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Mar 13th

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 11:10 am | Ontario, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock

    Resuming debate.

    The hon. member for Pierrefonds—Dollard will have three minutes today.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 10:35 am | Ontario, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock

    Order, please. I did not interrupt the parliamentary secretary the first time. This is the second time she has referred to the minister by her name. If she could avoid that, it would be appreciated.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 10:35 am | British Columbia, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo

    Mr. Speaker, I apologize. I have been here in the chamber long enough to recognize that this should not be done.

    The provincial ministers have begun planning a pan-Canadian dementia strategy. From a federal perspective, the initial focus of this collaboration will be on the coordination of research to advance the collective knowledge base on dementia. The provinces and territories will continue their own work on identifying best practices and on stakeholder engagement. An update on the strategy will be presented to Canada's health ministers for consideration and further direction at their next meeting.

    This is truly important work. The crux of this bill is to require discussions with the provinces to set up a national strategy. Our government has already successfully negotiated with the provinces to begin working on exactly that. The work is under way, and we will continue to make progress.

    The spirit and intent of this bill is also supported by current federal investments and activities on Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Many of the specific elements proposed in Bill C-356 that are within the federal role are currently being addressed. Research is needed to learn more about what causes dementia and the most effective ways to prevent, identify, treat, and ultimately, by 2025, cure it.

    Since 2006, the government has invested over $220 million in research related to dementia, including $37.8 million last year. Our economic action plan announced ongoing investments of $15 million for the Canadian Institute of Health Research, CIHR, for the creation of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging and other health research priorities. Launched in 2014, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging is the national component of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research dementia research strategy. It is a prime example of how we are encouraging greater investment in dementia research and the accelerated discovery of treatments and solutions. Through the consortium, more than 300 researchers from across the country will forge ahead with their work to improve our understanding of dementia, how we can prevent it, and how we can improve the quality of life of Canadians living with dementia, and their caregivers.

    Another significant piece of work is the national population health study of neurological conditions. In 2009, our government invested $15 million over four years in this study to better understand Alzheimer's disease and other conditions and their impact on Canadians and their families. Findings from the study were released in September 2014. This groundbreaking work fills gaps in information concerning the burden of neurological conditions, their impact on Canadians, risk factors, and the use of health care services.

    Research on dementia and other neurological conditions is also being funded through the Canada brain research fund.

    However, research for the future is not enough. We are also working to improve the lives of Canadians living with this disease now. In September 2014, the minister announced our intention to work with the Alzheimer Society Canada to establish a new program called Dementia Friends, which will be launched this year. It is an exciting program, and I think it will make an enormous difference. It was originally launched in Japan and the U.K. It will provide education and training to help Canadians learn the facts about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and how these diseases affect the people who live with them.

    As members can see, we are making substantial investments to address the issue of dementia. While many are federal initiatives, there are also many examples of collaboration with the provinces and territories, not to mention the fantastic work being done at the international level. It is apparent that the federal government has addressed many of the themes in Bill C-356 and even some of the specific elements.

    As I mentioned earlier, the minister has already secured an agreement with the provinces and territories on beginning to plan for a pan-Canadian dementia strategy that would guide our collective efforts. As I said at the beginning, I think we can all agree that this bill is very well intentioned. We have been taking action in a number of the areas laid out in it. However, with the provinces having already agreed to begin work on a strategy, many of our actions have progressed beyond what is called for in the bill, making some areas redundant.

    There are also a number of technical issues with the bill. The Speaker has indicated that it would require a royal recommendation. As all members in the House know, those are extremely, if rarely, ever provided. In addition, some clauses in this bill needlessly infringe on provincial jurisdiction in areas such as health human resources and diagnostic capacity. From my understanding, conversations have not resolved all our concerns with these issues.

    For these reasons and in order to respect the agreement the minister was able to secure in a co-operative fashion with the provinces, the government will not support the bill. Bringing in federal legislation to control discussions that have already happened in such a collaborative fashion is not respectful of the good work already being done.

