- MPlibTue 7:20 pm | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
Mr. Chair, during testimony at the Natural Resources committee, the deputy minister stated that the department had cut 160 positions in the department. Where did those cuts happen and how many of them were to scientists?
- MPlibTue 7:15 pm | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
Mr. Chair, I was hoping the minister would have that information, especially since the Conservatives made changes under Bill C-38 to the eligibility of witnesses to appear in front of the National Energy Board. Certainly it is a question that is on the minds of many people because it has such important repercussions.
The latest environmental commissioner's report gave a scathing review on the federal government's and the two offshore petroleum boards' readiness for a major oil spill. Is there any funding in the estimates to fix this negligence by the minister and his government?
- MPlibTue 7:10 pm | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
Mr. Chair, I assume that means NEB will tell them that they must have backup power at each of the pumping stations and they must also have an emergency off button in the case that they leak.
For my next question, can the minister list any research funded by the government, or that will be funded in main estimates, that addresses the behaviour of dilbit, or diluted bitumen, in the environmental conditions likely to be found on B.C.'s north coast, i.e., cold saline water which is an environment where the winds, the swells, and the currents can be quite extreme?
- MPlibTue 4:05 pm | Newfoundland, Random—Burin—St. George's
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals agree to apply and will vote yes.
- MPlibTue 3:15 pm | Ontario, Scarborough—Agincourt
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you. You said it does not meet the test. I was wondering if you could elaborate on what you mean by not meeting the test.
We in this House are concerned by what reeks on the other side.
I was just wondering what you meant by it does not meet the test. Would you please elaborate and explain for the layman to understand.
- MPlibTue 3:10 pm | Quebec, Lac-Saint-Louis
With regard to the participation of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in the reality show Border Security: Canada’s Front Line: (a) what has been the total cost for the Agency’s participation in the reality show to date and what is the total cost of the production agreement between CBSA and Force Four Entertainment; (b) how many episodes did CBSA agree to and over what time period will the episodes be filmed; (c) what provisions are in place to ensure that CBSA officers and subjects are not exploited; (d) who reviewed and analyzed the show's proposal and what were their comments; (e) what is the examination and approval process for footage; (f) how are CBSA officers recruited for participation in the show; (g) how many officers have participated in the show and how many have refused to participate in the program and on what grounds; (h) how are subjects recruited for the show; (i) are subjects asked whether or not they would like to participate in the show or are they required to sign a consent form prior to being filmed; (j) are subjects given incentives to participate in the program, either monetary or otherwise, and if so what; (k) has the CBSA received any formal complaints with regards to the show and if so, what was the nature of said complaints and what was CBSA's response; (l) were any concerns raised within CBSA about its participation in the show, and if so, what was the nature of those concerns and from whom did they come; (m) what were the CBSA's stated reasons for participation in the show; (n) what are the established parameters for a case's inclusion in the program; (o) on what grounds will CBSA refuse inclusion of a case; (p) does CBSA have a veto over what footage is aired and, if so, has it been used and for what reasons; and (q) what measures are in place to ensure that the program does not violate the Privacy Act?
- MPlibTue 2:35 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra
Mr. Speaker, I was listening to the debate with interest and my colleague from Okanagan—Shuswap commented that there may be some justification that it is perhaps better that young people do not go to university and go straight into trades instead.
My view is that it is best if all young people have a chance to graduate from high school and are then able to make the choice of whether to go into trades or to university.
Therefore, I would ask my colleague this. There is an underfunding of aboriginal people on reserve compared to the provincial and territorial funding for young people in small communities. That results in an unfortunate high level of young people on reserve who do not graduate from high school and perhaps do not go into technical training or university. Should that not be addressed by his government so that equitable funding is provided for aboriginal people on reserve?
- MPlibTue 1:45 pm | Prince Edward Island, Malpeque
Mr. Speaker, on that last point, while the Minister of Labour is discussing the issue with the Minister of Finance, due to some of the changes that the government has made, we have more and more people commuting to Alberta and Saskatchewan for work. One guy told me the other day that his cost of transportation was $18,000 for the year, but that was not deductible as an expense in going to work. Therefore, I would encourage her to talk strenuously to the Minister of Finance.
I enjoyed the minister's remarks and she made some goods points on some of the things she was doing under her portfolio. However, the problem is with the other changes that the government has made, which are really affecting labour in my province. Those are the employment insurance changes. These changes are affecting labour in the seasonal industries negatively.
Does she have any solutions to propose that would stop this disincentive to work in much of rural Canada, which is happening as a result of the EI changes in those seasonal industries?
- MPlibTue 1:00 pm | Nova Scotia, Cape Breton—Canso
Mr. Speaker, the member said he did not understand most of it. I was talking about actual situations that have taken place in households across Canada. The Conservatives are that far removed from the reality that it would be so foreign to them. They just do not understand it. They cannot relate.
There is a firewall between reality and the current government, and the Conservatives just cannot relate.
This is something that would never happen from the PMO talking points, but as a matter of fact, the labour market information aspect of the recommendations is not all that bad, so I will give the member that.
The fact is that it has been four years since the federal government received the working together to build a better labour market information system, which is all about labour market information, put together by Donald Drummond, and the Conservatives have done nothing with it. They have not moved on one of the recommendations.
The chance of the Conservatives moving on some of the recommendations we put forward in the minority report are probably about as good as the Leafs—
- MPlibTue 12:45 pm | Nova Scotia, Cape Breton—Canso
Mr. Speaker, I would like to share with the House that I will be splitting my time with my good friend and colleague from Winnipeg North. I want to thank my colleague from Hamilton Mountain for bringing this forward at this time this afternoon to speak to this very important issue.
Before we get into the meat of the issue, I will just take two minutes up front here and maybe vent a little frustration that is on the minds of many Canadians currently, especially those who follow the NHL playoffs. It sort of ties in with the whole thing about job creation and what the government is doing, but also what it is not doing with regard to job creation and opportunities to fill some of the skills shortages that are in this country. It is neglecting some of the areas where we are seeing mass out-migration and hurting rural and remote communities.
