases to below 2oC; (f) reverse the decision to cut the ecoENERGY program that allowed Canadians to receive a rebate for greening their homes using energy efficient products and services; (g) restore Canada’s tarnished international environmental reputation by implementing Canada’s international commitment made during the Copenhagen negotiations to provide our fair share of new climate change financing for developing countries to support their adaptation and mitigation efforts to deal with the climate change crisis; (h) follow through on Canada’s commitment at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009 to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and report on implementation; and (i) convene within 90 days a First Ministers’ Meeting on climate change to build upon the best practices and leadership that have been demonstrated in the provinces, municipalities and the private sector.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague, the member for Etobicoke North, who is a seconder of this motion and, in case the House does not recollect, is also a Nobel laureate, having won the Nobel prize for her contributions to the intergovernmental panel on climate change. It is indeed a privilege to have her in this House of Commons and as a member of our caucus here in the Liberal Party of Canada. I thank her for her good service.
    This is a motion which, in honesty, I would prefer never to have brought to the House of Commons. It is a motion that is unfortunate in its necessity because we are facing a situation now where Canada is falling behind.
     We are falling behind on so many fronts that we think it is now extremely important for the House to send a message to the government that it should consider supporting this motion and to start taking dramatic action, not dramatic action in the Conservative terms that are associated with dramatic action. The Conservatives like to frame climate change as a cost. In responding to the climate change crisis, they like to frame it as grief and pain.
    We on the other hand think that the response to the climate change crisis is all about opportunity. It is all about economic opportunity. It is all about jobs for working people and it is about environmental opportunity as we move forward.
    We are asking the government to bring in a principled environmental policy that will immediately address the climate change crisis. Where are we 52 months later, after the arrival of the new reformed Conservative government? Well, 52 months later and 3 environment ministers later, Canada has no climate change plan. In fact, we are the only OECD country, the only G7 country, the only G20 country, not to have a comprehensive plan on climate change.
    There is no energy strategy to point to for Canada's energy future. Canadians understand the connection between energy, the burning of fossil fuels, the creation of greenhouse gases, the effects on the atmosphere and temperature increases. They understand these basic scientific truths.
    Canadians do not get why it is that after 52 months we have no climate change plan and no energy strategy. In fairness, I think they are also deeply disturbed by an abdication, maybe even an abandonment, of Canada's traditional soft power international leadership role in the world in this important sector.
    In short, it appears as if, for this government, climate change is in the sort of wedge tactics, management of crisis terms the government tends to act on. This is simply an issue to be managed, contained and marginalized. Let us keep it at bay and not really deal with it. We will just keep jumping from ice floe to ice floe as the Arctic melts. Let us manage the crisis as opposed to dealing with it in a systemic and fundamental way.
    It is all incoherent so far, and that is what is deeply disturbing. Nothing connects. Programmatic spending does not connect to fiscal incentives and disincentives. The fiscal measures that are in place are often not leading us in the right direction.
     I argued, for example, vociferously with the Minister of Finance some two years ago about his tax deductible transit pass being an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. It is very expensive. In fact, it is about $7,000 per tonne of greenhouse gases reduced, $7,000 which we believe should have been invested in public transit infrastructure at a time when our cities are in desperate need of additional resources.
    The government has made no coherent progress on our previous government's house in order provisions and measures. It is important for a government that is leading the way to lead the way. As Shakespeare once said, “Physician, heal thyself.” Well, this physician does not even diagnose the fever.
    The federal government could be doing so much more on house in order initiatives. Has it actually greened its procurement system, the way it buys goods and services? This is the largest landlord in the country, the largest employer in the country.

  (1540)  

    Is it in fact leasing buildings and demanding of landlords that they drive up the energy efficiency of those buildings? In any new construction is it building to a LEED gold or a LEED platinum standard to show the way for Canadians?
     There has been no progress whatsoever. More recently, despite the pleas, the overtures and negotiations between the official opposition and the government on its infrastructure spending, the stimulus spending, billions of dollars are being spent but without the benefit of looking at that spending through a green lens, through an energy efficiency lens, through a clean economy lens. There is resistance from the government and then rejection from the government to our pleas to use this spending opportunity as a wonderful opportunity to lead and show the way as an institution called the Government of Canada. In short, what have we seen?
    I think most Canadians, in fairness, would agree that the government is compromising both our environmental and our economic future, a theme I will come back to.
    The leader of the official opposition has set out an ambitious and innovative plan to deal with climate change, elements of which are in this motion, and which I will turn to shortly in greater detail.
    The plan and the call put out now by the leader of the official opposition are steeped in the reality of the notion that Canada is now embroiled in a clean economy race the likes of which the world has never seen before. It is driving up energy efficiency going forward. It is about retooling our economy to produce more with less.
    Why is it the state of California in most of its laws no longer talks about the concept of waste? California now describes waste as unrecaptured profit. California understands that when we throw things out, that when we use energy less efficiently than we might, we are actually losing profit, losing jobs, losing capital, losing investment capital.
    This race in which we are now embroiled, and actually, the federal government is not running it, but many provincial jurisdictions are, is all about becoming more energy efficient. It is about learning to do more with fewer materials, for example. It is also learning to do more with less water in our production processes. We know that when we produce more with less, we position Canada as a supplier of solutions.
    I was very heartened by Ontario's throne speech two weeks ago, in which it was announced that Ontario was going to become the supplier of solutions for water and waste water technologies globally. It was a lynchpin moment. A marker was placed. A jurisdiction said that it wants to become the world leader in this field, this at a time when the world is running out of fresh water. Does anyone really think we are not going to need to get serious about conquering that water and waste water technology marketplace? Of course not.
    When we actually move nationally with leadership, we position Canada to be able to supply the solutions the world is going to be searching for, and in fact is searching for right now.
    The government likes to say that Canada is an energy superpower. We agree. Canada is an energy superpower, whether it is uranium, hydro power, fossil fuels, or other sources, yes, including coal, gas, oil. However, when we are an energy superpower, would it not be normal to conclude that as an energy superpower we have the most to lose and the most to gain from whatever comes both continentally and internationally in response to the climate change crisis? Would we not think that as a jurisdiction we should be out there leading the pack because our interests are so much spoken to, are so potentially affected?
    Why is it if the government claims we are an energy superpower we are not out there informing, directing, trying to influence the outcome at the international level, as opposed to taking a back seat?
    I would say in an introductory fashion, the Liberal Party of Canada shall take no lessons from the Conservative Party of Canada in this regard. This is the party of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the party of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the party that created the Environment Commissioner for Sustainable Development, and the party that just recently, through a private member's bill, convinced Parliament to bring in a national sustainable development strategy for this country as we move forward.

  (1545)  

    We have been and remain open to co-operating with the government. That is not the problem here. The official opposition wants to see progress on the climate change crisis. What we need now is a plan.
    Let me talk a little bit about the terms of this motion. We are asking the government to stop pretending that it needs any additional powers, that it does not possess all of the regulatory authorities that it needs to be able to act immediately.
    I was trying to describe this to my four teenagers just the other day. In short form I said that it was like the slogan of a major sports company: Just do it. The government has those powers.
    Why is it that the Chinese and U.S. governments are investing massively in clean technology funds, capital investment funds? The government likes to say that we are harmonizing with the United States. Most Canadians are a little suspicious of this because they really fear abdication of sovereignty. To what extent are we harmonizing with the United States? When we ask the government why is it the United States is spending 18 times more per capita on clean power and clean technology investments, all of a sudden the harmonization rhetoric stops.
    It is really important to remember point number one, the government does not need any powers to move immediately to regulate, for example, greenhouse gases. That is something we did as the previous government when we amended the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to include six greenhouse gases, so that a government, our government before we were defeated, now the current government 52 months later, has the power to immediately regulate.
    Another aspect of the climate change crisis is this: We have to stop insisting that Canada wait for the United States to take action first, or worse, try to hide behind the complex and difficult international treaty negotiations that were continued just recently in Copenhagen. This is not true and it is, in my view, negligent of the government to act this way.
    The United States is way ahead of Canada under a new Democratic administration. After the Republican administration was dispatched with, the Democratic administration within 10 months had 1,400 pages of bills on the table, negotiating through committees for consideration by the American society, industrialists, environmentalists, environmental leaders, labour leaders. All of this was accomplished within a 10 month period.
    In 52 months, we have no climate change legislation. There is no bill. The government brought in the Clean Air Act some four or five years ago. It was rewritten by four opposition parties. It had the consensus and support of four opposition parties, but the Prime Minister, because this is what he does when he is backed into a corner, prorogued Parliament in order to kill the bill, delaying Canada even further.
    Why is it President Obama was in Copenhagen, not alone but with six of his top ten cabinet ministers? Our Prime Minister was, in fact, embarrassed to attend in Copenhagen, and once there, refused to deliver the speech to the UN delegates who were present and, as I like to say, refused to stand up for Canada to speak at the podium, but did, of course, sit down for dinner with the heads of state.
    The United States is designing a system, as it should, as a sovereign nation. It is designing a system and coming to grips with the climate change crisis by working within the confines of the four corners of its own natural order, its own challenges and to the specificity of its own economy.
    When the government says that we are harmonizing, is it really saying that the United States, in its design of a domestic response to climate change, will factor in, for example, the elements of the Canadian economy that have to be addressed, Canada's manufacturing base, Canada's natural order, our boreal forest, our Great Lakes, our watersheds? Are the Conservatives serious? I would never expect the United States to design a domestic response to take into account Canada's specificity any more than we would. This is again proof that the government is hiding behind the United States or the international treaty process, is actually not serious and is making us in fact more vulnerable. We are more vulnerable to the United States now, for example, moving to put a price on carbon emissions.

  (1550)  

    As an aside, the Prime Minister went to London some three and a half years ago. He gave a keynote address. He called it the energy superpower tour. Does anyone remember that speech? He gave his first foundational speech in London and he said that within five years Canada would be pricing carbon at $65 a tonne, that we would have a cap and trade system, that we would be trading domestically. All of this has evaporated. All of this has disappeared. All of this has simply vanished, again as an issue to manage, despite the opposition party's willingness to co-operate.
    We want to see a legally binding, long-term greenhouse gas reduction target of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. That is the internationally accepted baseline year, legally binding here in Canada, a target, by the way, that the government endorsed in Copenhagen. We are two years away, minimum, from an international treaty being binding, but we know the consensus is to hold to 2°C to keep temperature increases down.
    We are asking that the government report to Parliament annually. How are we going to get to that 80% reduction in the next 40 years? It is a national project that we can accomplish, I am convinced, but we need annual reports. We need a non-partisan, expert group. We need to take the partisanship out of this issue. Canadians deserve and expect more from this House of Commons. The government is in the driver's seat. The government can work with us to create this non-partisan, expert group to advise us with the science, with the modelling, with the pathways, with the economic modelling. How can we get there in the next 40 years while prospering? It is something I know we can do.
    We are asking the government to reverse its decision to cut the very popular home retrofit program for folks who want to do the right thing and invest in energy efficiency. In the dark of night, pulled out of thin air, the government announced it was abandoning a program that had become three times more popular in the last three years, really blocking Canadians who want to do the right thing.
    We also want the government to step up and make the contribution it promised it would to help the poorest countries, the most vulnerable nations on earth that will be hardest hit by climate change. These are the nations. Canada's DNA, as someone once said, is all about being multilateral. It is all about reaching out beyond our borders. Environmental refugees have arrived.
     If the government does not believe me, then it should listen to the United States' joint chiefs of staff who said just two years ago that climate change was the penultimate international security issue for the next century. It should ask the U.K. government, whose climate change policy is framed under a national security rubric. They know what we know on this side of the House. We must move forward.
    We are asking the government to phase out inefficient fossil fuels subsidies so that not only do we level the playing field for investment in non-renewables, but we actually tilt the playing field in favour of renewable power. We know it is coming. What are we waiting for? We are asking, through our leader in a wonderful speech given some time ago, for a fourfold increase in renewable power by 2017 when Canada turns 150 years old.
    Finally, we are asking the Prime Minister, within 90 days of this motion, should it pass in a vote later today, to convene a first ministers' meeting on climate change and energy. We need to build on the best practices of our provinces, our cities, the private sector and beyond.
    We need to elevate this issue. It is deserving of being elevated. The Prime Minister must show leadership here. The provinces are craving leadership. They are craving affirmation and support for their programs. They are going it alone. It is a quilt-work in Canada. We can do better than this. We are in this race. We can win this race. It is about the future of our species, our biodiversity, our soils, our integrity, the ecological integrity of our land masses, and so much more.
    In short, it is about the generations that have built this country and the generations to come.

