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41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 137

CONTENTS

Monday, November 3, 2014




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 147 
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NUMBER 137 
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2nd SESSION 
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41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 2 p.m.

Prayers



STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

  (1405)  

[English]

26th Field Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery

Mr. Larry Maguire (Brandon—Souris, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the men and women of the 26th Field Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery. This past weekend, the community gathered for its 66th annual military ball, which is the longest consecutive military ball in Canada.
    During this special evening, the 26th Field Regiment honoured its former commanding officer, retired Colonel Don Berry. Mr. Berry has a long and distinguished track record of both service in the 26th Field Regiment and to the community at large. He is the past chairman of the Brandon branch of the St. John Ambulance and past president of the Royal Canadian Artillery Association.
    Southwestern Manitoba is blessed to not only have CFB Shilo as part of the community, but is honoured that many veterans choose to remain after their retirement. I want to thank Mr. Berry for his many years of service and pay tribute to the lives and accomplishments of our brave men and women in uniform from all generations and to those who proudly wear that uniform today.

[Translation]

Job, Training and Entrepreneurship Fair

Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, in my riding, the job shortage caused mainly by the policies of this government—which is offering no support to the region's industrial and manufacturing sectors—is having serious consequences. I have spoken about this in the past. The Conservatives also abolished 34 Health Canada positions in Shawinigan. Furthermore, the temporary closure of Lucyporc will add 300 people to the unemployment roll.
    Fortunately, on October 29, more than 1,500 people attended the job, training and entrepreneurship fair in Shawinigan. This event was a resounding success.
    I would like to thank the members of the organizing committee—Monique Lamothe, Joëlle Gagné and Caroline Grondin—for their work on the job fair because it was a great success.
    All of this would not have been possible without the Shawinigan local development centre, the city's tourism and convention bureau and the many partners involved.
    Congratulations to all of you for your hard work. We should be proud.

[English]

Climate Change

Hon. Michael Chong (Wellington—Halton Hills, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented its fifth report. This most recent report concludes that the warming of the planet due to emissions is “clear” and “unequivocal”. The report also concludes that without urgent action to reduce emissions, by the end of this century there is a high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible damage due to extreme heat waves, more intense weather events, mass extinctions, coastal flooding, and crop failures. Since 1990, the panel has presented five reports, each one ever more conclusive.
    The scientists have done their work, now we must do ours. As a Conservative, I believe that we have a moral obligation to conserve our environment. I call upon this government to meet its commitment to reduce emissions and I call on all governments meeting next month in Lima, Peru, and next year in Paris, France, to work together toward a new global treaty to reduce emissions.

Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Inductee

Hon. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the latest inductee into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Dr. Julio Montaner of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Julio has devoted his life to HIV/AIDS research, founding the B.C. Centre for Excellence with Dr. Martin Schechter in 1992, and was president of the International AIDS Society from 2008 to 2010. Julio's work led to the development of the highly active anti-retroviral therapy, HAART, which reduces the viral load, preventing HIV transmission.
    In 2000, the World Health Organization and the UNAIDS program adopted HAART as the global standard of therapy. Brazil, Australia, the United States, China and France have implemented the therapy, yet the Canadian government has still not done so. Dr. Montaner has received many international awards, especially the Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to Austria. However, a prophet is not without honour, but in his own country and in his own house.
     The induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame finally recognizes Dr. Montaner's work in his own country. I hope the Canadian government will do the same.

Streetsville Overseas Veterans' Club

Mr. Brad Butt (Mississauga—Streetsville, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, on this Veterans' Week, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today and pay tribute to Branch 139 of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Streetsville Overseas Veterans' Club. Affectionately referred to as the Streetsville Legion, it was organized on November 11, 1925, to honour those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and peace.
    The Streetsville Legion provides unparalleled support to youth in army, air, sea, and navy league cadets and has its doors always open to serve the wider Streetsville community. On October 23, executive members of the Legion joined me in a moving wreath-laying ceremony at the Streetsville Cenotaph for Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent.
    I look forward to joining them this and every November 11 as we honour our brave women and men who served and continue to do so. May their contributions always be appreciated and never be forgotten.
    Lest we forget.

Secrets of Radar Museum

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Secrets of Radar Museum is a not-for-profit museum that preserves the stories and personal experiences of the men and women who served in the Canadian Forces radar division during World War II and the Cold War.
     These almost 6,000 Canadians deserve the recognition of the House. In a recent visit to the museum, I was able to see an H2X radar system used on B-52s, which improved the accuracy of bombing raids and allowed bad weather and night patrols. This changed the course of World War II for the Allies.
     The H2X radar equipment at the Secrets of Radar Museum is thought to be the only completely intact radar system from that period in all of North America. It must be preserved for future generations. Sadly, the museum needs funding to preserve its many historical artifacts.
     We owe it to our radar veterans and all veterans to retell their stories, cherish their triumphs, remember their service and preserve our history.

  (1410)  

North West Mounted Police

Mr. John Barlow (Macleod, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a Canadian icon.
    In the autumn of 1874, Colonel Macleod and his troop of red coats pitched camp on the banks of the Oldman River, establishing the first fort and first law force in what would become the province of Alberta.
     This hardy crew brought order to the then-North-West Territories of Canada and a settlement around the fort soon followed. On Oct. 13, we celebrated the 140th anniversary of the arrival of the North West Mounted Police in Fort Macleod in southern Alberta.
     Fort Macleod quickly began to thrive, as it was perfectly poised as the gateway to the new frontier to the north and the Rocky Mountains in the west. The settlement that grew up around the fort is rooted in western resourcefulness and our frontier spirit.
    Although we are celebrating Fort Macleod's past, it is also an opportunity to celebrate Fort Macleod's future. The fort remains an interactive museum and is a beacon to the historic past of the North West Mounted Police. It is also a symbol of Canada's rugged pioneer spirit.
    I encourage everyone to come together and celebrate the North West Mounted Police's 140th anniversary.

History Awards for Excellence in Teaching

Mr. Larry Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate two teachers from my riding on receiving prestigious awards for teaching excellence.
     I was honoured today, to join Ryan McManaman and David Alexander at Rideau Hall as they received the Governor General's History Awards for Excellence in Teaching. These gentlemen are both history teachers at OSCVI in Owen Sound and are being honoured today for their dedication to teaching Canadian history through unique programs that encourage students to learn more about residents of the Owen Sound area who were involved in the First and Second World Wars.
     In typical fashion, Ryan and David both thanked veterans during the awards presentation today. These teachers have shown a true commitment and dedication to teaching Canadian history, and I commend them both on a job very well done. Their students are very fortunate.
     On behalf of all residents of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, and indeed all Canadians, I congratulate Ryan and David on this tremendous achievement and wish them all the best in their future successes.

[Translation]

South Shore Youth Foundation

Mr. François Lapointe (Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, Nelson Mandela said that “the greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. For over 20 years now, the Fondation-Jeunesse de la Côte-Sud has been supporting organizations that help young people to integrate into society and escape poverty.
    Every year, the organization hosts an event to honour young people who have overcome difficulties in order to achieve their goals. On October 25, Gabriel Morin, the honorary chair, recognized the achievements of five young people from my region.
    I would like to invite my colleagues to join me and the 200 guests who attended the event in congratulating Raphaël Fortin of Montmagny, Laurent Lacasse of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Jessica Mignault of Saint-Pascal, Noémie Dubé of Saint-Épiphane and Christopher Lee Ouellette of Dégelis on their success.
    To add to Mr. Mandela's words of wisdom, there is greater glory still in rising when life has been conspiring against you from day one.
    It takes great courage and perseverance for a troubled youth to succeed. I would therefore like to close by thanking these wonderful young people, who gave us great hope and made us very proud on the evening of the event.

[English]

Taxation

Mrs. Stella Ambler (Mississauga South, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, under our family tax cut plan, all families with children will receive more money in their pockets, where it belongs.
     Low and middle-income families will receive two-thirds of the overall benefits to spend on their priorities. For example, Sandra has a two-income household with her husband John. She earns $96,000 a year. John makes $24,000 a year. Because of the Prime Minister's announcement, through the family tax credit, Sandra and John will earn an additional $3,000 in tax relief.
    Our Conservative government is fulfilling its promise to balance the federal budget, and we are proud to be in a position to fulfill our promise to help Canadian families balance theirs.

[Translation]

Canada Post

Mr. Romeo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, on October 6, the Val-d'Or city council adopted a resolution calling on Canada Post to maintain home delivery services. A few days later, the Chibougamau city council adopted a similar resolution.
    A number of cities in Quebec and Canada have adopted similar resolutions. My constituents are concerned about this situation, and they have not hesitated to express their concerns. Several hundred voters in Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou have signed the petition started by the NDP in response to the announcement of the cuts at Canada Post.
    It is shameful that under the Conservatives, Canada is becoming the first G7 country to have no home delivery. The Conservatives brag about their record, but they are not even capable of delivering the mail. Canadians deserve better than the Conservatives' pathetic attitude.
    When the New Democrats form the government in 2015, we will start delivering what is best for Canadians.

  (1415)  

[English]

National War Memorial Honour Guard

Mr. Paul Calandra (Oak Ridges—Markham, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today with the hopes that all members of the House will join me in a standing ovation for a very special Canadian hero.
    Corporal Branden Stevenson stood beside and helped Corporal Nathan Cirillo that tragic day on October 22. I understand that today he has bravely resumed his post at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. When Corporal Stevenson resumed his post today, he did so not alone. He had the hearts of millions of Canadians with him who are astounded by his courage.
    We shall always remember the sacrifice of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who shall live on forever in our hearts and minds.
     By defiantly refusing to be intimidated, Corporal Stevenson is exemplifying the very best of the Canadian Armed Forces. He has made us all very, very proud.
    Lest we forget.

[Translation]

Patrice Vincent

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent put his country above himself every day during his 28 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. He served as a firefighter on bases and on ships.
    Patrice Vincent is remembered by his colleagues as never having sought praise, as someone who was always more than willing to help behind the scenes in any way he could. His family will remember him as a hero. Canada will remember him as one of our fallen sons.

[English]

    He was mercilessly run down for no other reason than the uniform he wore proudly, a uniform that stands for duty and valour to all those who wear it.
     His sister Louise said, “Patrice's message is to go home tonight, look at those who contribute to your happiness, to your life, and have gratitude for the love they give you, for the help they give you.”
    A whole nation is grateful to Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. He did his duty, and he did it well.

[Translation]

Patrice Vincent

Mr. Jacques Gourde (Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we lost a man who did not deserve to die.
    Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was just going about his day, a day like any other, as a law-abiding citizen and a soldier sworn to protect us, when he met a tragic end. We are still deeply upset and shocked by the tragic events that caused his death.
    I would like to pay tribute to this man, whom this country will not forget, and express my support for his family in their ordeal, an ordeal that saddens us all. His family gave our Prime Minister and other members of Parliament the privilege of honouring this exemplary man one last time.
    Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent is very special to us, and we will never forget him.

Champlain Bridge

Mr. Pierre Dionne Labelle (Rivière-du-Nord, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, Maurice Richard is a larger-than-life hero. No one would deny the importance of honouring his memory in some way or another.
    However, with his heavy-handed approach, the minister has already managed to get the Richard family all worked up. The main problem here is that the minister is putting the cart before the horse.
    Even though nothing has been settled, the question of a toll is still up in the air and the contractor has not even been chosen, the minister is already picking out his tie for the big day. In their haste, the Conservatives are about to trample on the memory of Samuel de Champlain.
    Not only was Champlain the founder of Quebec City, he is the father of New France. For a long time, he was the only one who believed in establishing a French colony in North America, come hell or high water. To try to erase Champlain from our collective memory is to trivialize the contributions of francophones to the development of North America.
    The Conservatives are showing very little regard for francophones, Quebeckers and their symbols. The Conservatives have not changed, and the mess they have made of the Champlain Bridge project is proof. They always have a lackey somewhere to try to get us to swallow anything.

  (1420)  

[English]

Taxation

Mrs. Tilly O'Neill Gordon (Miramichi, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, last week the Prime Minister announced a historic plan to help make life more affordable for families, and all families with children would benefit. However, members do not have to take my word for it. Well-known economist Jack Mintz said:
     The Conservative family tax package addresses a current inequity in the tax system, helping all Canadian families with kids”.
    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said a whopping 71% of its members support it, and the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada has praised it, too. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has applauded us and is among the many Canadian organizations that agree with our government's move to put money back into the pockets of hard-working families.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Ethics

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's former parliamentary secretary has just been found guilty of electoral fraud.
    This is the same person who, week after week in the House, defended the Conservatives' manipulations and their fraudulent calls even though Justice Mosley clearly established that the Conservatives' database was at the heart of the robocall scandal. Once again, they are not obeying the law.
    Will the Conservatives admit that they have become masters at the art of electoral fraud?

[English]

Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that any further measures with respect to this will be considered by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. As the House knows, it has a good ability to undertake these types of investigations. Recently it investigated the NDP's use of illegal satellite offices. I am confident that the procedure and House affairs committee can undertake a thorough investigation.

[Translation]

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, after the Liberal sponsorship scandal, the Conservatives promised to do better, but they failed.
    Since 2006, there has been the in and out scandal, the fraudulent phone calls scandal, and the overspending in Labrador. Now, the hon. member for Peterborough has been convicted of electoral fraud and forgery.
    When will the Conservatives acknowledge that there is an elections law in Canada that must be obeyed?

[English]

The Speaker:  
    Order, please. I just want to caution the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster. I did not hear anything in that preamble that touched on the administrative responsibility of the government.
    I have had to remind members that they need to bring their questions back to that realm. Issues about election activities or about an individual's current status are not directly under the administration of government.
    I do not know if the parliamentary secretary wants to answer the question, but I see he is rising, so I will give him the floor.
Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, again, just to be clear, any further measures will be considered by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. As I mentioned, it obviously has been able to do this in the past. Of course, recently the NDP's illegal satellite offices were brought forward, and it did a thorough investigation of that.
    As the House knows, this is the government that brought in comprehensive accountability legislation, that same legislation that found that the NDP had accepted illegal union contributions. We are confident that the procedure and House affairs committee can get to the bottom of it.
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, this is about the Prime Minister's judgment and who he chooses to administer the government. As we saw with the changes in electoral laws, the Conservatives will do anything to win, even violate the law repeatedly.
    The conviction against the member for Peterborough is just part of the culture around the Prime Minister. This is about the Prime Minister's judgment. He hand-picked the member for very important positions in his government. In retrospect, does the Prime Minister think it was a good idea to appoint the convicted member for Peterborough as his personal parliamentary secretary and ethics spokesperson?

  (1425)  

Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, again, this is something that will be considered further by the procedure and House affairs committee.
    At the same time, we are very proud of the work we have been doing since we were elected in 2006 to ensure that the influence of big money and big unions is taken out of the political process. That was one of the first things we brought forward in the accountability act. It was the NDP, of course, that was found guilty of accepting I think was about $300,000 worth of illegal union contributions. We are proud of the fact that our legislation helped to ensure that those types of donations are no longer part of the political process.
Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, we will get away from the fiction for a minute and get back to the facts. The government said nothing when Justice Mosley found that the source of information for the robofraud was “the database maintained and controlled by the [Conservative Part of Canada]”. The government said nothing when the Conservative Party was forced to plead guilty in a court on the in-and-out scheme.
    Now the member for Peterborough says that a conviction for electoral fraud is just the “opinion” of the judge.
    This is a question of respect for the law. Does the—
The Speaker:  
    Order, please. There may be many forums where the hon. member may wish to raise those questions, but question period is for raising questions about the administration of government. I will give him the floor again if he has a supplemental. I hope he asks a question about the role of the government.
Mr. Charlie Angus:  
    Mr. Speaker, I have enormous respect for you, and I have enormous respect for the law of this land. We are talking about whether or not the law of this land is applicable when it comes to the Conservatives.
    I note that the government suspended three senators who were just under investigation, yet we have a member who has been convicted of a crime. This is an issue for the House of Commons. Does the government believe that people who commit crimes should not be sitting in the House of Commons? Yes or no?
Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as I just said, further measures will be reviewed by the procedures and House affairs committee. It has a very good track record in dealing with these types of issues. Recently the NDP was found guilty by both the procedures and House affairs committee and by the Board of Internal Economy of running illegal satellite offices to the tune of over a million dollars, so I have every confidence that the standing committee will take a further look at this matter.

Taxation

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, here is an important quote. “It benefits some parts of the Canadian population a lot and other parts of the Canadian population, virtually not at all.” That is what the late Jim Flaherty said of the type of income splitting announced last week.
    A single mother working as a nurse and raising an eight-year-old child would get nothing from income splitting. However, a senior bank executive whose husband stays home with their eight-year-old would get $2,000. How does that pass Jim Flaherty's test of fairness?
Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I had the enormous pleasure of working closely with Jim Flaherty, the world's greatest finance minister. Let me assure you, Mr. Speaker, that the fantastic new family tax breaks and benefits address the concerns that he had.
    We are proud that every family with children stands to benefit from these measures introduced last week.
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, the social development minister said, “...the majority of single parents are low-income, so income splitting would not benefit them.”
    However, it is actually worse. Whether they are low-income or high, single moms and dads get nothing, simply because they are single.
    Canada today has over 1.5 million single-parent families. In the words of Jim Flaherty, why does the government think it benefits our society overall to make those who cannot split pay for the more privileged who can?
Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that they are better off under our Conservative government. Under our plan, every Canadian family with children would have more money in their pockets to help ends meet. That is over four million families.
    Under our plan, a single parent with two children who was earning $32,000 a year would receive over $1,500 per year. A two-earner couple with one child who were making $48,000 and $12,000 would see their tax bill reduced by 25%.
    Canadians know that our government will continue to take measures to put money back into their pockets.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

Mr. Emmanuel Dubourg (Bourassa, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, in budget 2013, the Conservatives used Thomas and Colleen as a model, middle-class family with two children. They earned $45,000 and $75,000.
    Today, income splitting will not provide any benefit to their very definition of a middle-class family. However, the Prime Minister will get a $2,000 benefit.
    What makes the Conservatives think it is fair to give more money to the rich and nothing to the middle class?

[English]

Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, middle-class Canadians are better off under our Conservative government. The median net worth of Canadian families has increased by 45% since we have come to office. For the first time, middle-class families here in Canada are earning more and are better off than their American counterparts.
    Under our plan, every Canadian family with children would have more money in their pockets at the end of the day to help make ends meet. Canadians would see an average of $1,140 more as a result of these measures.

[Translation]

The Environment

Ms. Nycole Turmel (Hull—Aylmer, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, France will host the next United Nations conference on climate change. France's foreign affairs minister, who is trying to build a consensus, believes that now is the time for the international community to take immediate action.
    Has the Prime Minister spoken about this topic with President Hollande, and did he commit to putting an end to 10 years of Conservative inaction on climate change?

[English]

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our government wants a fair agreement in Paris that includes all emitters and all economies. It is important that this agreement be durable, flexible, and effective.
    Meanwhile, Canada will continue to take concrete action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while keeping our economy strong. Canada emits less than 2% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, and our per capita emissions are now at their lowest level since we started recording in 1990.

[Translation]

Ms. Nycole Turmel (Hull—Aylmer, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, France understands the scope of this issue. The international community must take action and implement science-based policies.
    However, the Prime Minister responds by cutting funding to combat climate change, refusing to limit emissions in the gas and oil sector, and derailing the efforts of the international community.
    Communities across the country are already experiencing flooding and weather extremes.
    Why do the Conservatives revel in doing nothing?

[English]

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our record. We are a founding member of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. We have made significant investments to help support green energy and infrastructure internationally. We have provided $1.2 billion to developing countries to address climate change.
Mr. Murray Rankin (Victoria, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear: inadequate Conservative measures just will not cut it.
    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of this report, “Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side”. Instead of acting to take on climate change, the Conservatives plan on cutting funding for climate change programs by 70% by 2016-17.
    Why are the Conservatives undermining climate science in Canada at a time when it is needed so much?
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we are committed to protecting the environment while keeping the Canadian economy strong.
    We are a founding member of, and a major financial contributor to, an international coalition taking action to reduce pollutants such as black carbon and methane. We have contributed $1.2 billion in fast-track financing to developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This funding supports over 100 projects in over 60 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, just to name a few examples.

Taxation

Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have been pushing a wasteful and ineffective job plan that would create only a few jobs at an astronomical cost to taxpayers. Now they trot out their income-splitting scheme, which would do absolutely nothing for 86% of Canadian families, at a huge cost of $2.5 billion. Income splitting would do nothing for couples who earn equal amounts of money, would do nothing for couples with no children, and would do nothing for single-parent families.
    Why are the Conservatives spending so much money to make life so unfair for so many Canadian families?

  (1435)  

Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our government is bringing forward tax measures for families that would help put money back into their pockets.
    The New Democratic Party has a plan that would only help a small number of Canadian families. Our plan would give all Canadian families with children a choice. Unlike the NDP, which wants to force a massive $5 billion big, bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all child care program, we would be putting cash back into the pockets of Canadians so that they can make a choice for their own children.
Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian economy faces the serious challenge of an aging workforce. As the boomer generation retires, we need to allow more Canadians, not fewer, into the workforce.
    The New Democrats' affordable and universal child care plan would do exactly that. It would boost women's participation in the workforce and help our economy, but the Conservatives' income-splitting scheme would undermine decades of efforts for women's equality in the workplace.
    Why are the Conservatives spending billions of dollars to try to turn the clock back on women's participation and equality here in Canada?
Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, parents who are raising a family are working parents. Parents who are struggling to keep money in their pockets to put their children into hockey or into dance are working parents.
    Why does the New Democratic Party forget that under our plan, single parents with two children and earning only $30,000 a year would receive an extra $1,500 back into their pockets?
    Only our Conservative government knows that Canadian families know best how to raise their children.

[Translation]

Ms. Mylène Freeman (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' proposed income splitting plan creates additional barriers for women and their careers. Not only does their plan ignore the reality facing women and the labour market in the 21st century, but it will also only benefit the wealthy.
    Why are the Conservatives putting forward regressive policies that completely disregard 86% of families, including single-parent families, couples without children and parents with children in university?

[English]

Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the enhanced universal child care benefit would provide $720 more a year for every child and $1,920 for a child up to the age of six. This monthly cheque would help Canadians make ends meet and pay for priorities like groceries, after-school activities for their children, and savings for post-secondary education.
    By giving cash back to Canadians, we are allowing parents to make the choice on what their priorities are for their families, not some government bureaucrat.

[Translation]

Citizenship and Immigration

Ms. Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe (Pierrefonds—Dollard, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Federal Court of Appeal was clear in its ruling handed down Friday. The Conservatives must immediately reinstate the interim federal health program to the way it was before the 2012 cuts. That is exactly what the NDP, health care professionals and refugee rights advocates have been asking for from the beginning.
    Will the government comply with the federal court order and reinstate the refugee health benefits by tomorrow, or does it intend to contravene the court's decision?
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we are still disappointed with the court's decision. For that reason we are going to appeal. We will continue to protect the interests of refugees and Canadian taxpayers, and we will soon announce the details of our response to this decision.
Ms. Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe (Pierrefonds—Dollard, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the only response we want in this place is for the minister to reinstate the program to the way it was before the changes he introduced.
    Since July 2012, some legitimate refugee claimants no longer have access to health care. We are talking about asthmatic children or pregnant women who are diabetic, people who cannot get basic and essential health care. Furthermore, the government now wants to allow provinces to strip these refugee claimants of their social assistance.
    Why is the government continuing to punish these people? Why does it always go after asylum seekers? That is unfair.

  (1440)  

Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, that is not true. Refugees continue to have the same quality of health care as Canadians. We are disappointed with the court's decision. We will appeal and we will announce the details of our response to the court's decision soon.

[English]

Mr. Andrew Cash (Davenport, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, there is a clear pattern of behaviour here. The minister ignored the protests of doctors, refugee advocates, provinces, and parliamentarians and took health care away from children and pregnant women.
    He ignored the ruling of the Federal Court that said his cuts were “cruel and unusual”. Now he's lost another case, as the Federal Court of Appeal has emphasized the harm suffered by refugees without health care.
    Will the minister finally give up his lengthy assault on basic Canadian values?
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, on our side of the House it is not among basic Canadian values to offer health care—often health care that went beyond that provided to Canadians—to those whose immigration and refugee claims have failed or to those who were deliberately fraudulent in their representations to the Immigration and Refugee Board. We will continue to stand up for the interests of taxpayers in that respect.
    At the same time, we are disappointed in these decisions. We are continuing our appeal and will announce the details of our reaction to the latest decision very shortly.