The one that really has Canadians rankled is that the Conservatives continue to waste money. They did it every night of the NHL playoffs, and of course during the Juno Awards and the Super Bowl, with the action plan advertisements. We know that it costs $32,000 a minute for these particular ads. We know the number of summer students that could support, that every time we see an ad that is 32 summer students who could probably be supported through this money. Often, these are young people's first opportunities to get into the workforce, to garner and develop those work skills and those good work habits. Then they could go further and continue their education and become strong and productive citizens. That is what we all want here. However, there is this perverse attempt by the Conservatives to paint themselves as a caring party when we know that they are squandering important, precious money on these particular advertising programs.
The latest one is the job grants. If it was not bad enough before with the action plan ads, in the job grants ads the Conservatives are actually advertising for a program that is not even set up yet. They have not spoken to the provinces yet. It is supposed to be coming in 2015 and they have not even had consultations with the provinces and they are advertising this program. It is unbelievable. It would be like me going to my wife and saying, “Honey, if you want to congratulate me now I just finished the Cabot Trail relay road race. I haven't bought my pair of runners yet, I haven't gone for a jog in six years but I'm going to finish it next year and this is my advertisement here.” It is unbelievable.
That money that the Conservatives are wasting is on a program that might or might not happen. And they have bailed out of training. Let us pick a number, say $200 million, that would have gone to the Province of New Brunswick to help with training in the labour market development agreement. Now the Conservatives are saying that they will come in with a third of the dollars if New Brunswick will come in with a third, and then the private sector will come in with a third. So if the Province of New Brunswick, which is running a significant deficit under its Conservative provincial government, cannot afford to match that $200 million, we know those federal dollars will not be going into those training opportunities for the young people in New Brunswick for them to pursue an education or apprenticeship and develop some kind of skill to be productive citizens. However, now they have the advertising. Therefore, I am with the lion's share of Canadians who are really upset with this thing.
There is a proviso at the bottom that this is subject to parliamentary approval. It has more disclaimers than a Viagra commercial. My suggestion is that they pull out of this program.
That is enough ranting about the waste we are seeing. I want to talk about support for apprentices and where the Conservatives have fallen short. Regarding the inaction, suggestions have come forward. Testimony has been presented by very credible witnesses, people who are impacted by the changes the government has made over the last number of months. For example, on the apprenticeship program we had testimony just recently from Polytechnics Canada. Witnesses pointed out during committee meetings that the level of financial support provided through the system is just simply inadequate.
We asked a number of apprentices about their level of support because if people take a trade, when they go to school they are supported by employment insurance. They talked about the attrition rate for young apprentices. People are older when they start apprenticeship programs. Maybe they take a job and get some life experience and then move to the trades when they are about 27 or 28 years old, on average. By that time, some may have a family. Certainly they have bills, if they are coming out of the workforce and are trying to upgrade into a trade. That is a reality.
When they go to school, typically they make application for employment insurance and there is a two-week waiting period. Because the Conservative government has gutted EI processing centres, cut 600 jobs in the EI processing centres, the backlog of EI claims now just goes on and on. In 2004, 80% of the time first-time claims were being turned around in 21 days. At that time we thought that was a long time for a person to go without any household income. Now, and what we heard from witnesses, that is taking 28 days. That is the new target. Conservatives have extended the target, so they have a better chance of hitting the target if they make the target a little broader, but they are only hitting that 30% of the time.
We are seeing young apprentices having to go five, six or seven weeks without any income. If they do not have family support, if they do not have someone helping them out by putting food in the fridge and paying their bills, then they are dropping out of the courses and are letting the apprenticeships go. We have testimony to that effect. There is no sign of that in the report. We are not seeing the testimony line up with the recommendations as presented.
The government heralds how well it is doing with apprenticeship grants. Through the department's own findings in 2009, it published in the apprenticeship grant review that almost all apprentices who completed their apprenticeship would have done so without the grants. I question what impact this is having on skills development and addressing the problem of skills shortages. There are many other initiatives. Certainly we have put those initiatives forward in the minority report. I would hope that the government would seriously consider and try to move on these.
- MPlibTue 11:55 am | Quebec, Papineau
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs mentioned a couple of times two investigative processes to look into the Senate allegations. I am just curious if the minister would like to explain, or inform the House which two independent bodies are looking into this already.
- MPlibTue 11:50 am | Newfoundland, Random—Burin—St. George's
Mr. Speaker, ordinary Canadians cannot get a special Conservative deal to wipe out their expenses.
The Prime Minister previously said he personally looked at Senator Wallin's expenses and they were fine.
Did the government learn any new details of Senator Wallin's expenses last week that it was not aware of months ago?
- MPlibTue 11:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
Mr. Speaker, this is about unethical, possibly illegal, behaviour in the Prime Minister's inner circle.
All of last week and again today the Prime Minister showed nothing but contempt for ordinary Canadians: no answers, no accountability, no apology.
Ordinary Canadians do not have a sugar daddy in the Prime Minister's office. Ordinary Canadians pay their debts. Ordinary Canadians do not get to blockade an audit, whitewash a Senate report and pocket $90,000.
Who gave the orders for this Conservative corruption? Table the emails.
- MPlibTue 11:35 am | New Brunswick, Beauséjour
Mr. Speaker, ordinary Canadians do not have wealthy Conservative friends who can pay their debts and then whitewash official reports.
When was the Prime Minister made aware that Conservative senators on the audit committee had been asked to delete certain sections of the report pertaining to Senator Duffy's wrongdoing?
Could he tell us who gave that order to the Conservative senators? Was it the Prime Minister, his chief of staff or the government leader in the Senate?