  (1555)  

Mr. Mark Warawa (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my hon. colleague across the way. My question for him is this. How will he vote on Bill C-311, which we will vote on very shortly? We will also vote on his motion. There seems to be some inconsistencies of what he said today and I hope he can clarify them.
    When we listened to the witnesses on Bill C-311, every one of them said that there should be a continental approach. Bill C-311 did not support that. From what the member has just said, it appears he does not support a continental approach. Europe did a continental approach. Canada and the United States, in harmonizing our policies, took a continental approach to attack the issue of climate change.
    Therefore, does he support having a continental approach and will he be supporting Bill C-311? Hopefully he will not because it is a bad bill and it would devastate our economy.
     The Liberals have been famous on making announcements. The fact is the commissioner of the environment said that they made great announcements, but before the confetti hit the ground, they forgot those promises.
    The Liberal leader said, “We made a mess on the environment” and “We didn't get it done?” Will the member answer that question? Will he support Bill C-311, a bad bill that he himself has called the tiddlywink bill?

  (1600)  

Mr. David McGuinty:  
    Mr. Speaker, if we are pursuing a continental approach under the Reform-Conservative government, why is the United States investing 18 times more per capita than we are in renewable power?
    If, for example, the parliamentary secretary wants to go back to the committee work on Bill C-311, it was he and his colleagues who demanded a full costing of Bill C-311, but it was so steeped in irony and hypocrisy. The government has no plan. It has a target, but it has absolutely no costing. It has no pathway and no trajectory. It has nothing.
    For the parliamentary secretary to stand and talk about harmonization and continental approach, I am really reminded by some of the comments made by the Minister of the Environment, who some days, to be quite honest, I think I am hearing an undersecretary of environment from Washington speaking.

[Translation]

Mr. Christian Ouellet (Brome—Missisquoi, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Ottawa South has expressed the point of today's opposition day very well. Does he believe that what the Conservative member just said is true? Does Europe have a continental approach while simultaneously having different targets? I believe so. We can have different targets and a continental approach.
    As well, he said that subsidies given to western Canada's large oil companies—subsidies which they then pass on to their shareholders—should be phased out in order to create jobs in a green economy. Could he tell us how that would work?
Mr. David McGuinty:  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.
    First of all, Canada and the United States have signed NAFTA but in Europe, they have the European Union. Laws are passed in Brussels, not just in Washington, Ottawa, London or Paris. The European Union's structure is altogether different from North America.
    Secondly, it is true that European countries have different targets, but these countries came together because they understand that they have no choice. Europe also wants to win the energy efficiency race.
    During a recent G8 meeting, the government itself promised to remove subsidies for oil sands development.

[English]

Mr. Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay—Superior North, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, given that the current government has given hundreds of million dollars in tax subsidies to the very profitable oil industry and given that we have a 2009 G20 commitment from Canada to end subsidies to the fossil fuels industry, why are those subsidies continuing after we have allegedly made those commitments?
Mr. David McGuinty:  
    Mr. Speaker, that is a question better placed to the government. It was the government that made the commitment, and I stand corrected, at the G20. However, the Liberal Party will not seize upon the energy sector as some kind of whipping boy in Canada.
    We understand that when energy investments were beginning in our country some three or four decades ago, there was a decision made at the time to favour investment in those sectors, start those motors and start up that whole sector. Now we know so much more about the climate change crisis. We know so much more about renewable power and tilting the playing field in favour of renewable power.
    We will not single out any one industrial sector in Canada and try to make it the bad guy or bad gal. Instead, we want to see a national plan through a non-partisan group of experts that could advise the House of Commons.

  (1605)  

Mr. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for presenting this motion to the House. Canadians have been waiting for some leadership on this issue, and they are certainly not getting it from the government.
    I looked at the briefing notes and I think there is one the member might be able to amplify on. It says:
    Canada's national goal is now to cut its emissions to just over 600 million tonnes by 2020, a level equivalent to about 3% above the 1990 level. To put that in context, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in 2007 were 747 million tonnes, or 26% above their 1990 level.
    It is obvious that we are not going to get anywhere close to achieving the government's current targets unless there is a plan. Could the member comment on that?
Mr. David McGuinty:  
    Mr. Speaker, It is interesting. Just several months ago, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute, backed by TD Canada Trust and with work done by Simon Fraser University in terms of economic modelling, brought out the only robust piece of analysis for Canada that we have seen in 52 months. It was the only one to talk about how we could achieve these reductions, while growing our economy and what the effects would be.
    The reaction of the government was to attempt to shoot and kill the messenger. The Minister of the Environment stood up, held a press conference and attacked one of Canada's top economists at the TD Bank. I guess it was because that economist participated in a document that spoke truth to power.
    This is the kind of activity that has been going on. We would like to remove all of that from this important issue. We would like a non-partisan group of experts to help us design the trajectory for the next 40 years to achieve the reductions we know we can achieve and create the jobs we know we can create.
Mr. Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank the member for Ottawa South for particularly including in his motion praise for the agreement that our government negotiated at Copenhagen and recognizing that the agreement our government negotiated is going to restore our international environmental reputation, which was tarnished by the inaction of the former Liberal government for so many years.
    I would also like to point out that we learned in good news today that our reputation will be restored by the fact that Canadian greenhouse gases have been reduced by 2.1% since 2007, primarily due to the increased hydro power encouraged by our government. However, the Liberal coalition environment critic is now really only proposing a watered-down version of Bill C-311, which he previously criticized as a tiddlywink bill. In fact, it is almost an insult to Bill C-311.
    Does he plan to support Bill C-311?
Mr. David McGuinty:  
    Mr. Speaker, it is barely deserving of a response except to say this. At Copenhagen, Canada was badly marginalized and thoroughly embarrassed. We saw leaked documents surface about exempting the oil sands from greenhouse gas reduction targets.
    I personally witnessed the chief of staff of the minister having a major, massive emotional meltdown on camera, attacking a very prominent NGO leader from Quebec. Canada of course won the fossil of the year award.
    It is very important at this stage to take out this rhetoric. Let us get a good plan for Canada so we can deal with this crisis.
Mr. Mark Warawa (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Selkirk—Interlake, a man who is also passionate about the environment.
    First, I hope the Liberal Party will finally abandon its support of the NDP Bill C-311. We will find out. Bill C-311 would have Canada divert from the North American harmonized target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. It would also isolate Canada economically and throw us back into a deep recession. The Liberal Party might finally be coming to its senses, somewhat. We will have to wait and see.
    We learned throughout our hearings at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, through hours of testimony from witnesses from all over Canada, that Bill C-311 was irresponsible and would harm Canada. The Liberals, as I said before, even called it the tiddlywink bill and an irresponsible bill.
    The Copenhagen accord, the climate change agreement, which was forged during an intense two week period last December, represents a major turning point for Canada and for each of the 117 nations that signed it. It creates a functional international community with one shared goal, namely addressing climate change in a principled comprehensive fashion. Canada is a respected and fully engaged member of that international community facing the challenge.
    This agreement acknowledges that climate change is a global issue requiring a global response. It provides for specific mitigation commitments by all major emitters. It provides for international reporting and review of the progress all parties are making toward their commitments. It provides for a predictable ramped up flows of support to help mitigation and adaptation efforts globally. Those are all good.
    Going forward, the Copenhagen accord will be the foundation for the international and domestic policies of Canada and for all other signatories. It is the first time that there has been a comprehensive global agreement that deals with climate change and includes commitments from all the major emitters, including the United States, China and India. That is what we have asked for and that is what we have achieved.
    Getting that many countries and all those agendas even close to the same page is a remarkable accomplishment. Ultimately the Copenhagen accord will be successful, not only because it moves us all forward but because of how it moves us all forward. It is based on the efforts of national governments on the inclusion of all the major players and on practical solutions.
    The Speech from the Throne repeated the government's Copenhagen commitment to contribute our fair share of the $30 billion quick start funding agreed to in the accord to support developing countries in their efforts to address climate change.
    That is why this past weekend in Bonn Canada participated in a meeting where the parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change gathered to discuss the next steps on how to transform the Copenhagen accord into a binding international treaty.
    Next week the Minister of the Environment will be in Washington, D.C., where the Major Economies Forum will meet to discuss climate change and the road forward. This is the 17 member group of the major developed and developing countries, where considerable progress was made before the Copenhagen climate change summit to advance key issues under negotiation.
    That is why the opposition's motion is a step backward, not forward. Maybe the Liberals have not come to their senses. Their motion is predicated on an exclusively domestic target for Canada and blatantly disregards the reality that climate change is a problem requiring a co-operatively, coordinated approach and a binding international treaty. Climate change is not something that one country can tackle on its own, especially a country like Canada that accounts for 2% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

  (1610)  

    Let us take, for example, the harmonized approach of Canada and the United States. The Copenhagen accord has the support of Canada and the United States, which means that our stated objective of aligning our policies with their policies, not identical but aligning them, now has an enforceable international framework, a foundation. A man I respect, Mike Holmes, says “do it right the first time”. What the Liberals are proposing is to build something without a framework, without a foundation, and that makes no sense. That is illogical.
    The reason for our approach, the international approach, is straightforward and logical. Our economies are so integrated that any effectual continental efforts of reducing emissions must include the close Canada-U.S. co-operation and alignment of our policies, regulations and standards.
    Harmonizing our approach to climate change with that of the United States would optimize the progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining economic competitiveness and prosperity. That means jobs, which is what Canadians want, and that is what we are providing.
    Co-operating on our climate change approach also benefits Canada in terms of joint research and development of clean energy technology.
    At the North American leaders summit last August, our Prime Minister and Presidents Obama and Calderon agreed to a program of collaborative work, including initiatives in carbon capture and storage, gas flaring and energy efficiency. Agreement was also reached to begin work toward a 21st century continental electricity smart grid, again continental.
    We do not want to pursue an illogical path as proposed by the Liberals that would create barriers to trade and put us at a competitive disadvantage. We also do not want to do less than our most important trading partners and risk facing new border barriers into the American market.
    At a time when the world is recovering from the worst financial crisis in memory, a Liberal proposal of increasing taxes and isolation is not what Canadians want and not what Canada needs.
    On the continental front we have made excellent progress working with the U.S.. We recently made a joint announcement of stringent new vehicle tailpipe emission standards starting with the 2011 model, which is next year. That reality and the fact that the United States has committed to the Copenhagen accord will also see us work even more closely to further enhance the clean energy dialogue.
    The clean energy dialogue was established when our Prime Minister met with President Obama more than a year ago to optimize co-operation on emerging technologies, such as carbon capture storage, smart electricity grids, clean energy research and development, all of which we are making significant progress on.
    Not all of the work on climate change will be on the international and continental front. There is plenty that we are already doing right here in Canada.
    Since 2007, the government has invested in a range of eco-action programs, many of which promote the use of new technologies.
    In 2009, Canada's economic action plan included billions of dollars in spending on initiatives like the clean energy fund and the green infrastructure fund. They provide close to $2 billion for the development of promising clean energy technologies and green infrastructure projects, all benefiting Canada and the world. That focus on technology and innovation relating to climate change will be sustained.
    The government intends to stay the course on the path it has chosen: to join hands around the world to combat climate change. We will also continue to use the tools at hand to ensure that our approach to climate change is sustainable, meeting the needs of this present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
    I would like to share a quote by Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, who made this comment before Copenhagen. He said:
     Canada has a tough period behind it in terms that Canada did rise and ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but its main trading partner the United States, did not, which left it in a very unbalanced situation.
    He went on to say, “What I see Canada doing is encouraging. It is very constructive in these negotiations”. He brought to light that the previous Liberal government did nothing. It created an environmental mess and we are working hard to clean that up. The Liberals need to support our good plans.

  (1615)  

Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member opposite is aware that the Copenhagen accord is not an enforceable framework, so that must have been an inadvertent mistake on his part and, unfortunately, over-optimistic.
    During the Copenhagen accord negotiations in Copenhagen, Canada was not at the table. In fact, one high profile person made the comment that the negotiators waited for Canada to leave the room so they could actually get down to some productive work.
    When the member is talking about the economy, and clearly does not understand the economic imperative of taking strong action on climate change now, what would he say to a constituent in my riding who works for a solar development company and tells me that private sector investment is fleeing from Vancouver to the United States because of the woeful inadequacy of policies on alternative energy by his government.