    Our government remains committed to taking strong action that will improve the lives of Canadians living with dementia, but we will do so in a way that respects provincial jurisdiction and continues to work on a pan-Canadian strategy to which they have agreed.

    With that in mind, I would also like to note that my friend and chair of the health committee, the member for Huron—Bruce, has recently introduced a motion calling on the government to take continued action on dementia. This motion is yet another sign of how seriously our government takes the issue, and I look forward to debate on that motion. We will have to wait for the debate to occur, but I know my colleague fully respects the role of the provinces when it comes to health care. Perhaps it would be an opportunity for Parliament to make some further progress on this issue.

    I know we are talking about something that is incredibly important to Canadians. We are talking about something with which the international community, the federal government and the provinces are grappling. I know there was a lot of conversation back and forth, but my understanding is the unresolved issues were too much of a challenge in terms of continuing at this time.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 10:30 am | British Columbia, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to speak to Bill C-356, an act respecting a national strategy for dementia. This bill speaks to the important issue of dementia, which not only affects Canadians living with dementia, but their families, friends, and caregivers.

    We can all agree that the member for Nickel Belt is well-intentioned with this bill. He has done great work raising awareness of the challenges faced by all Canadians with dementia, and indeed in his very heartfelt speech that clearly articulated personal stories, and personal stories of families who have been impacted.

    I want to highlight some of the areas where we have been taking action along the lines called for by this bill, before getting into consideration of what I think are some technical issues within it.

    As we all know, Alzheimer's disease and related dementia most commonly affect seniors. However, dementia can also affect younger individuals. Younger people in their forties and fifties have been diagnosed with the early-onset form of the disease.

    Our government recognizes the devastating impact that this disease has on Canadian families and the help they need to be able to care for their loved ones. By supporting research and data gathering, we are improving our understanding of Alzheimer's disease and related forms of dementia and how they are affecting Canadians.

    Many countries around the world are facing similar issues, and we certainly are committed to working internationally to address the health and economic challenges of dementia and how to reduce the burden of this condition. That is why we have joined our G7 partners in addressing this growing challenge.

    Together, at the 2013 summit on dementia in London, Minister Ambrose worked with international leaders to coordinate efforts with the aim of finding a cure by 2025.

    Mr. Speaker, can you imagine a cure for this terrible affliction?

    The momentum of the G8 dementia summit has been incredible, and we are investing in ongoing efforts to accomplish our goals. Canada participated in a series of international follow-up legacy events, and co-hosted one of these events here in Ottawa last September.

    Beyond this international leadership, we have also been taking strong action here at home. While our federal focus on dementia is on research, data gathering, and awareness training, we have always tried to recognize the key role of co-operation with the provinces and territories, which are the primary providers of health care.

    It is important to note that in a crucial way, we are actually already ahead of Bill C-356 when it comes to working with the provinces. At the federal, provincial, and territorial health ministers meeting in October of last year, Minister Ambrose was able to secure agreement from the provincial—

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 10:15 am | Ontario, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock

    Is there unanimous consent?

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 10:15 am | Ontario, Newmarket—Aurora

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you see the clock at 1:30.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 10:10 am | Ontario, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock

    It being 1:15 p.m., pursuant to an order made on Thursday, February 26, 2015, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the bill now before the House.

    Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 10:05 am | Ontario, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock

    The hon. member for Alfred-Pellan has six minutes on debate.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 10:05 am | British Columbia, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo

    Mr. Speaker, when the opposition members ask questions or make their remarks, they frequently say that we are not taking an evidence-based approach. They talk about Conservatives being hard-hearted and not caring. Quite frankly, I find that very insulting. This legislation specifically talks about the need for scientific evidence.

    Everyone in the House has family, friends, or colleagues who have suffered the terrible ravages of addictions. I do not know that there is anyone who is not impacted.

    What I particularly like in this piece of legislation is the linking of some intervention with the site, intervention in terms of rehabilitation or opportunities to help people break the path of addiction. Could the member talk about not only that but about some of the concepts the opposition members are putting out that are simply not true?

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:50 am | Ontario, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock

    I remind all hon. members to direct their comments to the Chair.