- MPlibTue 11:30 am | New Brunswick, Beauséjour
Mr. Speaker, ordinary Canadians do not have any special, secret deals to clear their debt. The question is simple: did the Prime Minister ask if the arrangement complied with Senate rules, the Conflict of Interest Act, the Criminal Code and the Parliament of Canada Act, which state that prohibited monetary compensation cannot be offered to a senator and that anyone who makes such an offer can be imprisoned?
- MPlibTue 11:20 am | Quebec, Papineau
Mr. Speaker, Canadians work hard and play by the rules. They pay their own debts. Apparently, when the Conservatives break the rules, they get their debts secretly paid off by their friends in high places. It boggles the mind. Nobody over there even thinks anybody did anything wrong except get caught.
When will the Conservatives release this secret document, allow for a full investigation and, while they are at it, apologize to Canadians?
- MPlibTue 8:30 am | Quebec, Lac-Saint-Louis
Mr. Speaker, I would like to enumerate some of the goals of the justice system, because it is important that we place legislation dealing with criminal offences and so on within the context of the principles that guide the justice system. We could say that the point of the justice system is, first, to reinforce acceptable norms of behaviour; second, to protect society from those who have proven that their actions can cause harm; and third, to ensure that only the guilty pay for their crimes and that the innocent are not convicted. These seem to be, in general, the overriding goals of our justice system, a system that has evolved slowly but surely over centuries.
It turns out that because the justice system is focusing on these three principles, often the interests of victims are ignored, albeit unintentionally. Bill C-489 would attempt to provide some assistance to victims.
Bill C-489 would deal mostly with sexual offences, though not exclusively, as I understand it. Sexual offences create a unique kind of vulnerability among the victims. They are a unique kind of violation compared to, for example, car theft or house break-ins when individuals are not at home. Both of those crimes create a terrible sense of vulnerability as well, but we are talking here of sexual offences and the particular sense of vulnerability they create.
I agree with the hon. member that the interests of victims of sexual crimes have often been overlooked in our criminal justice system. Liberals support the intent of Bill C-489. We are not certain that the bill would bring about meaningful progress in all cases for victims or prospective victims of sexual crimes. I say “prospective” victims, because the bill would also deal with recognizance orders, where an individual has not committed a criminal act but poses a threat to another person.
We support sending the bill to committee to ascertain its merits in attaining a goal that, obviously, we all share in this House.
I understand that the bill is motivated by the MP for Langley's particular experience with some victims in his riding. In fact, the member stated:
[A] sex offender...was permitted to serve House arrest right next door to his young victim. In another case, the sex offender served House arrest across the street from the victim. In both cases, the young victims lived in fear and were re-victimized every time they saw their attacker.
Obviously, that situation, which the hon. member for Langley described, leaves all members in disbelief and with a view that something should be done.
Bill C-489 would introduce two prohibitions through amendments to two laws. Number one, it would amend the Criminal Code, and number two, it would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
In terms of Criminal Code changes, as I understand it, the bill would deal with subsection 161(1) of the Criminal Code, which allows conditions to be placed on offenders who receive conditional discharges for sexual offences. This discharge is sometimes granted in cases where the offence carries no minimum sentence and a maximum possible sentence of less than 14 years. In this case, as I understand it, the accused would not have a criminal record if all of the conditions imposed as part of the conditional discharge were respected.
Bill C-489 seeks to add to the list of conditions that may be imposed by a judge. This is a very specific list, and as I understand it, the judge cannot impose conditions beyond this list. It is important that a specific point be made in adding this condition, because it is not something the judge could impose if he or she saw fit. We are talking about the condition that an offender must be no closer than two kilometres from the house where he or she knows or ought to know that the victim is alone. Similarly, another condition would be that the offender would not be allowed to be in a private vehicle with any person under the age of 16 without his or her guardians' consent.
It is important to note that the list of possible conditions in this instance is finite. There is no flexibility here for the judge to impose other conditions beyond those listed. Therefore, this is the only place where adding conditions might make sense, since it gives the sentencing judge the ability to prohibit the offender from living near the victim. As I said, it is important to specify the condition, because there is no latitude for the judge to impose it.
In the bill there is also a restriction on contacting victims. I am not sure if it pertains to those who have committed sexual offences. The bill extends the list of conditions the court must, or shall, prescribe for offenders on probation.
At the moment, section 732.1 of the code has two sets of conditions. One set is conditions the judge shall impose. The second set is conditions the judge may impose.
In this case, the bill would add a new “shall” condition. The court would have to impose this condition on an offender, for example, who is on probation or is under a conditional sentence. If it chose not to impose the condition, the court would have to explain, in writing, why it was not choosing to add this condition.
We understand the intent of this part of the bill. What I would say is that, at the moment, the list of possible conditions for probation orders and conditional sentences both include “such other reasonable conditions as the court considers desirable.” In other words, in this case, the judge has the latitude to impose conditions that are not specifically prescribed on a list. Presumably, the court could already order offenders not to have contact with their victims or not to visit certain places, if it saw fit to do so.
The point I am trying to make is that unlike the first amendment, about staying within two kilometres of where the victim would be residing, in this case, we have to ask ourselves if this particular amendment to the Criminal Code is necessary, given that the court already has the latitude to impose this condition.
I congratulate the hon. member for bringing this bill forward. I know that he is attempting to address a very serious flaw in our criminal justice system. I look forward to discussing and studying the bill at committee so that we can see and understand the extent to which the bill achieves its stated goals.
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 10:45 am | Quebec, Lac-Saint-Louis
Mr. Speaker, as a rule we must analyze legislation such as Bill C-479 through the prism of the important overriding objective of ensuring the long-term public safety of Canadian society, and that means being smart about crime. We must also measure such legislation against the criterion of whether it harms or helps victims or, if neutral, whether more could be done to support victims.
It is worth mentioning, and it has been mentioned before in the debate today, that private members' bills do not obtain charter scrutiny as do bills that originate in the Department of Justice; although doubts have recently been planted that even government bills may not be benefiting from rigorous vetting through the prism of adherence to charter principles.