  (1620)  

Mr. Mark Warawa:  
    Mr. Speaker, I always look forward to questions on the environment from a Liberal colleague, especially on the anniversary of the announcement by their leader saying, “We will have to raise taxes”.
    It also reminds me of the reports that the Commissioner of the Environment made every year. In 1998 she said, “...the federal government [the Liberal government] is failing to meet its policy commitments... ”. In 1999 she said, “...additional evidence of the gap between the federal government's intentions and its domestic actions”. In 2000 she said, “...[the government] continues to have difficulty turning that commitment into action”. In 2001 she said, “...the continued upward trend in Canada's emissions demonstrates that the [Liberal] government has not transformed its promises into results”. In 2002 she said, “[The federal government's] sustainable development deficit continues to grow”. In 2003 she said that there was a gap between what the Liberals say they will do and what actually they are doing. She went on to say that good intentions were not enough. In 2004 she said, “Why is progress so slow? ... I am left to conclude that it is lack of leadership, lack of priority and lack of will”.
    Those dark days are over. We are getting it done. We were involved with Copenhagen. I was in Copenhagen. We are getting it done. International respect of the Government of Canada has returned.

[Translation]

Mr. Christian Ouellet (Brome—Missisquoi, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Langley said that they are laying the foundations. I do not see how, after four and a half years, they can still be laying the foundations. But that is what he said. I think that they are planning to do exactly what the Liberal Party did: talk the talk, but never walk the walk. They are certainly heading in that direction.
    I would like him to comment on an article about the Bonn conference published in the Washington Post the day before yesterday. According to the article, negotiators have apparently given up hope of signing a global agreement.
    I would like him to comment on the global agreement he just talked about.

[English]

Mr. Mark Warawa:  
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from that colleague because I was in Berlin with him at an environmental conference , and he is a man who I believe believes passionately in the environment, as do I.
    The new Copenhagen accord is a framework that we are moving forward continentally and internationally. It is a step-by-step process. We will be into Cancún, Mexico, at the end of this year. Step by step we are moving forward. We now have an accord that involves 90% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
    Under this government, since the Liberals no longer were government in 2006, in a short four years emissions have stopped growing and are actually going down. We are getting it done. Our economic action plan is working and our plan on the environment is working. I hope I can count on that member to help us continue working and cleaning up the environment.
Mr. James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I hope the Liberal Party will be abandoning Bill C-311 and finally admit that such a bill would be devastating both to our working relationship with the Obama administration and to our economy.
    I also want to thank the Liberal Party for its support regarding the Copenhagen accord. I believe within the motion, written by the member for Ottawa South, credit is given to the accomplishment of the Conservative government for achieving in Copenhagen an accord for which Canada can be proud and for which, after 13 years of inaction by the Liberal Party that tarnished our reputation as stewards of the environment, Canada can now return to its natural proud post as a great steward of the environment.
    I will take a few minutes to address each of the elements of the motion item by item, the first being item (a). When it comes to addressing the issue of climate change, the government has a number of tools at its disposal, many of which it has already used. It is using its regulatory authorities to set tough new tailpipe emission standards harmonized with the United States. We are regulating renewable fuel content, and that is out for comment right now, and we are broadening and deepening energy efficiency standards.
    The government has made investments in the form of eco-energy and ecotransport programs and through investments in energy-related green infrastructure . The government is also using tax incentives to promote green technologies and encourage the use of public transit. We also have transferred funds directly to provinces and territories to assist them in reducing emissions.
    The government will continue to use these instruments in a responsible, effective and successful manner that promotes both environmental progress and a competitive Canadian economy.
    Direct program spending is another area where the government can and has acted effectively. In 2009, Pew Research noted that Canada ranked sixth in terms of clean energy investment intensity compared to the United States, which is back in eleventh place.
    When it comes to aligning Canada's climate change efforts with those in the United States, as discussed in item (b) of the motion, it is purely a practical matter.
    Our economies and, in fact, our physical environment are so closely integrated that it makes no sense for us to move forward in isolation. That is all the more true at a time when economies on both sides of the border are starting to recover after the worst financial crisis in recent memory.
    The reality is that if Canada does more than the U.S. in addressing climate change, it becomes uncompetitive. If it does less, it runs the risk of punitive trade sanctions. Neither scenario is desirable or necessary.
    The Government of Canada is an active and supportive player in international climate change negotiations under the Copenhagen accord, as discussed in item (c). We are at an early stage of discussion under the accord and, in that context, it makes no sense for Canada to legislate a 2050 target. Any decision to legislate a target should follow a broader discussion, both within Canada and reflect our ongoing international discussions that started in Copenhagen.
    In item (d) the government has already been completely transparent about the actions it is taking to address climate change. It is already reporting annually to Parliament on all the actions it is taking to address climate change and providing detailed information on their impact. Just today we released a national inventory report for 2008 which shows that greenhouse gas emissions are down 2.1% from 2007, or 16 megatonnes of C02. . That is an incredible achievement in just a few short years in government. Our government has acted on climate change and has got results. We admit that more needs to be done, and we will do that, but compare that to the Liberals who just sat back for 13 years and did nothing and watched emissions increase by almost 30%.
    The Government of Canada will continue to take a consultative approach in developing future actions to address climate change, in reference to item (e). That said, it is the government that is ultimately accountable to Parliament and the people of Canada and it cannot abrogate its responsibility to set a course for meeting emissions targets.
    Contrary to item (f) of the motion before the House, the eco-energy retrofit homes program has not been cut. It is still functioning and will continue to benefit Canadians with incentives to adopt energy saving retrofits until March 31, 2011.
    What has occurred is that like all other energy efficiency and emissions reductions programs, the retrofit homes program is being assessed to ensure it continues to be an effective and efficient use of Canadian tax dollars. In short, under its existing budget, the eco-energy retrofit homes program will continue to operate until March 31, 2011 as originally planned. This has not changed. The program still has $300 million to be paid to homeowners currently in the program to support their home retrofits.

  (1625)  

    What has changed is that until final decisions are made concerning the continuation of the program, effective March 31 of this year, the program will not accept new bookings for the first stage of the program, which is the pre-retrofit evaluation.
    Regarding item (g), I want to talk about the terms of the Copenhagen Accord. Canada has already agreed to do its fair share to help developing nations adapt to the impact of climate change. We will make our contributions to the $3 billion quick-start fund as soon as the amount for Canada has been pegged. The latest federal budget contains a provision for that contribution.
    To discuss item (h) about the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, the Prime Minister has already committed to phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. These act to encourage wasteful consumption. The Minister of Finance and Natural Resources Canada have been working as part of international efforts to examine these subsidies. I should point out that this government has already acted. In budget 2007, we started the process to remove the accelerated capital cost allowances for the oil sands.
    Finally, in regard to item (i), in addition to the establishment of a cooperative framework on the international stage, the Copenhagen process has also had a beneficial effect on the domestic policy front. Leading up to the Copenhagen summit, the environment minister met with each provincial and territorial leader, reaching a new degree of understanding on climate change policy and programs with most of them.
    I trust that this account of the government's actions on climate change addresses the issues raised by the opposition motion. We appreciate and share the interest in finding solutions that are as sustainable as the environment we seek to protect.

  (1630)  

Mr. Mark Warawa:  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have a document from the international energy agency, in both official languages. It supports what the government is doing, through the clean energy dialogue and the continental approach, and I would ask for unanimous consent that this be tabled.
The Deputy Speaker:  
    Does the parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to table this document?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Deputy Speaker: There is no consent.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Ottawa South.
Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member, who is the chair of the environment committee, to answer a couple of specific questions.
    First of all, according to his own analysis of the motion, he should have no problem supporting it. He says that the government has accomplished everything the motion calls upon it to do. If that is the case, then the Conservative members as a whole should stand later today and support the motion.
    Second, I would like to ask him this. Could he tell us right now, if we are harmonized with the United States, what is the price of carbon going to be under both legislative bills in the House? What and how serious is the discussion right now by President Obama to impose a carbon tariff on this country?
Mr. James Bezan:  
    Mr. Speaker, the government will not be supporting this motion. I pointed out all the great things we have done. There are still a number of issues within the motion that the member for Ottawa South has drafted, including trying to force our government to arbitrarily move ahead of the United States and ahead of the Copenhagen Accord on some of the targets they want to put in for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
    We are going to continue on with our discussions with the United States, making sure that, when we do go forward on things such as cap and trade and working with the United States on clean energy dialogue, we will come to a consensus as to what that is going to be in terms of mechanisms and in terms of how they price it, whether it is going to be market-driven. I believe that is where it has to go. It has to be market-driven and not arbitrarily set by government.
    We are going to see that evolve over the next coming months. We understand, by following the discussion and the debate that is happening in Washington, that there is still a lot of division, and until we actually see some concrete solutions that are brought forward by both the Congress and the Senate in Washington, it is premature for us to start moving until we get some really solid examples of how they are going to proceed with cap and trade.
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member referenced the Copenhagen agreement, as did the parliamentary secretary. While that framework does not do much, it does do one thing. Canada commits in it specific dollars for foreign aid. I would like to ask the member why we are the only G8 country that has failed to live up to that commitment and commit a specified dollar amount.
    Second, both the hon. member and the parliamentary secretary are alluding to this North American form of government. Last I noticed, the European Union has a continental form of government and it has the power to issue directives to the European Commission.
    Last I noticed, under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, the Conservative government cannot even bring itself, a year later, to appoint the next executive director, who is supposed to come from Canada. So much for its commitment under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.
    That agreement also specifies that all the parties, including Canada and the United States, will honour the sovereignty of each respective nation to establish its own standards. I ask the hon. member to address that. What is it that the government keeps talking about, as if there is a North American form of government? We are a sovereign nation and the government has a constitutional obligation to protect the environment for Canadians. When is it going to step up to the plate and actually establish binding targets for all sectors?

  (1635)  

Mr. James Bezan:  
    Mr. Speaker, I must say I am disappointed with the member's comments. She knows that Canada and the United States share the longest undefended border in the world, that we share the same continent and the same environment and we have worked in cooperation and partnership through a number of different treaties and agreements on how we deal with our respective environments. She knows that we have the powers to regulate and set our own standards, but knows the ultimate goal is to improve our environment on both sides of the border. I look at the work we are doing through the International Joint Commission on the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act. It is a great example of a long-surviving treaty that goes back to 1905, where Canada and the United States work cooperatively to ensure that our watersheds on both sides of the border are equally protected and we work together for the betterment of those waters.
    I think back to when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney went ahead on acid rain and worked with the United States, essentially really working hard with his counterpart in Washington. They were able to bring significant regulations to the point where today we do not even talk about acid rain anymore. That is the type of response I hope we are going to get from the United States, that we work in the same cooperative manner forming those types of treaties and bonds that will establish a way forward, so we can say in the future that we have accomplished everything we wanted to do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

[Translation]

The Deputy Speaker:  
    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, Telecommunications.
Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to speak today to the Liberal opposition motion on climate change. In the next 20 minutes I will try to show that, as we look ahead to the climate change conference in Cancún eight months from now, we must take real action to deal with the climate change crisis we are going through.
    I do not know whether it is a coincidence or not, but it is a bit paradoxical that the Liberal opposition motion comes just a few hours before an important vote on NDP Bill C-311. It is as if the Liberal Party were trying to show that a parliamentary motion was the best response to a legislative initiative. There is nothing stronger legislatively than a bill, whether it comes from the government or from a private member.
    The Liberal Party showed leadership on this issue in the past. I remember when the Liberals introduced Bill C-288, which was sponsored by the member for Honoré-Mercier. The purpose of this bill was to implement the Kyoto protocol. At the time, the Liberal Party understood that it took a bill to ensure that international climate change agreements, and the Kyoto protocol in particular, had some regulatory teeth. This is what the NDP has understood in recent years, and a parliamentary motion is no substitute for a private member's bill.
    That is why, in a few hours, we will support Bill C-311, just as we supported Bill C-288 introduced by the Liberal member for Honoré-Mercier.
    We think the Liberal Party motion, which I would describe as epic in length, is commendable. In the 13 years I have been sitting in Parliament, I have rarely seen such a long motion. I have read it and re-read it. There are no less than 10 points in this motion. The position of this Parliament could very well have been summed up in just three or four points, as the Bloc Québécois did on the eve of the Copenhagen climate change conference.
    What did the Bloc Québécois say a few weeks before the Copenhagen climate change conference? The Bloc limited its opposition motion to three points. First, Canada must commit to doing everything in its power to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2oC higher than in the pre-industrial period. Second, it must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 25% lower than 1990 levels by 2020. Third, it must commit to giving developing countries the technological and financial means to adapt to climate change.
    The motion could have stopped there, but no, here we have a 10 point motion, which we support, of course. Nevertheless, the motion could have been clearer.
    Let us look at the first point. The Liberal Party wants the government to:
...use the legislative, regulatory and fiscal authorities already available to the Government of Canada to put in place immediately a national climate change plan that implements economy-wide regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, and invests in renewable energy, clean technology and energy efficiency in order for Canada to compete in the new green economy;
    How could we be against this first point of the motion? We are somewhat surprised that today, in 2010, the Liberal Party is proposing regulation. I remember what the Liberal Party was proposing in 1997-98. I was here in the House at the time. It was not proposing a regulatory approach to fight climate change. It was proposing a voluntary approach.