    The hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:50 am | Ontario, Alma-Lac-St-Jean

    Mr. Speaker, I do not know every community across the country. I know the community I represent in the House. I can assure the hon. member that the people of Orléans, Blackburn Hamlet and Carlsbad Springs would want these conditions to be imposed before the Minister of Health approved an injection site in any of those communities.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:35 am | Ontario, Alma-Lac-St-Jean

    Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to add my words of support for Bill C-2, the respect for communities act.

    Before I go on, I would like to advise you and the House that I will be sharing my time with the distinguished member for Whitby—Oshawa.

    I want to thank all colleagues for their participation in this debate, especially those who are doing it in a measured manner.

    Also, I was very pleased that my friends on the committee for public safety and national security were able to conduct a thorough review of this legislation and to return it to this House without amendment.

    The opposition’s constant delay tactics—including almost 18 hours of debate at second reading alone—will not stop your government—the government that I support in the House of Commons—from ensuring that Canadian communities get a say before supervised injection sites open in their communities.

    Bill C-2 reflects the concern that the government has for Canadian families and communities, and our commitment to their protection. The rigorous criteria set out in the bill and the principles articulated within it are a reasonable and responsible approach.

    This approach is based on the premise that any exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for activities with illicit substances at a supervised consumption site should only be granted after an applicant seeking an exemption has addressed rigorous criteria.

    This is as much for the protection of our communities and the respect for residents as it is an assurance that the Minister of Health is provided with the information she needs to carry out her duties in considering the applications to open supervised injection sites.

    Bill C-2, the respect for communities act, is an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The provisions would be incorporated into the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act known as the CDSA.

    What I propose to add to the dialogue today is a glimpse into what would be next for Bill C-2, and to reflect upon how provisions of Bill C-2 would be implemented when they are incorporated into the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

    Anyone wishing to undertake activities with illicit substances at a supervised consumption site must apply for an exemption from the CDSA. Under this legislation, a new regime will be established for such applications. Under this new regime, the criteria that would need to be addressed before the Minister of Health could consider such an application would be set out.

    These changes are in line with a Supreme Court of Canada decision handed down in 2011, and codify the court’s ruling that community opinions must be considered by the Minister of Health with regard to supervised injection sites.

    Indeed, the court stated that its decision is:

    —not a licence for injection drug users to possess drugs wherever and whenever they wish. Nor is it an invitation for anyone who so chooses to open a facility for drug use under the banner of a “safe injection facility”.

    The bill's changes would provide any potential applicant seeking an exemption for activities with illicit substances at a supervised consumption site with greater clarity concerning the application process.

    In exercising her discretion, the minister would have to balance public health and public safety considerations.

    All members of the House can agree that our communities deserve to have a say if someone would like to build a drug injection site, where illegal drugs are used, in their own neighbourhood.

    All we have been getting from the opposition are delay tactics every step of the way.

    What members of the opposition fail to realize is that this legislation is a necessary follow-up to the ruling made by the Supreme Court as well as a method for the Minister of Health to receive the information she needs to make an informed decision on supervised injection sites.

    This is an important point to note for anyone who might argue that the criteria in Bill C-2 are onerous. The Supreme Court was quite clear that the Minister of Health must consider certain criteria when judging applications. It is only reasonable that applicants provide her with that information.

    The applicant would compile the letters, reports, studies and other information set out in the legislation.

    Health Canada would review the information provided in the application package to verify that all the criteria had been addressed.

    Once a complete application package has been received, the Minister of Health would also have an option to post a notice of application. If a notice of application is posted, it would invite comments from the public on the activities being proposed in the application. The consultation period would be 90 days.

    This option is another element provided for in Bill C-2 and would put in place a mechanism for the general public to have its say regarding the establishment of a supervised injection site as also mandated by the Supreme Court.

    In considering an application, the Minister of Health would be informed by the information provided by the applicant in their application, and by the public during the public consultation period.

