- MPlibFri 11:10 am | Ontario, York West
Mr. Speaker, I thank everyone who spoke for and against my seniors' bill of rights, and in particular, my two colleagues who spoke so very well.
Both my colleagues who spoke understand the challenges of being a senior today. Because of their closeness with them, they understand when seniors say that they have to eat macaroni and cheese for several days in the last week of the month because they do not have adequate pension funds.
The work I did in my previous critic role is hence the reason I tried to establish a basic bill of rights for seniors in Canada.
I am sure there are many on this side of the House and possibly some on the government side who understand what a bill of rights sets out to do, which is to establish parameters. It does not say to put money into it anywhere, because that is not a private member's bill anyway, but it is to set down the quality of life we want our seniors to have.
In the few minutes I have, I will try to reiterate a few points. Too often it is financial illiteracy that gets people into problems. They do not understand the awful lot of red tape that is involved when one invests in a bank. It sounds like a good investment so an individual might put their money there. An awful lot of people do not take the time to understand how complicated some of that is.
Often there is a conflict of interest with the person promoting a particular investment because they get a higher management fee on it. Many people do not know these things. They do not know enough to ask those questions. They are busy trying to make the money to put away.
Every once in a while we hear about a group of people who lost their life savings in investments. Over and above issues such as Nortel and companies that go bankrupt, which is another issue altogether, people have the perception that if they put money away, it will be perfectly safe. People need to get up to date on what they need to know, the questions they need to ask and they need to become much more aware of what happens to their pension money if they are able to put any away.
Often it is inadequate opportunity and economic instability. An individual has a job, which they lose, then they draw out their savings, not thinking about what will happen 20 years later because it is today that they need that money. That instability strips away the hard-earned savings of our seniors, and that is what we are trying to stop.
Bill C-513 is the first bill of its kind ever proposed to better protect our seniors and their nest eggs. I was hopeful that all of my colleagues in the House would support that. However, I have heard the message from the government side and it does not surprise me as the Conservatives move forward to promote the things they think are best, in their viewpoint, to help those who have.
When we look at the aging demographics and the population, there will be an awful lot of people who will have to rely on the province for more than the current GIS and OAS.
The intent of part of the bill of rights is to put in parameters that would ensure that people get spoken to in plain English when they talk about retirement, so that they start to learn about financial literacy early on, understand the issues better and will not find themselves at the time of retirement with inadequate funds, if any at all, because they have used them for various reasons.
The bill is about building people up, not tearing people down. It is about helping Canadians better prepare for tomorrow. That is a responsibility we all have in the House.
We been talking about enhanced CPP. We have been talking about the Liberals' supplementary CPP. We need to get this issue on the agenda to talk about just how we would create the vehicles, the instruments, to help Canadians understand the reason they have to prepare for their retirements, and also provide the vehicles necessary for them to do that.
I thank all hon. members for their participation and for the opportunity to present the bill.
- MPlibFri 10:55 am | Newfoundland, Avalon
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise here today to speak to the bill.
To refresh us on what the bill would do, I would like to quote a few words from the member from Toronto who proposed it.
In broad strokes, the bill would create substantive, justifiable rights relating to retirement income, give every person a chance to accumulate retirement income, promote good plan administration, and set out in law that pension reform goals to which we aspire legislatively.
This bill, in a few short steps, would improve people's financial retirement.
For a lot of people, retirement takes years of planning. Those who start working in their mid-20s to mid-30s are not always thinking about retirement. Thirty years or 25 years is a long way away. A lot of factors can go into what may happen to one's retirement savings over that 30 years. We only need to look back at the last 10 years to see what happened when the markets collapsed and people's retirement savings vanished overnight, making them have to work longer. One never knows what might happen to one's retirement savings. It has taken at least the last five to six years to get back to where their savings were almost 15 years ago.
Wherever I have travelled in my riding over the last little while, the number one issue I have heard from seniors has been how they are struggling in their day-to-day operations trying to survive on the little bit of pension income they have. The cost of living is going up. The cost of a quart of milk has gone up over the last little while. This impacts many seniors. There are a lot of seniors out there who are going to the malls to get warm, which is a shame. When one gets to that age in life, one should be able to retire in dignity and with respect.
I hear it everywhere I go. A lot of seniors are finding it very hard. A lot of them will admit that they did not think of retirement planning for the last 30 years. We have to make sure that these things are there so that people have the retirement savings they need.
People refer to some of the programs we have in place now, such as the guaranteed income supplement, or GIS, the Canada pension plan, and old age security. As the member for Cape Breton—Canso mentioned, when we look at the sum of those plans, it is only in the range of $27,000 a year. With the cost of everything going up, and as people are getting older and living longer, their needs become greater. When they get to a stage where they need care and help, it is costly.
My mother is 82 years old. It is not easy living alone in a home one has lived in one's entire life. When property tax goes up by a small increment, it can really cash-strap a lot of our seniors. When they get into a home or alternate living, it is not cheap. It costs of a lot of money. A lot of people at that age are spending every nickel on it. They have no money left over to share with their grandchildren, family, and friends.