  (1640)  

    It proposed sector-by-sector negotiations of greenhouse gas reduction agreements that would not have the force of law. This was done in the pulp and paper sector and the steel industry. However, it became evident that the voluntary approach put forward by the Chrétien government made it impossible to respect our international commitments on greenhouse gas reductions. Today, the Liberal Party realizes that the voluntary approach proposed by the Liberal government at that time has not achieved its objectives and that a regulatory approach is needed.
    We have before us a Conservative government that does have a regulatory framework for fighting climate change. However, after all these years, we are still waiting for greenhouse gas reduction regulations. We have not found an approach that could have resulted in substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The government has two means at its disposal: the regulatory approach and implementation of a greener tax system, which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide tax incentives to environmental industries that contribute to those reductions. I will come back to that later.
    However, we only have a regulatory framework before us, one without targets and without greenhouse gas emission regulations. We support the climate change regulations. However, we do not want to adopt the sectoral approach proposed by the federal government, which consists of putting all Canadian industrial sectors on an equal footing, especially the major industrial emitters.
    In Quebec, we figure that we have been taking responsibility since the beginning of the 1990s. Manitoba was one of the first provinces to implement a plan to fight climate change. These plans have produced concrete results: in 2007, we saw a 23.6% reduction in greenhouse gases in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, compared to the 1990 levels.
    Now, all the federal parties seem to be proposing putting the Quebec manufacturing sector, which has cut its greenhouse gas emissions, on an equal footing with the other major industrial emitters. I am referring, of course, to Canada's oil and gas industry. This is unacceptable, because this approach favours the polluter-paid principle, instead of the polluter-pay principle.
    We are saying yes to regulations, but as my colleagues said earlier, we must use the triptych approach that was developed at a university in Austria, which puts responsibility on the provinces. Canada can obviously negotiate greenhouse gas reductions on the international scene, as Europe did with an 8% reduction as part of the Kyoto protocol. But let the provinces achieve their targets in their own way, in their own jurisdictions. We must remember that under the Constitution, natural resources are a provincial jurisdiction.
    The government has been proposing this asymmetrical approach for so many years within the Canadian federation. Yes to a Canada-wide target for reducing greenhouse gases, but let us keep our provincial reduction targets.
    The Liberal Party's second point is that the government should “stop putting Canada’s environmental and economic future at risk by insisting that Canada must wait for the United States to act first before showing our own leadership on this most vital issue.” Over the past few years we have seen the central federal government's complacency and lack of leadership when it comes to climate change. This is why the provinces decided to negotiate agreements with American states as part of climate groups.

  (1645)  

    This demonstrates that nations, that the Quebec nation, can negotiate with American states and move the climate issue forward more quickly than the federal government has been able to do over the past few years.
    The best example is most likely that of automobile regulations. For years Ottawa refused to implement automobile manufacturing standards similar to those in California. Quebec decided to harmonize its standards with those in California. It was successful in pressuring central governments to adopt more acceptable federal environmental standards.
    This shows that Quebec is better than the federal government at influencing the fight against climate change on a continental scale.
    The third point of the motion talks about setting “a domestic legally-binding long-term greenhouse gas reduction target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050”. This is probably the weakest aspect of the motion, which is unfortunate. We would have expected more from the Liberal Party.
    We can set long term targets, but we also need to set short and medium term targets. Where are the greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2020? For the past few years scientists have been saying that if we want to limit temperature increases to two degrees Celsius, industrialized countries must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% below the 1990 level by 2020, and not by 2050.
    With this motion and this government we will be putting off dealing with these problems. They refuse to tackle climate change in the short and medium term and are deferring efforts until 2050. We cannot accept this, especially at a time when industrialized countries are meeting in Canada for the G20. We must send a clear message: in eight months in Cancún, we will be ready to make short and medium term commitments.
    Unfortunately, this motion gives no indication of any short and medium term efforts. It talks about long term efforts, which are commendable and which we do not oppose. However, this is an urgent problem that requires short and medium term targets.
    The fourth point of the motion has to do with reporting “to Parliament annually on its policies and proposals to achieve the trajectory toward the 80 percent target and revise as necessary”. I think these aspects were taken from Bill C-288, at the time introduced by the Liberal Party. The purpose is probably to allow the environment commissioner to play a greater role. Parliament must focus on achieving these targets. We completely agree with this proposal.
    The motion goes on to talk about establishing “a non-partisan expert group approved by Parliament to set a science-based emissions trajectory to reach that 80 percent reduction target”. Clearly, we must ensure that any targets we set are not subject to the vagaries of political change in Ottawa. Science has to resume a leading role in helping elected officials make good decisions.
    The budget for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences was cut. The government is trying to muzzle Environment Canada scientists by giving them a communications guide and telling them that their research, reports and documents have to be relevant to the government's goals and policies. That is nonsensical. A healthy government should ensure that scientists have complete independence to do their scientific work.

  (1650)  

    That is why we need an independent group of scientific experts to make recommendations to parliamentarians and government free from the influence of political vagaries in Ottawa.
    The sixth point calls on the government to “reverse the decision to cut the ecoENERGY program”. The first thing this government did when it came to power was initiate a program review. It directed the Treasury Board to assess the ecoenergy programs and divide them into three categories: programs to cut, programs to maintain and programs to improve.
    That was terrible for the economy itself, and especially for the desire and the vision to stimulate a greener economy. The ecoauto program was eliminated. The program was not perfect. It provided tax incentives to people who purchased vehicles that consumed around 9 litres of gas per 100 kilometres. The government wanted to change the tax paradigm to give people who bought energy-efficient vehicles a refund. I strongly believe that the measure was in line with what I would call strategic environmental assessment to achieve better governance and greener taxation.
    Environmental companies told us that under the wind power production incentive or WPPI, they received tax assistance of 1¢ to 1.5¢ per kilowatt hour produced using wind energy. This program was very successful and promoted wind energy. Subsequent budgets have not provided any money for the WPPI or any tax assistance for the wind industry, and Canadian companies are now telling us that they are going to leave Canada for certain U.S. states, because the American taxation system is more beneficial.
    The green shift is failing. Canada does not realize the impact of the decisions it is making, at a time when all the world economies that are going through financial, climate or food crises all agree that what is needed is a green new deal. The basis for our economic recovery must be such that we can build an economy that is not in the stone age, but really turned toward the future.
    That is why, in October 2008, the UN sent a clear message to industrialized countries about a green new deal. We must reinvest in renewable energy, promote energy efficiency and make our buildings greener. Sadly, the government has missed this opportunity.
    I could go on at length, but I will keep my remarks to just a few minutes. This official opposition motion is clearly commendable and worthwhile. We will support this motion, but we would have liked it to go further and be more in keeping with the principles in Bill C-311 in order to deal with the climate change crisis we are going through now, eight months before the major climate change conference in Cancún.

  (1655)  

[English]

Mr. Mark Warawa (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague. I have a few questions for him.
    The first one relates to the importance of a global solution to a global problem. The motion presented by the Liberals is clearly focused on just Canada and ignores the fact that we have a global climate change problem. Why would he support having Canada depart from international negotiations through the Copenhagen accord and remove ourselves from a continental approach?
    Why is he supporting the Liberal plan which is, and always has been, lots of announcements but no action? Why would he want to separate himself from a global solution to climate change? Does he really believe in the important issue of climate change?
    The Liberals' plan always has been and continues to be the introduction of a carbon tax. In the last election most people in Quebec, I believe, were against the Liberal carbon tax, and included in this motion is a desire to move to a carbon tax. By voting in favour of this motion, he will be supporting a carbon tax proposed by the Liberals.

[Translation]

Mr. Bernard Bigras:  
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is asking me to make an impossible choice. Understandably, I will not make such a choice.
    One thing is clear. Whether through a carbon tax or carbon exchange, there is one thing the members must agree on: we need to put a price on carbon as soon as possible. We must be able to tell the businesses that already made an effort that regulations are available to them and they can sell their carbon credits and the reductions they made. That is the problem with this government.
    The Liberals based their policy on a voluntary approach. The government has been talking to us about a regulatory framework for years, but we have not seen even a hint of any climate change regulations. That is the problem with the Canadian federation: there is a lot of talk, but very little action.

  (1700)  

Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the member that the effectiveness of the Canadian federation depends a great deal on the party in power, here, in Ottawa.
    I am sure he knows that, before the 2005-06 election, the environment minister at the time, the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, after lengthy consultations with industrial sectors, was about to unveil regulations that would have benefited Canada, including Quebec. Unfortunately, the government fell following a non-confidence vote and, four years later, we find ourselves with nothing in hand.
    My question is about the sectoral approach that I am trying to understand, and that the member often speaks about in committee. My question is very sincere. I wonder why an aluminum plant in Quebec would be treated differently than one in British Columbia. If, one day, Quebec were to tap the natural gas reserves in the river, why would it not be treated the same as the gas industry in Alberta?
Mr. Bernard Bigras:  
    Mr. Speaker, the member is a real promoter of the Canadian federation.
    He should know that under the Constitution, natural resources are a provincial jurisdiction, and he should let the provinces determine or allocate the credits or emission permits as they see fit. It is a matter of efficiency. If a sector has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions because it changed its industrial processes and decided to invest in technologies to reduce them, I do not think it should have to pay for the industrial sectors that decided to do nothing. That is the problem now.
    The problem is that the government decides. I can understand that Canada's economic base is split in three: the west has oil and gas resources; the automotive industry has always driven economic development in Ontario; and Quebec's economic base has always been a force for development. But that is the problem. How can we implement a national greenhouse gas reduction policy that takes these regional differences into account? It will be completely impossible as long as we are not sovereign.

[English]

Mr. Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay—Superior North, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, in just five days Bolivia is convening an international climate change conference to try to repair and mitigate the failures of Copenhagen to deliver fair and legally binding international climate change agreements. Over 90 nations will be there. It is my understanding and belief that Canada as of today either is not sending anyone or has not indicated a commitment to send anyone.
    I wonder if the hon. member is aware of what our government plans to do or not do and would he care to comment on the possibility that we would actually not even attend the Bolivia conference?

[Translation]

Mr. Bernard Bigras:  
    Mr. Speaker, Bolivia is not the only country participating in the conference; Venezuela and Cuba will be there as well.
    When it comes to climate change negotiations, Canada must be a leader among industrialized countries. The problem is that Canada is no longer playing the role it played in 1997 at the Kyoto conference. Canada must play a role at major international conferences such as the G8 and G20.
    The question as to whether or not Canada should participate in a conference in Bolivia is one thing, but it has a role to play with the industrialized countries, and it has not played this role in years.
    Does Canada intend to shoulder its responsibilities at the G20 summit in June? That is the real question that needs to be asked in the House.

  (1705)  

Mr. Christian Ouellet (Brome—Missisquoi, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud that the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie has said that it is quite likely that the Liberals, in moving their motion today, are creating a distraction in order to not have to vote for a more binding law.
    Earlier the government said that it has made significant progress in terms of greenhouse gas reduction. Yet, Canada won the third fossil award of the conference in Bonn for having moved from a 3% reduction to a 3% increase in emissions compared to 1990, just like the United States.
    I would like my colleague to comment on this because this is not what we are currently hearing from the government.
Mr. Bernard Bigras:  
    Mr. Speaker, it is ironic to hear the hon. member, who is the chair of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, brag that we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions in the past year. The fact is, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions because there has been a reduction in economic activity.
    I already hear the government saying that we can boast about having reduced our greenhouse gas emissions. If we want to have an excellent energy report card, we must invest in renewable energy.
    I have seen the latest statistics that came out recently. In the past few years, the sustainable development industry has become the third largest economic sector in the world. That is the direction Canada must take. It must invest in clean technologies and energy efficiency. That is how it will achieve success in reducing greenhouse gases.