    The minister also has the authority to request additional relevant information from the applicant if further detail is needed. With the amendments to the inspection authority specified in Bill C-2, Health Canada would also have the authority to conduct a pre-inspection of the proposed site to verify any of the information provided in the application. In making a decision to grant or not grant an exemption, the minister would balance public health and public safety considerations.

    These are very dangerous substances that we are talking about here. The dangerous and addictive drugs that are used at supervised injection sites tear families apart, foster addictions and destroy lives.

    It is only prudent that the Minister of Health take very seriously her duties when evaluating the individual merits of each application that comes across her desk for such sites.

    In the event that an exemption is granted, the exempted party must adhere to the terms and conditions set out in the exemption. If the terms and conditions are not adhered to, or if there is a risk that controlled substances might be trafficked or diverted for illicit purposes, an exemption can be suspended or revoked in order to protect public health and public safety.

    Safeguards for preserving public health and safety are also built into the process for seeking a subsequent exemption. Under the new legislation, when seeking a subsequent exemption, the applicant would be required to address all of the criteria in the proposed legislation as well two additional criteria. Specifically, they would have to provide information on changes in crime rates in the vicinity of the site and evidence of the impact of the site activities on individuals or public health during the period of the previous exemption.

    As I have previously stated, this comprehensive legislation reflects the government's commitment to protecting Canadian families and communities.

    Even more than that, Canadian families expect safe and healthy communities in which to raise their children.

    My speech is not finished, and I am not a fast talker, but I will respect the restrictions imposed by the Speaker, and look forward to questions.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:30 am | British Columbia, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my hon. colleague. I know she has a huge passion on the issue. However, to be quite honest, I have listened to the opposition for many hours now on this debate and I look at the framework we have provided. The framework is very practical and appropriate around community input. I have to liken it again to a zoning application that municipal councillors regularly hear when something is proposed, having some basic health and safety measures in place. This is very appropriate.

    Does she not think that the community should be consulted, that there should be criminal record checks done and that there should be the powers of inspection? Again, these are concrete practical steps that look at the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling and ensure that the minister has appropriate information when she makes a decision around an exemption.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:15 am | Nova Scotia, Central Nova

    Mr. Speaker, the information requested is not readily available and would require an extensive manual search of all records. It is therefore not feasible to produce a response within the time period allotted.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:15 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre

    Mr. Speaker, furthermore, if Questions Nos. 653, 947, 949, 963, 964, 971, 973, 979, 980, 981, 987, 988, and 990 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:15 am | Saskatchewan, Palliser

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of the residents of Regina and the surrounding area.

    These petitioners would like to bring to the attention of the House that multinational seed companies are threatening the ability of family farmers to produce the amount of food required to feed their families and communities. The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to adopt international aid policies that support small family farmers, particularly women, and recognize their vital role in the struggle against hunger and poverty.

    The petitioners want the government to ensure that Canadian policies are developed in consultation with small family farmers.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:15 am | Alberta, Edmonton—Spruce Grove

    Mr. Speaker, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, MMPR, allow for the licensing of qualified applicants, or “licensed producers”, responsible for the production and distribution of marijuana for Canadians who have been authorized by a physician. The regulations are comprehensive and include rigorous criteria to protect the public health, safety and security of Canadians, including preventing cannabis from being diverted to an illicit market or use. Applicants seeking to obtain a licence must meet all criteria stipulated in the regulations.

    With regard to (a) (i) and (ii), Health Canada has put in a place a rigorous licensing program. The first two stages of the process include a detailed screening of the application, focused on verifying its completeness, an examination of the proposed site, the proposed security measures and a review of the qualifications of the quality assurance person. The key personnel are then subject to a security clearance stage, coordinated by the RCMP. This can involve a comprehensive analysis of police records, fieldwork and coordination with other law enforcement agencies to identify whether an applicant poses a risk to the integrity of the control of the production and distribution of cannabis. The application is then reviewed in detail to confirm appropriate good production practices, record keeping, and physical security plans and procedures. The department may then choose to provide a “Ready to Build” letter, should one be requested. Applicants are notified that this letter is not a guarantee that a licence will be issued. The department will conduct a pre-licence inspection. Once all the terms of the regulations have been satisfied, a licence will then be issued.