Liberals support sending Bill C-479 to committee precisely to better understand how it meets the above criteria.
Bill C-479 would make changes to specific aspects of the conditional release system in Canada. However, first it might be wise to briefly enumerate the kinds of conditional release available in this country. They are escorted and unescorted temporary absences, day parole, full parole and statutory release with supervision.
The bill deals more specifically with full parole for violent offenders, namely, for crimes cited under schedule 1 of the Criminal Code. In Canada, once an offender has served one-third of his or her sentence or seven years, whichever is less, he or she becomes eligible to apply for parole. Generally the offender's parole request is considered at a parole hearing before the Parole Board of Canada.
The bill, as I understand it, would not change the modalities and rules governing the initial parole request but rather the consequences that flow from being denied parole, which itself is seen as an indicator that the offender has not made progress toward rehabilitation.
Currently, as I understand the system, an offender, even after being denied parole, can reapply for parole on an annual basis. However, the Parole Board is not obliged upon review of the case to grant the hearing for as long as two years after the initial parole refusal.
The goal of the bill is to spare victims and their families the nightmare of attending repeated parole hearings. It is no secret that there are offenders who definitely are not on the road to rehabilitation but who wish to trigger repeated parole hearings for no other reason than to torment victims. I believe it is at these types of offenders that the bill is aimed.
Offenders serving time for schedule 1 offences, the most serious and often violent offences, whose parole is refused because they are not progressing under their rehabilitation plan would no longer automatically be eligible for a hearing two years after their initial parole refusal, as at present; rather, under the bill, the Parole Board of Canada would be permitted to deny a hearing for as long as five years after the offender was initially denied parole, even if he or she applied annually.
The bill attempts to clarify and reinforce victims' rights in other ways. I understand the member has developed the bill as a result of attending a parole hearing for an offender who was serving a sentence for multiple murders. This must have been a life-changing experience for the member, and there are no doubt elements of the bill rooted in the wisdom gained from that experience.
Bill C-479 would codify a number of existing practices that assist victims in various ways. Bill C-479 adds a declaration that every effort must be made to allow victims or victims' families to attend parole hearings. Currently the Corrections and Conditional Release Act does not contain a provision dealing with attendance by victims; they have to apply. However, I should mention that they are rarely, if ever, refused attendance at a hearing, as far as I understand.
Bill C-479 would also allow victims or their families to view a hearing via a one-way closed circuit connection, should they not be permitted to attend or they would prefer viewing from a distance where they would not need to be in the same room as the offender. Currently in a parole hearing victims may present a statement describing the harm done to them or loss suffered by them as a result of the offence, although this is not a right in law, as I understand it.
If they are not in attendance, the statement may be presented by way of audiotape or videotape, accompanied by a written copy of the statement. The bill seeks to entrench the consideration of victim impact statements in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. The bill would also allow the victim impact statement to be submitted in writing only, rather than the current prescribed formats of videotape or audiotape accompanied by a written statement.
The bill would also give victims the legislated right to access certain information about the offender. As I understand it, victims would be able to register to receive information automatically. Certain on-request information would be automatically provided if the bill is passed, such as the conditions attached to the conditional release. Also, the information that victims could request would include information relating to the offender's treatment plan and progress toward the plan's objective.
Finally, it would be mandatory for the victim or family to be notified at least 14 days in advance of their offender receiving any form of conditional release, as well as being informed of the offender's destination upon release.
This bill appears to have many positive aspects, and I look forward, as do my other colleagues no doubt, to examining the bill in committee and also to examining the way the parole system works. It is very complicated, complex and technical. This would be an opportunity to better understand that system and to understand how it could be made fairer for victims. It looks like this bill would go a long way toward that.
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 9:20 am | Ontario, Ottawa South
With regard to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism’s visit to Iraq: (a) what is the complete list of everyone who accompanied the Minister; (b) what was the time, date, location and nature of all government business conducted by the Minister; and (c) what was the total cost of this trip, including but not limited to, airline tickets, accommodations, meals and security for the Minister and everyone who accompanied him?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 9:20 am | Quebec, Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
With regard to the response to Order Paper question Q-1125 in which it is stated that, “the Department of Finance has conducted a costing analysis of Bill C-463”, what details can the Department of Finance provide regarding the full version of this costing analysis, including the methodology used to conduct the costing analysis?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 9:20 am | Nova Scotia, Cape Breton—Canso
With respect to the Employment Insurance Stewardship Pilot (Pilot) and information on ineligible Employment Insurance (EI) payments referred to by the government in relation to the Pilot: (a) how many regular and self-employed EI claimants have been reviewed under this Pilot, broken down by geographic location and EI region; (b) how were each of the claimants in (a) selected for inclusion in the Pilot; (c) how many of the EI claimants were in receipt of Special Benefits, broken down by type of Special Benefit; (d) how many of the claims belonging to claimants identified in (a) were withheld or halted as a result of reviews conducted at phase one of the Pilot, broken down by region, namely (i) Newfoundland and Labrador, (ii) Nova Scotia, (iii) Prince Edward Island, (iv) New Brunswick, (v) Quebec, (vi) Ontario, (vii) Manitoba, (viii) Saskatchewan, (ix) Alberta, (x) British Colombia, (xi) Yukon, (xii) Northwest Territories, (xiii) Nunavut; (e) how many of the claims belonging to claimants identified in (a) were withheld or halted as a result of reviews conducted at phase two of the Pilot, broken down by region, namely (i) Newfoundland and Labrador, (ii) Nova Scotia, (iii) Prince Edward Island, (iv) New Brunswick, (v) Quebec, (vi) Ontario, (vii) Manitoba, (viii) Saskatchewan, (ix) Alberta, (x) British Colombia, (xi) Yukon, (xii) Northwest Territories, (xiii) Nunavut; (f) how many of the claims belonging to the claimants identified in (a) were withheld or halted as a result of reviews conducted at phase three of the Pilot, broken down by region, namely (i) Newfoundland and Labrador, (ii) Nova Scotia, (iii) Prince Edward Island, (iv) New Brunswick, (v) Quebec, (vi) Ontario, (vii) Manitoba, (viii) Saskatchewan, (ix) Alberta, (x) British Colombia, (xi) Yukon, (xii) Northwest Territories, (xiii) Nunavut; (g) how many of the claims belonging to the claimants identified in (a) were withheld or halted as a result of reviews conducted at phase four of the Pilot, broken down by region, namely (i) Newfoundland and Labrador, (ii) Nova Scotia, (iii) Prince Edward Island, (iv) New Brunswick, (v) Quebec, (vi) Ontario, (vii) Manitoba, (viii) Saskatchewan, (ix) Alberta, (x) British Colombia, (xi) Yukon, (xii) Northwest Territories, (xiii) Nunavut; (h) what techniques and tools are Integrity Service Officers allowed to use in client interviews conducted under this Pilot; (i) were any techniques and tools, other than those