[English]

Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I had hoped to share my time today with the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North. As time will be tight, I would like to at least thank him for his tireless work on behalf of Canadians to finally seek action on climate change around the globe.
    I wish to voice my support for the motion presented by the member for Ottawa South and hope that all members in the House see fit to support these measures, which are necessary and long overdue. Although I do concur with the hon. member who spoke previously that it would have been useful to include the short and medium term targets, those are fortunately included in my colleague's bill, Bill C-311.
    I concur with the member that the government has the full constitutional authority to take expeditious action to fulfill our country's responsibilities and undertakings to address climate change. Action on addressing climate change has been delayed, first by the suggestion that we needed a new law, which was then amended, brought forward, enacted and ignored. Then, the government dragged on endless consultations, which had been going on for the previous 15 years.
    The next excuse was the need to await action by all nations of the world at Copenhagen. The latest excuse is the need to wait for the United States to dictate our targets and actions on climate change. Yet, while the government claims to be waiting for U.S. actions, the Obama administration is leaving us in the dust. President Obama's 2009 budget invested 14 times per capita what this country invested in its budget. This year, Obama's budget is 18 times per capita the investment of Canada. So much for synchronicity in North America.
    Obama's budget also set aside $85 million for green job training for about 14,000 workers and $75 million in the re-energize education effort. Now that is what I call an education investment for the future. What did the government invest? It invested nothing. The government has set aside nothing for green jobs and training, and it would have been welcomed as a constructive addition to this member's motion.
    New Democrats believe that green jobs, training and just transition programs for workers are all vital to a strong, sustainable economic recovery. The U.S. law specifies improved energy efficiency for government buildings as a way to jump start job creation and long-term growth. There is a commitment to retrofit 75% of government buildings in two years, saving billions for taxpayers in the United States.
    In Canada, in response to a request for information that I submitted last year, we were told by the federal government that only six out of 26,000 federal buildings were so much as in the process of beginning retrofitting. Where is the synchronicity? I concur that the legislative and fiscal authorities have long been in place to enable action by the government. Many of those laws have been intentionally ignored. This despite international obligations under the Kyoto accord and, most recently, the Copenhagen agreement.
    The government continues to ignore the pleas of Canadians from across the country to take action on climate change. Even the government's own studies show the impacts on the Canadian Prairies, the Canadian Arctic, the pine beetle expansion and record flooding. Yet still, it fails to act.
    Many are suffering the economic toll already. Canadians are now having to turn to the courts to make the government comply with legal duties to reduce greenhouse gases.
    I will be looking to the member for Ottawa South and his colleagues to support Bill C-311, which prescribes science-based reduction targets and requires accountability to Parliament for actions taken to meet the targets. In his 2009 audit, the federal Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development reported serious flaws with the government's initiatives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including the transit tax credit and the climate trust fund.
    I concur fully with the assertion that while the government has the necessary fiscal tools at its disposal, it has also failed miserably on their application. The 2010 government budget entitled “Leading the Way on Jobs and Growth” says it all. Gone is any semblance of adherence to the government's mantra of balancing economy and the environment.
    The selfsame budget, where the government proclaims Canada to be a clean energy superpower, kills the only main programs to incent development and deployment of our once burgeoning renewable energy sector. It kills the eco-energy home retrofit program. It deals a severe blow to environmental impact assessments of major energy and infrastructure projects. The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association calls it “shortsighted” to cancel the energy retrofit program, which brought benefits to homeowners, the economy and the environment. So much for its affiliation with business in Canada.

  (1710)  

    The most perverse of all, though, is the budget grants a further tax reduction to the already profitable yet under regulated major energy corporations, while gifting hundreds of millions of dollars to those industries merely to test a technology. Why cut the very initiatives that are bringing reductions and, instead, putting the money into something we do not know will work?
     This contradicts Canada's commitment made at the 2009 G20 in Pittsburgh to end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. The U.S. cut subsidies for oil and gas industry by 2020 to restore almost $37 billion U.S. to its government coffers.
    Where is the action on the promised aid to address climate adaptation faced by many developing nations? Canada is disgraced by being the only G8 nation that has not committed a dollar figure, despite commitments at Copenhagen. Canadians are expressing grave concern that with the coming cutbacks to foreign aid next year, the new commitment will fall by the wayside.
    Finance for action to address climate change must be new and additional to existing ODA commitments and it must be predictable. Funding must be substantial and adequate and meet the scale of needs identified for developing nations.
     Financing and technology support for developing country mitigation and adaptations is the lynchpin to achieving a global agreement on climate change.
     Overcoming past failures on both fronts will be essential to a strong climate agreement and must be at the table at the G8 meeting in June. If we are to put the world on a path to avoiding dangerous climate change, we need the assurance Canada will meet those commitments.
    Finally, it has been the custom at all previous G8 meetings to host a meeting of environment ministers. Why is this expected—

  (1715)  

The Deputy Speaker:  
    Order, please. I will have to stop the hon. member there.
     It being 5:15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply. The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Deputy Speaker: Call in the members.

  (1735)  

    And the bells having rung:
The Speaker:  
    The question is as follows. May I dispense?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]

  (1745)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 21)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blais
Bonsant
Bourgeois
Brison
Brunelle
Byrne
Cannis
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coady
Coderre
Comartin
Cotler
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dion
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dryden
Dufour
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Easter
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Garneau
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Hall Findlay
Harris (St. John's East)
Holland
Hughes
Hyer
Ignatieff
Julian
Kania
Karygiannis
Kennedy
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard
Mendes
Minna
Mourani
Mulcair
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Oliphant
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paillé (Louis-Hébert)
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Ratansi
Regan
Rodriguez
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simms
Simson
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Tonks
Trudeau
Valeriote
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wrzesnewskyj
Zarac

Total: -- 155

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Arthur
Ashfield
Baird
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boucher
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Cadman
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Cummins
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Gallant
Généreux
Glover
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mark
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Paradis
Payne
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Saxton
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young

Total: -- 137

PAIRED

Members

Bouchard
Clement
Day
Duceppe
Gaudet
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Oda
Roy

Total: -- 8

The Speaker:  
    I declare the motion carried.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Canadian Heritage  

    The House resumed from April 13 consideration of the motion.
The Speaker:  
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in the first report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
Hon. Gordon O'Connor:  
    Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you will get agreement to apply the vote just taken on the previous motion to the current motion.
The Speaker:  
    Is it agreed that the vote on the previous motion be applied to this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 22)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blais
Bonsant
Bourgeois
Brison
Brunelle
Byrne
Cannis
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coady
Coderre
Comartin
Cotler
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dion
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dryden
Dufour
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Easter
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Garneau
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Hall Findlay
Harris (St. John's East)
Holland
Hughes
Hyer
Ignatieff
Julian
Kania
Karygiannis
Kennedy
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard
Mendes
Minna
Mourani
Mulcair
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Oliphant
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paillé (Louis-Hébert)
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Ratansi
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simms
Simson
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Tonks
Trudeau
Valeriote
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wrzesnewskyj
Zarac

Total: -- 156

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Arthur
Ashfield
Baird
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boucher
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Cadman
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Cummins
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Gallant
Généreux
Glover
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mark
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Paradis
Payne
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Saxton
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young

Total: -- 137

PAIRED

Members

Bouchard
Clement
Day
Duceppe
Gaudet
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Oda
Roy

Total: -- 8

The Speaker:  
    I declare the motion carried.
Mr. Anthony Rota:  
    Mr. Speaker, on the last vote, unfortunately I came in as you were reading the motion and I missed the vote. I will not try to vote on that one, but if you could add my vote to this vote, I would appreciate it.
The Speaker:  
    I assume the hon. member, in adding his vote, is voting yea.
    Is it agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1750)  

[Translation]

Climate Change Accountability Act

    The House resumed from March 31 consideration of Bill C-311, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.
The Speaker:  
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-311, under private members' business.

  (1755)  

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

(Division No. 23)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blais
Bonsant
Bourgeois
Brison
Brunelle
Byrne
Cannis
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coady
Coderre
Comartin
Cotler
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dion
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dryden
Dufour
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Easter
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Garneau
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Harris (St. John's East)
Holland
Hughes
Hyer
Ignatieff
Julian
Kania
Karygiannis
Kennedy
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard
Mendes
Minna
Mourani
Mulcair
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Oliphant
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paillé (Louis-Hébert)
Paquette
Patry
Pearson
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Ratansi
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simms
Simson
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Tonks
Trudeau
Valeriote
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wrzesnewskyj
Zarac

Total: -- 155

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Arthur
Ashfield
Baird
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boucher
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Cadman
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Cummins
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Gallant
Généreux
Glover
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mark
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Paradis
Payne
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Saxton
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young

Total: -- 137

PAIRED

Members

Bouchard
Clement
Day
Duceppe
Gaudet
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Oda
Roy

Total: -- 8

The Speaker:  
    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

Seeds Regulations Act

    The House resumed from April 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-474, An Act respecting the Seeds Regulations (analysis of potential harm), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
The Speaker:  
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-474 under private members' business.

  (1805)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 24)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
André
Andrews
Angus
Arthur
Ashton
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bigras
Blais
Bonsant
Bourgeois
Brunelle
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannis
Cardin
Carrier
Charlton
Chow
Christopherson
Coady
Coderre
Comartin
Cotler
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dion
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dryden
Dufour
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Easter
Eyking
Faille
Folco
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Garneau
Godin
Gravelle
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Harris (St. John's East)
Holland
Hughes
Hyer
Julian
Kania
Karygiannis
Kennedy
Laforest
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lavallée
Layton
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
Lunney
MacAulay
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McTeague
Ménard
Mendes
Minna
Mourani
Mulcair
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Oliphant
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paillé (Louis-Hébert)
Paquette
Patry
Plamondon
Pomerleau
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Ratansi
Regan
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Sgro
Siksay
Silva
Simms
Simson
St-Cyr
Stoffer
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Tonks
Trudeau
Valeriote
Vincent
Volpe
Wasylycia-Leis
Wilfert
Wrzesnewskyj
Zarac

Total: -- 153

NAYS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Baird
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blackburn
Blaney
Block
Boucher
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Cadman
Calandra
Calkins
Cannon (Pontiac)
Carrie
Casson
Chong
Clarke
Cummins
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Gallant
Généreux
Glover
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Lemieux
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mark
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Paradis
Payne
Petit
Poilievre
Prentice
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Saxton
Scheer
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Trost
Tweed
Uppal
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young

Total: -- 134

PAIRED

Members

Bouchard
Clement
Day
Duceppe
Gaudet
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Oda
Roy

Total: -- 8

The Speaker:  
    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

[English]

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

    The House resumed from April 13 consideration of the motion that Bill C-475, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (methamphetamine and ecstasy), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
The Speaker:  
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-475 under private members' business.

  (1810)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 25)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Aglukkaq
Albrecht
Allen (Welland)
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
André
Andrews
Angus
Armstrong
Arthur
Ashfield
Ashton
Asselin
Atamanenko
Bachand
Bagnell
Bains
Baird
Beaudin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benoit
Bernier
Bevilacqua
Bevington
Bezan
Bigras
Blackburn
Blais
Blaney
Block
Bonsant
Boucher
Boughen
Bourgeois
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Brunelle
Cadman
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country)
Cannis
Cannon (Pontiac)
Cardin
Carrie
Carrier
Casson
Charlton
Chong
Chow
Christopherson
Clarke
Coady
Coderre
Comartin
Cotler
Crombie
Crowder
Cullen
Cummins
Cuzner
D'Amours
Davidson
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
DeBellefeuille
Dechert
Del Mastro
Demers
Deschamps
Desnoyers
Dewar
Dhaliwal
Dhalla
Dion
Donnelly
Dorion
Dosanjh
Dreeshen
Dryden
Dufour
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dykstra
Easter
Eyking
Faille
Fast
Finley
Flaherty
Fletcher
Folco
Foote
Freeman
Fry
Gagnon
Gallant
Garneau
Généreux
Glover
Godin
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Gravelle
Grewal
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)
Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord)
Harris (St. John's East)
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hiebert
Hill
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
Holland
Hughes
Hyer
Jean
Julian
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Kania
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kennedy
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Laforest
Laframboise
Lake
Lalonde
Lauzon
Lavallée
Layton
Lebel
LeBlanc
Lee
Lemay
Lemieux
Leslie
Lessard
Lévesque
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunn
Lunney
MacAulay
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Malhi
Malo
Maloway
Mark
Marston
Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Martin (Sault Ste. Marie)
Masse
Mathyssen
Mayes
McCallum
McColeman
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
McLeod
McTeague
Ménard
Mendes
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Minna
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Murphy (Charlottetown)
Murray
Nadeau
Neville
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill-Gordon
Obhrai
Oliphant
Ouellet
Pacetti
Paillé (Hochelaga)
Paillé (Louis-Hébert)
Paquette
Paradis
Patry
Payne
Petit
Plamondon
Poilievre
Pomerleau
Prentice
Preston
Proulx
Rae
Rafferty
Raitt
Rajotte
Ratansi
Rathgeber
Regan
Reid
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Rodriguez
Rota
Russell
Savage
Savoie
Saxton
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schellenberger
Sgro
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Siksay
Silva
Simms
Simson
Smith
Sorenson
St-Cyr
Stanton
Stoffer
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Szabo
Thi Lac
Thibeault
Thompson
Tilson
Toews
Tonks
Trost
Trudeau
Tweed
Uppal
Valeriote
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Verner
Vincent
Volpe
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Wasylycia-Leis
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilfert
Wong
Woodworth
Wrzesnewskyj
Yelich
Young
Zarac