    Since the introduction of the MMPR, Health Canada has received 1224 licensed producer applications. Most applications to date have been processed and decisions rendered. To date, 881 applications have been assessed and refused or withdrawn; 320 aplications are in process, including security clearance, review and/or pre-licensing inpection phases; and 23 licenses have been issued.

    With regard to (iii) and (iv), all applications undergo a strict and rigorous review process. The quality and completeness of the application can significantly affect the length of the review period. The department may request additional information, as required, to support its review of an application. A licence is only issued once the department has solid evidence that the applicant is fully compliant with the MMPR and would not pose a risk to public health and safety. The duration of the review process is highly variable, and can take more than a year.

    With regard to (v), (vi) and (vii), Health Canada has assigned 32 full-time equivalent employees to respond to the current activity levels for licensing and compliance and enforcement activities under the MMPR. The activities are conducted by a multi-disciplinary team including scientists, engineers, project managers and program administrators.

    With regard to (viii), Health Canada is responsible for ensuring compliance with the MMPR. Applicants must ensure that they are compliant with all federal, provincial, municipal and environmental legislation, including zoning as well as building and fire codes. It is the responsibility of the municipality to conduct the relevant inspections for compliance with bylaws. Licensed producers are also required to communicate with local authorities whenever there is a change in the status of their licence.

    With regard to (ix), Health Canada is aware of media reports about applicants. The department works closely with the RCMP and other organizations, and takes into consideration any information provided by them that is relevant to the review of an application. Licences are only issued once the department has a solid basis of evidence that demonstrates there is no risk to public health, safety and security.

    With regard to (x) and (xi), there are no fees associated with applying to become a licensed producer. It is difficult to determine the cost of processing individual applications, however, the forecasted expenditures of licensing, compliance and enforcement activities under the MMPR for 2014-15 are estimated to be $3.7 million.

    With regard to (b), (c) and (d), as of January 2015, there are 23 licensed producers under the terms of the MMPR that are producing and/or distributing marijuana for medical purposes in Canada, with over 15,500 clients registered. These licensed producers, with an overall approved production capacity of 25,000 kg per year, have sufficient supply to meet current demand in accordance with the quality control measures and appropriate safety standards of the MMPR.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:15 am | Ontario, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock

    Order. The member knows that he can present a petition and make a very brief comment specifically relevant to it, but he is not to debate the matter or to make a speech.

    If the hon. member has another petition to present, he can proceed.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:15 am | British Columbia, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed predominantly by my constituents in Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. They are calling for the respect of the right of the small-scale family farmer to preserve, exchange, and use seeds. I think our recent legislation clearly articulates that we do that. The other thing of particular relevance is to look at international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and recognize their vital role in the struggle against hunger and poverty.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:15 am | Manitoba, Selkirk—Interlake

    Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces, DND/CAF, do not create records of visits by members of Parliament to CAF bases and stations, nor have a centralized tracking and reporting mechanism for such visits, the reasons for visits or their costs. As such, DND/CAF is unable to provide the requested details.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:15 am | British Columbia, Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam

    Mr. Speaker, as of 1996, (a) the government introduced a lawful intercept condition of licence that requires the licensee to maintain interception capabilities so that information can be provided when required by a warrant.

    (b) The government does not pay for the costs of these provisions.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:15 am | Ontario, Oak Ridges—Markham

    Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office identified no contracts under $10,000 granted by the Prime Minister's Office from March 27, 2014 to January 29, 2015.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:10 am | Ontario, Kitchener—Waterloo

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition signed by the students and teachers at Abraham Erb Public School in my riding of Waterloo.

    The petitioners are underscoring the importance of clean water, clean air, and a clean environment in our country.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:05 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 22 petitions.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:05 am | Ontario, Alma-Lac-St-Jean

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am pleased to table in the House the following petition.