identified in existing ISB Policy and Procedures, authorized for use in this Pilot and, if so, what were those techniques and the rationale for their use; (j) how many Direction to Report notices were provided by Integrity Service Investigators under this Pilot, broken down by (i) the date each notice was served, (ii) the time between the serving of said notice and the date of the scheduled in-person interview with the claimant, (iii) the region each notice was served in; (k) how many Reports of Investigation were prepared and sent to the Processing and Payment Services Branch; (l) what were the results and findings of the StreetSweeper Review regarding the Pilot; (m) what documents, tools, manuals, instructions, presentations, and other materials were used to conduct orientation and training for all persons employed by the federal government who have or are currently taking part in the Employment Insurance Service Review (EISR) pilot; (n) did the EISR pilot Business Expertise Consultant receive any questions or observations from those working on the pilot and, if so, what were these questions and observations; (o) what are the details of (i) EISR Working Group meeting and conference call agendas and minutes, (ii) EISR Working Group project discussion and findings, including anomalies, problems encountered during the project, additional techniques and situations encountered, potential weaknesses in investigative tools, or any other factors of concern expressed regarding the Pilot; (p) in how many cases were unannounced home visits performed by investigators in the course of the Pilot; (q) what was the rationale for unannounced home visits; (r) in how many of the cases was fraud or wrongdoing suspected prior to unannounced home visits; (s) are unannounced home visits to EI recipients department policy when there is no suspicion of fraud or wrongdoing, (i) if so when did it take effect, (ii) if not, is it anticipated to become policy; (t) how many unannounced home visits were conducted by investigators to EI claimants who were not suspected of any fraud or wrongdoing in fiscal years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; (u) was a legal opinion sought prior to the implementation of the EI Stewardship Pilot regarding interview techniques with EI claimants who were not suspected of fraud or wrongdoing and, if so, what were the legal concerns and problem issues raised by the opinion; (v) under what legislative authority did investigators conduct unannounced home visits to EI claimants under no suspicion of fraud or wrongdoing; (w) was a legal opinion sought to determine by what authority investigators could conduct unannounced home visits to EI claimants under no suspicion of fraud or wrongdoing (i) if so, did the opinion present concerns, (ii) if so what were they; (x) on what other issues other than those raised in (u) and (w) did the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development seek a legal opinion on and why; (y) what was the cost of the EI Stewardship Pilot project; (z) what was the cost per home visit and the total cost for all home visits; (aa) what are the details of each type of ineligible EI payment that is tracked by the government; (bb) for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, what is the breakdown of ineligible EI payments by (i) number of cases, (ii) amount, (iii) EI economic region, (iv) province; (cc) in how many cases was the ineligible payment the result of a government error, (i) what is the dollar value of these types of errors for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013; (dd) for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, what was the amount of (i) total EI benefits paid to EI claimants, (ii) original EI fraud loss, (iii) amount of EI fraud recovered to date, (iv) amount of EI fraud expected to be recovered in future years, (v) amount of EI fraud not expected to be recovered, (vi) amount of EI fraud recovered and expected to be recovered as a percentage of EI benefits paid and (vii) amount of EI fraud not expected to be recovered as a percentage of EI benefits paid; (ee) is the automation of EI processing leading to ineligible payments by incorrectly processing a claim and, if so, how many cases of this problem were found during fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 and what was the dollar amount for each case; (ff) if the answer in (ee) is yes, what studies has the government undertaken to examine this, specifying the (i) name, (ii) date completed, (iii) document reference number; (gg) how does the EI system calculate Direct EI saving and Indirect EI saving for each type of ineligible EI payment; (hh) how many cases resulted in Direct EI saving and Indirect EI saving for each type of ineligible EI payment, broken down by fiscal year for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, and what is the dollar value for each case; (ii) what was the ratio of Direct EI Savings to Indirect EI Savings for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 and what are the reasons for any variance in the ratio throughout this period; (jj) what was the indirect EI savings and the number of cases of EI claim disentitlements for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013; (kk) of the claim disentitlements referred to in question (jj), in how many cases was the disentitlement (i) subsequently rescinded, (ii) rescinded within thirty days of the original disentitlement for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013; (ll) what were the reasons for claim disentitlements referred to in question (kk) being subsequently rescinded; (mm) are the indirect EI savings that are calculated form a claim disentitlement subsequently reduced if the disentitlement is rescinded and if not, why not; and (nn) for claim disentitlements that were subsequently rescinded as referred to in question (kk), what was the expected indirect EI savings that was expected to not be realized as a result for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 9:20 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
With regard to government communications: (a) for each news release containing the phrase “Harper government” issued by the Economic Development Agency of Canada for Quebec Regions since February 6, 2006, what is the (i) headline or subject line, (ii) date, (iii) file or code number, (iv) subject matter; (b) for each news release mentioned in (a), was it distributed (i) on the website of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for Quebec Regions, (ii) on Marketwire, (iii) on Canada Newswire, (iv) on any other commercial wire or distribution service, specifying which service; and (c) for each news release distributed by a commercial wire or distribution service mentioned in (b)(ii) through (b)(iv), what was the cost of that service?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 9:20 am | Newfoundland, Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor
With respect to requests made by the government to Library and Archives Canada (LAC): (a) since 2006, what information and services have been requested of LAC in any way, broken down by department or Crown corporation and (i) date of inquiry, (ii) date of response, (iii) purpose of inquiry, (iv) nature of response, (v) relevant programs at LAC used to provide response; (b) for services enumerated in (a) that have been provided by LAC and that are no longer available, what alternatives is the government using or considering to fulfill those needs in their absence, broken down by department or Crown corporation and (i) date of inquiry, (ii) date of response, (iii) purpose of inquiry, (iv) nature of response, (v) service supplier, (vi) total cost; (c) what internal correspondence discussing alternative solutions or service providers exists; and (d) what contracts have been put to tender or signed relating to these alternative solutions or service providers?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 9:20 am | Newfoundland, Avalon
With regard to air, highway, rail, or marine transportation in Labrador, for each fiscal year since 2000-2001, what are the details of all (i) direct expenditures, (ii) contributions to third parties, (iii) transfers to other orders of government, (iv) cost-sharing agreements with the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador, specifying the amount, source, purpose, and recipient of each such expenditure, contribution, transfer or agreement?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 9:10 am | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-510, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mischief).