Taxation

Ms. Chrystia Freeland (Toronto Centre, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, in an email last week referring to the Conservative plan for income splitting, the member for Durham said, “As a father of two amazing young children, I cannot tell you how excited I am.”
    There are a lot of proud parents of amazing kids in Canada, but very few—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Speaker:  
    I think the applause may have been a little premature. I do not know if the hon. member was finished with her question. She still has the floor, so I would appreciate it if members could hold off until she has finished.
Ms. Chrystia Freeland:  
    Mr. Speaker, I am using my big girl voice.
    There are a lot of amazing kids in Canada, and their parents are proud of them, but very few of those parents are paid $180,000 a year, as the parliamentary secretary is.
    How can he justify a policy which helps his family, but leaves behind 86% of Canadians?
Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, again, the Liberal Party fails to understand the basics of this very popular family tax cut plan. Under our plan, every Canadian family with children will have more money in their pockets to help make ends meet. That is over four million families. The majority of benefits will go to low and middle-income families.
    Our government made a commitment to provide tax relief to families, and it is keeping that commitment. We realize that the Liberal Party also has made a commitment, and that is to take that money and take it back to the coffers of Ottawa.

[Translation]

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, parents with two children in university experience quite a bit of stress. They are helping their children pay for tuition, trying to save for their own retirement and, often, caring for their aging parents.
    However, since their children are over the age of 18, these parents do not benefit in any way from the Conservatives' income splitting scheme.
    Why has the government completely abandoned these parents?

[English]

Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our Conservative Party has a low-tax plan. The family that the hon. member has mentioned is already benefiting from the low-tax plan of this party, the low-tax plan that they have appreciated.
    The Liberal leader has pledged that if elected he would hike taxes for Canadian families. According to the media, the Liberal leader is even looking at reversing the doubling of the children's fitness tax credit. He said that he believes he could convince Canadians to accept a tax hike.
    We reject that Liberal plan. We reject the Liberal leader's plan to raise taxes for families. This party is the only party that—
    The Speaker: The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.

  (1445)  

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, this weekend a Canadian citizen told the skills minister that he would prefer investments in health care over the Conservative tax cut. The minister told him that if he wants to see health care investments, he should donate to his local hospital.
    Does the minister think that it is the job of government to provide tax breaks to about 15% of Canadians and then hope that all Canadians will donate to the health care system?
Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, no government in Canadian history has provided more funding to the provinces for health care, and it continues to grow.
    Unlike the old Liberal Party, which cut funding for health care, we have raised transfers to the provinces for health care by nearly 60%. We will take no lessons on health care transfers and on keeping taxes low from the Liberal Party.

[Translation]

Science and Technology

Ms. Laurin Liu (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are continuing their war on science. We have now learned that Health Canada spent $1,500 to publish scientific articles on a controversial Croatian website to avoid having the articles undergo peer review, a normal process for credible scientific journals.
    Why is Health Canada engaging in such questionable practices that undermine our scientists' credibility?

[English]

Ms. Eve Adams (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, nowhere is confidence in transparency and openness more important than when it comes to the health and safety of Canadians. Health Canada, in co-operation with its international partners, participates in these publication activities as a means of sharing important risk analyses in an open and transparent manner.
    I can tell the House that reports of alleged malpractice by the publisher are very concerning and the department is actively reviewing its relationship with this publisher.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, it still does not answer the question. Instead of using a reputable publisher for its research, Health Canada is paying nearly $1,500 per article to publish elsewhere. Unlike a peer review process that science journals follow, the publisher in question allows Health Canada to rubber-stamp its own research, so Canadians are left to wonder whether Conservatives do not trust other scientists to review Health Canada's research.
    Why has the minister allowed her department to become involved in such a questionable publication process?
Ms. Eve Adams (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Health Canada includes some of the leading research scientists in this country. In fact, we invest over $1 billion in health research across the country. We are the top investor when it comes to health research in this nation.
    As I have just indicated, we are quite concerned about the recent allegations and we are investigating.

Citizenship and Immigration

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is not just in the field of publishing that the Conservatives seem to be ignoring scientific process. Last week, the Conservatives announced a ban on visas for travellers coming from West Africa. The WHO and the World Bank have clearly stated that banning travel is not an effective way to protect us from Ebola.
    Why would the Conservatives implement such a ban when it is not backed up by expert scientific evidence?
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada, like many of its partners, a huge number of partners in the international community, is absolutely committed to the international effort to contain the Ebola outbreak. That is why we announced new precautionary measures to make sure that we keep Canadians healthy and safe during this time of increased risk.
    Permanent resident visas will not be issued by visa officers unless and until they can prove that the candidates have been outside of Ebola-affected countries, those countries most affected, for three months or more. We will not issue new visas to those who represent a public health risk to Canada.

[Translation]

Health

Mrs. Djaouida Sellah (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, Lyn Gilbert, an Australian expert on infectious diseases, believes that there is no reason for the visa ban proposed by the Conservative government and that this ban is not supported by scientific evidence.
    Rather than implementing cosmetic measures that have been rejected by the World Health Organization, why does the Conservative government not meet the needs of local governments who are calling for more staff and more equipment to fight the Ebola outbreak?

  (1450)  

[English]

Ms. Eve Adams (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member that Canada is actually a world leader when it comes to assisting the West African nations that are facing Ebola. I would also like to reassure all Canadians that there are no direct flights from the affected nations in West Africa to Canada.
    I am pleased to inform this House that all personal protective equipment has now been shipped to the West African countries. This includes 1.5 million gloves, 2 million masks, and 1.2 million gowns.
    Canada has been very generous in assisting the international relief efforts.

National Defence

Mr. Larry Maguire (Brandon—Souris, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, according to video reports, about 50 members of the Albu Nimr tribe, a Sunni clan flighting ISIL in Anbar province to the west of Baghdad, were abducted by ISIL forces. Their fate is unknown, but they are believed to be the latest casualties of ISIL who have killed hundreds in mass executions in recent days.
    Can the Minister of National Defence please provide an update to the House on Operation Impact and the contribution that the Canadian Armed Forces has made to the fight against ISIL?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday two CF-18 fighter jets, in coordination with our allies, attacked ISIL targets with laser-guided bombs in the vicinity of Fallujah, Iraq. The mission lasted approximately four hours and included air-to-air refuelling from a Polaris aircraft. All of the aircraft returned safely to base. The military continues to assess the damage and will provide a technical briefing tomorrow.
    We will continue to tackle the threat of terrorism. We will stand with our allies against ISIL's atrocities.
     I want to thank our men and women in uniform for their work on this very important mission.

International Trade

Mr. Malcolm Allen (Welland, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, as negotiations for the trans-Pacific partnership enter their final phase, the U.S. trade representative has singled out Canada and is putting pressure on us to dismantle supply management. In the past, Conservatives have sworn that they would protect supply management, but recently we have seen them roll over and make concessions that undermine our system.
    Will the minister assure farmers that he will not make any further concessions in the supply management system, especially behind closed doors?
Mr. Erin O'Toole (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for that questions because it gives me an opportunity to remind this House that 98% of the trade access by Canadian exporters has been secured through Conservative governments.
    With respect to supply management, that 98% has been achieved while respecting the pillars of supply management. We go into all trade negotiations to make sure it is a win for all sectors of our economy, and that is the case with TPP.

[Translation]

Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, despite their promises, the Conservatives were unable to protect supply management. They promised to do so before reopening our market to European cheese producers, who are heavily subsidized. Now, it seems that supply management is back on the table as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
    My question is simple. Will the Conservatives truly protect supply management or will they once again betray Canadian producers?
Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as is always the case, we will do what we said we were going to do, which is to protect supply management and promote it internationally.
    Next week, the hon. member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière and I will meet with Quebec's dairy and cheese industry to hear their concerns. I want to reassure them by pointing to an important clause in the free trade agreement providing that if the producers ever lose money, the Government of Canada will compensate them. We will honour that agreement and our signature.

CBC/Radio-Canada

Mr. Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday on Tout le monde en parle, we learned from Alain Saulnier just how cozy CBC senior management and the Conservative government really are. Not only is the board of directors already stacked with Conservative donors, but the former heritage minister also went so far as to interfere in the crown corporation's programming by communicating directly with the president, Hubert Lacroix.
    The public broadcaster is there to serve Canadians, not the interests of the Conservative Party. How can the government justify such political interference in CBC's programming?

  (1455)  

[English]

Mr. Rick Dykstra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the claims that the member opposite makes are completely and entirely false. The CBC is solely responsible for its day-to-day operations, including decisions with respect to programming and also human resources management. The member should know it, should understand it, and I hope he is going to stand up and ask another question on how he is misleading the House.
Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the minister keeps telling us that she has nothing to do with the unprecedented crisis facing our public broadcaster. However, it is her government that has imposed cuts of $115 million to CBC. It is her government that is responsible for appointing the president and the board of directors, which surprisingly is now mostly made up of major donors to the Conservative Party.
    Why is the minister condoning such political interference and encouraging the slow dismantling of our public broadcaster?
Mr. Rick Dykstra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we go from one misleading statement to another regarding the CBC. It is too bad that the members do not honour and respect it as much as they claim outside of the House.
    These changes are being made by the CBC as a result of declining advertising revenue and declining viewership in very key demographic areas. It is up to the CBC to provide programming that Canadians actually want and to fulfill its mandate under the Broadcasting Act.

[Translation]

The Environment

Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the world's leading scientists have once again delivered a clear message, as President Hollande said, about the urgent need to fight climate change. The president also called on Canada to participate fully in the fight against global warming.
     Did the Prime Minister really hear what the president had to say? Will he finally take the necessary measures to enable Canada to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets? All of the experts agree: we are on track to fail.

[English]

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada is working diligently to reach an agreement in Paris that is fairer to Canada and includes all emitters and all economies. As well, Canada has one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, with 79% of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gas. We have taken actions on the two largest sources of emissions in Canada, the transportation and electricity generation sectors. Canada also became the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units. Canada's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are now at their lowest level since we started—
The Speaker:  
    Order, please, the hon. member for Markham—Unionville.

Citizenship and Immigration

Hon. John McCallum (Markham—Unionville, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, when I heard that courts had rejected the government's request to delay restoration of a fair refugee health policy, my reaction was to thank goodness for the judges and the Charter of Rights; they are one of the few constraints on the mean-spirited actions of the current majority government.
    Will the minister respect the law and reinstate a decent refugee health plan tomorrow, which is what the court has demanded? Or, will he stand in contempt of the court?
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, in response to that, thank God for this Conservative government. We are the only one in the House that can be relied upon to protect both refugees and the interest of Canadian taxpayers.
     We remain disappointed in this decision. We are appealing it. We will have more details to offer in response to the latest decision very shortly.

Canada Post

Ms. Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada Post is cutting home delivery to 5.1 million households. Mail delivery is a lifeline for many Canadians, especially seniors and people living with disabilities.
     Even with these major cuts, Canada Post has found the money to launch a major advertising campaign, all the while taking away door-to-door service.
    How much is Canada Post spending on this advertising campaign?
Mr. Jeff Watson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the member has rightly identified that two-thirds of Canadians in fact do not have door-to-door delivery.
    Currently in the Canada Post turnaround plan, which it hopes will put it on financial sustainability by 2020, does include a five-point plan to try to address that.
    The member should address her questions to Canada Post if she has any questions about the operational details.

  (1500)  

[Translation]

Ms. Isabelle Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, this weekend, the media was inundated with these expensive ads for Canada Post. In the meantime, 5.1 million households will no longer get home delivery. Canada Post's problem is not a visibility problem. It is a problem of mismanagement and a lack of vision. When a crown corporation created to deliver mail does not deliver mail, there is a problem.
    When will the Conservatives sit down with Canada Post officials to ensure that people get their mail at home?

[English]

Mr. Jeff Watson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada Post is a crown corporation. It has a board of directors that sits down to precisely figure out those types of things about its operational decisions. The government does not do that. It is Canada Post as an arm's-length crown corporation. The member should know that.
    Right now it is working to ensure that we continue to have daily mail and to do so in an equitable way.

Taxation

Mr. Gordon Brown (Leeds—Grenville, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, families in Leeds—Grenville are thrilled with the historic family tax breaks announced by the Prime Minister.
    Canadian families will see an average benefit of $1,140, and the vast majority of the benefits will go to low and middle-income families.
    Could the Minister of Finance please update Canadians on how many families will benefit and how the government approach differs from that of the Liberal leader?
Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, every Canadian family with children will have more money in their pockets. That is over four million families. Each and every parent with children will benefit. That is over seven million parents.
    However, the Liberal leader is against giving money back to middle-class families and has said that he can convince Canadians to accept a tax hike.
    Unlike the Liberals and the New Democratic Party, we will not hike taxes on families. Our Conservative government is giving money back to those who know what is best for their children, and that is mom and dad.

Privacy

Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, over the past year, information leaks revealed that the Communications Security Establishment of Canada spied on innocent Canadian air travellers and facilitated a massive U.S. spy operation on Canadian soil.
    Last November, Justice Mosley revealed that CSEC kept the courts in the dark on how it shared Canadians' private data with foreign intelligence agencies.
    Will Conservative MPs join us in standing up for their constituents' rights to privacy? Will the government commit to a free vote on Bill C-622, which would help protect both the privacy rights and the security of Canadians?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, nobody has struck a better balance between privacy and protection than this government.
    I would point out for the member that she is completely wrong. In his most recent annual report, the independent commissioner, the watchdog, concluded that CSEC continued to operate within the law and respected Canadian privacy.

[Translation]

Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Mathieu Ravignat (Pontiac, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Professional Institute of the Public Service is calling on the Conservative government to investigate abusive contracting practices at Shared Services Canada. It seems that private companies are increasingly being used to get around the work usually done by our public servants. The Charbonneau commission showed that this type of privatization often translates into a loss of internal expertise and leads to the worst abuses.
    Will the minister agree to look into the abusive contracting practices at Shared Services Canada?

[English]

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Shared Services Canada is transforming information and technology now that the government uses it for the government and it will save Canadian taxpayers $150 million by making government IT infrastructure safer and more responsive for Canadians.
     As this matter is currently before the Public Service Commission, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.

The Economy

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, jobs, growth and long-term economic prosperity continue to be our government's priority.
    Could the Minister of State for Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario please update the House on an important announcement he made in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke this morning?

  (1505)  

Hon. Gary Goodyear (Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to do that, and I want to thank my hon. colleague for joining me this morning in announcing that the Pembroke MDF manufacturing plant is officially reopened and ready for business. Thanks to this government's support of manufacturing and in particular this manufacturing plant, Pembroke MDF expects to create 160 high-quality full-time jobs.
    This government will continue to focus on the economy, create jobs and cut taxes like we have some 170 times, including increased benefits for Canadian families that we just announced last week.

[Translation]

Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Philip Toone (Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, Fisheries and Oceans Canada told the Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé port authority that its wharf will finally be rebuilt, except that it will be 42 metres shorter. That wharf is already being used at full capacity.
    Shortening the wharf by 42 metres means the loss of two fishing boats, at least six fishers and 40 plant workers.
    Why is the government killing Sainte-Thérèse's economy?

[English]

Hon. Gail Shea (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that this government has spent more on small craft harbours, invested more in small craft harbours and communities across the country than any other government in history.
     I will look into the member's issue on a one-on-one basis and get back to him.

[Translation]

Champlain Bridge

Mr. André Bellavance (Richmond—Arthabaska, Ind.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Infrastructure found a way to make the name of the illustrious Maurice Richard controversial even though the man detested controversy, according to his son.
    Everyone in Quebec knows what Maurice Richard achieved. He was larger than life and deserves the highest honour. However, true to form, the Conservatives have decided to thumb their noses at history and sow discontent.
    Does the minister agree with the mayor of Montreal and Maurice Richard's family that he should seek consensus and harmony before launching trial balloons or shooting at his own net?
Mr. Jacques Gourde (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, for Official Languages and for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, no decision has been made about the name of the new bridge over the St. Lawrence, but the good news is that a new bridge will be built, 30,000 jobs will be created, and the project will stimulate economic growth across the greater Montreal region.

Taxation

Mrs. Sana Hassainia (Verchères—Les Patriotes, Ind.):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is our job to make sure that available tax benefits really help Canadians meet their children's needs. However, it seems that the regulations are flawed.
    If parents are separated and one parent pays child support, the Income Tax Act does not allow that parent to claim his or her children as dependants. Among other things, that prevents parents of disabled children from claiming certain credits, thereby preventing those children from receiving the financial support they are entitled to.
    Moreover, families with just one child whose two parents pay child support cannot split the credits.
    When will separated parents who pay child support be treated equally in the eyes of the law?

[English]

Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our universal child care benefit is going to provide $720 more a year for every child under the age of 18, with $1,920 for those children up to age 6. This monthly cheque will help Canadians make ends meet. It will help them pay for priorities in their families, like groceries, after school activities and even saving for post-secondary education.
     The tax measures, the benefit measures, the universal child care enhancement are going to be measures that benefit families.

The Environment

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the IPCC spoke clearly and said that the world's scientists and indeed economists were telling us that we must move off fossil fuels entirely by the end of the century. Today, in this place, we gave a standing ovation to the President of France when he said that the world must move to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. We stood as one and applauded.
    Will the government, which so far in question period has offered the usual nonsense about how we are on track, accept the challenge?
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our government's record is very clear. We have taken decisive actions on the environment, while we are protecting our economy. Everyone has to do their fair share, and we are seeking an agreement in Paris that would include all emitters and all economies.
    Currently, Canada emits less than 2% of the greenhouse emissions globally. Building upon our record, I also announced a number of actions to reduce greenhouse emissions and pollutants from vehicles recently. We have also announced our intent to regulate HFCs, one of the fastest-growing greenhouse emissions in the world. We are accomplishing this without the NDP and the Liberal carbon tax.

  (1510)  

Presence in Gallery

The Speaker:  
     I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the recipients of the Governor General's History Awards: Connie Wyatt Anderson, Michael Berry, Laurie Cassie, Sharon Moy, Gérald Charron, Ryan McManaman, David Alexander, Manon St-Hilaire, James Daschuk, Michel Côté, Paul Carroll, David McAdam, Yvon Lirette, Linda Even, Mark Zuehlke and Matt Kelly.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

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 13 petitions.

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Government Operations and Estimates 

Mrs. Anne-Marie Day (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, NDP)  
     moved that the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, presented on Monday, June 16, 2014, be concurred in.

[English]

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux:  
    Actually, Mr. Speaker, I am first rising on a point of order. I rise on a point of order, because in going through the concurrence motions, it is quite difficult for any member of the House to be prepared to deal with any given motion brought to the floor with virtually no notification whatsoever as to which motion, out of 90 motions, it actually might be. The reason I stand in my place on a point of order, Mr. Speaker, is that it would be more helpful if you could make reference by number to the report in question being tabled.
    As a courtesy, it would be even better if the member who was moving the motion provided notice so that members would be able to properly address the report. I, for one, would like to address the report, and it would be helpful if, at the very least, the table officer could indicate the number as it appears on the order paper.
The Speaker:  
    I thank the hon. member for raising this. I will point out that all the motions that are moved under the rubric of motions, concurrence motions specifically, are on the notice paper. The member for Winnipeg North will be able to find it. I can send over a copy of that, and he can see all the types of motions that are eligible to be moved under this rubric, and then he can choose which ones he would like to speak to and be ready for that.
    If he has a specific change as to how that might be dealt with, of course, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs is studying the Standing Orders, and I am sure it would be interested in any suggestions he might have on how to better inform members as to which motions may be subject to debate. However, I do not think there is a point of order that would prevent us from dealing with the motion as moved.
    Is he rising now on debate?
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux:  
    If the table could indicate the number of the motion on the actual order paper, that would be helpful.
The Speaker:  
    It is Motion No. 67. It is the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.
    If he is looking at the notice paper, I do not know if it has any more information than that. If he is looking for the substance of the report to help him speak to it, I do not think he will find it in the notice paper, but maybe he is able to infer a great deal from the title.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North, now on debate.

  (1515)  

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to speak. In terms of looking at Motion No. 67 and wanting to be as keen as one can be in terms of addressing reports that come before the legislature, I think it is helpful to state the number. Here is the reason. The motion that has been brought forward indicates that the fifth report of the Standing Committee—
The Speaker:  
    Order. The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster is now rising on a point of order.
Mr. Peter Julian:  
    Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, a motion or amendment the member for Winnipeg North brought forward was ruled out of order, which he should have known was out of order. On Friday, he was ruled out of order, because he did not speak to the relevant report. As the Speaker has pointed out, he has access to all committee reports tabled daily in the House.
    There has been a real problem with relevance. I fear that the member is wandering off, yet again, down some sidewalk that has nothing to do with the report we are considering now.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux:  
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the concern, albeit for no doubt different motives. The NDP House leader rose on a point of order with regard to relevance. Even before he cut me off through his point of order, I made reference to the government estimates. That is what the report is all about. I am quite prepared to actually talk about the estimates of that particular department.
Hon. Julian Fantino:  
    Mr. Speaker, I apologize for not doing it earlier. I do, in fact, have a report to table, if I may.
The Speaker:  
    Is there unanimous consent to revert back to tabling of documents so that the minister can table the ombudsman's report?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Veterans Affairs

Hon. Julian Fantino (Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the veterans ombudsman's report entitled “Advocating for Improvements for Veterans”.

Committees of the House

Government Operations and Estimates  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
The Speaker:  
    I will just remind the hon. member for Winnipeg North to keep his remarks as relevant as possible to the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, back in June, we had a great deal of discussion and debate in regard to the estimates and how government is actually spending its--
The Speaker:  
    Order, please. To assist the hon. member, I think in his response to the point of order, he mentioned that the fifth report was on the estimates. The fifth report is actually on open data and not on the estimates. Hopefully he can adjust his remarks accordingly.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux:  
    Mr. Speaker, I like to think that I can be flexible at times.
    The report originated in June of last year, when the committee met to go over the importance of the issue of data. It is one of the unfortunate realities that, as much as possible, we want to ensure that there is a sense of openness, transparency, and accountability in government. The government operations and estimates committee is something that ultimately helps us facilitate that. At that particular committee meeting, there was a sense of value in the committee actually meeting. This is an issue that is important to the Liberal Party, because we believe that our standing committees should actually be meeting. They play a valuable role in ensuring that there is a higher sense of accountability. That is one of the reasons that, back in June, a number of reports were tabled, based on the budget, by different committees.
     I would ask that the New Democrats be a little more flexible. It is important. We actually had a letter from the minister--

  (1520)  

Mr. Peter Julian:  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member is doing the same thing he did on Thursday, and he was ruled out of order. Friday he was ruled out of order. He has some kind of bee in his bonnet. He knows that committees can meet. We have been urging chairs to have committees meet. Ultimately, he has to be relevant to the committee report. He was not on Friday. He was ruled out of order.
    It is not a question of the quantity of words. In fact, the members who have been most active in previous Parliaments, with the most words, are the ones who get defeated come election time. I think a lot of members in the House are looking forward to having Daniel Blaikie here in the House.
The Speaker:  
    I will agree with the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster on the point of relevance. I would encourage the hon. member for Winnipeg North that he may have other issues he may want to bring up, but now is not the appropriate time to do that. Now is the time, if he so wishes, to address the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.
    The Chair is a little weary of his tendency to touch on these other issues. I am just giving him a warning that the Chair's indulgence is being tested on that front.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux:  
    Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of the New Democratic House leader, who wants to avoid my being able to address issues, let me quote directly from the President of the Treasury Board. The minister had provided a letter, and the member will see that my comments are relevant.
    I made reference to the issue of transparency and accountability. Again, I ask my New Democratic friends to listen. This was brought to the committee in that very report. I will skip the first paragraph and go to the second paragraph, which states:
Open data is an important priority for the Government as it increases transparency and spurs innovation and economic growth.
    I was talking about open government, transparency, and accountability, which is completely relevant to the report the NDP decided, at a moment's notice, to concur in today.
    It goes on to state:
     Through its open data initiative, the Government has established foundational elements that enable the effective delivery of a federal open data. Our work with other Canadian governments and with our international colleagues in the G8 and the Open Government Partnership aims to foster consistency and standardization of open data services to the benefit of citizens around the world.
     The Government welcomes the recommendations outlined in the Standing Committee's report for improving open data and open data services. They are consistent with feedback received through recent public consultations and will inform the implementation of these activities within the next version of Canada's Action Plan....
    That is the action plan that members of the Liberal Party have called into question, everything from the content of the action plan to the excessive tax dollars being used to promote the action plan. Apparently the New Democrats do not have a problem with that.
    It continues that it will include:
...mandatory policies for driving the effective release of open data, initiatives to encourage Canadians to unlock the value of open data, and collaborative activities with other jurisdictions to align open data services.
    Members should imagine how very important it is to ensure that there is a good sense of communication related to data internally, even between different departments. We often say that it is of critical importance when we set government policy that there is communication between departments. I do not know how many committees I have personally sat on that have talked about the importance of communication and the transferring of critical data. This is one of the things that not only this particular committee but a lot of committees deal with. A number of standing committees, many of which the New Democrats are not allowing to meet, would deal with this type of issue.