    It is a petition signed by the people of Orleans who support Development and Peace and are calling on the government to adopt international aid policies that support small farmers, especially women, in order to recognize their vital role in the struggle against hunger and poverty.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:00 am | Nova Scotia, South Shore—St. Margaret's

    Mr. Speaker, to begin with, we encourage anyone who believes they have received incorrect information from CRA to make a formal complaint.

    We expect CRA to continuously improve the quality and accuracy of the telephone service it provides. We are implementing several measures to improve the quality of services offered by CRA.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 9:00 am | Quebec, Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière

    Mr. Speaker, the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec is working very hard to foster economic diversification of all regions of Quebec. Since 2006, over 440 projects have been distributed in Quebec, and we will continue with that approach.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:55 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend and colleague from Palliser for all the hard work he has done for his constituents, not only in his riding but also in Saskatchewan.

    Yesterday, the Prime Minister was in Saskatchewan to announce a major infrastructure program of over $32 million for the twinning of Highway 7 to four lanes, from Saskatoon west to Delisle. This project will not only create jobs, it will improve safety, enhance traffic flow and reduce travel time.

    Unlike the NDP and Liberals, whose only plan to improve the economy is to raise taxes, we are committed to lowering taxes. That was why we launched the building Canada fund and approved, to date, over $5 billion worth of projects.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:55 am | Saskatchewan, Palliser

    Mr. Speaker, while the Liberals and the NDP are focused on their carbon tax and tax-hike plan, our Conservative government is working on the economy and projects that will create jobs.

    The Prime Minister was in Saskatchewan to announce an important project for our economy. Could the parliamentary secretary update the House on this important announcement?

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:55 am | Manitoba, Selkirk—Interlake

    Mr. Speaker, what happened in this case is completely unacceptable. The inclusion of these remarks in the board of inquiry report is further evidence of how unacceptable it was.

    Our thoughts remain with the family of Corporal Stuart Langridge during this very difficult time. The Department of National Defence is reviewing the Military Police Complaints Commission report. We want to ensure we act upon those recommendations so this never happens again.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:50 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, we have already reformed the program to ensure that Canadians come first for Canadian jobs. These changes include requiring the employer to prove that no Canadian will lose either a job or hours of work if a temporary foreign worker is brought in. We put limits on the percentage of positions that can be filled by temporary foreign workers. We will continue in this direction.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:45 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, we have formed the program to ensure that Canadians come first for Canadian jobs. We have required that employers sign an attestation that no Canadian will be either put out of work or out of hours if a temporary foreign worker is hired. We have required employers do extra outreach to hire underemployed groups within the Canadian labour force, such as aboriginals, new Canadians and young Canadians. We have brought in tough new fines and even jail time for those who break these and other rules.

    We are working hard to create more jobs through lower taxes and ensuring Canadians come first for those jobs.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:45 am | Ontario, La Prairie

    Mr. Speaker, the member is well aware of the rapidly changing media environment, to which no industry is immune in our country.

    We are carefully reviewing the decision, but to come back to the main point, we created the Canada media fund specifically to assist Canadians in the industry. When we look at the 125,000 jobs that come out of that industry, it is because they understand, they know, they create, and they produce, all with Canadian content, and it is for Canadians. We should let them make the decisions in terms of how we drive forward in the industry.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:40 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, the reason we created the enabling accessibility fund is to help people with disabilities have the same access to community centres, churches, synagogues, mosques, and recreational centres every other Canadian enjoys, and that is why we have been proud to fund wheelchair ramps, special elevators, and a whole host of other projects that help disabled people across the country.

    We have also brought in the registered disability savings fund so that parents can set aside money for their disabled children's futures, and I am happy to say that both of those programs have been an enormous success.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:40 am | Alberta, Edmonton—Sherwood Park

    Mr. Speaker, the member has apologized, but who has not apologized is the Liberal leader for his comments earlier this week. In fact, regarding his speech, B'nai Brith has said, “Such language is divisive and only does a disservice to Canadians interested in dealing with pressing issues of the day”.

    When will the leader of the Liberal Party stand up and apologize for his comments earlier this week?