Total: -- 287

NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Nil

The Speaker:  
    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

    Accordingly the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

    The Speaker: It being 6:15 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

  (1815)  

[Translation]

Department of Public Works and Government Services Act

    The House resumed from March 10 consideration of the motion that Bill C-429, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (use of wood), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Jacques Gourde (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the government to speak to Bill C-429, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act.
    Let me begin by saying that this government fully supports the forestry industry, as clearly demonstrated by the significant investments we have made in that industry in recent years.
    However, I have some concerns about this bill, and I would like to take the time here today to share them with my hon. colleagues.
    First of all, the bill is inconsistent with the Government of Canada's obligations under its domestic and international trade agreements.
    Furthermore, the bill runs counter to the mandate of the Department of Public Works and Government Services, which is to act in a fair, open and transparent manner, while providing the best value for taxpayers' money.
    Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that this government is providing more support to the forestry industry than any other government in the history of Canada.
    I would now like to talk more about each of these points. First—and this is very important—if this bill is passed as is, the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, as amended, would require that the government take an approach to procurement that violates Canada's obligations under various domestic and international trade agreements.
    The biasing of technical specifications in favour of, or against, particular goods or services, including those goods or services included in construction contracts, violates Canada's obligations under these trade agreements.
    Federal government tendering documents may contain specific requirements pertaining to particular materials when they are required for technical or operational purposes. But if we express a preference for certain products before we even assess the technical requirements and draft these documents, we violate the agreements.
    Requirements in invitations to tender that would benefit certain suppliers or industries would also violate Canada's obligations under these trade agreements.
    It is interesting to note that the Agreement on Internal Trade or AIT, which the provinces and territories and the federal government signed in 1994, contains some of the most comprehensive trade rules on government procurement.
    Article 501 of the Agreement in Internal Trade reads in part as follows:
...the purpose of this Chapter is to establish a framework that will ensure equal access to procurement for all Canadian suppliers in order to contribute to a reduction in purchasing costs and the development of a strong economy in a context of transparency and efficiency.
    Other articles of the agreement state specifically that “the biasing of technical specifications in favour of, or against, particular goods or services, including those goods or services included in construction contracts, or in favour of, or against, the suppliers of such goods or services” is discriminatory.
    Canada's international trade agreements, such as NAFTA and the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement, also prohibit discrimination, particularly unnecessary barriers to trade.

  (1820)  

    Canada takes its obligations under these trade agreements very seriously.
    Second, even though we recognize that the forestry industry faces difficult challenges, the role of Public Works and Government Services Canada is not to give preference to a specific industry, specific construction materials or specific methods or services at the expense of others. We must support the industry in other ways.
    The department must act in a fair, transparent and open manner and provide the best value for taxpayers' money.
    But it is not and must not be required to promise preferential treatment to any industry. That would go completely against not only its guiding principles, but also the many rules and directives governing its procurement activities.
    We have to recognize that giving preference to wood in government procurement would disadvantage the other industries that manufacture construction materials, including the concrete and steel industries.
    It is important for the Government of Canada to protect jobs in every industry using innovative approaches.
    We cannot choose to favour an industry at random, because this would lead to job losses in other industries.
    Lastly, members should be made aware of the many initiatives this government has taken to help the forestry industry.
    We have demonstrated continued support for the forestry industry.
    Our initiatives include the $1 billion pulp and paper green transformation program; the $1 billion community adjustment fund; and the $400 million mountain pine beetle program.
     During the first year of Canada's economic action plan, we provided $170 million over two years to Natural Resources Canada to support market diversification and innovation initiatives in the forestry sector.
    This includes $80 million for the transformative technologies program administered by FPInnovations, a non-profit forestry research institute.
     Natural Resources Canada will receive $40 million in 2010-11 to develop pilot-scale demonstration projects of new products that can be used in commercial applications.
    Another $40 million was allocated to the Canada wood, value to wood, and North America wood first programs to help forestry companies market innovative products internationally.
    An additional $10 million was allocated to support large-scale demonstrations of Canadian-style use of wood for construction in targeted off-shore markets, and non-traditional uses of wood in domestic markets.
    In addition to the $170 million allocated to the forestry sector in the 2009 budget, as part of Canada's economic action plan, the government provided $7.8 billion to build housing, encourage home ownership and enhance energy efficiency.
    The government also created the home renovation tax credit to stimulate the economy.
    As members know, this temporary tax credit was an incredible incentive for owners to redecorate, repair and modernize their homes, and was a very effective way to increase demand for labour and construction materials, including wood.
    This certainly had a significant positive impact on sales of softwood lumber and other forestry products.

  (1825)  

Mr. Jean-Claude D'Amours (Madawaska—Restigouche, Lib.):  
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak this evening to Bill C-429 introduced by my Bloc Québécois colleague from Manicouagan. Before I begin, I would like to tell people what this bill is all about.
—before soliciting bids for the construction, maintenance or repair of public works, federal immovables and federal real property, the Minister shall give preference to the concept that promotes the use of wood, while taking into account the cost and greenhouse gas emissions.
    Before going any further, it is also important to comment on what the parliamentary secretary has said in the past few minutes. It is clear he was unable to convince anyone in the House and I am sure he was unable to convince anyone in the country either, even those who do not make their living from the forestry industry. The parliamentary secretary has his own conclusions and is trying to tell us that we cannot do this or that. The Conservatives have tried to introduce various little programs in the past few years. At the end of the day, he is not even talking about Bill C-429.
    The parliamentary secretary came up with some odd conclusions to the effect that he could not establish rules within the tendering process. On the contrary, a call for tenders is there to define the parameters within which people and companies should make their bids. Imagine the federal government issuing a call for tenders for the construction of a new building without establishing any rules. What type of building would they end up with? Rules are there to set limits on precisely what we want. It is rather ridiculous to say that we cannot establish rules within a tendering process.
    We must also look at another reality. The parliamentary secretary says we cannot show bias. Imagine the windows in our buildings are made of plexiglas instead of glass. The fact is that we expect windows to be made of glass. Certain rules have been established. When the parliamentary secretary says that we cannot show bias for one product or another I think he is not being very realistic.
    I am speaking in favour of this bill because I live in a riding where forestry is the primary industry. We have to consider how we can help regions like mine, like many others in the country. There are a large number of sawmills throughout the country, in many ridings. So we are also talking about economic development.
    Tonight we want to do something about the environment, and we also want to ensure greater economic development for the regions and get people working. This bill involves only one department, Public Works. This department represents a mere 1% of buildings belonging to the federal government. How can such a small percentage completely wipe out all other jobs in other sectors, as the parliamentary secretary would have us believe? Such a small percentage would never put all of the other industries out of business.
    I am sure that my colleague from Manicouagan does not want to eliminate all of the other industries. He just wants to ensure that softwood is one of the materials available for construction and renovation of federal government buildings. He rightly said that certain rules must be followed. This contradicts our Conservative colleague, who said that rules cannot be established. Not only can they be, they must.
    Of course we want to help the forestry industry, which includes lumber, but we do not want to be limited to just that. It is only one factor.
    Take the Building Code, for example, which already imposes limitations. I am not an engineer, so I cannot say what is or is not required in order to be up to code.

  (1830)  

    This will dictate that not just wood is chosen as a building material. We must respect the laws and regulations of Canada.
    The Conservatives said that they have done a number of things. We have to determine the real impact of their measures on our regions. The Conservative members who spoke about this bill did the same thing. They never took the time to explain why Bill C-429 would be so bad for Canadian society and other industries. They just said that they did this and that and that they want to do this and that.
    Today, we must examine the bill. The Conservatives have done absolutely nothing for the forestry industry. In 2005, when the Liberals were in power, and well before the economic crisis hit, we had decided that the forestry industry should be given $1.5 billion in aid. We made that decision in order to bolster the industry.
    The Conservatives defeated the Liberal government in 2005 and took the reins of power in January 2006. What did they do with the assistance that we wanted to provide to the forestry industry? They abolished it. At a given point, the crisis was so significant that they had no choice but to propose some measures. Naturally, these measures were not enough. Today, we wonder what is happening with job creation efforts and assistance for the industry. Had they kept the $1.5 billion and invested it in the forestry industry, I believe that this industry would not be grappling with the current crisis.
    The Conservatives have forsaken the forestry industry, whereas we, the Liberals, wanted to help it. That is still our goal. I would like to share a few examples. There used to be 2x4 mills in Baker Brook, Saint-Léonard and Kedgwick, as well as in other parts of New Brunswick. Other sawmills have also disappeared, including those in Saint-Quentin, Saint-Arthur and Balmoral, to name but a few.
    The loss of a sawmill has a devastating effect on a region. In the short and medium terms, communities are in danger of losing their pulp and paper mills because they get their raw materials from the sawmills. If the government does nothing and all of the sawmills disappear, communities will lose even more in terms of economic development.
    We cannot ignore the reality of the situation. Why are the Conservatives so opposed to helping the forestry industry? As I said before, it is good for the environment. We are not asking the government to use wood to the exclusion of all else. That is the what the Conservatives would have everyone believe, but it is not true. The goal is for the federal government to consider using softwood lumber in its construction projects. If the people in charge and the engineers determine that, according to the National Building Code, they cannot use lumber for certain parts of the project, we can trust them because they have the necessary training to make that call. But why does the government not want to consider this option?
    The Conservatives have always shown that they have no desire to help rural regions or the forestry industry.
    I believe that members should strongly support this bill even though the Conservatives want nothing to do with it.

  (1835)  

[English]

Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP):  
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-429, which New Democrats will be supporting. Part of the reason we will be supporting this private member's bill is that many of our ridings, Nanaimo—Cowichan being one of them, rely on the forestry sector. I want to put in context why it is so important to communities like mine.
    In Canada, since 2005, the GDP of the forestry and logging industries has fallen by almost half. Over the last several years, since 2001, British Columbia has lost 65 sawmills, 4 pulp mills and 20,000 jobs in the forestry industry. With a spinoff effect of about one to three, which is often called the multiplier effect, this means a loss of approximately 60,000 jobs.
    The B.C. Federation of Labour put out some information indicating that the forestry sector contributes close to 40% of B.C.'s exports and 25% of its GDP. We can see that with respect to British Columbia and Canada-wide, it is a significant contributor to the health of our overall economy. In my riding pulp and paper mills, sawmills and logging operations are all very important parts of the local economy.
    In addition to what has been happening with the forestry sector, I have to highlight the issue around raw log exports in British Columbia. In January 2010 Bob Matters wrote an article for the United Steelworkers, titled, “We Don't Want Raw Log Exports Because We Know Better”. The author said that British Columbians have a choice today, to stop exports or risk losing the domestic wood-processing sector. The article said that companies and workers will recognize where there are opportunities. The article states:
    But BC mills would smell opportunity, buying more logs, hiring more workers, even possibly investing in our industry - something that Coastal companies haven't done in over a decade, in spite of lavish promises from corporate CEOs.
    The article goes on to say:
    In fact, we desperately need investment in the BC forest sector. Recent Industry Canada data shows the dismal state of investment in the wood-manufacturing sector, even before the current economic meltdown. Investment fell 0.1 percent per year from 1999 to 2008 and fell every year after 2005 -- a result of log exports, the ruinous Canada-US Softwood Lumber Agreement...
    The article further states:
    From 2001 to 2009, says BC Stats...pulp and paper lost 27.3 percent of its workforce, forestry and logging employment fell by 43.7 percent.
    I would expect that members of the House, when provided with an opportunity to bolster the forestry sector in every province in this country, would jump at it. Instead, we have heard excuses from the Conservatives about why we cannot use a procurement policy to ensure the health and viability of our forestry sector.
    I want to turn to a particular aspect of forestry and talk about small and medium size enterprises. There is a government document entitled, “Your Guide to doing Business with the Government of Canada: A 5-Step approach for small and medium enterprises”, which talks about the importance of government procurement policies and why we should support Canadian companies doing business with the Canadian government.
    The document states:
    There are 2.3 million small and medium enterprises in Canada. They are significant contributors to Canada's economic performance.
     I picked small and medium size enterprises not because I am against larger businesses doing procurement, but in many ridings it is small and medium size enterprises we are talking about. The definition of a small enterprise is less than 50 employees and a medium enterprise is 50 to 499 employees. That fits many of the businesses in most of this country. It indicates that it is important to work together to remove barriers to competition and make it easier for small and medium enterprises to do business.
    Part of this guide contains guidelines for creating procurement strategies and giving enterprises fair and equal access to better procurement opportunities. It states:
    The federal government is one of the biggest national buyers of goods and services, purchasing over $20 billion worth each year. In recent years Public Works and Government Services Canada, on behalf of government departments and agencies, contracted for over 5,300 different types of goods and services in all price ranges.
    The guide also states:
    Public Works and Government Services Canada buys over $12 billion a year of goods and services on behalf of a large number of federal departments and agencies.