  (1525)  

Mr. Peter Julian:  
    Mr. Speaker, there goes the member again. Not only is it irrelevant, it is false. He is misleading the House, because he knows fully well that all committees can meet.
     I again do not understand the reasoning behind the member for Winnipeg North and his insistence on wanting to take House time just to listen to himself speak. He has to be relevant and factual, and I hope that he will start factually addressing the report that is before us.
The Speaker:  
    Order, please. I thank the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.
    Of course, the Chair will not wade into the question of whether something is factual, but I will tell the hon. member that I think the House's patience is being tested on these auxiliary issues he is bringing. I will tell him that if he is not able to speak to the report directly in a relevant way, then I think it would serve the House best if we moved on. I hope he bears that in mind as he concludes his remarks.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux:  
    Mr. Speaker, the letter from which I was quoting came from the Treasury Board. The report itself is on open data. That is the letter on which I am commenting. I do believe it is completely 100% relevant and it is something that came up in the committee.
    When we look at the study overview, it is important that we recognize that governments collect and produce a wealth of data. Increasingly, governments worldwide have started to implement open data strategies to launch open data portals to enable the release of data in open and reusable formats.
    In this context, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates adopted the following motion, and it is important that we recognize this motion. It reads:
     That the Committee undertake, consistent with Canada’s signing of the G8 Open Data Charter, a study to assess and enhance the government’s Open Data practices; that this study include examining how Canadian businesses can better obtain and utilize high-value information with strong economic potential from the government and reviewing the processes and practices of other governments with respect to their collection, storage and transfer of Open Data; and that the Committee use its findings to provide the government with direction and advice focused on improving the way this high-value data is collected, stored and transferred to Canadians, resulting in access to useful and useable Open Data that will drive economic growth as part of an information economy.
    Before I was interrupted, I talked about the importance of data and how it is that governments, even from within the different departments, need to ensure that there is a higher sense of communication. That is, in essence, what I believe is part of the driving force in this. It is just recognizing the need to try as much as possible to bring together the different stakeholders.
    The President of the Treasury Board has recognized the role that provincial entities have to play in this whole process, and we look to the Government of Canada to ultimately demonstrate leadership on the open data file. One of the best ways to demonstrate that leadership is to have the committee meet to talk about it. This committee was asked to go ahead and prepare a report. At that particular committee, the motion I just finished reading ultimately led to the report that we have before us today.
    It is safe to say, even though I have sat through many committees, that at the end of the day, these committees play a very valuable and important role.
    When we look at the committee in question that provided this particular report, it is important that the committee be allowed to continue to meet on a regular basis because of the type of content that it has to deal with. That is a principle that applies to all committees. They need to meet. We need to get back to work.
    Over the course of this particular study in committee, eleven meetings were held. It took eleven meetings. The committee heard testimony from federal, provincial and municipal officials. I did not even talk about the municipal officials. That is a very important level of government.
    When we talk about the collection of data and information, we often have to refer to what the Canadian government does, but also our provincial and municipal governments. Other industry representatives, academics and other stakeholders as well as witnesses from the United Kingdom and the United States, each discussed the open data initiatives in their respective countries.

  (1530)  

    We need to be working with different countries of the world in developing this. It is in Canada's best interest, not only from an economic point of view but from a social point of view, and even with the issue of ISIL and so forth. The need for us to be able to ensure that we move forward on this particular file is virtually endless.
    The committee focused its study on users' needs in relation to the federal government's open data initiative, the best practices of other jurisdictions, and with respect to open data and the economic and social benefits associated with the use of open data.
    I sat on the immigration committee, and I have had a good, thorough discussion regarding biometrics. I understand how important it is that Canada works with other countries in dealing with good solid policy on data. There, we were talking about biometrics. That committee has not met since June, but the point is that there was a point in time when the committee was meeting on a regular basis when we had the opportunity to talk about the issue of data.
    Data does matter. I am looking at this report, and I am glad that the New Democrats have decided to call this report—

[Translation]

The Speaker:  
    The hon. member for Sherbrooke on a point of order.
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the record, because the member said something that is completely false, once again.
    I listened patiently, because I myself am a member of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. I can see now that he does not know much about the committee's fifth report.
    Worse still, he just said that we have not met since June; however, we had a meeting as recently as last Thursday.
    I would like him to correct what he said.

[English]

The Speaker:  
    The member for Sherbrooke may know that the Speaker will not weigh in on whether things are accurate. There will be time for questions and comments when the member has finished his speech in about three minutes. If he wishes to make that point then, I would be happy to recognize him on a question or comment.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux:  
    Mr. Speaker, I do apologize. It is hard to tell, because I do not necessarily know which committees actually might be meeting. We have the aboriginal affairs committee, access to information committee, agriculture and agri-food committee, citizenship and immigration committee. The last time that committee met was in June. I just assumed that it might have been one of those committees. I apologize to the member.
    The point is that we just do not know whether the committees are meeting because of the action of the official opposition, or lack thereof.
    When we take a look at the issue of privacy and confidentiality, the government data often includes personal information. We should all be concerned about that, not just the Liberal Party. All members should be concerned about that. This is one of the reasons why I try to ask the official opposition to be reasonable and provide opportunities for us to be able to have a good, solid debate on—
The Speaker:  
    I think I can predict what the member for Burnaby—New Westminster is going to raise, and I think, at this point, that it is best to move on.
     Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Speaker: The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: On division.

    (Motion agreed to)

  (1535)  

Petitions

Dementia  

Mr. David Wilks (Kootenay—Columbia, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by many people from my riding calling on the government to pass Bill C-356, an act respecting a national strategy for dementia.

Asbestos  

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by literally tens of thousands of Canadians who draw upon the House of Commons and Parliament here assembled to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known and that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other occupational and industrial causes combined, yet they point out that Canada has not banned asbestos.
    Therefore, these petitioners are calling on the government to ban asbestos in all of its forms, end all government subsidies of asbestos both in Canada and abroad, and stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam Convention.

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. 660, 661, 662, 663, 664, 665, 666, 667 and 669 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 660--
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims:
     With regard to Service Canada Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan call centres for fiscal years 2012-2013 through 2014-2015 (year-to-date): (a) what was the volume of calls broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (b) what was the number of calls that received a high volume message, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (c) what were the national service level standards for calls answered by an agent, broken down by year; (d) what were the actual service level standards achieved for calls answered by an agent, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (e) what were the service standards for call backs, broken down by year; (f) what were the service standards achieved for call backs broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (g) what was the average number of days for a call back by an agent, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (h) what was the number and percentage of term employees, and the number and percentage of indeterminate employees, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (i) what is the rate of sick leave use among call centre employees, broken down by year; (j) what is the number of call centre employees on long-term disability; and (k) what is the rate of overtime and the number of overtime hours worked by call centre employees, broken down by year?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 661--
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims:
    With regard to the Advisory Panel on Labour Market Information: (a) which recommendations of the Advisory Panel on Labour Market Information Report have been implemented and what was the date they were put into place; (b) which of the recommendations of the Report are in the process of being implemented and what is the timeline for completion; and (c) which recommendations of the Report have not been implemented?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 662--
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims:
     With regard to Employment Insurance (EI) for fiscal years 2012-2013 through 2014-2015 (year-to-date): (a) what was the volume of EI applications, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where claim originated, (iii) region/province where the claim was processed, (iv) the number of claims accepted and the number of claims rejected, (v) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (b) what was the average EI application processing time, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where claim originated, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (c) how many applications waited more than 28 days for a decision and, for these applications, what was the average wait time for a decision, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where claim originated, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (d) what was the volume of calls to EI call centres broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (e) what was the number of calls to EI call centres that received a high volume message, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (f) what were the national service level standards for calls answered by an agent at EI call centres, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (g) what were the actual service level standards achieved by EI call centres for calls answered by an agent, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (h) what were the service standards for call backs at EI call centres broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (i) what were the service standards achieved by EI call centre agents for call backs, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (j) what was the average number of days for a call back by an EI call centre agent, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (k) what was the number and percentage of term employees, and the number and percentage of indeterminate employees, working at EI call centres and processing centres, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (l) what is the rate of sick leave use among EI call centre and processing centre employees, broken down by year; (m) what is the number of EI call centre and processing centre employees on long term disability; (n) what is the rate of overtime and the number of overtime hours worked by call centre employees, broken down by year; (o) how many complaints did the Office of Client Satisfaction receive, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where the complaint originated, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 by month; (p) how long on average did a complaint take to investigate and resolve, broken down by (i) year, (ii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 by month; and (q) what were the major themes of the complaints received, broken down by year?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 663--
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims:
    With regard to the Social Security Tribunal: (a) how many appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the Income Security Section; (b) how many appeals currently waiting to be heard pertain to (i) Canada Pension Plan retirement pensions, (ii) Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, (iii) Old Age Security; (c) how many appeals have been heard by the Income Security Section; (d) how many appeals were heard by the Income Security Section in (i) 2013, (ii) 2014; (e) how many appeals were heard by the Income Security Section relating to (i) Canada Pension Plan retirement pensions, (ii) Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, (iii) Old Age Security; (f) how many appeals heard by the Income Security Section were allowed; (g) how many appeals heard by the Income Security Section were dismissed; (h) how many appeals to the Income Security Section were summarily dismissed; (i) how many appeals allowed by the Income Security Section pertained to (i) Canada Pension Plan retirement pensions, (ii) Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, (iii) Old Age Security; (j) how many appeals at the Income Security Section have been heard (i) in person, (ii) by teleconference, (iii) by videoconference, (iv) in writing; (k) how many appeals at the Income Security Section heard in person have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (l) how many appeals at the Income Security Section heard by teleconference have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (m) how many appeals at the Income Security Section heard by videoconference have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (n) how many appeals at the Income Security Section heard in writing have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (o) how many members assigned Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit cases have (i) a degree from a recognized post-secondary institution, or a provincial or territorial licence in medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physiotherapy, or psychology, and how many have (ii) experience working on issues affecting seniors or people with disabilities; (p) what is the Tribunal’s protocol with regard to urgent hearing requests for Canada Pension Plan Disability cases; (q) how many income security appeals are currently waiting to be heard by the Appeal Division; (r) how many income security appeals currently waiting to be heard by the Appeal Division pertain to (i) Canada Pension Plan retirement pensions, (ii) Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, (iii) Old Age Security; (s) how many income security appeals have been heard by the Appeal Division; (t) how many income security appeals were heard by the Appeal Division in (i) 2013, (ii) 2014; (u) how many income security appeals were heard by the Appeal Division relating to (i) Canada Pension Plan retirement pensions, (ii) Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, (iii) Old Age Security; (v) how many income security appeals heard by the Appeal Division were allowed; (w) how many income security appeals heard by the Appeal Division were dismissed; (x) how many income security appeals to the Appeal Division were summarily dismissed; (y) how many income security appeals allowed by the Appeal Division pertained to (i) Canada Pension Plan retirement pensions, (ii) Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, (iii) Old Age Security; (z) how many income security appeals at the Appeal Division have been heard (i) in person, (ii) by teleconference, (iii) by videoconference, (iv) in writing; (aa) how many income security appeals at the Appeal Division heard in person have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (bb) how many income security appeals at the Appeal Division heard by teleconference have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (cc) how many income security appeals at the Appeal Division heard by videoconference have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (dd) how many income security appeals at the Appeal Division heard in writing have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (ee) how many appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the Employment Insurance Section; (ff) how many appeals have been heard by the Employment Insurance Section; (gg) how many appeals were heard by the Employment Insurance Section in (i) 2013, (ii) 2014; (hh) how many appeals heard by the Employment Insurance Section were allowed; (ii) how many appeals heard by the Employment Insurance Section were dismissed; (jj) how many appeals to the Employment Insurance Section were summarily dismissed; (kk) how many appeals at the Employment Insurance Section have been heard (i) in person, (ii) by teleconference, (iii) by videoconference, (iv) in writing; (ll) how many appeals at the Employment Insurance Section heard in person have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (mm) how many appeals at the Employment Insurance Section heard by teleconference have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (nn) how many appeals at the Employment Insurance Section heard by videoconference have been (i) allowed and (ii) dismissed; (oo) how many appeals at the Employment Insurance Section heard in writing have been (i) allowed and (ii) dismissed; (pp) how many Employment Insurance appeals are currently waiting to be heard by the Appeal Division; (qq) how many Employment Insurance appeals have been heard by the Appeal Division; (rr) how many Employment Insurance appeals were heard by the Appeal Division in (i) 2013, (ii) 2014; (ss) how many Employment Insurance appeals heard by the Appeal Division were allowed; (tt) how many Employment Insurance appeals heard by the Appeal Division were dismissed; (uu) how many Employment Insurance appeals to the Appeal Division were summarily dismissed; (vv) how many Employment Insurance appeals at the Appeal Division have been heard (i) in person, (ii) by teleconference, (iii) by videoconference, (iv) in writing; (ww) how many Employment Insurance appeals at the Appeal Division heard in person have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (xx) how many Employment Insurance appeals at the Appeal Division heard by teleconference have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (yy) how many Employment Insurance appeals at the Appeal Division heard by videoconference have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (zz) how many Employment Insurance appeals at the Appeal Division heard in writing have been (i) allowed, (ii) dismissed; (aaa) how many legacy appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the Income Security Section; (bbb) how many legacy appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the Employment Insurance Section; (ccc) how many legacy income security appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the Appeal Division; (ddd) how many legacy Employment Insurance appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the Appeal Division; (eee) of new Appeal Division members hired since May 2014, how many are (i) English speakers, (ii) French speakers, (iii) bilingual; (fff) of new Income Security Section members hired since May 2014, how many are (i) English speakers, (ii) French speakers, (iii) bilingual; (ggg) of new Employment Insurance Section members hired since May 2014, how many are (i) English speakers, (ii) French speakers, (iii) bilingual; and (hhh) what is the Tribunal’s protocol with regard to requests for urgent hearings due to financial hardship?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 664--
Mr. Robert Chisholm:
     With regard to Employment Insurance (EI) for fiscal years 2012-2013 through 2014-2015 (year-to-date): (a) what was the volume of EI applications broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where claim originated, (iii) region/province where the claim was processed, (iv) the number of claims accepted and the number of claims rejected, (v) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (b) what was the average EI applications processing time broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where claim originated, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (c) how many applications waited more than 28 days for a decision and, for these applications, what was the average wait time for a decision, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where claim originated, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (d) what was the volume of calls to EI call centres, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (e) what was the number of calls to EI call centres that received a high volume message broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (f) what were the national service level standards for calls answered by an agent at EI call centres, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (g) what were the actual service level standards achieved by EI call centres for calls answered by an agent, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (h) what were the service standards for call backs at EI call centres broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (i) what were the service standards achieved by EI call centre agents for call backs, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (j) what was the average number of days for a call back by an EI call centre agent, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (k) what was the number and percentage of term employees, and the number and percentage of indeterminate employees, working at EI call centres and processing centres, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, by month; (l) what is the rate of sick leave use among EI call centre and processing centre employees, broken down by year; (m) what is the number of EI call centre and processing centre employees on long term disability; (n) what is the rate of overtime and the number of overtime hours worked by call centre employees, broken down by year; (o) how many complaints did the Office of Client Satisfaction receive, broken down by (i) year, (ii) region/province where the complaint originated, (iii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 by month; (p) how long on average did a complaint take to investigate and resolve, broken down by (i) year, (ii) for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 by month; and (q) what were the major themes of the complaints received, broken down by year?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 665--
Mr. Glenn Thibeault:
    With regard to funding applications submitted to the government, broken down by department and fiscal year, since 2003-2004, up to and including the current fiscal year: (a) what is the total number of funding applications submitted to the government from the constituency of Sudbury; and (b) what is the total number of successful funding applications submitted to the government in which money was allocated to an individual, business, or non-governmental organization in the constituency of Sudbury?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 666--
Hon. Ralph Goodale:
    With regard to public private partnerships financed by the government: (a) what are all the projects so financed; (b) how long did it take to design the bidding process; (c) what was the length of the bidding process from initial expression of interest to close; and (d) what was the cost of a bid for proponents?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 667--
Hon. Ralph Goodale:
     With regard to the former Environment Minister's intention stated on January 20, 2012, to “invest an additional $78.7 million over the next five years to further enhance weather and warning services across the country” and his intention stated on May 27, 2013, to invest “an additional $248 million over five years to further strengthen Canada's meteorological services”: (a) in what manner have these commitments been fulfilled to date; (b) what plans exist to implement these commitments in the future; and (c) what are the details, in (a) and (b), of each project related to the commitments including (i) its title, (ii) a summary of the project, (iii) its location, (iv) its estimated cost, (v) its targeted start date, (vi) its estimated completion date?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 669--
Hon. Mark Eyking:
     With regard to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Victoria County: (a) what were the numbers of employees, broken down by all departments, working in that region in 2005; (b) what are the numbers of employees, broken down by all departments, working in that region currently (in 2013, if current data is not available); (c) how much will be spent, broken down by all departments, on infrastructure in that region in 2014 (in 2013, if current data is not available); and (d) how much was spent, broken down by all departments, on infrastructure in that region in 2005?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

Motions for Papers

Mr. Tom Lukiwski:  
    Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Speaker:  
    The Chair has notice of a question of privilege. I will recognize the members in the order in which I received the letters. I will go first to the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

[Translation]

Privilege

Member for Peterborough  

[Privilege]
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few minutes to talk about our question of privilege.
    Today we must deal with an unprecedented problem. The member for Peterborough, who was also the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, was recently found guilty by the Ontario Court of Justice, under the Canada Elections Act, of several offences connected with the 2008 federal election.

[English]

    A judge found the member guilty of the following. First, he was found guilty of personally paying an election expense and thereby wilfully exceeding his contribution limit contrary to subsections 405(1), 497(3) and 500(5) of the Elections Act. Second, he violated, by willingly incurring election expenses in excess of the campaign expense limit, subsections 443(1) 497(3) and 500(5). Third, he was found guilty of providing an election campaign return containing a false or misleading material statement in omitting to report a campaign contribution and election expense, contrary to paragraphs 463(1)(a) and 497(3)(v) and subsection 500(5) of the Elections Act, and violating by providing a campaign return that did not substantially set out the required information by omitting to report a campaign contribution and election expense, contrary to paragraphs 463(1)(b) and 597(3)(v) and subsection 500(5).
    This count was stayed at the Crown's request following the finding of guilt.

[Translation]

    Each count carries a maximum penalty of $2,000, a year in prison, or both. I am sure the Speaker has already read the document dealing with this conviction.

[English]

    These are extremely serious offences. By being found guilty of breaking the very electoral laws that put him in this place, the member has shown contempt for our democratic institutions and has undoubtedly tarnished the dignity of the House.
    The second edition of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Bosc and O'Brien, states at page 134:
    Parliamentary privilege holds Members responsible for acting in character with the function they fulfil as elected representatives.
    It also quotes Bourinot, 4th edition, page 64, stating that:
     The right of a legislative body to suspend or expel a member for what is sufficient cause in its own judgement is undoubted. Such a power is absolutely necessary to the conservation of the dignity and usefulness of a body.

  (1540)  

[Translation]

    Page 135 contains other references to Maingot, second edition, page 221, which states that expulsion is advised and “extends to all cases where the offence is such as, in the judgement of the House, to render the Member unfit for parliamentary duties.” Nothing exemplifies a member's unfitness more clearly than being found guilty of violating the Canada Elections Act.

[English]

    As I said before, this is an unusual matter. There have only been four cases since Confederation where members of the House were expelled for having committed serious offences. We can look to the more recent events in the Senate where three appointees of the present Prime Minister were suspended without pay, and they have not even been found guilty of criminal acts in a court of law.

[Translation]

    The second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice clearly sets out, on pages 244 and 245, all the details of the next steps to be taken by the House of Commons:
    By virtue of parliamentary privilege, only the House has the inherent right to decide matters affecting its own membership. Indeed, the House decides for itself if a member should be permitted to sit on committees, receive a salary or even be allowed to keep his or her seat.
    It also states:
    The power of the House to expel one of its members is derived from its traditional authority to determine whether a member is qualified to sit.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, with respect to our collective privilege that requires us both to act in a manner that upholds the dignity of the House as well as to regulate our own internal affairs and membership, I am asking that you agree that this matter constitutes a prima facie case of privilege and that you invite me to move the appropriate motion. Should you do that, Mr. Speaker, I would propose a motion that would seek to immediately suspend the member for Peterborough, without salary, and refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for further study on the status of his membership in the House of Commons.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time that a member of this government has faced charges of election fraud. However, it is the first time that a member has been found guilty by the court of these offences and has publicly stated that he intends to keep his seat in the House of Commons, as well as all the inherent privileges.

[English]

    The in-and-out scandal of the Prime Minister's senior electoral advisors, the voter suppression through illegal robocalls by Conservative Party staff, the electoral fraud of the Prime Minister's disgraced former minister of intergovernmental affairs, and the spending scandal involving the Prime Minister's appointments to the Senate all advanced Conservative interests and asked the Canadian public to pick up the tab. These are all cases that have been raised in this House.

[Translation]

    However, this is the first time that a member has been charged and found guilty.
    In closing, although the Prime Minister expelled his former parliamentary secretary from the Conservative caucus as soon as he was charged with these serious offences, other measures are required now that he has been found guilty of four counts of election fraud.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I hope you will agree that this matter constitutes a clear prima facie question of privilege, a question on which this House ought to debate and make a decision.
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, of course we on the government side have spent some time contemplating these very same questions, as they are matters of great import for this House. My concern is that in the point of privilege raised by my friend and his intention to ask in this House for an immediate suspension of the member, we are perhaps a bit premature.
    The reason I state this is because the current state of the judicial proceedings in this matter is that the judge, Justice Lisa Cameron, pronounced her verdict in the Lindsay provincial court on Friday. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Friday, November 21. As those of us who are familiar with the law know, two of the alternatives on sentencing could theoretically give the member for Peterborough an absolute discharge or a conditional discharge.
    Subsection 730(3) of the Criminal Code explains the effect of a discharge:
    (3) Where a court directs under subsection (1) that an offender be discharged of an offence, the offender shall be deemed not to have been convicted of the offence [...]
    Going back to section 502 of the Canada Elections Act, paragraph 1(c) states:
    Every person is guilty of an offence that is an illegal practice who [...]
(c) being...a candidate...wilfully contravenes section 443....
     I have skipped some irrelevant words there.
    Subsection 3 provides that, “Any person who is convicted of having committed an offence that is an illegal practice...during the next five years...after the date of their being so convicted...”.
    That relates to the disqualification. It would appear that a discharge would have the effect of negating the condition and precedent under the act for disqualification.
    I have placed a new notice of our intention to raise a question of privilege today on this matter. I believe the approach that I would put forward provides an elegant solution to the challenge we have, that sentencing has not yet occurred and that this option exists. It would allow us to take an appropriate action at this time without acting in a way that would legally be premature.
    For that reason, Mr. Speaker, I ask that you reserve on this and that you please hear my question of privilege that I would like to raise.