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:40 am | Ontario, La Prairie

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's television, film, and digital media industry contributes nearly 125,000 jobs to the Canadian economy. That is why we proudly created the Canada media fund in 2009 to help with the creation of quality by Canadians for Canadians.

    Our government has worked tirelessly to better serve Canadians, bringing them better consumer choice in television while protecting Canadian jobs. We have always been clear: Canadians should not have to pay for the channels they do not want. They should get the ones they choose.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:35 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, the application was rejected after both an internal and an external review. We have to decide between projects all the time.

    What the New Democrats have just confirmed is that they believe that Patrick Brazeau should be in charge of grants and contributions. Maybe that is how they would run their government if they ever had the terrifying prospect of coming anywhere near taxpayers' money, but Canadians will never allow the NDP or the Liberals to do that, because they know that they will only pay more taxes and face more debt if that were to ever happen.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:35 am | Quebec, Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière

    Mr. Speaker, the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec works with all regions of Quebec to promote economic development. I hope my colleague realizes that we have even helped his riding.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:35 am | Ontario, Oak Ridges—Markham

    Mr. Speaker, this is a dispute between three individuals, none of which is the federal government. At the same time, when it comes to accountability, it is the NDP that owes Canadian taxpayers close to $5 million for illegal offices. That is $2.7 million for illegal offices and millions of dollars for illegal mailings, and they refuse to pay that money back.

    When it comes to accountability, they have nothing to talk about. They took illegal money from unions. They have illegally taken money from Canadian taxpayers, and now they are refusing to even pay it back.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:30 am | Ontario, Haldimand—Norfolk

    Mr. Speaker, I always believed that this particular project to improve accessibility for handicapped people at the Markham centre was worthy and was in the public interest. I accept the guidance provided by the commissioner to make sure that these programs are handled in a manner that is fair, accessible, and equitable for everyone involved.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:25 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, the New Democrats and Liberals propose one job measure, and that is their tax increases. They believe that the only way to create jobs is to, in their words, increase taxes on families and on job creators.

    We have the opposite approach. We have a low-tax plan for jobs and growth. It has created 1.2 million net new jobs; 85% of them are full-time, 80% are in the private sector, and two-thirds are in high-wage industries. We will continue to ensure taxes go down so that job creation goes up.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:15 am | Ontario, Newmarket—Aurora

    Mr. Speaker, As tax season approaches, constituents in Newmarket—Aurora have been overwhelmingly supportive of the tax-free savings account.

    The Canadian Association of Retired Persons agreed that the tax-free savings account is extremely important for seniors. This is another example of how our government is helping seniors, middle-class families and indeed, all Canadians.

    Unlike the Liberal leader, they cannot rely on their trust fund to pay for their retirement or their kids' education. The Liberal leader wants Canadians to pay more tax and the NDP voted against the tax-free savings account.

    Overall, 11 million Canadians of all ages and income levels have opened an account, allowing them to save, tax-free, for their own priorities.

    Our Conservative government is fulfilling our promise to keep taxes low, and we will continue to do so while putting more money back in the pockets of families.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:10 am | Ontario, La Prairie

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the Halabja massacre, also known as Bloody Friday.

    March 16 marks 27 years since the brutal chemical weapons attack perpetrated by Saddam Hussein's regime on Kurdish civilians, which killed as many as 5,000 innocent people and injured almost 10,000 more.

    Kurdish Canadians will be gathering across the country over the next week to remember this horrific crime against humanity and its victims.

    As we reflect on what took place at Halabja, we also recognize the determination of the Kurdish people, who are today facing off against ISIL in northern Iraq. Kurdish forces have played a crucial role in protecting civilians and religious minorities from ISIL.

    Canada is proud to be advising and assisting our Kurdish allies as they combat this genocidal death cult, and we stand with them and Kurdish Canadians in commemorating the Halabja massacre.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:05 am | Saskatchewan, Palliser

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to extend warm congratulations to Team Canada on winning its second straight Tim Hortons Brier victory. After a slow start at the Brier, the foursome switched up the roles and moved Moose Jaw native Pat Simmons up to skip. They never looked back after the switch. The team was rounded out by John Morris, Carter Rycroft, and Nolan Thiessen. Simmons, who shot 93% in the final, was named winner of the Hec Gervais award as the most valuable player in the playoffs.