Mr. Speaker, today I have the honour to present my bill, which was previously supported by all parties at second reading but which died on the order paper when the last election was called. I am also pleased to have the bill seconded by my colleague from St. Paul's.
The proposed bill would modify section 430 of the Criminal Code and more specifically subsection 4.1 dealing with mischief caused to property. Previously subsection 4.1 dealt with mischief or vandalism to a building or structure primarily used for religious worship, “including a church, mosque, synagogue or temple”, or an object associated with religious worship and located on the property of the institution in question providing the mischief was motivated “by bias, prejudice or hate based on religion, race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.
The bill I am presenting would broaden the applicability of subsection 4.1 to include property used exclusively or principally by the same groups, such as an educational institution, including a school, daycare centre, college or university. It will also include property such as a community centre, playground, arena, sports centre or any institution with an administrative social, cultural, educational or sports function that is used by those same groups.
Mr. Speaker, I am sure that this bill will be unanimously approved by all parties. I look forward to debating it at second reading.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 8:55 am | Nova Scotia, Sydney—Victoria
Mr. Speaker, now that the build Canada fund's true infrastructure numbers have been crunched, municipalities are concerned, because $1.5 billion has been cut. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality is faced with a huge obligation for waste water and other infrastructure needs.
Mayor Clarke and council have come up with their money on the table. The province is on side with its portion. When will the Conservatives come to the table with their share of infrastructure money for CBRM?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 8:50 am | Ontario, St. Paul's
Mr. Speaker, this week, Stats Canada revealed the shocking data that 48% of children in foster care are aboriginal. The response from this Prime Minister is a child advocacy photo op.
Can the minister tell us why the government is spending millions of tax dollars on lawyers to drag first nations child advocates through the court system instead of spending it on protecting aboriginal children?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 8:35 am | Newfoundland, Avalon
Mr. Speaker, we have all seen those awesome Newfoundland and Labrador tourism ads promoting our great province around the world and across Canada. They are paid for by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and it is money well spent.
Pathetically, the Conservative government spends $95,000 on 30-second economic action plan ads during the playoffs.
Why would the Conservative government rather spend money on advertising for self-promotion than for promoting Canada? Why do the Conservatives not stop this domestic propaganda campaign and start promoting Canada and Canadian tourism?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 8:35 am | Prince Edward Island, Malpeque
Mr. Speaker, how can the minister stand there and reads those words—“the Canadian Tourism Commission will continue to promote Canada”—when he knows full well that is wrong? The headlines in the paper state:
Tourism Commission Axes U.S. Advertising
The Canadian Tourism Commission confirms it has eliminated all general advertising in the U.S....
International tourism is the fastest growing market in the world, and Canada has dropped from 7th place as the most visited country to 18th.
Why is the government spending money on its own propaganda rather than creating jobs for the tourism business?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 8:20 am | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
Mr. Speaker, we are talking about 411,000 young Canadians out of work and 173,000 who have just given up.
We learned that 19,000 fewer students were working this month than last month. Every time we see another ad for the economic action plan on TV, it means 30 fewer jobs for our young students. That is one job per second of partisan advertising.
How can this government imagine that partisan advertising is more important than jobs for our young people?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 8:20 am | Nova Scotia, Cape Breton—Canso
Mr. Speaker, as summer students are out there looking for work, we know that this is going to be the toughest summer ever, and it is because of the government's twisted list of priorities.
As we watch the hockey game tonight, know that every time one of those mind-numbing action plan ads comes on, it is $95,000 of taxpayer dollars being wasted. That equates to 32 summer jobs.
Why does the government not stop with the snow job and create a summer job?
- MPlibMay 10, 2013 8:00 am | Prince Edward Island, Malpeque
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Ms. Carolyn Francis, who was recently presented with the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award. The award recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smarter, more caring nation.
Carolyn, a resident of Kensington, P.E.I., is just so much the right person to be recognized. She is a dedicated educator and has a passion for teaching within the island community. She has carried that passion beyond Canada's borders. As an educator, she has been closely involved in teacher exchanges between Canada and Uganda that help girls stay in school, as well as a twinning program that links schools in Kenya with those in P.E.I., connecting her province with people in developing countries.
This volunteer work has made her truly one of the unsung heroes of our communities whose passion is so much a part of the Canadian character.
Congratulations go to Carolyn, and we thank her. The world needs more people like her.
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 5:35 pm | Ontario, St. Paul's
Mr. Chair, it is quite clear that the need is not being met. The boil water advisories are up 20%.