  (1545)  

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is important for us to be very clear on the point that a conviction has actually occurred. There is a great deal of interest throughout the country in regard to what is taking place here. We have a responsibility to ensure that we do the right thing.
    The Canada Elections Act is clear: a member cannot sit in the House for a minimum of five years if there is a conviction. Obviously there is a conviction here. Our primary concern should be dealing with whether the member should be able to sit and vote in the House. There appear to be some different possible opinions. From the Liberal Party's perspective, we believe it is best that the member not sit in the House until there has been a decision made, based on a consensus as to where to go from here.
    Having said that, I would suggest that we reserve the right to add more comments to this particular point of privilege.
The Speaker:  
    On a point of clarification, is the hon. House leader requesting that I hear him on his point, and is he prepared to make those submissions now?
Hon. Peter Van Loan:  
    Yes.
The Speaker:  
    I will hear the hon. government House leader. Other members have added their contribution and I will hear him as well.
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as we all know, we are discussing the question of privilege arising out of Friday's decision by the Ontario Court of Justice regarding the member for Peterborough. As I understand Friday afternoon's proceedings, you are in fact tracking down primary documentation.
     In the meantime, I would like to lay upon the table, in both official languages, a copy of the news release that has been issued by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada on the trial results. It is not the authoritative primary document that the court judgement would be. However, it does provide us with more information than we had on Friday.
    As is noted in this news release, there were four guilty verdicts against the member for Peterborough, and three against his co-accused official agent. One pair of charges was stayed at the request of the Crown. Of specific importance to us is that the member was convicted of the offence of willfully incurring election expenses in excess of the campaign expense and contrary to subsection 443(1) of the Canadian Elections Act. Paragraph 502(1)(c) of that act places that offence in the category of illegal practices.
    Subsection 502(3) then becomes the critical provision for us in relation to the offence of willfully exceeding the expense limit, and I quote:
    (3) Any person who is convicted of having committed an offence that is an illegal practice or a corrupt practice under this Act shall, in addition to any other punishment for that offence prescribed by this Act, in the case of an illegal practice, during the next five years...after the date of their being so convicted, not be entitled to
(a) be elected to or sit in the House of Commons; [...]
    However, the statute does not vacate the seat. It falls to us, as the House of Commons, to decide how the statutory provision is to be applied, as pages 244 and 245 of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice explain:
    Once a person is elected to the House of Commons, there are no constitutional provisions and few statutory provisions for removal of that Member from office. The statutory provisions rendering a Member ineligible to sit or vote do not automatically cause the seat of that Member to become vacant. By virtue of parliamentary privilege, only the House has the inherent right to decide matters affecting its own membership.
    As I said in a published statement on Friday afternoon, I find that the decision in the Lindsay provincial court raises serious concerns. In short, I am proposing that leave be granted for a motion to refer this matter to the procedure and House affairs committee for examination.
    It is my intention to move a motion setting out detailed areas for the committee to consider for recommendation, such as a suspension without pay pending the disposition of all legal proceedings, as well as the administrative questions related to pensions, benefits, offices, and staff which would then arise.
    For the clarity of the House, Mr. Speaker, the motion I intend to bring, which I provided you notice of, would read as follows:
    That the matter of the October 31, 2014, decision of the Ontario Court of Justice respecting the Member for Peterborough in relation to charges under the Canada Elections Act and, in particular, that of wilfully incurring expenses in excess of a campaign expense limit, contrary to section 443 of the Act be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs with instruction that it report back to the House with recommendations, including those addressing the following issues:
(a) a suspension of the Member, without pay, pending the finalization of all legal proceedings in this matter;
(b) an expulsion of the Member, should a conviction under section 443 not be set aside by a competent authority and no further rights of appeal remain available to the Member, together with the appropriate Order, in those circumstances, for the Speaker to issue his warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for the election of the member to serve in the present Parliament for electoral district of Peterborough;
(c) the appropriate approach respecting the Member's pensions, travel status expense account, insurance and other benefits;
(d) the appropriate approach respecting the employment of the staff, and management of the offices, of the Member; and
(e) any other questions that arise as a result of this matter and its disposition.
    Mr. Speaker, since I am making a lengthy series of submissions, perhaps it might be helpful to give you and the House an outline of the topics that I plan to address.
    First, I will speak to the jurisdiction of the House to entertain questions concerning a member's right to sit and vote.
    Second, I will address the procedure and practice relating to how the House entertains these questions.
    Third, I will give attention to the present circumstances and the outstanding questions.
    Finally I will set out my proposed approach as reflected in the motion that I just read.
    My submissions are lengthy because there are a number of important principles and major questions to be addressed, questions which do not all lend themselves to ready answers. Moreover, some of the authorities on point may even be contradictory, which is all the more reason that I think a committee should take up this issue.

  (1550)  

    First, with respect to jurisdiction, the expulsion of a member is something which is clearly within the powers of the House. That is what O'Brien and Bosc explains as follows:
    Under section 18 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which endowed the House with the same privileges, immunities, and powers as enjoyed by the British House of Commons, the House of Commons possesses the power of expulsion. A serious matter, expulsion has a twofold purpose as explained in May:
    “The purpose of expulsion is not so much disciplinary as remedial, not so much to punish Members as to rid the House of persons who are unfit for membership. It may justly be regarded as an example of the House's power to regulate its own constitution. But it is more convenient to treat it among the methods of punishment at the disposal of the House”.
    Even this most drastic power has its limits, however, as is noted in Bourinot:
    “The right of a legislative body to suspend or expel a member for what is sufficient cause in its own judgment is undoubted. Such a power is absolutely necessary to the conservation of the dignity and usefulness of a body”. [...]
    The House may expel a Member for offences committed outside his or her role as an elected representative or committed outside a session of Parliament. As Maingot explains, it “extends to all cases where the offence is such as, in the judgment of the House, to render the Member unfit for parliamentary duties.”
    Joseph Maingot, at page 188 of Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, Second Edition, explains the exercise of this authority in relation to a conviction triggering a statutory disqualification on sitting and voting, the matter we are considering here:
    The Canada Elections Act provides for the election of the Member, but when duly elected, the House alone is the body to determine whether a Member shall remain a Member. Thus, although a Member may be convicted of something as serious as a treason-related offence, or even sentenced to five years or more upon conviction of any indictable offence, a formal resolution of the House is still required to formally unseat him, at which moment the Speaker may not yet address his warrant for the issue of a writ for the election of a Member to fill the vacancy without an order of the House of Commons to that effect. [...]
    In the final analysis, the House of Commons may exclude, suspend, or expel a Member for any reason, because it is an internal matter.
    What is clear is that the ordinary civil and criminal jurisdiction of the courts does not extend to determining the rights of Members to sit in the House, and the courts equally have nothing to do with questions affecting its membership except in so far as they have been specifically designated by law to act in such matters as, for example, under [part 20 of the Canada Elections Act on contested elections].
    Of course, since that book was published, the five-year threshold under the Criminal Code has been amended to be two years. However, that is not of direct relevance here, given that we are dealing with a Canada Elections Act disqualification.
    In terms of procedure, the authorities are clear that the House of Commons may pronounce on a member's right to sit and to vote when it has been brought into question. When that right is questioned, it is to be treated as a matter of privilege, which is why I am rising on this question of privilege.
    Maingot explains, at page 247:
    A third procedure akin to “privilege” (because it would be given precedence and discussed without delay) would be the case of whether a Member was disqualified to sit and ineligible to vote. These matters may only be resolved ultimately by the House, and they are “privilege” matters because the House has the power to rule that a member is ineligible to sit and vote, and to expel the Member.
     The determination of whether a Member is ineligible to sit and vote is a matter to be initiated without notice and would be given precedence by its very nature.
    Lamoureux, in his March 1, 1966 ruling, at page 204 of the Journals, on a question of privilege respecting a member who had not met a deadline to file a campaign expense return, concluded with these words:
    From the references and precedents just quoted it would appear to me: (a) That, even if there is a penalty provision in section 63 of the Canada Elections Act and whatever may be the terms of the order made by the judge pursuant to the said section in allowing an authorized excuse, the House is still the sole judge of its own proceedings, and for the purpose of determining on a right to be exercised within the House itself which, in this particular case, is the right of one honourable Member to sit and to vote, the House alone can interpret the relevant statute.
(b) That the procedure followed in 1875 with regard to the precedent above referred to, which bears resemblance to the case before us, seems to me to indicate that the question was dealt with at the time as being of the nature of a prima facie case of a breach of privilege.
(c) That it is not within the competence of the Speaker to decide as to the question of substance or as to the disallowance of a vote, and that such decisions are to be made by the House itself.
    That 1966 ruling was not followed up with a motion in the House.
     Also, it is worth pointing out that in the 1875 case that was just referenced, related to an issue of a member, who having resigned and been re-elected in the ensuing by-election sat and voted after the by-election without retaking the oath of allegiance, Maingot, at page 212, speaks to who takes leadership of this type of proceeding:
    In any event, while any Member may move to examine the conduct of another Member, where a Member has been convicted of a serious offence, the motion to declare his seat vacant, when it is moved, is normally moved by a Member of the government.

  (1555)  

    Since the conduct of the member for Peterborough has been examined elsewhere, namely in the Ontario Court of Justice, the duty of initiative does fall to me.
    Page 50 of Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice, 24th edition, explains the role of the government House leader, including:
...at all times, being responsible to the House as a whole, he 'advises the House in every difficulty as it arises'.
    Because it is such a rare proceeding, there is no straightforward procedure written down that may be replicated here.
    In fact, just three individuals have been expelled from this House on a total of four occasions. Citations 47 to 49 of Beauschesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, sixth edition, recounts those cases.
    First, and members probably studied this case in school:
     On two occasions Louis Riel was expelled. On the first occasion he had fled from justice and had failed to obey an order of the House to appear in his place. ... When re-elected, the House, after examination, decided that he had been judged an outlaw for felony and ordered the Speaker to issue a warrant for a new writ.
     The case of Fred Rose in 1946 was rather different. The Speaker laid before the House court documents regarding the conviction and sentence to six years' imprisonment of Fred Rose for conspiring to commit various offences under the Official Secrets Act...and the House ordered the Speaker to issue a warrant for a writ.
     It is not necessary for the courts to come to a decision before the House acts. In 1891 charges were laid in the House against Thomas McGreevy relating to scandals in the Public Works Department. The Committee on Privileges and Elections examined the evidence and concluded that the charges were amply proven. Mr. McGreevy meanwhile had submitted his resignation, which was void since the matter had not yet been settled in the courts. The House judged Mr. McGreevy to be guilty of a contempt of the House as well as certain of the charges and ordered his expulsion.
    More recently, the House may have been in the position to consider a member's expulsion, but events superseded the point, as explained at footnote 477 on page 245 of O'Brien and Bosc:
    In 1989...Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Kingsway) rose on a question of privilege with respect to the conduct of Mr. Grisé (Chambly) who had pleaded guilty to charges of breach of trust and fraud. Mr. Robinson stated that if the Speaker found the matter to be prima facie, he would move a motion that Mr. Grisé be expelled from the House and his seat declared vacant.... Speaker Fraser took the matter under advisement. Before he could render his decision, Mr. Grisé resigned his seat.
    A review of the records of the House will elaborate upon the details of these cases.
    Beyond those four incidents, our provincial and territorial legislatures have yet more precedents that could be reviewed, some of which may have been neat and tidy affairs, and others that were the opposite.
    Of an expulsion from Manitoba's Legislative Assembly in 1980, its then Clerk Assistant, Gord Mackintosh—who has, for the last 21 years, been an NDP MLA—summed up those proceedings in an article published in the Canadian Parliamentary Review:
...it is clear that legislatures have great discretionary powers to expel members and have at times invoked this prerogative. Through customary usages, certain parliamentary procedures have been followed in expulsion cases but no hard and fast rules can ever be established. Each Assembly's approach to an expulsion is almost entirely unpredictable. Political considerations of the day, recognized procedure, legislation and case law all play a role. Manitoba's “Wilson affair” may have been an unfortunate incident but it did offer interesting insights into this little used form of Parliamentary privilege.
    It is important that we do not fall into the jumble of proceedings that was witnessed in that incident, which is why I am advocating for a committee reference here.
    As I indicated earlier in response to my friend, the current state of the judicial proceedings is such that we have a verdict but a sentencing has not taken place. That sentencing hearing is to take place on Friday, November 21.
    As at least one journalist has pointed out on Twitter, the sentencing judge could theoretically give the member for Peterborough an absolute discharge or a conditional discharge. I shall not review the same terms, but under the Criminal Code, that kind of discharge would have the effect of negating the condition precedent, that being a conviction, which is the condition precedent for the section 502 disqualification.
    For that reason, as I said earlier, it would be premature at this time for the House to suspend.
    However, referring the matter to the Committee on Procedure and House Affairs would not be premature. It would be appropriate, and it could deal with the matter at the appropriate time, following the sentencing hearing.
    What that would also allow is for this House to take action right now, at an earlier point in time, to show that we were in carriage of the matter and acting appropriately.

  (1600)  

    There is the question of the appeal, and this relates to conducting an expulsion immediately upon a guilty finding. While the status of the member for Peterborough could change that quickly, it may also change further down the road, following an appeal. The member for Peterborough has already stated his intention to appeal the verdict, but what would happen if the trial judge's verdict is overturned?
    While British electoral law provides for a convicted member's seat to be vacated, unlike our law, that law was, however, amended in recent years to provide for the possibility of an appeal court overturning a verdict. Page 35 of Erskine May describes it best:
     On conviction by a criminal court, a person guilty of a corrupt or illegal practice is disqualified for the same periods as above; if he or she has been elected, there are provisions for the disqualification not to begin for a maximum of three months while an appeal is pending, during which time the person may not perform any of his or her functions as a Member of Parliament.
    Then footnote 9 on page 36 explains the prior state of law and presumably the reason motivating the Westminister Parliament to amend the law:
     In 1999, before the current provisions were made, a member was convicted of a corrupt practice in relation to a declaration of election expenses, and the Speaker announced that the seat was accordingly vacant. The conviction was then overturned on appeal, and the Speaker asked the Attorney General to seek a declaration by the High Court on whether the Member was entitled to resume her seat. The court determined that the Member was so entitled.
    This quandary is summarized in McGee's Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, third edition, and is followed by this observation at page 30:
     Nevertheless, a successful appeal against conviction would seem to remove the justification for disqualification in the first place and the same principles for avoiding the loss of a member's seat, if this was still possible, may apply in New Zealand.
    Further down that page in respect of an electoral sense, we read:
     The same principles for avoiding disqualification in the case of a successful appeal of a conviction of a corrupt electoral practice as was discussed above in regard to conviction for a crime would seem to apply, if this is still possible.
    Therefore, it is not unsurprising to read that Maingot cautions at page 188 on proceeding hastily:
     It still remains the decision of the House itself and it is probably that, before the House expels a Member, all avenues of appeal will have been exhausted.....
    This point is re-articulated by O'Brien and Bosc at page 245:
    When there has been a criminal conviction, the House of Commons has acted only when sufficient evidence against a Member has been tabled (i.e., judgements sentencing the Member and appeals confirming the sentence).
    Maingot elaborates at page 212:
     In all of the instances both in Canada and in the U.K., the House will go to great lengths to have all available evidence, e.g. judgments sentencing the Member and appeals confirming the sentence before it, prior to embarking on the serious course of expelling one of its Members. In the case of Fred Rose, the House waited until all appeals were exhausted and until it was clear that the Member could not fulfil his parliamentary duties because of his prison sentence. The task is rendered easier for the House when the Member is sentenced to prison, and the instance as yet to arise of a Member convicted of a crime involving serious moral turpitude for which the sentence is suspended. In such an event, the House would weigh the question of fitness of the person to remain a Member, should it become seized of the issue.
    There is the question of the sub judice convention.
    By the very existence of appeal proceedings, this matter will remain before the courts, or to borrow a phrase we use often here, sub judice. Page 99 of O'Brien and Bosc describes the sub judice convention as such:
    It is accepted practice that, in the interests of justice and fair play, certain restrictions should be placed on the freedom of Members of Parliament to make reference in the course of debate to matters awaiting judicial decisions, and that such matters should not be the subject of motions or questions in the House. Though loosely defined, the interpretation of this convention is left to the Speaker. The word “convention” is used as no “rule” exists to prevent Parliament from discussing a matter which is sub judice. The acceptance of a restriction is a voluntary restraint on the part of the House to protect an accused person or any other party to a court action or judicial inquiry from suffering any prejudicial effect from public discussion of the issue.
    On the application of the sub judice convention in criminal proceedings, O'Brien and Bosc explain it at pages 628 and 629:
    No distinction has ever been made in Canada between criminal courts and civil courts for the purpose of applying the sub judice convention, and it has also had application to certain tribunals other than courts of law. The convention exists to guarantee everyone a fair trial and to prevent any undue influence prejudicing a judicial decision or a report of a tribunal of inquiry. Indeed, in the view of the Special Committee on the Rights and Immunities of Members, “prejudice is most likely to occur in respect of criminal cases and civil cases of defamation where juries are involved”.

  (1605)  

     Where criminal cases are concerned, the precedents are consistent in barring reference to such matters before judgement has been rendered and during any appeal. Members are expected to refrain from discussing matters that are before a criminal court, not only in order to protect those persons who are undergoing trial and stand to be affected whatever its outcome, but also because the trial could be affected by debate in the House. It has been established that the convention would cease to apply, as far as criminal cases are concerned, when judgement has been rendered. The Speaker has confirmed that a matter becomes sub judice again if an appeal is entered following a judgement.
    Therefore, Mr. Speaker, does that mean that the sub judice convention prevents us from discussing here in our House of Commons the situation of the member for Peterborough until all appeal proceedings have concluded? That answer may lie on page 627 of O'Brien and Bosc, which states:
    The sub judice convention is first and foremost a voluntary exercise of restraint on the part of the House to protect an accused person, or other party to a court action or judicial inquiry, from any prejudicial effect of public discussion of the issue. Secondly, the convention also exists, as Speaker Fraser noted, “to maintain a separation and mutual respect between legislative and judicial branches of government”. Thus, the constitutional independence of the judiciary is recognized. However, as Speaker Sauvé explained, the sub judice convention has never stood in the way of the House considering a prima facie matter of privilege vital to the public interest or to the effective operation of the House and its Members.
    Madam Sauvé's ruling was favourably cited by you, Mr. Speaker, in your ruling of June 18, 2013, at page 18551 of the Debates. In that case, which was also one on respecting members' rights to sit and vote being called into question while judicial proceedings were pending, your ruling offered this perspective:
...the Chair is faced with the fact that some have argued that it is just and prudent to continue to await the conclusion of legal proceedings, while others have maintained that the two members ought, even now, not to be sitting in the House.
I believe that the House must have an opportunity to consider these complex issues.
    In short, it would appear that discussing certain issues, such as determining how to resolve a member's right to sit and vote, warrants priority over the sub judice convention. Therefore, I believe that we can proceed here.
    Finally, I want to address one modern development in the context of our ancient privileges, and that is to consider the extent, if any, that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to our deliberations on this issue. Though I recognize clearly that it is not the place of the Chair to decide questions of law, the issue which I am about to canvass is one which could become inextricably linked to the matter of the member for Peterborough, so it is important to put them before the House for the benefit of members.
    O'Brien and Bosc take the position, at page 79, following recent court cases, including the Supreme Court of Canada decisions in New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. v. Nova Scotia (Speaker of the House of Assembly) and Harvey v. New Brunswick (Attorney General), as follows:
    One question that has been raised and dealt with by the Supreme Court on three occasions is the relationship of parliamentary privilege to other parts of the Constitution, particularly the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Since parliamentary privilege and Charter rights are part of the Constitution, each has equal value. The Court has consistently held that the Charter does not override parliamentary privilege.
    While the courts play a role in determining if a privilege exists and is necessary for the legislative and deliberative functions of the House, the courts or other institutions cannot interfere with the exercise of the privilege or otherwise direct the affairs of the Commons.
    However, the Supreme Court has not directly addressed the intersection of parliamentary privilege, expulsion, and the charter. While that court did consider the expulsion of a member of a legislative assembly in Harvey, the majority reached its decision on the basis of an analysis of the charter's provisions relative to the impugned statute.
    Madam Justice McLachlin, as she then was, did, however, explore parliamentary privilege in her concurring reasons. At page 55, she stated:
    I am of the view that the disqualification for office raised in this case falls within the historical privilege of the legislature and is hence immune from judicial review.
    Later, at paragraph 80, she added:
    It is clear that had the New Brunswick legislature simply expelled [Mr. Harvey] , that decision would fall squarely within its parliamentary privilege and the courts would have no power to review it.
    In this case, the law of parliamentary privilege was not argued before any court until the Attorney General of Canada, as an intervener at the Supreme Court of Canada, raised it. Writing for the majority, Mr. Justice La Forest disposed of this issue at paragraph 19, where he stated:
...the issue was not seriously argued before us. In fact it was willingly conceded that it was appropriate to judge the provisions of s. 119(c) in light of the Charter. Given that the parties to the present appeal have chosen not to ground their argument on the basis that expulsion and disqualification are privileges of the Legislative Assembly, and given that there were no submissions by any party on the point, it is not necessary to decide that issue here.

  (1610)  

    Another post-charter expulsion, accomplished through a special statutory provision, drew this obiter comment from Chief Justice Glube, then of the trial division of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. The application judge in MacLean v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General), at paragraph 30, said:
    In my opinion, the power to expel a person by resolution of the Assembly remains a valid function of the Assembly, and if by resolution, would not normally be reviewable by the Court.
    As summarized in his 1987 Canadian Parliamentary Review article, “The Legislature, The Charter, and Billy Joe MacLean”, John Holtby wrote:
    For politicians who saw the Charter as an intrusion by the Courts into parliamentary life, the case of Billy Joe MacLean has shown that the Courts continue to respect the rights and privileges of the House.
    This accords with the view expressed, following the first Supreme Court of Canada decision on privilege, New Brunswick Broadcasting, by Professor Andrew Heard in his article, “The Expulsion and Disqualification of Legislators: Parliamentary Privilege and the Charter of Rights”, published in the Dalhousie Law Journal, at page 393. It states:
     One can firmly conclude that the privileges of Canadian legislative assemblies include the power to expel their members. It is necessary to both the discipline and integrity of any legislature that members may be removed from office. Expulsion was not reviewable by the courts prior to the Charter and is not now subject to the Charter, according to the ratio of New Brunswick Broadcasting.
    On the other hand, a former member of the House, Professor Ted McWhinney, wrote in a 1989 Canadian Parliamentary Review article, entitled “Forfeiture of Office on Conviction of an 'Infamous Crime” , this analysis of the 1980 Manitoba expulsion that I referred to previously:
—at the time of the Legislative Assembly's action an appeal against the criminal conviction had already been filed and the Member concerned was released on bail. Such legislative action -- literally, "jumping the gun" on the final determination by the courts of law of the guilt or innocence of the Member concerned for the crime with which he was originally charged and which formed the basis of the Legislature's own action -- would seem capable, only with extreme difficulty, of being reconciled with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms' general constitutional guarantees of due process of law.
    As recently as 2012, lawyers in the Library of Parliament were expressing caution on this front. In a briefing paper entitled “Criminal Charges and Parliamentarians”, the authors note, at page 4:
    In the past, the authority of the House over its members was considered to be absolute; it was said that the House could expel a member “for such reasons as it deems fit.” This discretion may have been somewhat circumscribed with the advent of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is now arguable that the House would have to proceed in a reasonable and fair manner, giving the member involved an opportunity to answer any charges.
    Professor Enid Campbell, in her pre-charter article, “Expulsion of Members of Parliament”, published in the The University of Toronto Law Journal in 1971, wrote:
     There is no convincing reason why the rules of natural justice should not be held to apply to parliamentary proceedings for the expulsion of members. Members have distinct rights and privileges...and their expulsion deprives them of those rights and privileges...Cases of deprivation of public office were amongst the first to which the audi alteram partem rule was applied...
    On that front, recommendations were made in the late 1990s at the Westminster House of Commons in relation to members charged with contempt. Though this is not a charge of contempt against the member for Peterborough, some of the content outlined at page 200 of Erskine May could be of relevance in proceedings before a committee.
    Meanwhile, Maingot's comments, at page 189, may be taken as a suggestion that the finding of facts are of importance, and that the House need not duplicate these efforts. He said:
    A Member's right to sit may nevertheless be affected by a decision of the courts. Where in a reference to the court on the recommendation of a committee of the House the court finds that a Member is disqualified and ineligible to sit and vote, the House of Parliament of Canada would probably follow the U.K. practice and unseat the Member.
    Having reviewed of all these precedents and all of these considerations, what is the best way forward? The next citation that I would like to quote is quite persuasive in answering that.
    Sir John Bourinot's Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada, fourth edition, at pages 161 and 162 states:
    In the Canadian as in the English House of Commons, “whenever any question is raised affecting the seat of a member, and involving matters of doubt, either in law or fact, it is customary to refer it to the consideration of a committee”.
    That citation was cited by you, Mr. Speaker, favourably, in your ruling of June 18, 2013, at page 18551, of the Debates, which I earlier referenced.