    I am also proud to offer congratulations to Saskatchewan's Steve Laycock on their bronze medal victory over Brad Gushue's team.

    Finally, I hope all members join me in wishing Team Canada well at the Ford World Men's Curling Championship beginning at the end of this month in Halifax.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:05 am | Ontario, Alma-Lac-St-Jean

    Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks, the wearing of the burka and the niqab has been the subject of polarized debate.

    The wearing of religious symbols and clothing in the public sphere is appropriate under all but a few specific circumstances.

    Obtaining a driver's licence, a citizenship card, or a passport are some of these circumstances, the latter requiring that citizens even remove their glasses for their photo.

    In addition, everyone's face should be uncovered during the course of the citizenship ceremony and while he or she is voting.

    Basic common sense dictates that a person needs to allow visual identification by the public servant dealing with the issue. If a woman refuses to uncover her face because the official in front of her happens to be male, we should be able to accommodate her by having a designated female public servant available to step in.

    Furthermore, anyone wearing a veil that does not cover the face should be allowed to testify in court.

    Reasonable Canadians will debate this topic in a measured and respectful manner.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:00 am | Quebec, Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière

    Mr. Speaker, on March 17, many countries, including Canada, the United States and France, will honour Irish immigrants by joining them in simple, friendly celebrations of their national holiday and the joy of being an immigrant of Irish origin.

    St. Patrick's Day is about people celebrating in the streets of Ireland. It is also celebrated all over in Irish pubs in big cities. Young and old alike love to see leprechauns, those little red-headed folk sporting top hats and clovers, and all the people dressed in green with Irish flags painted on their cheeks.

    On March 17, I will be in my riding learning about Irish history through the cultural references and folklore of our good Irish friends, and I encourage everyone to do the same. Do not miss this wonderful opportunity.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 8:00 am | Manitoba, Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's comments carefully. I was involved in this debate when I was parliamentary secretary and before that, as health critic. The terminology is important. It is not a safe injection site in Vancouver. It is called a supervised injection site. Would the member agree that there is no such thing as a safe injection site or safe injections?

    If I understand the member correctly, he wants facilities to be BYOH, “bring your own heroin”. Is that what he is suggesting?

    Is he offering up his riding for a supervised injection site that he is promoting so valiantly today?

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 7:50 am | British Columbia, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest. As the critic and my colleague was going through the list of what he called onerous things that would have to be done to get a safe injection site going, not one of them seemed unreasonable: scientific data, the ability to have criminal record checks, community consultation, a letter from the police. The opposition is fearmongering around what is an appropriate and reasonable framework.

    I have to pick up on one of the member's comments. Does he also believe we should provide the heroin and the illicit drugs in these sites? Is that something he believes should also be part of this proposal?

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 7:30 am | British Columbia, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo

    Mr. Speaker, I have the greatest of respect for Dr. Montaner in terms of some of the work he has done around HIV/AIDS. I have listened to him speak here on Parliament Hill.

    The point of this legislation is that we would put in place some appropriate parameters around the minister determining whether to give an exemption. There is even a process around rezoning applications. When a mining company is looking at establishing a mine, there is a process around it. We have created straightforward criteria that look at a balance, include prevention and safety, and include community consultation. To be quite frank, I think all opposition members should be on board with us on this particular piece of legislation.

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    MPcon
    Mar 13, 2015 7:25 am | British Columbia, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo

    Mr. Speaker, I have worked in small northern communities and I have seen the decimation that addictions can create in those communities. I also saw the huge lack of appropriate detoxification and rehabilitation services. I can remember time after time when people came to me and said, “Listen, we are ready to quit”. I had to say, “I am sorry, but there no are beds or services available”. I told them that in six months, we may be able to give them the support that they need. That was a shame, because six months later, those people might not have been ready anymore.

    Treatment and prevention services that are directly associated with the site is an enormous and absolutely critical piece of this complex and comprehensive puzzle.


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