  (1840)  

    All we are asking is that the government say, when we are going to do construction, that we look at Canadian wood. Given the fact that there is all of this information about the government already doing procurement with small and medium size businesses, we would encourage it to just add wood to the list.
    I took a look at some other countries, and the United Kingdom recognizes the value of procurement strategies to the health and well-being of its economy and to the health and well-being of businesses in the U.K. They say this leverage is a way of ensuring businesses have favourable and competitive market conditions and a stable policy framework to make it easy to plan ahead. We would really like it if our forestry companies could plan ahead knowing they had access to government contracts for the use of wood in construction.
    They are focusing on small and medium size enterprises, but again, given the definitions we use in Canada, that would benefit many of our ridings. They say small and medium size enterprises offer better value for money and better quality for service. They also say that not only do they often offer the best goods and services for the best price, delivering cost savings to the taxpayer, but potentially they also offer higher productivity and greater innovation.
    These all seem to be very good reasons that we would want to make sure we had a procurement strategy in place to have the Government of Canada and public works use the products that come from our forestry sector.
    I want to use just one small example, and this is a bit of an innovative example put in place by the previous B.C. NDP government, where it looked at community forest cooperatives.
    In my riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan, the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative is one organization that could benefit from the procurement policies. The idea of this cooperative was that it is a locally owned and managed business cooperative, which creates and maintains jobs through its commitment to the principles of forest sustainability and community economic development.
    The goal of this cooperative is to keep the jobs in our community, because we know that those jobs and their multiplier effects mean that not only do we have good, paying full-time jobs in forestry but we also have good, paying and reliable jobs in all of the other sectors that support them, whether it is equipment manufacturing or the businesses and services that the workers in these industries use personally, whether they are restaurants or other businesses in the community.
    Part of the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative's history is that for a number of years it had been lobbying for this. It says that for a number of years community leaders in government, labour and business have strongly believed that the Cowichan Lake community could be more involved in the decision-making process dealing with the use and distribution of the area's forestry resources. It talks about the investment opportunities and of course that is what we are talking about here, dollars and cents. It says throughout the world the made-in-Canada label assures buyers that our value-added wood products are of the highest quality. British Columbia's skilled workmanship and advanced technology help to provide high performance structural materials and unique appearance grade wood components.
    It says B.C. has tremendous potential for new investment in these products. It goes on to talk about some of the opportunities and the fact that in British Columbia we are fortunate that we have millions and millions of hectares of forestry land that we could be putting into good productive use by using sustainable practices, by having a government procurement policy that recognizes the value of the made-in-Canada wood, and we should be putting that to good use saving taxpayers' dollars and keeping our communities healthy.

  (1845)  

[Translation]

Mr. Christian Ouellet (Brome—Missisquoi, BQ):  
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to help my colleague on Bill C-429. I am an architect by profession, and I have always worked in the wood sector.
    People say that working with wood is new, but wood was used in the past, and people are starting to use it again. I remember a time in my very long career when wood was used in large spaces. Huge beams 125 or 150 feet in length were made. All we are doing is going back to that. It is nothing new, just something that was forgotten.
    I would like to thank the member for Madawaska—Restigouche for pointing out that although the current government boasts about having done great things for the forestry industry, it has actually done nothing. He and my NDP colleague talked mainly about sawmills.
    Now, working in wood means using more than just 2x8s. How could a 250-foot structure—a structure much larger than this space—be built from 2x8s or 2x6s? You would glue lengths of wood together and nail together large wooden trusses. Often, lengths of wood from B.C. can be glued together to make laminated beams. This is engineered wood. These beams can be used to create huge spaces.
    But I would like to come back to what the member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière said. He said shamelessly that domestic government contracts would not let us do that. He compares construction specifications to specifications for office paper or something you have to ask everyone to bid on.
    How do you construct a new building or renovate an existing one? You determine the requirements and decide on the materials you want to use in the construction. That is what is done. If another parliament building like this one were built, we would say this one is in stone, so we want the new building to be built of stone. That is what we would say. We would not let the builders use what they want to build this parliament.
    There are vinyls that can be glued to gypsum. No one would guess. The hon. member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière believes that buildings are constructed without indicating in the design phase what the walls and floors will be made of. Come on. When someone asks for carpeting, it is not vinyl they want, it is carpet, and they will specify they want carpet. Why would anyone not specify they want wood? Here, for instance, we see that someone specified that they want wood. That is why the galleries are made of wood. Otherwise, they would be made of concrete or steel, or some other material.
    We are not against specifications, but that is how a building is built. He has probably never in his life seen how a building is constructed, if his absurd comments are any indication. It makes no sense.
    There are windows up above. According to him, one could not ask for windows. One would have to say they want any kind of glass, because something has to be put in the window frame, and that is all. Come on. If one does not say they want stone, they would get brick. If there was no brick, they would get something else. We can specify the materials we want when constructing buildings. So we can say we want a wooden structure. We can say we want wood siding and that will not harm any industry.
    I apologize to the hon. member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, but that is how it works in construction. It is not like the automotive industry.
    We are told this will be difficult. Come on. At present, non residential building construction in Canada is worth $4.5 billion.

  (1850)  

    Research groups have studied the issue and have found that 85% of these buildings could be made of wood. Right now, only 10% to 15% of them are. We really need to start promoting the use of wood again.
    The Bloc introduced Bill C-429 because the government is not a typical client. It is responsible for paying attention to struggling economic sectors. It is also responsible for reducing greenhouse gases—everyone is talking about that—and for boosting a struggling sector: the forestry industry.
    When the government decides to build a building, it is free to decide which materials to use. That is what it does now when it says that a particular building would be better built of steel. It is in writing and I can prove it. That is what the government does when it asks architects how they plan to build a building.
    That is why past experience convinced the Bloc Québécois that legislation is the best way to provide clear direction to officials in charge of projects. In other words, whether officials are in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal or Ottawa, if they want to build or add to a building, they can set out the requirements in the initial specifications and call for the use of wood. They can say they want stone walls or sculptures. In fact, they have to specify what they want, or the architect will have absolutely no idea how to design the building. That does not violate any laws of the market. That is how buildings get built. There is no other way to do it.
    I would like to point out that there have been some major advances in the lumber sector in the past few years. We have the Centre d'expertise sur la construction commerciale en bois, which supports the use of wood in commercial construction, in other words, non-residential buildings. This group is working with new standards. Even though wood is not new, a lot of progress is happening right now. The goal is to increase the use of structural wood products and its presence in federal buildings because the government builds and renovates a lot of buildings. We see that here on Parliament Hill.
    The CSA has created a new standard. This organization sets Canada-wide standards, and it just created a new one, standard 08609, for wood. Wood is being addressed.
    I would like to point out that one cubic metre of wood absorbs one tonne of CO2, carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere. That is very significant. Therefore, to fight climate change, we must sequester carbon over the medium term. We must also give ourselves a chance to actively manage our forests.
    I could say much more, but what I think is most important to remember is that 90% of government buildings are three storeys or less, and could easily be built out of wood, with no restrictions. At four storeys, we put in sprinkler systems. That is what the code recommends. Of these buildings, 75% are less than 2,000 square metres, which also allows for the use of wood.
    We can see that there are a lot of possibilities with wood. I would have liked to talk about wood compared to steel and concrete, and the amount of energy required to build these structures. Wood requires much less energy. It is really a solution for the future, and we have plenty of wood here.

  (1855)  

    Instead of always trying to export it, we should use it, and the federal government must set an example.

[English]

Mr. Ed Komarnicki (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour, CPC):  
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to take part in this debate on Bill C-429, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (use of wood).
    Before discussing the government's position on this bill, I would like to commend the members opposite for their interest in the forest industry and forest sector.
    Canada is the world's largest exporter of forest products. Last year alone, the forest industry contributed $20 billion to Canada's trade balance and accounted for about 1.9% of Canada's gross domestic product.
     For Canadians, forest products are integral to our everyday lives and the great swaths of trees that sweep across our land mass are part of our nation's identity. However, for the 274,000 people directly employed by the forest industry last year, forestry is their livelihood. It is especially important in the approximately 300 rural and remote communities where it accounts for at least one-half of the economic base.
    As we all know, global economic conditions have had a serious impact on the industry and on the sector. The reduction in new housing in the United States of America, for example, is one of the major factors hurting Canadian lumber exports.
     I want to assure the hon. members that the government takes this matter very seriously. In January 2009, the Minister of Finance tabled a budget that launched Canada's economic action plan. He laid out full and comprehensive plans for many of the economic challenges we are facing as a country that included some very important measures to help the forest sector weather the storm, as well as allocating millions of dollars over two years to carry out these measures.
    Let me help members recall some of the details. Canada's economic action plan provided $170 million over two years to Natural Resources Canada for measures to secure a more sustainable industry. The funding will help companies develop new products, processes and seek new opportunities in the global market place.
     This included $80 million for the transformative technologies program administered by FPInnovations. FPInnovations is a not-for-profit forest research institute that focuses on the development of emerging and breakthrough technologies related to forest biomass utilization, nanotechnology and next generation forest products.
     An additional $40 million is being provided in 2010-11 to develop pilot-scale demonstration projects of new products that can be used in commercial applications.
    Canada's economic action plan also provided Natural Resources Canada with $40 million over two years for the Canada wood, value to wood and North America wood first programs to help forestry companies market innovative projects internationally. An additional $10 million is intended to support large-scale demonstrations of Canadian-style use of wood for construction in targeted offshore markets and non-traditional use of wood in domestic markets.
    Since the release of the economic action plan, the government has also announced the creation of a $1 billion program to support environmental improvements for the pulp and paper industry. This will help pulp and paper mills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while helping them become leaders in the production of a renewable energy from biomass.
    I am sure members will agree these are worthy measures in support of market diversification and innovation initiatives that will help the forestry industry and the forestry sector.
    In addition, let us not forget the $7.8 billion worth of measures under the Canada economic action plan to build housing, encourage home ownership and enhance energy efficiency. These measures are intended to help a range of sectors of our economy, including the forestry sector.
     Among the specific initiatives, for example, was the highly popular home renovation tax credit. As we all know, homeowners responded to this measure with great enthusiasm and the impact on sales of building supplies, including lumber and other forestry products, was substantial.
    I have been describing some of what the government has done for the forestry industry in order to provide some context for this debate. Another area I would like to touch upon to provide some context to this debate is the extent to which the government already uses wood in federal buildings.
    The federal government overall is an important user of wood and wood building products. Public Works and Government Services Canada, for example, spends an average of $160 million a year on office renovations of which about 15% is spent on wood products.

  (1900)  