  (1615)  

    However, not only do I find the citation impelling because of the weight of the authority supporting it, but also because it is practical. That is why I want to see this matter referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. That committee is best placed to consider all of the issues and questions I have canvassed in these submissions such as: What should be done if the sentence is a discharge?; What should be made of appeal proceedings?; Does the charter apply or inform in any way to the House or a committee's consideration of this?
    The bottom line, too, is something that the committee is best placed to sort out: What is the overarching result that should be fashioned here? The committee needs to find a way which balances the court's finding of guilt, which should not be taken lightly, since it was arrived at on a standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”, with the possibility that an appeal court could change that outcome.
    The balanced solution is, in my view, one of suspension without pay until the verdict becomes final or is overturned. That would certainly be within the authority of the House to implement. Page 189 of Maingot declares:
In the final analysis, the House of Commons may exclude, suspend or expel a member for any reason, because it is an internal matter.
    As to the notion of suspending without pay, pages 244 and 245 of O'Brien and Bosc relate that:
     By virtue of parliamentary privilege, only the House has the inherent right to decide matters affecting its own membership. Indeed, the House decides for itself if a Member should be permitted to sit on committees, receive a salary or even be allowed to keep his or her seat.
    Additionally, a suspension pending appeal would be consistent with the current British practice, which I cited earlier, and accords with the suggested New Zealand approach.
     In the Manitoba case I mentioned before, the Legislative Assembly had adopted a motion, “That Mr. Wilson be ordered to withdraw from the Chamber and remain outside the Chamber unless a competent authority set aside his conviction”.
    The member's expulsion was not perfected until after the Supreme Court of Canada had denied leave to appeal in his criminal case.
    The most recent expulsion of a parliamentarian in Canada, in Nunavut on October 24 this year, followed a period of suspension, albeit imposed for disciplinary reasons related to the member's conduct.
     A suspension would not be accomplished as simply as it might sound. Details would need to be worked out respecting pension accrual, travel accounts, health insurance and other benefits.
    What about the member's offices? Since people in Peterborough will still be looking for services provided by the member's constituency office, should his office continue to function, but perhaps under the management of one of the whips, consistent with what happens when a seat is vacant? These, too, are decisions and details which ought to be ironed out. A committee is the best venue for doing just that type of work.
    To that end, Mr. Speaker, should you find a prima facie case of privilege, I am prepared to move this motion: That the matter of the October 31, 2014 decision of the Ontario Court of Justice respecting the member for Peterborough in relation to charges under the Canada Elections Act—and, in particular, that of wilfully incurring expenses in excess of a campaign expense limit, contrary to section 443 of the Act—be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs with instruction that it report back to the House with recommendations, including those addressing the following issues: (a) a suspension of the member without pay, pending the finalization of all legal proceedings in this matter; (b) an expulsion of the member, should a conviction under section 443 not be set aside by a competent authority and no further rights of appeal remain available to the member, together with the appropriate order, in those circumstances, for the Speaker to issue his warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for the election of a member to serve in the present Parliament for the electoral district of Peterborough; (c) the appropriate approach respecting the member's pensions, travel status expense account, insurance and other benefits; (d) the appropriate approach respecting the employment of the staff, and management of the offices, of the member; and (e) any other questions that arise as a result of this matter and its disposition.
    Though I think this argument is sound, such that you can find a prima facie of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I would invite you to reserve your decision for a period of time so that the member for Peterborough might have the opportunity of making an intervention if he wishes.
     In fact, may I recommend, through you, that one of our Table clerks alert the member to this question of privilege having been raised and that an intervention would be invited? This would ensure, at a minimum, that the basic principles of fundamental justice, audi alteram partem, may be honoured before you give your decision.
    In any event, Mr. Speaker, should you find favour with my point of privilege as I have raised and the House has had an opportunity to consider that motion, such an opportunity could also be exercised at the committee that would consider the questions of suspension/expulsion and other related matters.

  (1620)  

Mr. Peter Julian:  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the government House leader for raising those interesting precedents. Unfortunately, much of what he has said is most appropriately part of the debate we will have depending on your ruling. Therefore, I want to be clear that if you rule there is a prima facie case that there is a question of privilege here, and you will of course be ruling on the question of privilege that we have raised, the government members might have their own opinions to give to the House and we will find a lot of debate on the appropriate course of action to take.
    It is your role, Mr. Speaker, to decide whether you believe there is a prima facie case of a question of privilege. If you do decide there is, I will be moving the following motion: That, with regard to the guilty verdict of October 31, 2014, against the member for Peterborough on four counts of violating the Canada's Election Act, the House: (a) immediately suspend the member of: (1) the right to sit or vote in this place; (2) the right to sit on any committee of this place; (3) the right to collect his sessional allowance as a member of Parliament; and, (b) that this matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for further study of appropriate measures concerning the member for Peterborough's membership in the House of Commons.
    This is the question of privilege that is at the origin of the discussion.
     You have an important ruling to make, Mr. Speaker, and we certainly understand that you may want to take some time, given the precedents around this issue. However, that is the motion we will raise if you believe there is a prima facie case. As the government House leader has just done, which is express his strongly-held opinion, he will be given the opportunity, as will all members, to express their opinions on this important case.

  (1625)  

The Speaker:  
    I thank the hon. opposition House leader for raising this question and the government House leader for his contributions, as well the member for Winnipeg North.
     As members have indicated, this is a very serious question that touches on the rights of a member to take a seat. I will come back to the House as quickly as possible with a ruling on this question.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2

    The House resumed from October 31 consideration of the motion that Bill C-43, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
The Speaker:  
    There are seven minutes left for the hon. member for Random—Burin—St. George's.
Ms. Judy Foote (Random—Burin—St. George's, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the budget implementation bill no. 2. I only wish I could say that I am pleased to speak to this particular bill. However, Bill C-43 does nothing to address many of the challenges facing my constituents in Random—Burin—St. George's and Canadians in general.
    This omnibus bill is clearly the product of a tired, void-of-ideas government that has completely lost touch with the people it is meant to serve. Once again, the Conservatives have introduced omnibus legislation full of changes that simply do not belong in a budget bill. At 460 pages, with over 400 separate clauses, Bill C-43 represents an abuse of power. To use a single omnibus budget bill to limit debate on a host of unrelated measures is undemocratic. If the government does not recognize this, it really is time to put it out to pasture.
    Using a single omnibus budget bill to limit debate prevents members of Parliament from doing their jobs and properly scrutinizing legislation. Since forming government in 2006, in its rush to push through legislation, and by ignoring input from other parties, the Conservatives have cemented a disturbing number of preventable errors in law. By my count, Bill C-43 attempts to fix no fewer than 10 of those sloppy mistakes, including many from previous omnibus budget bills.
    The government has proven time and time again that it is not interested in input from anyone outside the Conservative caucus and the Prime Minister's Office, even if it means that Canadians would be negatively impacted.
    Take for instance the so-called EI tax credit proposed in Bill C-43. This flawed measure actually discourages job creation and economic growth. This measure in particular is bad for employers, bad for workers and those seeking work, and bad for the Canadian economy as a whole.
    In a recent report, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the Conservatives' EI plan would cost $550 million over two years and would create only 800 net new jobs. This translates to a cost of almost $700,000 to taxpayers for each new job created under the Conservative program. Canadians deserve a plan for jobs and growth. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has confirmed that the Conservatives' EI plan provides neither.
    While the Minister of Finance claims that EI cuts for small businesses would produce thousands of new jobs, the numbers prove otherwise. The reality is that the government's changes to EI would encourage businesses to stay small and would actually punish them if they grew and were successful. For instance, the Conservative changes to EI would offer up to $2,234.04 to small businesses for firing a worker but only up to $190.52 for hiring a worker. Furthermore, there is no requirement for job creation. Regardless of whether a small business hired new workers, remained the same size, or even fired workers, so long as a business pays less than $15,000 in EI payroll taxes, it would qualify. This may be a tax credit, but it is certainly not a job credit.
    There are currently over 6,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who had a job this time last year but who are now out of work. My constituents in Random—Burin—St. George's, and people throughout the province, face unemployment rates well above the national average.
    For young workers, job creation is even more important. Youth aged 20 to 24 in Newfoundland and Labrador face higher unemployment rates than their peers throughout the country. At a time when many are struggling with high debt loads, youth unemployment is high and many young workers are forced to leave the province to seek work.
    The Conservative government continues to compound the problem. What we need in Newfoundland and Labrador are more jobs, not fewer. Canadians from coast to coast to coast deserve a government with a plan to encourage job creation, not a government that is committed to limiting growth. As the Liberal leader said, Canadians from coast to coast to coast are generally worried about their future.

  (1630)  

    For the first time in our country's recent history, people are concerned that the next generation will struggle more than the present generation. Unfortunately, out of necessity, it has become common practice for adult children to live with their parents to make ends meet, and in doing so they have made it difficult, in some cases, for their parents to make ends meet. Such a practice was rarely heard of but is now more the norm than the exception.
    That is why the Liberals are committed to helping create the right conditions for investment and economic prosperity, which will foster those badly needed jobs. Our proposed EI holiday on new hires would reward employers for creating new jobs instead of rewarding employers for firing workers. The Liberal plan has been applauded by job creators throughout the country, such as Restaurants Canada, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Yet the Conservative government refuses to consider a proposal that would be helpful, preferring instead to forge ahead with a proposal that is fraught with problems. Unfortunately, this is nothing new.
    Since taking office, the Conservatives have also shown little respect for Canada's democratic institutions. The government has often refused to work in partnership with the provinces and territories to help solve many of the challenges it currently faces.
    Last week, we heard that the government is unwilling to listen to its provincial partners in terms of amending the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act. According to an official, only Ontario was consulted about these changes, in spite of the fact that Newfoundland and Labrador would be affected by these changes. It and eight other provinces had absolutely no say. The Conservative government did not just ignore input from Newfoundland and Labrador, it ignored Newfoundland and Labrador altogether.
    This amendment was not one the provinces asked for. In fact, the same official has confirmed that there had been absolutely no demands from any province for this change, none whatsoever. It is puzzling that the Conservative government is committed to pushing through a change that no province asked for and no province seems to want, while ignoring calls for policies and programs that would provide real benefits to Canadians.
    In some cases, Bill C-43 would not add support. What it would do is add taxes.
    Many of my constituents of Random--Burin--St. George's, as in other ridings, are seniors, who are often living on fixed incomes. For the government to add GST and HST to some services provided by non-profit health care facilities, such as residential services provided at an old age home, is simply wrong. At a time when the rate of poverty among Canadian seniors is rising, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is warning that current pension supports may be insufficient, adding to their financial burden is just not right.
    Now I will speak about what is not in the budget.
    In a 460-page document, with over 400 separate clauses, there is not a single mention of veterans. After years of ignoring the needs of Canadian veterans and their families, the Conservative government had an opportunity to finally act. Instead, it chose to remain silent.
    In June, the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs outlined a series of measures that would make a difference in the lives of veterans and their families, but without further legislation, the Department of Veterans Affairs can only act on the recommendations that do not require any new money. This leaves it unable to implement many of the recommendations supported even by the government's own committee members.
    In its response to the committee report, the government stated:
    The more complex recommendations require further inter-departmental work, budgetary analysis, and coordination with a wide range of federal departments, as well as with the Veterans Ombudsman and Veterans' groups.
    They will be dealt with at a later date.
    Why do complex recommendations to support veterans require additional scrutiny, when the Conservatives maintain that many of the other measures proposed in the bill do not? Surely amending the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act is a complex measure. Yet without consulting with the provinces, the government saw fit to include it. Why will the government not give veterans the same priority? Bill C-43 was an opportunity to implement these recommendations. However, it has proven to be yet another opportunity wasted under the Conservative government. Sadly, Canadian veterans and their families will have to wait another year in the hope that the Conservative government will finally follow through.

  (1635)  

    This also would have been an opportune time to restore and enhance search and rescue capabilities; support Canadians with mental health issues, including PTSD; and address many more priority items.
     Unlike the Conservatives and their flawed budget implementation bill, the Liberals are committed to growing Canada's economy and helping to create jobs by investing in infrastructure, education, environmental initiatives, our culture, and science and technology. We believe that government must not only create the right conditions for economic growth but must also ensure that growth is sustainable and will help struggling families.
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, as a representative and as the leader of the Green Party, I am getting very few occasions to speak to this omnibus budget bill. With time allocation, it looks as though I will be denied any opportunity to give a 10-minute presentation on all the things that are wrong with this omnibus bill.
    Permit me to thank my hon. colleague for allowing me to ask her to confirm that this is in fact an omnibus bill that we have not, as many Conservatives members have said in this place, had for an abundant amount of time to study. It is not the budget that was tabled in the spring. It is an entirely different piece of legislation, encompassing changes to many different pieces of legislation, many of which have nothing at all to do with the budget.
    In the guise of a budgetary bill, measures that should properly go to committees for study, even measures we might support, like the creation of the Cambridge Bay research station, will only go to a committee of finance for inadequate study. I ask if my hon. colleague would not agree that this bill should never have been presented as an omnibus budget bill.
Ms. Judy Foote:  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question, recognizing again the limited amount of time she has to speak to this bill itself.
    She is absolutely right, in fact, that there is so much contained in this omnibus budget bill that it really does not give parliamentarians the opportunity they need to act on behalf of the people they represent. We do not get to scrutinize the legislation. Everything gets rolled into one bill, and by the time we get to read the bill and look at the impact it would have on Canadians from coast to coast to coast, we are limited in terms of the amount of time we get to discuss it. These omnibus bills that are put forward by the Conservative Party on a regular basis are not fair, not only to the parliamentarians who represent Canadians but to Canadians in general, because they need an opportunity to hear what is being said and proposed.
    At the end of the day, we end up voting on a bill that we have had little time to digest. Canadians have no idea what is involved in it. Then we are asked to vote. Maybe some things are good in it, but there are lots of things that are bad in it. We cannot vote for the good, because we cannot possibly vote for the bad.

[Translation]

Ms. Hélène LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech.
    Our economic situation is becoming increasingly difficult, and there are huge disparities between the different regions in Canada. Could she explain why this type of bill, this so-called budget implementation bill, only increases the disparities between the different regions in Canada?
    I would also like her to explain how this bill, like many of the government's previous bills, continues to widen the gap between rich and poor and between men and women. I would like to hear more from her about the fact that these bills only widen the gap between rich and poor rather than ensuring that wealth is fairly distributed in Canada.

  (1640)  

[English]

Ms. Judy Foote:  
    Mr. Speaker, anyone looking at what is being proposed in this particular bill would have to agree that it is not fair. It does not matter where they live in the country. The fact that the government did not even consult with the provinces, with the exception of one province, Ontario, in terms of fiscal financial arrangements clearly points again to the fact that the Conservatives have no respect or consideration for the impact legislation they propose will have on Canadians, no matter what region of the country they live in, their walk of life, or their income.
    We are finding that we have a budget on which input is limited. It is only input from the Conservative caucus or from the Prime Minister's Office that is considered. We are members of Parliament who represent Canadians throughout this country. We can bring valuable input to the table. Yet the current government chooses to put measures in place that will have a negative impact on women, children, seniors, and veterans, and the Conservatives are not listening to how they could improve things for people from coast to coast to coast.

[Translation]

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin):  
    It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Drummond, The Environment; the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, The Environment; the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands, Health.
    The hon. Minister of National Revenue.
Hon. Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay (Minister of National Revenue, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to support Bill C-43, the economic action plan 2014 act, no. 2.

[English]

    Since 2006, our government has put in place a number of tax relief measures to support hard-working Canadians and their families. With balanced budgets in sight, our government is more determined than ever to provide tax relief.
     We believe that good tax policy does not mean just collecting tax dollars. It also means putting money back into the hands of hard-working Canadians, so that they can save, invest and spend it as they see fit. We believe that Canada should have a tax system that rewards hard work.
    One of the first family-related tax credits our government introduced in budget 2006 was the children's fitness tax credit.

[Translation]

    It was developed based on the recommendations of a panel of experts.

[English]

    Our government introduced the children's fitness tax credit to promote physical fitness and physical activity in children, because we want all children to have the chance to grow up healthy and happy in this great country. It is one of our government's most popular tax credits, providing about $115 million in tax relief to 1.4 million Canadian families each year.
    In 2011, we promised Canadians that we would enhance the children's fitness tax credit as soon as we had succeeded in balancing the budget. We are now making good on that commitment by proposing both to double the maximum amount that can be claimed and to make the credit refundable.

[Translation]

    The maximum amount that can be claimed under the tax credit will increase from $500 to $1,000 for 2014 and subsequent years.

[English]

    Parents will be able to take advantage of the new limit in the spring of 2015 when they file their tax returns for 2014.

[Translation]

    Obviously, they have to submit receipts with their claims.

[English]

    The children's fitness tax credit will become refundable starting with the 2015 tax year. This change will increase the opportunity for low-income families to benefit from further tax savings. When fully implemented, the measures we are proposing will deliver additional tax relief to about 850,000 families who enrol their children in eligible fitness activities. I know that all four of my children were active in sports, in and outside of school.
     This sets the foundation for a long, healthy, active adulthood. These enhancements build on the long list of actions that our government has taken to support Canadian families.

  (1645)  

[Translation]

    For example, we introduced the registered disability savings plan to help families with children with disabilities.

[English]

    We introduced the universal child care benefit, first time home buyers' tax credit, public transit tax credit, family caregiver tax credit, and so much more.
    Our government is equally committed to supporting Canadian businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, the backbone of our economy. Small businesses represent about half of the jobs in the private sector and a third of Canada's gross domestic product.

[Translation]

    That is why, under the economic action plan 2014 act, no. 2, we are taking measures to make small businesses even stronger.

[English]

    Our government is proposing to introduce a new tax credit that will save small businesses more than half a billion dollars over two years. This small business job credit will help small businesses by lowering their employment insurance, EI, premiums in 2015 and 2016. The savings they realize will make it easier for them to grow their businesses.
    The small business job credit lowers EI premiums for eligible businesses from the current legislated rate of $1.88 to $1.60 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2015 and 2016. Any business that pays employer EI premiums of $15,000 or less in those years will be eligible for the credit.
    What this means is that almost 90% of all EI premium-paying businesses in Canada will receive the credit, reducing their EI payroll taxes by nearly 15%. The new small business job credit is expected to save small employers more than $550 million over 2015 and 2016.
    We are making sure that there will be no increased paperwork associated with the new tax credit. Business owners do not have to apply for it. The CRA will automatically establish eligibility for 2015 and 2016 separately based on the employer EI premiums paid for each of those years.

[Translation]

    The CRA will calculate the credit and apply it to any outstanding balance on the company's payroll account and then reimburse the company for any remaining amount.

[English]

    Besides the two tax credits that I just highlighted, the economic action plan 2014 act, no. 2, contains many other measures that affirm our commitment to economic growth, families and communities.
    One of our government's key areas of concern is the issue of international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. Bill C-43 contains our proposals to prevent the shifting of certain Canadian source income to low or no tax jurisdictions, encourage the exchange of tax information, and add new conditions for qualifying under the regulated foreign financial institution tax rules.
    Our government has made great strides in improving the fairness and integrity of Canada's tax system. We believe that a strong and well-functioning tax system is of great value to Canadians and to Canadian businesses. The steps we have taken since 2006 and the measures included in Bill C-43 help to keep Canadian tax rates low and competitive. Low tax rates are an incentive to work, save and invest in Canada. They foster economic growth and prosperity for the benefit of all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Canada's economic action plan is working.

[English]

    Canada has had one of the strongest job creation records in the G7 since the height of the recession. Nearly 1.2 million net new jobs have been created in this country since July 2009.
    Globally recognized authorities, from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to the International Monetary Fund, have ranked Canada as one of the best countries in the world in which to do business. They expect Canada to be one of the strongest growing economies in the G7 over this year and next.
    Canadians are seeing the results of sound economic policies in action.
    Personal income taxes are now 10% lower than they were before 2006, and the average family of four now pays close to $3,400 less in taxes. Overall, the federal tax burden is at the lowest rate it has been in over 50 years.

  (1650)  

[Translation]

    I encourage all members of the House to join me in supporting the economic action plan 2014 act, no. 2.

[English]

    Members' votes would allow Canadian families and businesses to continue to reap the benefits of our sound fiscal policy.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that we recognize middle-class families. The Conservatives talk about this income splitting, and the Prime Minister has been talking a lot about it lately, but middle-class families should not have to pay more to give families such as the Prime Minister's a $2,000 tax break. The Conservative income splitting plan favours the wealthy. It is bad for growth and it is bad for the middle class.
    The previous minister of finance commented at great length in terms of how income splitting was not good, sound policy. Why does the member believe that the former minister of finance, the late Mr. Flaherty, was wrong in his assessment and that the Prime Minister is on the right track? In fact, the biggest group paying for this would be the middle class of Canada.
Hon. Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay:  
    Mr. Speaker, our very honoured colleague, the previous minister of finance Jim Flaherty, was speaking of a plan that was only laid out at the time in very general terms. The plan that has come forward is not the plan he was speaking of when he talked about that.
    Our plan would reach over four million families and is part of a suite of actions. It is not standing alone. In other words, the family tax cut, a federal tax credit that allows the higher income spouse to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income, is part of the proposal. However, along with this is increasing the universal child care benefit for children under the age of six, where parents would receive a benefit of $160 a month for each child. That is up from $100 a month. It would expand the UCCB to children age six through 17. As of January 2015, under the expanded plan, parents would receive a benefit of $60 per month for children age six through 17.
    It would also increase the child care expense deduction dollar limits by $1,000. The maximum amounts that could be claimed would increase to $8,000 from $7,000 for children under age seven and to $5,000 from $4,000 for children age seven through 16.
    Even The New York Times has recognized that our middle class in Canada is doing extremely well.

[Translation]

Ms. Hélène LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the speech by the Minister of National Revenue and the answers that she gave in the House of Commons. I am always surprised by the answers she gives. She listed a series of procedures and talked about increases to tax credits.
    Given that she is in charge of the Canada Revenue Agency, I am wondering whether, at some point, the Canadian tax system might run into difficulty or become overburdened. The government has added small tax credits here and there in all of the massive budgets it has brought down.
    Is she not worried that this administrative burden will be just as heavy as the omnibus bills that are introduced in the House of Commons?

[English]

Hon. Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay:  
    Mr. Speaker, the Canada Revenue Agency is a professional tax administrator. It knows very well, and is leading the world, in methods to collect tax and to sustain a very equitable tax administration that keeps our tax base solid and working for all Canadians and all taxpayers in a fair and equitable manner.
    Tax credits are a targeted way of helping Canadian families. Our government is very proud of its record for introducing various tax credits that benefit families. In this case, we are concentrating our remarks more on Canadian families with children. They, of course, are the future of Canada, so it behooves us all to vote for a budget bill that helps them out.

  (1655)  

[Translation]

Hon. K. Kellie Leitch (Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has focused on what matters to Canadians: job creation, economic growth and Canada's long-term prosperity.
    Canada's economy has had one of the best economic performances in the G7 for a few years now, during both the global recession and the recovery.

[English]

    As I have said, we are moving forward, with creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity being our focus. There are numerous things in Bill C-43 that would help do that, that would help create jobs and opportunities for Canadians, and some specific measures.
     Among those, one that I want to highlight to begin with is the new small business job credit. Our government recently introduced this small business tax credit, a credit for small businesses that would reduce payroll taxes 15% over the next two years. It is estimated that this would result in savings of approximately $550 million for small businesses over two years. Our government recognizes the fundamental importance of small businesses in fuelling the Canadian economy. That is what this shows.
    I want to be clear that this is very important for the constituents in my riding of Simcoe—Grey, whether it be the Nottawasaga Inn, where Sylvia Biffis runs a great enterprise and wants to hire more individuals; or Rebecca who is running Clearview Tea and wants to ensure she has that next employee; or finally the 100 Mile Store in Creemore, where Jackie and Sandra are running a great business but if they could expand they would look forward to it. That is exactly what this small business tax credit would do, provide them a great opportunity.
    The second item that I will touch on is something that is very important to me, both personally and professionally. That is not just professionally as a member of Parliament and because of the constituents I have, the thousands of families in my riding, but as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Our government believes that fitness is an important part of healthy lifestyles, and that habits should be encouraged from a very young age. As a pediatric surgeon, I can attest to that and to our need to focus on ensuring that children have an opportunity to be fit and healthy.