I would like to move to the issue housing. What happened to the $295 million of additional funding that was allocated in 2005 for on-reserve housing to build even more than the 13,800 units that should have been built every year if the government had stayed at 2005 funding levels?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 5:30 pm | Ontario, St. Paul's
Mr. Chair, what is the department's goal this year for the number of first nations and Inuit students graduating with a post-secondary certificate?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 2:35 pm | Quebec, Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and close the debate on my private member's bill, the discover your Canada act.
I outlined previously to the House why we should send the bill to committee. I spoke about why I believe this legislation is important for building Canada's unity. I was very clear that this legislation is an initiative to encourage Canadians to travel within Canada, period. I have produced figures, testimonials and polling data. I have even shared personal insights to help my colleagues better appreciate my reasoning for introducing this bill. I do not intend to spend the little time I have today restating what I have already said. I will instead use the limited time I have to address some of the criticism brought forward by members, because I am disappointed by the pessimistic tone and the calibre of debate.
Our duty as members of Parliament is to assess the merits of legislation. In order to do so we must have accurate and detailed data to make better-informed decisions. However, many members are obviously not using accurate information. I heard the remarks made on March 27 by the member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore, who said that the bill is really just a novelty, a gimmicky distraction that would cost taxpayers more than $200 million without really encouraging tourism within Canada. I have problems with this statement that go beyond its non-collegial tone. Accusing me of imposing a gimmicky distraction upon Canadians is bad enough, but I dispute the claim that the discover your Canada act would cost over $200 million a year. It is a little exaggerated.
When researching where this number came from, I realized it was based upon a number that the Department of Finance came up with. To this date, the department has yet to provide me with a breakdown on how this number was arrived at, so I am not sure how credible this number is.
However the independent Parliamentary Budget Office has provided everyone here with a full-blown detailed analysis of this legislation so they can better understand the fiscal implications of what they would be voting on. The PBO calculations determine that the discover your Canada act would have a fiscal cost of $90 million, but at the same time, it also says there will be a revenue windfall of as much as $110 million due to the increase in tourism spending. If I were to use industry standards, which are quite conservative, every $1 spent would generate $5 of economic spinoffs. Members can see that the cost is not even a factor, contrary to what some Conservative and NDP members have said, who have used this as an argument to speak against the bill.
Therefore I am left to ask the question: What passes for solid evidence on the government side and on that of other members of the House, when time and time again the PBO has put out estimates more accurate than the government's? This happens when the government is more interested in partisanship than pursuing the best interests of Canadians. It is shameful. It is ongoing. It has to stop.
Unfortunately, I was also disappointed with the NDP's arguments against this bill.
My colleague for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup read the report by the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, but he does not seem to have understood it very well.
He seems to think that we are milking the Canadian tourism industry. If that were the case, why would the Parliamentary Budget Officer state that the measure will have $110 million in tourism spinoffs? It seems that there is some milk left.
My colleague also talked about potential fraud that the bill could encourage. For example, people could claim that a business trip was a vacation. As an accountant, I am very familiar with taxation. Business deductions are far more generous than the proposed measures in this bill.
In short, a business person who tries to claim a business trip under the provisions of this bill will pay more taxes because this deduction is less advantageous.
The bill may not be perfect. I accept that, and I am ready to work on it at committee. However there appears to be no desire by some Conservative or NDP members to work with me on the bill, which has the support of 70% of Canadians and would come into effect in 2017, in time to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.
The PBO's estimate of $110 million in economic spinoffs is another piece of information that my colleagues have failed to mention in their haste to discredit the bill by claiming it would not encourage tourism within Canada, which is totally false. An independent Harris/Decima study confirmed that four out of ten Canadians surveyed would be more than likely to travel within Canada if the bill were passed.
I am asking all my colleagues to set aside partisan politics and vote for this bill so that we can study it in committee and improve it.
I will close by simply stating that we should vote in favour of the bill, which 70% of Canadians support in its current form, so we can send it to committee, work collaboratively to improve it and pass an even better version at third reading, so that even more Canadians will approve. We owe it to Canada to support the bill, which is good for national unity.
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 1:50 pm | Nova Scotia, Sydney—Victoria
Mr. Speaker, I would remind the House that it was not $1 billion, it was not $1 million, but at the end of the day it was in the thousands, and that was rectified.
However, my question is on what this $3 billion, when it is spread out, could do for health care. Right now we are seeing many of the hospitals having to charge more and more for parking to pay their bills. How could that money, which could be allocated to health care, help people who cannot afford to pay for parking when they visit their loved ones when they are sick?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 12:15 pm | Ontario, Scarborough—Agincourt
Mr. Speaker, a letter was conveyed to me. I addressed it for the community and I asked for their apology if there was any misunderstanding. This is a national holiday in the Ukraine. There is a division within the community. I totally understand and if my action brought any division to the community, I have addressed it with it.
Now do I have unanimous consent to table the letter?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 12:15 pm | Nova Scotia, Cape Breton—Canso
Mr. Speaker, the House leader assured me the last time that he would bring the letter forward. That is what took place last time and I would appreciate it if he would bring the letter forward because there is no sign of it. Maybe he cannot find it either. Maybe it is in the file cabinet with the $3.1 billion. Maybe he could check that cabinet and bring the letter forward. It is very simple.
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 12:10 pm | Nova Scotia, Cape Breton—Canso
Mr. Speaker, about a month and a half ago, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development had referred to a letter of support written by me on behalf of a company with regard to supporting an application for temporary foreign workers. I asked the minister to table the letter. In absence of her tabling the letter, I brought it forward to the House leader. This will be the third occasion that I have brought it to the House leader. He assured me that he would bring forward the letter, so hopefully, third time is the charm. Is he able to table the letter now?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 12:05 pm | Ontario, Scarborough—Agincourt
Mr. Speaker, Ukrainian Victory Day is a national holiday in the Ukraine. I have been in contact with the community. A letter has been issued, which says:
Thank you for your letter in which you expressed concerns with respect to my Statement on “Victory Day in Ukraine”.