    Under the economic action plan, Public Works and Government Services Canada has accelerated its plans for repairs and upgrades to its buildings and offices. That amount is about $323 million over two years.
    All of this requires the purchase of wood-based products, wood and lumber for things like partitions, doors, panelling, mouldings and trims, as well as form work. Here are some examples.
    Public Works commissioned the first LEED gold building north of the 60th parallel, the Greenstone Building in Yellowknife.
    The series of innovative office fit-ups realized in the past decade at 25 Eddy and at 100 and 191 Promenade du Portage in Gatineau is making extensive use of exposed lumber for partitioning, wood fibre acoustic panels on ceilings, and hardwood framing and doors.
     The recent rehabilitation of the Agora interior garden space at Les Terrasses de la Chaudière in Gatineau uses cedar wood for its terraces, and birch trunks as space dividers.
    In addition to buildings, Public Works and Government Services Canada is also responsible for highways, bridges and dams. Under the economic action plan, funding for road and bridge projects has been augmented by $52.6 million over two years. This too requires wood and wood products for shoring and form work.
    All of this is no doubt having a positive impact on the forestry sector.
    I began by commending the member who put forward this bill. I have illustrated some of the many ways in which this government is supportive of the forestry industry.
    Unfortunately, there is no getting around the fact that this bill would require the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to contravene Canada's obligations under the procurement provisions of our international and domestic trade agreements.
    This bill would require the minister to give preference to the use of wood or wood producers when developing solicitations for the construction, maintenance or repair of public works, federal immovables and federal property.
    Under Canada's trade obligations, solicitation requirements cannot be biased in favour of or against particular goods or services, including those goods or services included in construction contracts, or in favour of or against a supplier of such goods or services.
    This is not a matter to be taken lightly. Canada's trade obligations, both domestic and international, were entered into in a spirit of good faith and they therefore must be respected.
    In conclusion, the forestry industry is well worth supporting and the government is providing support. We do have concerns about this bill with respect to Canada's domestic and international trade obligations, and these concerns are too sound and too logical to ignore.
The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie):  
    The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster can begin his comments. I will have to interrupt him at 7:10 to allow the sponsor of the bill to speak.
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP):  
    Madam Speaker, I have to say I like the parliamentary secretary, but his statement was absolute rubbish.
     First off, we have to be very clear here. There is absolutely nothing in the bill that contravenes any international obligations pertaining to Canada. It is simply not true.
    Second, and this is perhaps even more important, when we look at what has happened with the wood industry, the softwood lumber industry particularly, in this country over the last few years, it has been self-inflicted by the current government, particularly because of the softwood lumber sellout that has led to the death of 20,000 jobs across this country.
    When we held hearings into the softwood lumber sellout at the international trade committee, it was very clear what the implications were. This was a sellout with implications that would lead to the death of thousands of jobs in this country and would kill dozens of mills. Yet, the Conservatives, with the support of Liberals and, I have to say with great regret, the Bloc, the three other parties in this House ganged up together and the result has been the death of much of the industry.
    In my riding of Burnaby—New Westminster, we were at the epicentre of this killing of our softwood lumber industry. We lost three mills after the signing of the softwood lumber sellout. We lost Interfor, Canfor and Western Forest Products, one after the other. Two thousand direct jobs were lost. Six thousand jobs were lost indirectly. All because the current government put its faith in David Emerson who knew full well that what this would do is kill the industry. But he figured that nobody on the Conservative government's side would actually do any due diligence around his work; what the Conservatives would do is cut some ribbons, say that they had achieved a victory, give $1 billion to the United States and, somehow, everything would turn out all right.
    Well, that is not how it has turned out. We have seen dozens of mills close, thousands of jobs lost, and the Canadian taxpayer and Canadian softwood communities continue to pick up the tab. We are debating, currently, Bill C-9, which would imposes a $60 million additional penalty on softwood communities across this country, brought in by the Conservatives. We now have in front of the arbitral panel a further hundreds of millions of dollars, potentially, in penalties, given Quebec and Ontario forestry practices, legitimate for the softwood lumber sellout, now considered the object of fines, and we have looming in the distance B.C. stumpage being challenged with potential penalties of up to half a billion dollars. All because the Conservatives did not actually read the agreement before signing it. All because these Conservatives were recklessly irresponsible with our wood industry.
    We have a chance to start to rectify what was broken by these Conservatives, with the support of the Liberals and, I dare say, the Bloc; that is, by taking a first step to actually start to repair what was broken by adopting Bill C-429. It is a small step forward. It is not going to get back the 20,000 jobs that were lost directly and the 60,000 jobs that were lost indirectly. It is quite true that the reckless abandon with which the current government destroyed the softwood lumber industry is going to take time and a lot of work to repair. But it is true that giving preference to concepts that promote wood, while balancing off costs, while balancing off greenhouse gas submissions, as is included in this private member's bill, would allow for those first few steps. We produce quality products, the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan said very clearly. British Columbia produces about half of that wood across the country. I need to quote again what the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan quoted, that British Columbia's skilled workmanship and advanced technology help to provide high-performance structural materials and unique appearance grade wood components.
    There is no doubt of the quality. There is no doubt of the efficiency of our workers in British Columbia and right across the country. What is in doubt is the current government's capacity to understand the magnitude of what it did in 2006 when it imposed the softwood lumber sellout.

  (1905)  

    Liberals went along. The Bloc went along. That is true, but it is the Conservatives who provided the getaway car while they emptied out everything that was of value in the softwood lumber industry and drove away, completely irresponsibly, killing thousands of family-sustaining jobs across this country with that vote.
    Parliamentarians, particularly of those three parties, have a responsibility to adopt this private member's bill to start to address what they have broken. Every single Conservative MP in this House is responsible for the devastation in the softwood lumber industry. Every single Liberal MP in this House is responsible and every single Bloc MP is responsible.
    At least the Bloc is stepping forward with some ways to repair the mistake that was made in 2006.

[Translation]

Mr. Gérard Asselin (Manicouagan, BQ):  
    Madam Speaker, in my last five minutes I will conclude the debate on Bill C-429, which I introduced in the House and which will be voted on at second reading next week. I hope that the majority of parliamentarians in this House—whether they are members of the Liberal party, the NDP or the Bloc Québécois, where there is unanimous support—will ensure that Bill C-429 passes second reading and goes to committee.
    When we introduce a bill, we know that there is always room for changes and improvements. The parliamentary committee will hear from those who support the bill as well as those who do not because of concerns or simply because of their profession, such as contractors, architects or engineers.
    The Bloc Québécois decided to introduce Bill C-429 after extensive consultation with the Bloc's colleagues. We know that a number of regions in Quebec, as well as some in Canada, depend almost exclusively on the forestry industry. That is the case for some villages. In my riding—in places such as Rivière-Pentecôte, Baie-Trinité, Rivière-Saint-Jean, Pointe-aux-Outardes with Scierie des Outardes, and Ragueneau—the vast majority of the workers in these villages or towns work at the sawmill or the Baie-Comeau paper mill.
    I would like to remind members that, on the North Shore, the forestry industry was the main industry. There also used to be a fishing industry at one time. It is quite normal and logical that a member would be concerned with developing these natural resources. The region's history is intertwined with the forestry industry. As members of Parliament, we have met with workers from the forestry industry who worked at a sawmill for a number of years and then, unfortunately, lost their jobs.
    We know all about it. The NDP member just talked about it. The Bloc Québécois, the Liberals and the Conservatives voted for the softwood lumber agreement. The problems began when Americans charged a surtax on our lumber exports to the United States. We had no choice but to settle and we did so at the request of the forestry industry. We did not do it of our own accord, but at the request of the forestry industry, which was on the brink. Bank managers were waiting for companies to settle their debts. The Americans could afford to wait, and they knew that the longer they waited the more the Quebec forestry industry would slump. Today, it is having trouble getting back on its feet.
    The odd thing is that the automobile industry was having the same problem during the economic crisis and the government did not hesitate to inject $10 billion into Ontario alone; but it injected only $270 million into the forestry industry for all of Canada in 2009-10. For workers who have lost their jobs, we asked the government for loan guarantees. The government dragged its heels and said that because of the agreement, it could not grant loan guarantees to the forestry industry. We also asked the government to provide training through an adjustment program for older workers who had lost their jobs in order to retrain them for the job market. We also asked for improvements to employment insurance: the elimination of the two week waiting period, the infamous 60% to 65% calculation, and eligibility after 360 hours without transitional measures instead of 560 hours.
    If the government had acted in good faith, it could have used these measures to directly or indirectly help all those who unfortunately have lost their employment in the forestry industry.
    There is a still one week left for those who are unsure. I listened to the hon. member and the two parliamentary secretaries who spoke earlier. I do not know who wrote their speeches, but they have completely missed the mark.

  (1910)  

    There is one week left. I hope that in the vote next Wednesday, the majority of the House will support Bill C-429.
The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie):  
    It being 7:15 p.m., the time allotted for the debate is up.
    The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
     Some hon. members: Agreed.
     Some hon. members: No.
     The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
     Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): All those opposed will please say nay.
     Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, April 21, just before the time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business.

ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS

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

  (1915)  

[Translation]

Telecommunications 

Mrs. Carole Lavallée (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ):  
    Madam Speaker, adjournment proceedings allow for additional information to be given and for us to receive better answers than those given during question period. We know that it is called question period and not answer period.
    My question from March 16 was basically about CD sales, artists' royalties and the fact that the Minister of Industry bragged to the CBC about having downloaded 10,000 songs onto his iPod. He said iPod, not MP3. It seems his MP3 is an iPod. He was bragging publicly about his 10,000 songs, and he was proud. I am also proud of him because downloading 10,000 songs is fine, but they have to be paid for. The artists who made them have to be paid. We have to pay the creators. We cannot benefit from digital technology that way, walking around with 10,000 songs in your pocket and not paying the artists.
    Music is not free. The creators must be paid for their work. That is what we saw earlier, during the vote on providing a levy to artists from the sale of MP3 players and iPods. This motion was passed by a vote of 156 to 147. It is likely that the 156 members who voted for the motion were from this side, while the 147 who voted against it were from across the way. It is the Conservative Party that does not want to pay for music. They do not want creators to be paid for the work they do.
    Yet musicians do remarkable work. They work hard, and often alone. We cannot imagine how hard young musicians in an entry-level band must work. They have to have other jobs, because they do not earn much money from the music they make. To become a good musician, it takes years of study. Musicians have to start at a young age, often 7, 8 or 10. After years of studying, they find a job in a corner store or grocery store, and every night they sit alone for hours on end, composing music and writing songs on their computer or by hand. Then they get together with their bandmates once a week to rehearse. They practice every day for months and years. Sooner or later, they get a gig: a stage is available, but they have to pay for it. So they pay for it. Once again, they do not make any money. Before they have even made their first CD, imagine the years of hard work, the years of practice, the sleepless nights, because it is also a passion, and all the time they spend practising their songs. When we have a CD in our hands, we cannot imagine the hours of work that went into it, but it does take a long time.
    Some people think it is free. The Minister of Industry thinks it is free. He should be ashamed. He was unable to say whether he had downloaded those tracks legally. My question here in the House is this: did he download those 10,000 songs legally or not?

  (1920)  

[English]

Mr. Dean Del Mastro (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, CPC):  
    Madam Speaker, the comments made by the member are borderline. They are ridiculous and certainly inflammatory. The member alleges that the Minister of Industry has illegally downloaded songs on to his iPod with absolutely no evidence. I would guarantee the minister has paid for the music on his iPod, because he is a pretty upstanding guy and he understands these things.
    This is nothing but a smoke show. Where was this passion for artists when we brought in Bill C-61 in the last Parliament for copyright? If the same members who stood tonight in favour of the iPod tax or the tax on digital memory would have stood up for copyright to protect the artists that the member now claims to support, we would have had a regime to protect them, to protect intellectual property and to protect cultural creations like music. However, the member did not do that, neither did her party and neither did the other opposition parties. They used it as a wedge issue.
    Now she stands up and says that she is here to support artists. She is not here to support artists. She voted in favour of a tax. All the opposition parties voted this evening in favour of a tax, a tax on digital memory, a tax on iPods, a tax on PDAs, a tax on anything that stores digital memory.
    Here is some news for the people at home. If people have devices that not only store photos, but also store music, 100% of the opposition members think those people should pay a tax for the music, even if they bought it for photos. However, that is their solution because they like taxes. They think they can wave a wand over things and make money appear, and it does not harm anyone. We could take millions and millions of dollars from Canadian consumers, create a great fund to hand out and take credit for, but it would not harm anyone. It is nonsense. When will those members stand up for consumers?
    Instead of making outrageous allegations against the Minister of Industry, why does she not talk to the consumers in her riding and find out how much more they think they should have to pay for these devices. What do they think would be fair? It is nonsense and it is ridiculous. She should get in touch with her constituents. I can guarantee her that they do not support an increase in tax on iPods and all forms of digital memory devices.
    Let us put it this way. I will give the member the opportunity to apologize for the outrageous allegations she made against the Minister of Industry.

[Translation]

Mrs. Carole Lavallée:  
    Madam Speaker, I cannot get over the fact that he asked me to apologize.
    He does not understand, and he is not familiar with his file. Bill C-61 was never voted on here. If I remember correctly, it was introduced on June 5, 2007, but died on the order paper. It was never debated at all. It did not get past first reading. Nobody talked about it. His government introduced it, but never reintroduced it.
    Speaking of copyright, if that bill was so good, he should reintroduce it. We have been waiting years for the government to introduce a copyright bill in the House, but nothing has happened yet.
    I will repeat my question. The Minister of Industry was never able to state publicly on CBC that he legally downloaded 10,000 songs. Every time he was asked the question, he started laughing. Did the Minister of Industry download those 10,000 songs legally?

[English]

Mr. Dean Del Mastro:  
    Madam Speaker, the member had an opportunity to apologize for an outrageous allegation, suggesting that the Minister of Industry has stolen music, but she did not. That is outrageous and I wish she had taken the opportunity to apologize.
    In fact, her party did not support Bill C-61 and neither did the other opposition parties. If they had, we would have had a new copyright regime in this Parliament instead of using it as a wedge issue.
    With respect to my not understanding the file, I understand consumers. I understand people at home are working hard and paying a lot of money in taxes. I think they pay too much tax, but all the opposition members see is opportunities to tax: here a tax, there a tax, everywhere a tax, tax. I understand that, and I will not be party to a regime that thinks we can tax people as much as it wants and there will not be implications. It is nonsense.

  (1925)  

[Translation]

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie):  
    The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 7:25 p.m.)
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