[Translation]

     As a result, in budget 2010 we introduced the children's fitness tax credit, a non-refundable $500 tax credit for registration costs associated with an eligible program of physical activity for children under the age of 16.
     In October of this year, the Prime Minister announced that our government planned to double the children's fitness tax credit—which would go from $500 to $1,000—and to make it refundable. This would increase the benefits for the low-income families who claim the credit.

[English]

    What does this mean? It means that we are making it more affordable for Canadians and more importantly Canadian children to participate in an active lifestyle. I chaired the panel on the children's fitness tax credit. I had the great opportunity in 2006 of having our late colleague, Jim Flaherty, the former minister of finance, call me at a conference and ask me if I was willing to chair the expert panel. I and two other individuals, Michael Weil and David Bassett from Vancouver, had the great opportunity of deciding how to focus the tax credit to include as many children as possible. Our task by the minister of finance was to be as inclusive as possible, to make as many children as possible, and their parents, eligible for this tax credit so that as many children as possible could be active. It did not mean just looking at Olympic sports but also dance, and ensuring that children who have disabilities have a great opportunity.
    Now the doubling of this tax credit would mean that even more families would be able to participate and more important, being refundable means that all those families who may not have been eligible before would be eligible today. That is important, whether it be for the Sproule family that has, I cannot say how many, grandchildren who are active in activities and sports, or Holly Haire who is someone who works with me whose son Harrison is active in hockey, or the Special Olympics athletes that come to the Blue Mountain Resort every year to learn how to ski. All of these young people have a disability and are learning how to ski and now this is more accessible to them.

  (1700)  

    I cannot say enough great things about Dan Skelton, Dave Sinclair and Gord Canning, who help make sure that program runs.
    The reason we are focused on this as a government is that we care about families. We want to ensure we are supporting them and the things that are most important to them, such as making sure that their families are healthy and happy and participating in things that are meaningful.
    The third item that I will speak to is also outlined in this bill. When our government released the economic action plan in February, we promised to strengthen labour market opportunities and investments that would bring us closer to the goal of creating jobs, growth and economic prosperity.
    One of our major investments was an $11 million commitment over two years and $3.3 million per year, ongoing, to reform the temporary foreign worker program. The goal of these reforms is to make sure that the program is used as it is intended and to ensure that Canadians are first in line for every available job here in Canada. It is a last and limited resource to fill those acute labour shortages through the use of the program when Canadians are not available. I think all sides of the House would agree that Canadians should always be the first in line for those available jobs.
    We have brought in new changes. We brought in new rigorous application processes. We now require employers to provide more evidence that they have tried to hire Canadians first. They must disclose how many Canadians have applied for the jobs in question and how many Canadians have been interviewed for the jobs. They must also provide an explanation of why they have not hired a Canadian.
    The scrutiny of employers who are using large numbers of temporary foreign workers has increased substantially. This will be gradually phased in over three years at a 10% cap on the number of low wage temporary foreign workers allowed to be on a work site. In addition, employers seeking high wage temporary foreign workers are required to develop a transition plan that outlines specifically the measures that are required to further reduce their dependency on this program. We have raised the application fee from $275 to $1,000 to ensure that the cost of administering the program, including all of the reforms, will be borne entirely by the employers who use the program and not by the taxpayer.
    We have also made changes to the enforcement of the program. There will be four times as many government inspectors. One in four employers using the program will be inspected every year. Inspectors will also have greater powers to catch those breaking the rules through, for example, warrantless on-site visits, the ability to compel employers to produce relevant documents, and the ability to ban employers from the program when they break the rules.
     Not only will inspectors have more power, Canadians will too. An improved confidential tip line has been launched along with a new complaints website, which is accessible from any location and any Internet connection. Any allegations of abuse of the temporary foreign worker program will be vigorously investigated. In fact, they have been already.
     A basic principle of the temporary foreign worker program remains the same, and that is to fill acute short-term labour needs as a last and limited option when qualified Canadians are not available. In order to strengthen our economy and create long-term prosperity, we must ensure that employers cannot use the program and hire foreign workers unless they have no other choice.
    Employment and Social Development Canada is working with Statistics Canada to develop two new surveys to collect reliable and comparable data on wages and job vacancies. This labour market information will help ensure that temporary foreign workers who enter Canada would only enter Canada when Canadians are not available. These steps, along with a number of other balanced reforms, will ensure that Canadians and their employers put Canadians first in the temporary foreign worker program.
    As I said at the beginning, our government is focused. Our top priorities are job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity. We are moving forward with measures to create jobs, such as the small business tax credit. We are also implementing a number of initiatives that specifically help and support families, such as the children's fitness tax credit, which the government is doubling and making refundable. These are important things to Canadian families and I am sure that all of my colleagues here in the House agree.
    I look forward to the opposition supporting these initiatives that are good for families.

  (1705)  

[Translation]

Ms. Hélène LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for her speech.
    However, despite the budgets the Conservative government has presented over the years, things have only gotten worse for women. Similarly, the new policies included in this budget will only make things worse for women.
    Why does the minister not support policies that support women who are improving their economic situation by giving them access to day care services and allowing them to have well-paying jobs so that they can contribute to Canada's economy?
    Why is the minister is telling us about a tax credit that does not help families in need? Can she tell us more about the measures in this budget? I do not see any measures in here that make things better for Canadian women.

[English]

Hon. K. Kellie Leitch:  
    Mr. Speaker, I am part of this government because this government supports well-paying jobs for all Canadians, including women.
    Let us be clear. In economic action plan 2014, for the first time ever in Canadian history, unlike what an NDP government would do and unlike what the Liberals have done in the past across all provinces, Status of Women Canada announced support specifically for women entrepreneurs, making sure that they can start their own businesses, be mentored and championed, and have great opportunities.
    We have also moved forward with an initiative called “women on boards”, challenging the private sector to get 30% of all their board members in the next five years to be women.
    We are making important changes.
    It is extremely important that members opposite get on board. Canada has an excellent track record. We support women overwhelmingly, whether it be the universal child care benefit, which makes sure that families can choose how they are going to provide care for their child so that mom can go to work and mom can participate in what she wants to do. More importantly, women entrepreneurs and women on boards are great initiatives I am delighted to support.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is worth noting that the budget implementation bill that we are debating today talks about making changes that will ultimately give tax breaks using EI benefits.
    The Liberal proposal that we have offered to the House would generate tens of thousands of jobs in all regions of the country and is supported by many different stakeholders. There is absolutely no comparison to the plan that the Conservatives are going to put in place. The middle class and Canadians in general would benefit immensely under the Liberal plan compared to the Conservatives failed attempt at trying to create jobs.
    The member is a minister and is close to the PMO. Why does the PMO not recognize a good thing when it is presented to the government? Our proposal would provide employers with EI premium breaks for new hires. This would create thousands of new jobs in every region of the country. I wonder if she could comment on that.
Hon. K. Kellie Leitch:  
    Mr. Speaker, first, this government has created 1.1 million net new jobs since the downturn of the recession. The Liberal Party does not support that job creation plan.
    Second, I want to be clear on EI. Our new small business tax credit would help create jobs. It would infuse into small businesses across the country the opportunity to hire more Canadians. It would be a 15% decrease in payroll tax. That means, as I mentioned before, people in my riding such as Rebecca at Clearview Tea and numerous others would be able to hire new people.
    This is different than the Liberal approach or the EI boondoggle that we know about from the early 2000s, where the Liberals were taxing people out of having jobs available at all, let alone what their leader has said most recently with regard to tax increases. He would be happy to raise taxes, because, as he said, we might just have to do it. You know what? That would kill jobs. This government is about creating them and we are doing it every day.

  (1710)  

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin):  
    I believe the hon. member for Churchill is rising on a point of order.
Ms. Niki Ashton:  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order, during the 80th time the government has brought in time allocation, to bring forward a motion addressing the fact that we are not having the time or due process to look at this bill carefully, the way it ought to be looked at.
    I would like to seek unanimous consent to move the following motion.
    I move that notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, that Bill C-43, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, be amended by removing the following clauses: a) clauses 102 to 142 related to the Industrial Design and Patent Acts; b) clauses 145 to 170 related to the proposed Canadian high Arctic research station act; c) clauses 172 and 173 related to changes to the provision of social assistance for refugees; d) clauses 186 to 190, related to the Investment Canada Act; e) clauses 191 to 210 related to the Telecommunications Act and Broadcasting Act and the charging of pay-to-pay fees; f) clauses 225 and 226 related to the employment insurance small business job credit; g) clauses 306 to 314 related to temporary foreign workers and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; h) clauses 376 and 377 related to the proposed extractive sector transparency measures act;

[Translation]

     that the clauses mentioned in section a) of this motion do form Bill C-45; that Bill C-45 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology;
    that the clauses mentioned in section b) of this motion do form Bill C-46; that Bill C-46 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology;
    that the clauses mentioned in section c) of this motion do form Bill C-47; that Bill C-47 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities;

[English]

    that the clauses mentioned in section d) of this motion do compose Bill C-48; that Bill C-48 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology;
    that the clauses mentioned in section e) of this motion do compose Bill C-49; that Bill C-49 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology; that the clauses mentioned in section f) of this motion do compose Bill C-50;
    that Bill C-50 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities;

[Translation]

    that the clauses mentioned in section g) of this motion do compose Bill C-51; that Bill C-51 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration;
    that the clauses mentioned in section h) of this motion do compose Bill C-52; that Bill C-52 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources;

[English]

    that Bill C-43 retain the status on the order paper that it had prior to the adoption of this order; that Bill C-43 be reprinted as amended; and that the law clerk and parliamentary counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections as may be necessary to give effect to this motion.
    That is why we are proposing this motion calling for real debate and a real examination of these issues that matter so much to Canadians.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin):  
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): It being 5:15 p.m., pursuant to an order made Thursday, October 30, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.
     The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
     The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): All those in favour of the amendment will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
     The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
     The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Call in the members.

  (1755)  

    (The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 267)

YEAS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Borg
Brahmi
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Chan
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Freeland
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Goodale
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hyer
Jones
Julian
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Raynault
Regan
Saganash
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 114

NAYS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Aspin
Baird
Barlow
Bateman
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Falk
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Truppe
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 149

PAIRED

Nil

The Speaker:  
    I declare the amendment defeated.
    The next question is on the main motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:

  (1800)  

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

(Division No. 268)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Aspin
Baird
Barlow
Bateman
Benoit
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Falk
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Preston
Rajotte
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Truppe
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 149

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Borg
Brahmi
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Chan
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Freeland
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Goodale
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hyer
Jones
Julian
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Péclet
Perreault
Pilon
Plamondon
Quach
Rafferty
Rankin
Raynault
Regan
Saganash
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Tremblay
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 114

PAIRED

Nil

The Speaker:  
    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

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

[Translation]

    The Speaker: It being 6:05 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

  (1805)  

[English]

Holidays Act

Mr. Dan Harris (Scarborough Southwest, NDP)  
     moved that Bill C-597, an act to amend the Holidays Act (Remembrance Day), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to speak to and in favour of my private member's bill, Bill C-597, an act to make Remembrance Day a national statutory holiday, tabled in this House on May 14, 2014.
    This act would seek to give Remembrance Day the same legal status as Victoria Day and Canada Day, the two legal holidays listed in the Holidays Act.
    The act also contains a second clause that seeks to codify that on Remembrance Day the flag on the Peace Tower would be flown at half-mast. Later in my speech, I will come back to that second clause and elaborate on deliberations with my fellow MPs from all parties in that regard.
    Remembrance Day has always been a special day and has had a very special meaning to me and my family. Like so many other Canadians, we cherish the commitment made by the brave men and women who have donned Canada's uniform since even before our founding as a nation. It has great personal meaning for our family and has shaped our personal history, starting with my great-grandfather, Harold Riley, who served in both world wars. My great-grandmother immigrated to Canada as a First World War bride.
    That service continues through to today, with family members who did tours in Afghanistan. Our story, though, is hardly unique.
    Our country has been blessed by the courage and dedication of generations of armed forces personnel who have stood and fought and died, or come home broken, to defend Canada,
     I am far from the first to suggest making Remembrance Day a national statutory holiday. Currently six provinces and the three territories already have legislation in place to make November 11 a holiday. Indeed, similar versions of this bill have been introduced in previous parliaments by the current member for Hamilton Mountain, at the behest of local legions, and by former Conservative MP Inky Mark.
     My bill varies from previous incarnations in a small but substantial way. Other versions called for a day off on the Friday before or the Monday after if November 11 falls on a weekend. Before introduction, I removed this clause, because to me, the 11th is the 11th is the 11th.
    Canadians I have spoken with wish to be able to attend ceremonies to pay their respects and to engage in this important act of Remembrance.
     Earlier in my speech, I said I would come back to the second clause, which is about having the flag on the Peace Tower flown at half-mast. To most Canadians, that clause would seem entirely reasonable, as it did to me until recently.
    During several discussions with colleagues from all parties, the issue of protocol was raised. This clause, as written, does not allow for flexibility so that the flag can be lowered to half-mast at a specific time of day, like 11 a.m., nor does it allow protocol to evolve as times change. It would also be unnecessarily complex to attempt to enumerate the facets of protocol so as to properly capture the sentiment and meaning conveyed by this clause. As such, should this bill pass second reading, I will wholeheartedly endorse an amendment at committee to remove the second clause.
     There are also arguments against making Remembrance Day a national statutory holiday. Many businesses fear a loss of revenue or additional payouts, and that is worth considering. I was, however, pleasantly surprised, in discussing the issue with many local businesses and several nationwide operations, that many favour its implementation. Some believe productivity would increase if their staff had another day off. Others have family members who served, and they would like the opportunity themselves to attend services and honour them. A few weeks ago, I was speaking to a CEO, who said to me, "Consumers only have so much money to spend. If they cannot spend it today, they will spend it tomorrow”.
    The most compelling argument I have heard for not making November 11 a statutory holiday is that kids should be in school to observe services. This is a very compelling argument. However, I am drawn back to the provinces where it is already a holiday, such as Newfoundland and Labrador, where kids learn about it during the week leading up to the 11th and on the 11th can put what they have learned into practice.
    I am also drawn to what happens here in Ontario, where it is not a statutory holiday, though it used to be, when November 11 falls on a weekend. Most schools have services the last school day before the 11th.

  (1810)  

    At our local cenotaph in Scarborough, every year, a class of kids from Cliffside Public School comes to the ceremony and sings “In Flanders Fields”. It would be a shame to lose that. I believe that they would still continue to do that, given the opportunity, and that they would bring their parents along to see them.
    I also believe that it would be easier to get more veterans into schools if their services took place on the last school day before November 11, because where are veterans on Remembrance Day? They are at ceremonies and cenotaphs and services across the country.
    In Scarborough, we also hold a service on the Sunday before November 11, at the Scarborough Civic Centre. The sight is spectacular. During the ceremony, air, naval, and army cadets line each level of the Scarborough Civic Centre, and when we look up and see them standing there, we are filled with pride, hope, and faith in Canada's future while we remember the past. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Sparks and Brownies also assemble to sing at these ceremonies. Our schools are not the only place we should be educating the next generation.
    The education of our children around Remembrance Day is important, and it could be argued that it is the most important act of our remembrance. Just as the decision whether to observe November 11 as a holiday rests with the provinces, so does the curriculum. The Royal Canadian Legion, other veterans organizations, Veterans Affairs, and the Government of Canada already enrich that curriculum, but there is always room to do more.
    Like many Canadians, I would like to see more, but that critical component will not be addressed through this bill, nor could it be. Each province chooses how to commemorate. In Manitoba, for instance, retail stores may operate on Remembrance Day, but cannot be open between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
    Our neighbour to the south observes Remembrance Day as Veterans Day. The federal government passed a bill to make it a holiday within federal jurisdiction, and all 50 states passed their own bills so that its application is universal across the United States of America. We can achieve the same here in Canada. A united voice from Parliament would be a big encouragement in that regard, while still respecting each province's ability to choose for itself.

[Translation]

    Remembrance Day is a very important day for my family and for this country. I believe that it is our duty to do what we can to honour our men and women in uniform.
    It is also important to point out that many of the individuals who fought in the Second World War did not choose to go; the state chose to send them. Still, they did their duty and fought for their country, their province and their values on behalf of us all.

[English]

    Canadians in uniform have always placed themselves in harm's way for us and deserve to be honoured, whether it be on battlefields 100 years ago and on the other side of an ocean or two weeks ago a few hundred metres from where I stand, in sight of this building, on ceremonial guard over the fallen.

[Translation]

    Whether hundreds of kilometres away or in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, our women and men in uniform are always there to defend us and it is our duty to remember them.
    In my opinion, Bill C-597, which I am introducing, is an opportunity to emphasize the importance of remembering our veterans and paying tribute to the 40,000 of them who returned from Afghanistan.

  (1815)  

[English]

    The face of veterans is changing. We have 40,000 brave women and men who returned from Afghanistan who are as equally deserving of our support and respect as are all of those who came before them.
    It is also the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, which gave birth to Remembrance Day as Armistice Day. I believe that it is time to make November 11, Remembrance Day, a national statutory holiday.
Mr. Erin O'Toole (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his passionate remarks here today.
    My question relates essentially to something that he outlined in his remarks with regard to a federal legal holiday and provincial recognition of a statutory holiday. I wonder if the member has consulted the provinces that currently do not have it as a statutory holiday. Is there any indication that he can give to the House on whether this bill would be meaningful to them in making a decision with respect to their jurisdiction?
Mr. Dan Harris:  
    Mr. Speaker, throughout the years in many different instances I have had informal discussions with others in Ontario and even with members of the House from provinces where it is not a statutory holiday. However, I do not like putting the cart before the horse and, as such, I hope we can get the bill through second reading to provide some momentum before I speak to the provinces officially in any kind of capacity.
Mr. Frank Valeriote (Guelph, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Scarborough Southwest for his sentiments and for bringing this motion forward. Anything that raises the profile of the plight of our veterans, the efforts they made on our behalf, is important to all Canadians, particularly our veterans.
    I also have a question about his consultative process. Did he have the opportunity to speak to any of the legions, any vets or any other organizations representing veterans to see what their input would be about making it a statutory holiday as opposed to a holiday?
Mr. Dan Harris:  
    Mr. Speaker, absolutely I have. That is why I spent a good portion of my speech about the education of our children. When talking to veterans and to the legions in particular, their primary concern is the education that our children receive. The legions participate in great local programming. In Scarborough, our local legions have an arts competition where kids in schools make drawings and every year they pick a poem and a drawing that then gets brought to the Scarborough Civic Centre and is read aloud and displayed.
    Certainly individuals within my local legions have given me great support on this issue, but legions officially do not engage in politics. Therefore, there is no official acknowledgement or support from the local legions, and I fully respect the fact that they try to keep politics out of the support of veterans.
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Scarborough Southwest for a very moving tribute to what just occurred recently in Canada and for linking the importance of Remembrance Day being observed as a holiday.
    I am supporting his private member's bill. There may be details to sort out about exactly how we describe this holiday, but getting it past second reading, getting it to committee and pursuing some of the details is secondary to the general point that we should have Remembrance Day as a national holiday.
Mr. Dan Harris:  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her support of this private member's bill. Certainly the devil is always in the details with whatever legislation we pass.
    The interesting thing is that the federal government and most federally regulated businesses and institutions already observe Remembrance Day as a statutory holiday. The banks, for instance, are closed. The federal government is closed. In the Province of Ontario, even though it is not a statutory holiday, the provincial public sector is shut down that day, with the exception of essential services and schools.
     We already observe it federally for the most part. This would bring it to the parts that do not currently have it listed and provide encouragement to the other provinces to always strive to do better and to do more.

  (1820)  

Mr. Erin O'Toole (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to rise today to speak on behalf of the government on Bill C-597, particularly at this time when all members of the House are wearing the poppy. It is important for us to debate Remembrance Day, its role in our country, and how we should remember, both here in our nation's Parliament and at the cenotaphs scattered around the hundreds, if not thousands, of small towns and cities across the country as acts of remembrance.
    I would like to thank the member for Scarborough Southwest for bringing this debate to the House today. As he knows, the government supports the intention of the bill with some amendments, which we have spoken with the member about throughout the process. I would like to thank him for sharing his personal reflections on what Remembrance Day means to his family, and indeed he showed the House that the events of a few weeks ago in this city still reverberate deeply with the nation and the members of the House.
    It is interesting that we are debating Remembrance Day, a very important and solemn day for our country, but it was not Remembrance Day when it first came to Canada. In fact, in 1919, it was referred to as Armistice Day because it was the year following the important armistice to end the Great War, where the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month would be commemorated to honour the dead from that Great War and to respect the peace that was secured through the sacrifice of many. There have been 1.5 million Canadians who have heeded the call of service over our history as a nation, so it is not only a time when remembrance can be given to the fallen but respect for the service of those in the past and present can be shown.
    It was Armistice Day for our young country that was honoured each November. Interestingly, which I am sure the hon. member knows from his research on the bill, for the first decade or so, it was not even formally recognized on November 11 but on the first Monday of the week in which November 11 fell. It might be interesting for members of the House to know that it was an act by a member of Parliament from British Columbia in 1931 that solidified November 11 as the day that would be marked, and changed the name from Armistice Day to Remembrance Day that we know today.
    The first decade or so of remembrance for our young nation was an interesting period because within that first decade the guardians of Remembrance Day were also born. In 1925 the Royal Canadian Legion was created, bringing together a number of fraternal and service organizations with many veterans from the Great War. They came together. Then in the House the following year, 1926, an act of Parliament was granted to recognize the important role the Royal Canadian Legion played then and plays now on remembrance and care for our veterans.
    To this day, there remains 1,100 veteran service officers whose core principle for the branch they serve is to serve the veteran community. I know the veteran service officer in my branch, on an individual basis, has helped over 500 veterans or their partners access benefits. Most Canadians should know that when they support the poppy drive in their towns and cities across the country, they are supporting the work of the veteran service officers because the proceeds from the poppy fund are dedicated to veteran care in the community and across the country.
    I would like to thank the Legion for its important role with our veterans and for making sure that Remembrance Day happens. This week I will be at Remembrance Day services at two of the small cenotaphs in hamlets in my community. There would be no service in those small hamlet cenotaphs were it not for Branch 178 of the Royal Canadian Legion, which makes sure that every cenotaph that bears the name of a fallen soldier for Canada has a proper ceremony and mark of remembrance.

  (1825)  

    Eight years afterward, in 1939, after Remembrance Day as we now know it was brought forward by this federal House, our National War Memorial was unveiled.
    It was struck two weeks ago. It was attacked for what it represents to our country. We are all still shaken by the death of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was an honorary guard there to show respect for the fallen who are commemorated by that memorial and by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There are 22 figures that adorn our National War Memorial that represent the commitment of Canada as a young nation to the Great War, and then subsequently to the wars that followed. In the days following the attacks in Ottawa, everyone in this House was touched by the Bruce MacKinnon cartoon that showed those historic figures tending to the newly fallen Corporal Cirillo.
    Canadians continue to commemorate. Just this week, in Whitby, I attended Wounded Warriors Canada's opening of the Park of Reflection. The park is a memorial to the fallen from Afghanistan and to those who travelled the Highway of Heroes. It provides veterans a place of solace for their own recovery. I would like to thank Scott Maxwell and Phil Ralph of Wounded Warriors Canada for keeping these memories alive.
     Corus Entertainment's Gary Maavara and Joel Watson, a lawyer from Toronto, are ensuring that broadcasters on November 11 commemorate the two minutes of silence at 11 o'clock on TV broadcasts if they are not already playing the national ceremony.
    It is tremendous to see the spirit of Remembrance Day from 1931 to today. I think what my hon. colleague wants to recognize through this bill is that across the country Canadians are showing their own ways of keeping this important date as an important part of their lives and of remembering the service and sacrifice of our men and women.
    The specifics of the bill before this House are to correct a drafting oversight from the 1970s, when the Holidays Act treated Remembrance Day slightly differently from the way it treated Victoria Day and Dominion Day, now Canada Day. I am proud that it seems most members of this House will support the member for Scarborough Southwest in rectifying this oversight to ensure that as a federal holiday, Remembrance Day is treated in the same way as those other days that are important to our country.
    The other item from the member's bill, as he has recognized in our discussions, is that the flag on our Peace Tower is normally lowered to half-mast on Remembrance Day as part of our act of national commemoration. In some ways, some of the spirit behind his bill is being exercised already. I am glad to see that the House will rectify this 1970s omission from the act.
    What is interesting, as the member pointed out in his remarks to the House, is that across the country, six provinces and three territories also grant statutory recognition to Remembrance Day on a provincial level. Federally, it is already a statutory holiday for federal employees within the federal jurisdiction, and six provinces have extended that at the provincial level. It seems that the member is hoping that the remaining provinces might take this rectifying of the language on a federal level in recognition of the importance of Remembrance Day to our country as an opportunity to revisit their decisions on a provincial level. If that is the case, it is a good exercise.
    In my time in uniform serving this country, I had the benefit of living in two different provinces where it was handled in different ways. While I was in Nova Scotia serving with 423 Squadron and 406 Squadron, that province had a provincial holiday as well, and we saw large numbers of people at the cenotaph. In Ontario it was not a provincial holiday.
    There is merit, as the member recognized, to the argument that it is good to have students in school learning about this process. The Ontario legislature visited this issue in the late 1990s and decided not to proceed provincially with a statutory holiday, for the very reason that it knew students would be learning about Remembrance Day within the school.