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 11:55 am | Newfoundland, Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor
Mr. Speaker, a grave situation seems to be developing off the coast of Change Islands in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Manolis L. is a sunken large vessel 270 feet under water. It contains, currently, 460 tonnes of fuel oil and 60 tonnes of diesel. Two leaks have now been identified, and the situation with the leaking oil is getting worse. Fishermen along the entire coast are calling my office, witnessing this oil coming to surface.
So far, the solution is to patch the holes, but what if the situation gets worse? What is the minister prepared to do if the situation gets much worse than what we are seeing now?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 11:50 am | Quebec, Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Mr. Speaker, the democratic reform file is a mess. It took the Conservatives five years to seek the Supreme Court's opinion on Senate reform. The political loans accountability act is so bad that the Conservative-dominated committee refused to consider it for six months. They tried to table an electoral reform bill without consulting the Chief Electoral Officer.
With so many failures, will the Minister of State (Democratic Reform) give his assurance that they will properly consult the Chief Electoral Officer before tabling their next bill?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 11:40 am | Nova Scotia, Cape Breton—Canso
Mr. Speaker, half as many summer student jobs now than when they took power is shameful.
Let us put it in perspective. Conservatives spent $3,300—three thousand three hundred taxpayers' dollars—every day just to monitor what their backbench MPs have to say, because they have to toe the party line. They have to make sure they regurgitate the PMO talking points.
It is shameful what they are doing over there. Every day, that is a summer student job that they are gassing. Why do they not back off on what they are doing with the monitoring and give summer students a job rather than looking after the parents at the PMO?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 11:40 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra
Mr. Speaker, despite their self-congratulations, the Conservatives are supporting only half of the student summer jobs they used to. Meanwhile, they are finding $3,300 a day for media monitoring of their own MPs. Each single day of monitoring would fund a student job for the entire summer. A day spent peering over MPs' shoulders is deemed more important than a student's job.
Will big brother please stop wasting taxpayers' money on monitoring its own members and hire a summer student to help figure out how to do free Google alerts?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 11:35 am | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
Mr. Speaker, every month, this government wastes $100,000 of taxpayers' money on media monitoring to track its own MPs. It is incredible.
In the meantime, it is eliminating jobs for our young students who are looking for work, putting a greater burden on the families that support them. This $100,000 represents 30 students who will not have a summer job.
Why is this government wasting taxpayers' money in such a partisan way instead of finding jobs for our young students who so badly need them?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 11:25 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
Mr. Speaker, the U.S., Japan, Australia, Sweden and other countries are all expecting economic growth better than Canada. Young Canadians especially are falling behind. There are 212,000 fewer of them who are working today than before the recession, 404,000 are looking for jobs, and this paranoid isolated government wastes $23 million, $32,000 every day, to spy on the media and its own backbench. For that spy money, the government could have triggered 7,600 summer jobs. Why did it not do that?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 11:20 am | New Brunswick, Beauséjour
Mr. Speaker, while families are trying desperately to help their children find a summer job, the Conservatives' priorities are elsewhere.
Instead of helping youths and middle-class families, the Conservatives are wasting more than $3,000 of taxpayers' money a day to spy on their own members in the media.
The question I would like to ask the Prime Minister is this: how many people asked him to waste the equivalent of a job a day to spy on his own Conservative MPs in the media?
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 11:10 am | Nova Scotia, Sydney—Victoria
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the passing of a young Cape Breton role model, Emma van Nostrand, who died suddenly while taking part in the Toronto Marathon.
An extremely focused and determined young woman, Emma put forth a passionate effort in whatever she took on. Whether it was her studies, her running or her family, she was always looking to the future. Being an honour student, she went to France where she studied this past semester before returning to Riverview High School, where she was to graduate with her classmates.
Riverview High School, with principal Joe Chisholm, staff and students have a great spirit, but now that spirit is in mourning.
One can never begin to understand the tragedy of losing someone so young. It is hoped they can find some comfort in the positive impact she has made on many in her short life.
I ask the House to join me in extending our condolences to her mother Katherine, father Steven, sisters Katy, Alyssa, brother Daniel and to all her family and friends.
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 11:00 am | Ontario, Markham—Unionville
Mr. Speaker, as one whose mother was a nurse for many years, I am pleased to rise on the occasion of National Nurses Week.
First celebrated in 1985, it highlights the contribution of nurses to the health and well-being of Canadians. The International Council of Nurses designated May 12, which was Florence Nightingale's birthday, International Nurses Day.
Registered nurses, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists champion principles of health, equity and social justice in Canada. They provide vital care to individuals, communities and populations in multiple settings across Canada by advancing principles of primary health care. Nurses are innovators, caregivers and educators who demonstrate leadership for transformative change in the Canadian health care system. Nurses play important roles in all levels of health care, from bedside to community and public health advocacy.
During Nurses Week, let us acknowledge and thank them for their dynamic contribution in improving the health of Canadians.
- MPlibMay 09, 2013 9:50 am | Ontario, Ottawa South
Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague's speech and I think I heard him say that the money would appear, that somehow it is going to materialize. That is interesting. We will wait to see how that all works out. However, I would like to ask him a question about money that we know exactly how it was spent, and that is money that relates to government advertising. I would like him and his colleagues to listen for a second and then explain how he can justify this when looking into the eyes of his constituents.
The government has erected 9,000 billboards at a cost of $29 million. It is running economic action plans now on an annual basis at about $100 million a year. It spent $23 million doing media monitoring for 60% of the backbench MPs in the Conservative caucus. It is spending $90,000 per advertisement on each and every ad during the hockey playoff series. That alone would pay for 40 to 50 additional summer student jobs. Can the member and other members of the Conservative caucus, who I am sure are ashamed of this, explain to Canadians how this is possibly defensible given the situation we are in now economically?
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