  (1830)  

     Bill C-597 would make it clear where the federal government stands with respect to the importance of Remembrance Day to our country. It would give the provinces the opportunity to revisit whether they want to make it a statutory holiday as well.
    At this time of year, if anything, I hope this legislation reminds Canadians that they need to wear a poppy. They need to get to a cenotaph. They need to make sure they remember the people who fell for our country and hold the significance of the date dear to their hearts.
Mr. Frank Valeriote (Guelph, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak to Bill C-597, an act to amend the Holidays Act (Remembrance Day).
    How fortunate it is that the debate takes place this week, ahead of our Remembrance Day constituency week. A week from now, most of us will be back in our ridings, gathered at cenotaphs and Legion halls, honouring the men and women, our friends and neighbours and family, who serve now and have served to protect Canada and Canadians. We live in a country built on the devotion and sacrifice of those men and women, the men and women who came before us in service to our country.
    Canada may not have been born out of armed conflict or violent revolution, but the values established by the Fathers of Confederation and the men and women who lived here for centuries before them have been challenged from time to time by those who would try to impose their will and their values upon us. In those instances when the call went out, Canadians answered and were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. With them, we made a sacred covenant.
    At Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach, in the Kapyong Valley and across Kandahar province, brave Canadian men and women fought for our freedom and for a world free from tyranny and oppression.
    As a country, we have called on successive generations of Canadians to make great sacrifices, including accepting terrible circumstances, separated from their families and loved ones, accepting unlimited liability, and putting their futures and very lives on the line.
    Many never returned. Those who did returned with wounds, visible and invisible. To them we owe a sacred obligation, an incredible debt. We owe this debt every day, though there is one day of the year in particular when Canadians stop and are more acutely aware of the depth of the profound sacrifice made by successive generations of Canadians.
    The hostilities of the First World War came to an end formally at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, November 11, 1918, 96 years ago next week. The following year, King George V called on everyone in the Commonwealth to stop what they were doing at 11 a.m. on November 11 for two moments, not two minutes, but two moments of silence, to commemorate the Great War's armistice. Since that day, on or around the 11th, Canadians have come together to remember our fallen friends and family and to honour the courage and sacrifice of the living.
    The bill brought before us by the hon. member for Scarborough Southwest would have us bring the language surrounding Remembrance Day in line with other important days governed by the Holidays Act and would move us down the road to changing how we observe the day as a country and as a people.
    There may be some who are unaware of how we used to mark Remembrance Day. Following the appeal of King George V to mark November 11, a proposal was brought forward in the House of Commons to join the celebration of Armistice Day, on the Monday of the week of November 11, and Thanksgiving. While some were grateful for the long weekend, many veterans and a considerable number of Canadians found that the celebration of Thanksgiving at the same time as the sombre observance of the armistice meant that less than adequate attention was given to the memory of the 60,000 Canadians who perished in the First World War.
    The Royal Canadian Legion, after its formation in 1925, petitioned Parliament to have Armistice Day observed exclusively on November 11. It was six more years before a bill was brought before the House of Commons to do just that, and at the same time, the name was changed from Armistice Day to Remembrance Day.
    The first Remembrance Day, as we know it, was celebrated in 1931, and ever since, it has been celebrated at the National War Memorial and cenotaphs across the country as a solemn day to commemorate not just the dead and injured from the First World War but those from the Second World War, Korea, and Afghanistan and from peacekeeping missions in the Suez Canal, the Golan Heights, the Balkans, and Haiti.

  (1835)  

    How we celebrate Remembrance Day across the country is not consistent. Some provinces and territories, as has been mentioned, notably British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Yukon territory, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut mark November 11 as a paid statutory holiday. Federal public servants also are given the day off with pay. Other provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, which incidentally make up more than half of the Canadian population, do not mark November 11 as a paid statutory holiday. Everywhere and every one marks the day in one way or another. Most often businesses are closed at least until noon or 1 p.m., so that Canadians have an opportunity to make it to one of the many ceremonies being held.
    The intention of the bill before us was clearly to make the treatment of Remembrance Day as a holiday more uniform. By asking for it to be observed much like Canada Day, it was clear the sponsor hoped to make it a statutory holiday so that all Canadians would have an opportunity to attend a ceremony and reflect on the importance of the day. Unfortunately, as it is written, the bill would not accomplish those particular goals.
    While the bill would change the language of the Holidays Act to make Remembrance Day a legal holiday, the term “legal holiday” has no special status in law. The administration of holidays in Canada is accomplished through various pieces of legislation at both the federal and provincial levels, as was noted earlier, which include but are not limited to the Canada Labour Code, the federal Interpretation Act, the Excise Act, and the like.
     I admire the intent of the bill as I admire any opportunity we have to make the observance of Remembrance Day more special and more accessible to Canadians. Whether we are ready for the day to be celebrated as a statutory holiday, again, is a different matter across the country. Veterans groups with whom I have spoken have some reservations. On the one hand they support any effort to increase awareness and elevate the importance of Remembrance Day to Canadians. However, as was mentioned, there are concerns with the side effects of a statutory holiday. A day off work and school might not lead to more Canadians attending ceremonies, rather they would just take the day off. Kids likely learn more while at Remembrance Day ceremonies at school, and on those rare occasions where the date would fall on a Sunday, giving a Monday off would seem out of the spirit of observance.
     What the bill does accomplish is to lay the groundwork for a greater conversation about how we celebrate Remembrance Day. What greater time than this year, after the events of two weeks ago, when Corporal Nathan Cirillo was senselessly slain at Canada's National War Memorial and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed outside of where he worked, to consider how we celebrate?
    There are no longer any generations of Canadians untouched by war or conflict. More and more people make their way to ceremonies. Perhaps it is time to discuss how we might make it easier for Canadians to do so. What greater time than the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War to give ample consideration to how we commemorate our Canadian Armed Forces and veterans, and how we observe our sacred obligation to them?
    We agree with the member for Scarborough Southwest on possible amendments respecting protocol and the flying of Canada's flag at half mast.
    I proudly support the bill because I believe it is the start of a much greater conversation.

  (1840)  

Mr. Dan Harris (Scarborough Southwest, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Durham and from Guelph for their impassioned speeches on this issue. I also want to thank the member for Durham and all members of the House who have served Canada faithfully in its various times of need. I do not believe it is recognized enough just how many people have donned Canada's uniforms and have then become members of the House to provide the unique perspectives necessary for all other members to enact good judgments when we deal with our Canadian Forces and veterans.
    I also want to thank them for their comments this evening about the differences in remembrance. The member for Guelph is quite right. I would have absolutely loved to bring that uniformity to Remembrance Day in order to have it celebrated all across the country in the same kind of way. However, the way our country is made up, the separation of powers and jurisdictions between the provinces and the federal government prevent that. I am happy that a conversation has started, as the member for Guelph pointed out.
    I am not a a great believer in fate. However, the bill was originally supposed to be debated in the spring. Then because of budgets, different bills that came forward and procedures, everything was delayed to the point that it would be debated right before this Remembrance Day. Particularly given the context of the last few weeks, it has every member of the House thinking a lot more about our veterans and the commitment that the men and women in uniform make to our country. It is therefore fitting that it should take place on this day.
    I certainly look forward to the time in committee and the debate if the bill passes second reading. That is really where we will bring in potentially the provinces, the Royal Canadian Legion and other veterans organizations to really have that conversation about what we can do, how we can do more and how we can do better. There is always room for improvement.
    I would like to thank every member of the House for coming together in support of the bill. It is a tremendous thing to see because some days I am sure many members question the effectiveness of the things we do, whether we can reach compromises and seek that common ground rather than let things divide us. Today is certainly one of those days where every member has come together to show how there is more that brings us together rather than divides us. I look forward to the vote on Wednesday evening.
The Deputy Speaker:  
     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order 93 the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, November 5, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Adjournment Proceedings

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

  (1845)  

[Translation]

The Environment  

Mr. François Choquette (Drummond, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to talk about the environment once again. As everyone knows, we had the honour of receiving Mr. Hollande, the President of France, in this House. One of the most important things he talked about was the fight against climate change. We know that the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has released its fifth report. Hundreds of scientists have talked about the need for urgent action. Unfortunately, the Conservatives prefer to sit back and do nothing, with the 2015 Copenhagen summit only a year away.
    I would like to revisit the important issue of the federal environmental assessment process. I recently asked the Minister of the Environment a question about this important issue, which the Conservatives often ignore. I asked my question on October 7 of this year, the same day that the Commissioner of the Environment, Ms. Gelfand, released her report.
    Let me provide some background. I pointed out that many industrial sites that are likely to be major polluters have undergone no environmental assessment whatsoever. You heard me correctly: some sites that are likely to be major polluters have undergone no federal environmental assessment. It really makes you wonder about the Conservative government's attitude, as it deliberately fails to assess certain projects in order to please industry.
    I also asked questions about the criteria for performing environmental assessments, in order to more effectively apply the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Unfortunately, we did not obtain a definitive answer from the government.
    The environment commissioner mentioned this government's gross negligence in that regard. Why are some projects assessed and others not? The criteria for choosing these projects lack clarity and precision. In fact, Canadians do not even know what they are. They are arbitrary criteria. This is ridiculous when we are talking about an issue as important as the environmental assessment of major projects.
     My question for the Minister of the Environment was as follows: Either way, will the government heed the recommendations made by the environment commissioner and commit to greater transparency and clarity when it comes to identifying projects to be assessed? The government's response was very disappointing.
    Let us back up for a moment. We know that the Conservative government's decision to completely gut and destroy the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act dates back to 2012. I have been a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development since 2011, and I have seen the mess that this has caused. Since that time, we know that major projects such as in situ oil sands development projects, have not been assessed even though they are critical projects and there are a growing number of them. In fact, most new oil sands projects are in situ projects,
    I would therefore like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment why projects as important as in situ and hydraulic fracturing projects, for example, are not subject to an environmental assessment.
Mr. Colin Carrie (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to respond to the question posed by the hon. member for Drummond regarding the commissioner's recommendations on the implementation of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act of 2012.
    In keeping with the objectives of responsible resource development, the modernized federal environmental assessment process focuses on major projects under federal jurisdiction with the greatest potential to cause harm to the environment.

  (1850)  

[English]

    A key element of this environmental assessment regime is a regulation that enumerates the types of projects most likely to generate significant effects. However, projects not listed in the regulation can nevertheless be reviewed for environmental effects. Let me give members two examples.
    First, the Minister of the Environment has the authority to require an environmental assessment of an otherwise non-designated project, taking into account the adverse effects or the public concerns about these effects. Second, if a proposed project is on federal land, the responsible authority must examine the project to determine the likelihood of a significant adverse environmental effect. I would also emphasize that all projects will continue to be subject to a wide range of federal and provincial environment-related regulatory and permitting requirements.
    This government is focusing federal resources on the assessment of major projects that pose a risk to the environment, the public and aboriginal peoples.
    In order to ensure that attention is focused on areas of greatest risk so that mitigation measures can be proposed, the environmental assessment regime outlined in the legislation includes a screening process. This applies only to proposed projects under the purview of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. The screening process does not apply to projects such as pipelines or nuclear facilities assessed by the National Energy Board or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
    A screening decision is made to determine if an environmental assessment is required. If there are no potential effects to areas of federal jurisdiction, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency may decide that the project does not require a federal environmental assessment. The screening decision is based upon comments from public and aboriginal groups, relevant scientific information provided by the proponent, and expert advice from federal departments.
    Last, I would like to finish by saying that the federal environmental review process and how it is triggered is really very transparent. It is a process that we are proud to have established. We will consider all suggestions on how to improve the process, for the environment is of great importance to this government and for all Canadians.

[Translation]

Mr. François Choquette:  
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to transparency, the Commissioner of the Environment does not agree with the criteria used to choose the projects to be assessed. That is what she said in her report.
    It does not seem as though the parliamentary secretary will ask his government to implement the recommendations in the report, which is very disappointing, since they said they were accepting them.
    Furthermore, there was an informative article this weekend in Le Devoir regarding the National Energy Board and the public's participation in evaluating major projects; referring to the energy east pipeline project, the article claimed that the National Energy Board will ignore the impact of oil. It went on to say:
    The National Energy Board (NEB) is clear: there is no need to assess or even address the topic of climate change...
    That is unbelievable. While Mr. Hollande himself lectured the Conservatives about taking the lead on climate change, the energy east pipeline project will not even undergo an environmental assessment with respect to climate change. No one will even be consulted. That is disappointing.
    I hope that the government will reconsider and take greenhouse gases into account when assessing major projects.

[English]

Mr. Colin Carrie:  
    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, where recommendations are made on how to improve the environmental assessment process, this government will listen.
    We received the recent commissioner's report, and in response to it, I am pleased to say that additional information on project screening and designation will be made available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's website.
    I will conclude by saying that Canada has a robust, transparent and comprehensive environmental assessment regime. If the member opposite believes that there are many projects under the federal jurisdiction that need an assessment but have failed to receive one, I would ask him to name a few.

  (1855)  

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise in this evening's adjournment proceedings to pursue a question I asked of the Prime Minister on June 3.
    To refresh the memories of members, that was the day when President Barack Obama announced an ambitious climate plan, using his executive powers to ensure that greenhouse gases in the United States would fall in absolute terms. The U.S. climate target is too weak. By 2020, when the Copenhagen target falls due for what Barack Obama promised, the U.S. will be slightly below its 1990 emission levels.
     I hope my presentation tonight will not be too technical or have too many numbers for people to follow. The key point here is that President Obama's climate target, taken in Copenhagen in 2009, exactly tracks with Canada's in terms of the numbers used. Both Canada and the U.S. pledged to reduce greenhouse gases by 17% below 2005 levels, and do that by 2020.
    Both Mr. Obama and our Prime Minister were in Copenhagen at the same time and took on this target. However, the effect is different. It happens that in 2005, the base year for this Copenhagen pledge, Canada's emissions were abnormally high. Therefore, going 17% below had the effect of being the second time that the current Prime Minister weakened our target. First, abandoning the Kyoto pledge for 6% below 1990 levels by 2012, and weakening it again when he changed from a 2006 base year to a 2005 base year.
    The net effect of all this is that Barack Obama's pledge is too weak for sure. It only gets the U.S. to a bit below 1990 levels by 2020. Canada's Copenhagen pledge is even weaker, leaving us above 1990 levels at 2020 were we to keep our commitment.
    However, it is abundantly clear from the Environment Canada website, from the report of the Canada's environmental commissioner that Canada simply has no hope whatsoever of coming near the weak target we pledged.
    Contrast that with what we heard earlier in this chamber today. The President of France stood here, and all members stood and applauded as he pledged that his country and the European Union would move to 40% below 1990 levels.
    The 1990 figure is important to remember. It is the baseline for all other countries around the world, except when Canada went rogue and picked 2006 as a base year. We created the space for the U.S. to weaken its targets as well.
    Here we have it. My original question to the Prime Minister was premised with the notion that we were playing a climate change shell game. Indeed, we are.
    Here is the bottom line. The atmosphere is not the least bit interested in negotiating with humanity. The IPCC is really clear. We have to move to an aggressive phase-out within which even if the current government were going to meet the Copenhagen target, it would not be close to doing what is required to preserve the world for our kids. We have to be serious minded about this.
    The nonsense that goes on in the House, the shell games about 130 megatonnes less than it would have been under the Liberals, which is just absolutely absurd, the ridiculous notion that we have plan when we do not must stop. Let us talk seriously about the position Canada will take next month in Lima.
Mr. Colin Carrie (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to addressing the challenge of climate change and has followed through on that commitment with concrete action, both internationally and domestically.
    Internationally, Canada continues to work with its global partners to address climate change. Canada is an active and constructive participant in the ongoing climate change discussions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. At the same time, Canada is taking a leadership role on a number of international climate change initiatives outside the United Nations. For instance, our government is working with international partners through its chairmanship of the Arctic Council and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short Lived Climate Pollutants, such as black carbon and methane. This work is especially important for Canada, as short-lived climate pollutants significantly impact our north.
    Domestically, our government is implementing a sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining economic competitiveness. It has started with the transportation and electricity sectors, two of the largest-emitting sectors of the Canadian economy.
     In the transportation sector, the Government of Canada continues to collaborate with the United States to develop standards for regulating greenhouse gases produced by passenger automobiles and light trucks and heavy duty vehicles.
    Recently, at the September climate summit, the Government of Canada announced the final regulations for 2017-2025 model year light duty vehicles as well as its intent to move forward with further regulations for heavy duty vehicles for the post-2018 model years. As a result of these actions, 2025 model year passenger vehicles and light trucks will emit about half as many greenhouse gas emissions as 2008 models. Greenhouse gas emissions from the 2018 model year heavy duty vehicles will be reduced by up to 23%.
    In the electricity generation sector, Canada already has one of the cleanest systems in the world, with 77% of its electricity supplied emitting no greenhouse gases. In 2012 our government introduced a tough new regulatory performance standard for coal-fired electricity generation that makes Canada the first major coal user to ban construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units. These regulations will help contribute to reductions of 46% in this sector over 2005 levels by 2030.
    At the climate summit in New York, Canada also announced its intent to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. These regulations will align with the regulations recently proposed by the U.S. and will apply to HFCs in bulk and to certain manufactured products containing HFCs.
    Our approach is generating results. It is estimated that as a result of the combined actions of all levels of government, businesses, and consumers, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 will be 734 megatonnes. This is 128 megatonnes lower than where our emissions would have been in 2020 if no action had been taken since 2005. As we know, no action was taken by the Liberals.

  (1900)  

Ms. Elizabeth May:  
    Mr. Speaker, I wish that the parliamentary secretary had taken my hint that it really was not impressive in this debate to repeat the nonsense that we were going to be 130 megatonnes lower than a “business as usual” target and then take credit for all the things the provinces have done to avoid that.
    He has confirmed that by 2020 we will be at 734 megatonnes. Let me repeat that. It will be 734 megatonnes by 2020. Here is a little reminder. In 2005, our emissions were 737 megatonnes. That represents a three megatonne drop. We do not have to be really good at math to know that 17% of 737 is not three. It is an easy bit of math.
    Let me just finish off with this point. The parliamentary secretary's remarks about what we do internationally would have been completely accurate if he had changed one syllable. He said that we have been an active and constructive player. Change the “con” to a “de”. We have been an active and destructive player. I have been at all of the climate negotiations globally. I watch our delegation block progress and create obstacles.
    We have to stop being on the wrong side of this issue, and we have to stop now.
Mr. Colin Carrie:  
    Mr. Speaker, our government's sector-by-sector regulatory approach is enhanced by complementary measures that will help reduce emissions over the longer term, facilitating Canada's transition to a low-carbon economy. Since 2006, our government has invested over $10 billion in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, the development of clean energy technologies, and the production of cleaner energy and fossil fuels.

Health 

Mr. Ted Hsu (Kingston and the Islands, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I wanted to ask my question today to give the government a chance to update the House on a particular treatment for Ebola, and that is the monoclonal antibody treatment.
     By contrast to vaccines, monoclonal antibodies would be something given to somebody who has already contracted Ebola. If there are a small number of people who might contract Ebola, the monoclonal antibody treatment would be used. If there were a large number of people who might get Ebola, they would be vaccinated beforehand.
    The reason this point is relevant for Canada is that the Public Health Agency of Canada owns a number of lines of antibodies. These lines were developed in Canada. There are different ways to produce these antibodies, but one of the ways is in mammalian cells, particularly Chinese hamster ovary cells. A cell line is needed, and these antibodies are produced from these mammalian cells. Our National Research Council of Canada owns such a cell line, so it makes sense to combine these two, and there are companies in Canada that can do that to produce antibodies.
    Is this treatment perhaps pie in the sky and just speculative? Let us consider that the Gates Foundation in the United States and a large company, Amgen, have committed people and resources in collaboration with a third company, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, to produce monoclonal antibodies against the Ebola virus in these Chinese hamster ovary cell lines. If it is good enough for them, why could we not use the results of research in Canada to give a boost to manufacturing in biotechnology in Canada and at the same time produce a domestic supply of a treatment for Ebola that would be applicable when a small number of people are at risk of getting it?
     That is the background of this treatment.
    The question is twofold. What, if any, progress has been made in kick-starting this particular manufacture of an Ebola treatment in Canada, since the question was asked a couple of weeks ago in question period? Second, does the government agree that this is a good opportunity to take the fruits of Canadian basic research by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the National Research Council, which owns the right cell line, combine them in Canada, and kick-start one particular aspect of biotech manufacturing in Canada?
    I am hoping that the parliamentary secretary will provide the House with some good news. There is no criticism of the government here. It is a decision about whether funding this manufacturing in Canada would be a good use of resources. It is something that has occurred in the United States, as I said, with the Gates Foundation and Amgen working on exactly what I am talking about today.
    My simple question to the parliamentary secretary is whether the Government of Canada has taken any steps since a couple of weeks ago to get this manufacturing going.

  (1905)  

Ms. Eve Adams (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kingston and the Islands for this very important question, and I stand this evening in the House to speak to our government's continued efforts to address the Ebola outbreak.
    Canada remains at the forefront of the international response to the Ebola outbreak. We are ready to respond if a case arrives in Canada. We are ready with our hospitals that have infection control systems and procedures in place to limit the spread of infection, protect health care workers, and provide the best care possible for patients.
    Research on such a virus can only be done in a high-containment laboratory. The Public Health Agency of Canada's national microbiology laboratory is the only lab with the required capabilities in Canada. It is from this facility, through a cutting-edge and innovative special pathogen research program, that the VSV-EBOV vaccine for Ebola was developed. I am proud to say that it was a Canadian discovery, one that was the result of 15 years of work, and one that required ongoing support from the Government of Canada.
    In addition to the VSV-EBOV vaccine, Canada has had a major role in the development and testing of the ZMapp Ebola treatment. This post-exposure treatment has shown promising results when tested on non-human primates. The treatment uses a unique regimen of multiple doses of antibodies, designed and engineered to find, attach, and effectively coat the Ebola virus, preventing the virus from reproducing and multiplying in the body. It has had no side effects to date.
    It is believed that the ZMapp treatment was directly responsible for saving the lives of some front-line workers who became infected with the Ebola virus in West Africa. This is an important example of work being done in the Government of Canada laboratories that has led to the saving of lives. It is a proud moment for all Canadians.
    Our government reiterated its commitment to this important work today through the Minister of Health's announcement this afternoon of an additional $23.5 million for further research and development of Ebola vaccines and treatments.
    Canada can stand proud as an international leader in the field of infectious disease research. However, this work was not done in isolation.

  (1910)  

[Translation]

    Discoveries of this magnitude rely on co-operation among government departments, private sector investments and, in particular, international partnerships.

[English]

    In seeking such partnerships with private companies, in the case of our experimental Ebola vaccine, for example, it is important to highlight that Canada has maintained 100% of our intellectual property rights. The Government of Canada's main objective in developing this vaccine is and has always been the public good.
    The vaccine has been tested in animal models, such as mice, guinea pigs, and non-human primates. Testing in animals has demonstrated protection during pre-exposure, and significantly less protection when administered post-exposure.
    Phase I clinical trials have now started and are important to assessing the overall safety of the vaccine in humans and determining the appropriate dosage. The trials were launched on October 13 at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in Silver Spring, Maryland. Canada has supplied 20 vials of the experimental vaccine for use in these trials. The next step will be to proceed to phase II and phase III trials in West Africa, in early 2015.
Mr. Ted Hsu:  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for staying here during adjournment proceedings to respond to my question. However, I do not think that her response has addressed the question I am asking.
    We know about the work and funding for vaccines. However, the antibody treatment is a different treatment. I am asking whether the government is going to fund some sort of work in Canada to manufacture the monoclonal antibodies for Ebola.
Ms. Eve Adams:  
    Mr. Speaker, the fight against Ebola is a complex matter. That is why our government has announced an additional $23.5 million for further research and development of Ebola vaccines and treatments this afternoon.
    As members are aware, we cannot do it alone. We are working with our international partners, including the World Health Organization, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and with multiple private sector entities and regulatory authorities, to accelerate clinical trials and fast-track steps for mass production of the vaccine for possible use in the current West Africa outbreak.
    In this spirit, Canada has donated 800 vials of its experimental vaccine to the World Health Organization to support the response to the outbreak. The World Health Organization, in consultation with partners, including health authorities from the affected countries, will guide and facilitate the distribution and use of the vaccine.
    As an active and engaged international partner, this government is fully committed to supporting the international efforts to combat the Ebola virus disease.
    Here at home, we continue to ensure that Canada is well prepared for a possible case of Ebola. Protecting the health of Canadians is our greatest priority.

[Translation]

The Deputy Speaker:  
    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 7:14 p.m.)

APPENDIX

ADDRESS


of

His Excellency François Hollande

President of the French Republic

to both Houses of Parliament

in the

House of Commons Chamber,

Ottawa

on Monday, November 3, 2014

    His Excellency François Hollande was welcomed by the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, by the Honourable Noël Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate, and by the Honourable Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons.
Hon. Andrew Scheer (Speaker of the House of Commons):  
    I invite the Right Hon. Prime Minister to introduce the President of the French Republic.
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister):  
    Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Mr. Speaker of the House of Commons, hon. members and senators, distinguished guests.
    Mr. President of the French Republic, yesterday I had the pleasure of welcoming you to Alberta, my home province. Today, we are very honoured to welcome you to our Parliament.
    Before reaching the highest office in your country, you, too, lived the life of a parliamentarian for nearly 20 years. We are therefore very touched to have you with us this morning. On many occasions since you were elected president in 2012, I have personally appreciated your wisdom and courage during a time when the global economy has been in serious turmoil. As you know, we are not out of the woods yet.

[English]

    However, Mr. President, your presence here with a large and important business delegation, as well as the recent conclusion of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, show the world that we are determined together to move forward in creating jobs, growth, and prosperity for our citizens.

[Translation]

    I also find it reassuring to know that our countries have modelled enlightened collaboration based on shared values during these difficult global times. Our discussions in Banff confirmed that, internationally, Canada and France share the same commitment to multilateralism, democracy, human rights and good governance.
    We also confirmed the vitality of the enhanced cooperation agenda, which we developed last year. The agenda covers the economy, defence, political dialogue, culture, academics and science.
    Happily, we also share the same perspective regarding the major international security issues on which France and you, Mr. President, are global leaders. The tragic events that took place just steps away from here less than two weeks ago reminded us that even our most sacred democratic institutions are not immune to murderous rampages inspired by terrorist movements. Your country also recently bore the pain of the cruel and senseless murder of two of your citizens in Algeria, an act we deplored and condemned.
    I am therefore pleased that we had the opportunity yesterday to strengthen our resolve and revisit our strategy to eradicate the most virulent centres of the terrorist scourge, particularly on Iraqi territory, where both of our air forces are engaged.
    In addition to discussing the jihadist threat in several countries, we also talked about the brazen aggression by Vladimir Putin's troops in Ukraine, as well as other urgent matters: climate change and the terrifying spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa. We are committed to working on these challenges together.

[English]

    These will, of course, Mr. President, only add to the long and proud history of Canada and France working together for common values and against the great threats to our civilization. Just over four months ago, on a Normandy beach, with more than 20 other heads of state and government, you and I celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Allied landing, the beginning of the end of the Nazi oppression of Europe. To us Canadians, that anniversary, along with the centennial of the start of the First World War this year, remind us, with a solemn pride, that a young country on two occasions did not hesitate to come to the aid of the old continent from which most of its population originated.
    More recently, we also took part in the G7 summit in Brussels and then in the NATO meeting in Wales. These recent meetings, one inspired by historic collaboration and the other concerned with the challenges of the present and the future, are, I believe, a clear demonstration that the relations that join Canada and France are both long-standing and far-reaching.

[Translation]

    Mr. President, compared to Europe, which is so much older, Canada may seem like a young country. However, France and Canada's shared history began nearly five centuries ago, when Saint-Malo explorer Jacques Cartier arrived on our shores. He was the one who chose the name Canada for these lands, which were still unknown to Europeans at that time. Ever since, the great journey of the French language in North America has continued. I can assure you, Mr. President, that all Canadian francophones feel the same pride in and the same hope for their language, culture and institutions that your ancestors felt when they came here.
    All Canadians are grateful for the friendship and solidarity you have shown us with your visit to Canada.
    I now have the privilege of inviting you to address this chamber.
    Dear friends, Mr. President François Hollande.
    [Applause]
H.E. Mr. François Hollande (President of the French Republic):  
    Mr. Prime Minister, my friend Stephen, Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Mr. Speaker of the House of Commons, hon. parliamentarians, I am very touched by your warm welcome.
    You do France a tremendous honour by allowing me to speak here today, to address your Parliament, the seat of democracy, which was defiled on October 22 by a terrorist-inspired attack whose ultimate goal was to attack the very idea of freedom, which this Parliament represents.
    I salute the courage of Kevin Vickers, who is now known all across the world. I wish to assure the people of Canada that France stands in solidarity with you following the terrible ordeal you have endured. I reassert here that in the face of terrorism, there is no room for backing down, for concession, for weakness, because terrorism threatens the values on which both our countries are built. That is why France and Canada are working together to take up our responsibilities for global security.
    Ladies and gentlemen, Canada and France have an unwavering friendship, which has a long history, as you mentioned, Prime Minister. Just 400 years ago, a Frenchman from Charentes, Samuel de Champlain, crossed the ocean, travelled up the St. Lawrence and founded a new country, your country. He was the first Governor General of Canada. In 2017, we too will commemorate and celebrate the anniversary of the founding of Canada, the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
    France and Canada are also united by the blood that was spilled and the alliance that was forged during the two successive world wars in the 20th century. Canada and Newfoundland came to France's side in the early days of both conflicts, in 1914 and in 1939.
    France has war cemeteries. At commemorative sites such as Vimy, Hénin-Beaumont, Beaumont-Hamel and Dieppe, many ordinary French citizens become quite emotional as they remember the sacrifice made by these young Canadians, your forebears, who died for France. That is why I wanted to recognize nearly 600 Canadian veterans who took part in the landings in Normandy and Provence in 1944, to liberate France and Europe. I made them knights of the Legion of Honour.
    In this very Parliament, in July 1944—the war had not ended yet—General de Gaulle said that your support during what he called the dark days was proof positive of the friendship between France and Canada. That alliance has never been broken. It survived the Cold War and the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, in Afghanistan, in Libya, today in West Africa, in Mali, and also in Iraq. Our air forces are fighting together in Iraq, not to make war, but to defend ideas that can lead to peace.
    We remain united in defending democracy, peoples' longing for freedom, human dignity and women's rights around the world. Canada and France are members of the same family.
    I will borrow one of your turns of phrase, Prime Minister, as I would never have pulled it off myself: Canada was born in French and therefore speaks French. This close interrelationship is manifested throughout Canada, from the Atlantic Ocean and ancestral Acadia to the dynamic francophone communities that have developed along the Pacific Ocean, in the Yukon and in the Northwest Territories. It is always a pleasure and a source of pride to hear French spoken in other countries and to hear French in Canada.
    La Francophonie is not a relic of the past; it is an asset for the future. The younger generations understand that bilingualism is an opportunity and that French is the language of cultural excellence and also the language of economic development. Very soon, la Francophonie will account for one-third of the nations at the UN, with more than 700 million speakers as Africa has also chosen to belong to la Francophonie. The French language does not belong to France. French is the language of freedoms. French embodies values. French defends human rights, and that is why you have opened a human rights museum in Winnipeg.
    Ladies and gentlemen of Parliament, last year during the Prime Minister's visit to Paris, Canada and France adopted an enhanced co-operation agenda centred on three priorities. The first was the simplest to identify: growth. Growth is important for both the Americas and Europe. To achieve growth, there has to be trade between our two continents and between our two countries.
    Trade between France and Canada is currently valued at $8 billion. France is Canada's eighth-largest trading partner and ninth-largest foreign investor. That is not where we want to be. We know that we can never be first, but second place is an achievable goal. We can therefore do more.
    I am convinced that the economic and trade agreement that was signed between Canada and the European Union can help develop our trade. France was in favour of that agreement and set conditions on it. Audio-visual services had to be excluded and the origin and quality of our agricultural products had to be maintained. You were also concerned about this. However, now that the agreement has been signed, we must not waste any more time. We need to ratify and implement it.
    Beyond the French language and culture, France also has a business presence in Canada. There are more than 550 French businesses in your country, which is still too few. I urge business leaders—and the ones who have accompanied me here firmly agree—to invest even more in Canada. I call on Canadians and the French to increase investments in our respective countries. The reforms I initiated two and a half years ago in France have created new opportunities, since they make it much easier to invest in France. I wanted to make my country more attractive; simplify procedures; lower labour costs; and support innovation, research and education. However, although France is making an effort, we cannot achieve this alone, which is why Europe must also take action.
    Two years ago, when I met with the Prime Minister of Canada, Europe did not even know whether it would be able to protect its own currency. There was a serious risk that the Economic and Monetary Union could break up, as countries were threatening to leave. Two years later, the Euro zone is strong and robust, but growth is weak.
    The European Union is preparing to launch a major program to inject public and private investments into energy transition, infrastructure and new technologies. I invite Canada to contribute its expertise and to seize these opportunities as well, since we need growth, we need development and we need progress. We cannot allow young people, our youngest, to be the first victims of an economic system. The main purpose of an economy is to give young people the hope that they can live a better life, and that is what we need to work on now.
    The world is facing new threats, as we have discussed. We share the same objectives within the Atlantic alliance with respect to our collective defence. When necessary, we work on foreign intervention. Canada gave us critical support from the very start of our involvement in Mali. For West Africa, knowing that people who might be physically far away from these conflicts were capable of working together to offer support and solidarity created a new connection between Africa and the countries that were providing support.
    Our two countries are also engaged in Iraq. I can imagine the debates that took place here in this Parliament about an intervention in Iraq. France refused to take action in Iraq almost 10 years ago because we did not think it was fair to the rest of the world. Today, however, we are dealing with a terrorist movement that kills, murders, destroys villages, enslaves women and children and drowns them in wells. We cannot stand by and do nothing, remaining indifferent and thinking that this does not concern us.
    There are always doubts about a foreign mission, and I share them. There are always questions. How long will it last? Do we really understand the implications of the mission? If we want to work together, and that is a must, we have to tell ourselves that this mission is going to take time and that it will take more than just a few air strikes. Air strikes will not bring about political solutions. We need to involve the local people and tell them that they need to eliminate terrorism and that our nations can support them and show them the way.
    Our two countries are dealing with a phenomenon known as foreign fighters: lost, radicalized, manipulated individuals. They are a part of your world now. Most often, but not always, they are converts who were not necessarily detected or identified as potential threats. When they leave, they go through horrendous experiences. We have heard about what they witness or even participate in. When they come back, haunted by what they have seen, they may be tempted to recreate massacres in their home country. That is why we need to bolster the co-operation between our countries and our specialized services while respecting civil liberties. If we do away with civil liberties, terrorism has won another victory against democracy.
    Last year, Canada introduced new legislation against terrorism. France has just done the same: monitoring social networks, preventing departures, fighting networks and keeping track of combatants when they return. However, as I have said, we must also seek political solutions to conflicts everywhere and facilitate international dialogue to provide perspective to all, including those who fight. This approach—tirelessly seeking a political solution while standing firm on respect for our principles and using force when necessary—applies to Ukraine as well. I know how concerned Canada is about that crisis. To over a million Canadians of Ukrainian origin, this challenge to the territorial integrity of what was once their country is a painful and upsetting experience. The sanctions we imposed in a coordinated fashion were and still are necessary, but they cannot be our only response. The goal is to convince Moscow and the separatists to back down and return to the table. The Minsk protocol was signed on September 5 of this year. That protocol should be followed in its entirety.
    As part of what I called the “Normandy meetings”, which finally took place on the very day we were celebrating the anniversary of D-day, Angela Merkel and I were able to bring together, for the first time, Mr. Poroshenko as the president of the Republic of Ukraine and Russia's President Putin. It was the first time such a forum could have taken place. It was followed by a number of meetings and discussions by telephone. I believe in this format, but it only works when it leads to political agreement.
    There was an election—the initial election in Ukraine, the only one we recognize—followed by consultations in a tiny part of Ukraine, consultations that deserve consideration, but cannot be recognized as a separation. These were local elections with local consequences that call for dialogue. I call on President Putin to respect this framework .We should not recognize an election that could call into question the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
    Ladies and gentlemen, there is also the issue of climate change. It is not just a challenge for the next 10 years. It is the challenge of the century. It is not a threat to one continent or a few islands here and there in the world. It is a threat to the entire planet. The temperature has risen by nearly one degree Celsius in the past 200 years and could rise by more than three degrees Celsius by the end of this century, with the consequences we know: melting glaciers and rising sea levels.
    On November 1, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, an incontrovertible group of top scientific authorities, issued its fifth synthesis report and made an indisputable new finding: there is a direct link between global warming and the greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. Inaction would lead to unacceptable catastrophic consequences that we could no doubt live with, but our children and grandchildren could not. It is still possible to limit the increase in the planet's temperature to two degrees, which is significant enough, if we are able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and definitely by 2050.
    The climate change conference is being held in Paris. I want to thank all the participants for making Paris the host of this conference. We were the only candidate.
    There are two possible scenarios when there is only one candidate. Either it is not a real election or no one wants to take on that responsibility. We took it on. We took it on for the world, and we took it on because we want those who, like us, are aware that there is a danger, to be able to work together. This is not only a danger to our economies but also to our citizens.
    France is capable of speaking to of the all countries in the world. That is a privilege that stems from our history, our diplomacy, our culture and the image people have of us. We are permanent members of the Security Council. We speak to all of the world leaders. We are telling them that the meeting will be held in December 2015. I think that Canada, which is also undergoing this type of change and which is also making energy a part of its development strategy, particularly in the western provinces, will be fully committed to the fight against global warming. Canada wants to protect the environment, particularly in the Arctic. Canada wants to develop that region's resources, which are part of an ecosystem.
    I met with the provincial Premiers, including the Premier of the Northwest Territories. That is a large land mass, like France, with a population of 55,000. It is a land abounding in natural splendour, with a rich history and promising future. The future of these territories also depends on the success of the climate conference.
    There is another threat, which the Prime Minister spoke about, and that is the Ebola health threat. There again, I commend Canada for its efforts. France will focus on Guinea, which is a francophone country. Canada decided to join us by sending French-speaking volunteers. This is where the Francophonie can be useful because the people who are ill need caregivers who understand what they are saying and those caregivers must also be able to show and teach their patients what they need to do to get well.
    The meeting that we had just this morning with Canadian and French academics and researchers shows that we are able to work together on the science side of things, at the highest level, to fight the virus, with tests and vaccine research. This is what France and Canada can do: we can send health care professionals to the affected countries to care for the sick while others remain here to prepare vaccines and find solutions for the future.
    France and Canada will be attending the next Dakar summit in December and will give new impetus to la Francophonie. As you already know, a new secretary general will be appointed at the Dakar summit. I want that meeting to be productive so that we can provide more support for francophone youth, increase protections for francophone women's rights and develop new technologies in all francophone places. We want to build a Francophonie that is a cultural entity—which it is—and that can also be an economic entity.
    French must unite researchers, creators and entrepreneurs in order to create a new economy for all countries where French is spoken or those where the people would like to speak French. La Francophonie also represents cultural diversity. Both your country and mine cherish French, which must be fiercely defended against uniformity, commodification and trivialization. Beware of languages that no longer resemble anything, false languages, bastard languages, invented languages and languages that are not even written anymore. We must also defend all languages. La Francophonie does not pit one language against another. La Francophonie is fighting for global cultural richness.
    That is why we, the people of France, admire your culture, artists, singers, filmmakers, theatres and creators.
    France has taken note of Canada's vibrant arts scene, in both French and English. Xavier Dolan, a 25-year-old creator, received great acclaim just recently in Cannes. Dany Laferrière has been made a member of the Académie française. Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in literature. Every time your country achieves success, France, quite pretentiously, feels as though it can take some credit. Thank you.
    Canada has also become a very attractive country for the French. More than 200,000 of my compatriots have chosen to spend a significant amount of time here. I believe that these visits help raise our profile and help us develop as a country. There is nothing to worry about. Moreover, France has nothing to fear from comparison, competition or, especially, openness. The experience that the French gain here benefits us, it encourages others to want to do the same, and it is useful to both Canada and France.
    We even want to encourage this by means of mobility accords, which you call mobility agreements. I like the word “agreement” much better than the word ”accord”. To me, an accord implies that two parties have come to an understanding, whereas an agreement implies that there is a lifelong relationship. That is why we want to increase the number of permits awarded for working holidays and international volunteering, so that you can have more young French nationals here and we can have more young Canadians in France.
    We also want France to be a very attractive destination for foreign students. Our country is already one of the most attractive to foreign students, but we need more Canadians. Part of the problem is that our post-secondary education system has not been considered to be compatible with yours. This morning, we increased the number of agreements between universities and research institutions and we set the bar high to ensure that there are more Canadian students in France and more French students in Canada. These scientific exchanges are very important for us. We were able to build the Canada–France–Hawaii telescope and are engaging in advanced astronomy as well as doing excellent research on neurodegenerative diseases. That is why I am so pleased to be making this state visit.
    I see Canada as a friend, a young country that is open and proud of its diversity. Your population is growing every year. You are not afraid of immigration. You open your doors wide because you believe in your model of harmony and compromise. Guard it closely because every nation must be able to live in harmony. The strength of a nation lies in knowing its destiny and its future and in a growing population. France has the same demographic vitality. We are lucky to know that we will grow together and that we can live together, respecting one another but with rules that apply to everyone. That way, there is no ambiguity about the way of life we want to embrace and protect.
    As you know, France has an exceptional, unique relationship with Quebec. That will not change. At the same time, France wants to work with all the provinces in Canada. I demonstrated that by going to Alberta, and I am open to any and all agreements with the provinces. Know that we have Quebec in our hearts, but that we also want to offer our sincere friendship to the rest of Canada.
    I would like to close by saying that what has united us for centuries and unites us still today is culture, language and the economy, to be sure, but more importantly, the shared values that enable us to understand one another instantly, that allow us to guess what you are thinking and that ensure you always interpret what we say in a positive way. We respect each other as people.
    We believe in progress, justice and the critical importance of respecting the planet. I believe in the strength of our friendship, in the vitality that drives us and in the things we can achieve together.
    Canada has a special place in the hearts of the French. The Canada of yesteryear made us proud. The Canada of today inspires us to build still stronger ties. Let our friendship be capital for our economies, let it guard our safety, and let it give our youth hope.
    Long live Canada and long live France.
    [Applause]
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Speaker of the Senate):  
    Speaker Scheer, Your Excellency President Hollande, Mr. Prime Minister, honourable senators and members, ladies and gentlemen.
    On behalf of everyone gathered here today for this joint session of Canada's Parliament, I am honoured to thank you, Mr. President, for your speech.
    Your thoughts and remarks highlighted the friendship that binds our two countries so closely. Before entering Parliament, you participated in a ceremony to lay a bouquet of flowers at the National War Memorial. I want you to know that we appreciate your support, Mr. President, in the wake of the tragic events that occurred in this very place on October 22.
    Canada truly appreciates your condemnation of such a reprehensible terrorist act in this democratic institution. Canada is determined to maintain its commitment to the international coalition against the Islamic State. Thank you, Mr. President, for your remarks and your good advice.
    Beyond issues of security and the fight against terrorism, Canada and France have opportunities to co-operate on many common causes. The contribution made by veterans to our history and heritage is one example. Remembrance Day is next week. The Senate of Canada is hosting a symposium called “Canada and France in the Great War 1914-1918”, which will allow participants to reflect on the significance and consequences of that historic time for both of our nations.
    As part of the activities to commemorate the Great War, the Parliament of Canada was supposed to welcome a delegation from the City of Arras on October 22. I had a meeting scheduled that day with the mayor, His Worship Frédéric Leturque, and the members accompanying him. The sudden, dramatic events that unfolded that day meant that they were not able to come to Parliament Hill.
    Mr. President, Canada and France share a number of deep historic and cultural ties, but the City of Arras is of special significance to Canadians, particularly this year as we mark the centenary of the Great War. I am extremely proud every time we have visitors in our chamber and we tell them the story of the painting by Canadian artist James Kerr-Lawson that hangs in the Senate. The painting illustrates the ruins of the cathedral in Arras as they were in 1917. It is part of a collection of eight paintings commemorating Canada's participation in the First World War, including one depicting the arrival of the Canadian soldiers in Saint-Nazaire.
    The historic ties shared by our two countries are represented in the Senate chamber by a number of symbols, including a stone sculpture of Joan of Arc and many depictions of the fleur-de-lys, which can also be found on Canada's coat of arms.
    Thank you, Mr. President, for reaffirming, through your presence here today and your remarks, the history and the friendship that unite Canada and France.
    [Applause]
Hon. Andrew Scheer (Speaker of the House of Commons):  
    Your Excellency President Hollande, Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Honourable Senators and members, ladies and gentlemen, it is a privilege and an honour to wish His Excellency François Hollande, President of the French Republic, a warm welcome to Parliament, the seat of our Canadian democracy.

[English]

    The bilateral relationship between our two countries spans generations and is rooted in the French exploration of the New World centuries ago. This relationship has been nurtured by our common language and by the values we share. It has been strengthened as our men and women have fought and died side by side defending the freedoms that we together cherish.

[Translation]

    This year we are celebrating the centennial of Canada's engagement in the Great War, the 75th anniversary of Canada's engagement in World War II, and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. During this important time in Canada's history, our two great countries stood proudly side by side. Today, our alliance has achieved an unprecedented strength. Just a few generations ago, our ancestors could never have imagined the scope of our joint efforts.

[English]

    Our cultural linkages are also deeply rooted, from the contributions of Samuel de Champlain and Jacques Cartier, who helped unlock the secrets of the New World, to the cultural and societal contributions of the early French Catholic missionaries who founded cities, built hospitals, and spread the faith across the continent.
    France's contributions to the catalogue of humanity's achievements are well known and respected by all nations of the world, including Canada. In art, music, sculpture, and literature, France has for centuries produced some of the world's most accomplished and most influential artists. As Canadians, we are proud to house here in our Parliament a work by the legendary sculptor Auguste Rodin, a cherished gift to Canada from the people of France.
    Mr. President, you highlighted the importance of the trading relationship between Canada and France. As our two countries work to enhance that relationship, the words of the great French economist Frédéric Bastiat come to mind. He said that when it comes to trade, one nation's prosperity is a benefit to all others.

[Translation]

    In closing, this morning, Mr. Hollande planted a tree at Rideau Hall. To me, this symbolic gesture is a reminder that over 400 years ago, France set out on a great adventure. It settled in the New World. From there a people took root in North America. Today, this Canadian francophonie is large and diverse, enriched by all the other cultures that make up the Canadian mosaic.
    Here in Canada, we will not forget or ever fail to recognize the great gifts we have inherited from our French ancestors. In the cultural, linguistic and institutional context, France remains to this day a significant part of the Canadian identity.
    On behalf of all the members of the House of Commons, I ask you to accept our most sincere thanks for the privilege of your visit this week, and for your speech here today.
    Thank you.
    [Applause]
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