We need people to be thinking about this. We need to make sure that people are guaranteed an honourable retirement. All this bill is doing is proposing a bill of rights for retirees and seniors to make sure that they have the funds to live out retirement with dignity.
Getting back to the GIS and the CPP, one of the things I hear most, and what really gets me going, is that the government will say that it has given a little increase in the CPP. It gives this increase to the CPP; people receive it in January. They have their increase in their CPP, and it is not a whole lot, but it is a little. It is not enough to cover the cost of a carton of milk. However, by the time June comes around and they get reassessed, they are clawed back on their GIS. Therefore, they are no further ahead, at all, on any increase in the CPP. It is clawed back through their GIS.
Seniors, retirees and people in the House cannot understand why the government would claw back their GIS. It gives it on one hand and takes it away on the other. I hear it every June, without fail, from people who call our offices and complain that their GIS, their income supplement, has been decreased because they were lucky enough to get a little more on their CPP in January. It is very frustrating.
Much like where we have a number of bills of rights and charters for our veterans, we need to have this bill of rights for our seniors and for retirement.
It is a pleasure to support the bill. I know the member has been an advocate for seniors and pension plans for a number of years now. She has seen what has happened when people's retirement incomes have slipped away through no fault of their own, or through businesses that collapse and pension funds are in jeopardy. I know there were some references made to Nortel.
Bill C-513will help try to preserve that and make sure it gives seniors every tool they need to remain happy in their senior years.
I would like to close by quoting this one the member put together. Basically, it says that is she had to summarize the bill in 50 words or less, she would say it is about “choice, fairness and flexibility”. She goes on:
It is not about tearing down pensions; it is about elevating everyone to the same level. Every Canadian should have the right to a financially secure retirement and I believe this proposal sets the stage for that to become a reality.
That is what the bill is about, and it is a pleasure to support it.
- MPlibFri 10:25 am | Nova Scotia, Cape Breton—Canso
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in support of Bill C-513. This is a bill that was put forward by my friend and colleague from York West.
I certainly hold in high regard the work that the member has done on this particular issue. I know that over the last number of years she has travelled the country and met with numerous stakeholders, many Canadians who have voiced their concerns around the entire pension issue. This bill is an outgrowth from that experience.
The member listened to experts in the field and to a broad range of voices from many sectors, and I am sure she would be able to share that when she has an opportunity to speak herself. I am sure that was her motivation; trying to help Canadians in their later years is certainly what brought this bill to the floor.
To understand the focus of the bill, it is important that we appreciate the changing demographic in this country. Certainly our aging population, where Canadians are living longer and some are retiring sooner, puts a shift in the paradigm as to how many people in this country are contributing and how many are benefiting from investments in pensions.
As a matter of fact, the ratio has changed considerably over the years. If we look back to 1980, the ratio of retirees to workers was at 36% in 1980, and today that ratio is 53%. That is fairly substantive, and it is a shift, so we have to look differently at how we prepare for retirement. That demographic shift alone places many Canadians' retirement at risk.
A recent survey indicates that 30% of Canadians feel they would not be able to retire at the age of 65. We see that more and more now, whether it is from necessity, or that they want to continue to work past the age of 65, which is not uncommon in this day and age. However, among those Canadians who would like to retire at the age of 65, at least 30% of them feel they would not be able to do so. Also, that study identifies that only 14% of seniors believe they are going to be able to retire with any degree of comfort. They have anxiety leading up to the point when they do retire.
What we are seeing is the development of a two-tier retirement in Canada. We have those who get along quite well and are comfortable. They have had a pension plan that they have been able to pay into, or they have earned quite well, and saved and invested well for their retirement. Then we see the people at the other end of the spectrum, who have not had the benefit of a company pension plan and have not made the money they felt was necessary to invest and save. They have spent most of their time trying to get by and raise their family. We are seeing that gap widen between those in retirement who have and those who do not have.
Some additional statistics that came out of that study are that 75% of Canadians working in the private sector do not have a pension plan other than CPP, OAS, or a guaranteed income supplement. Seventy-five per cent of Canadians is certainly a number we should all be concerned about.
Many Canadians expect to depend mostly on those government benefits in retirement. However, together these government plans can pay only up to a maximum of about $27,000. The average is considerably less.
Those who work for the government or a large company will have some type of plan to rely on. I know of some unfortunate cases, which we can find right across this country, of companies that have come up against hard times. One of the first casualties of tough economic times is an investment in the company's pension plan. We know that they do not have to be fully funded. There are laws on the level of funding for company pension plans.
Stora Enso, in my riding of Cape Breton—Canso, is a company that has been a great corporate citizen and has had a great history in the riding. It did newsprint and high-end glossy paper for many years. However, we know where newsprint and the paper industry have gone in this country and globally. When Stora Enso fell upon hard times, it sold to NewPage Corporation. One of the things NewPage did not invest in was topping up the defined benefits pension plan. When the company went into receivership, many people who left the mill years ago all of sudden themselves making 40% less from their pensions than they did before the downturn and the bankruptcy.
People have a particular lifestyle. They think that they will have a guaranteed income going forward into retirement. To have almost half of that pulled away certainly comes as a shock to many. That is what the retirees and pensioners of Stora Enso and NewPage have experienced.
The provinces recognize this, and they have been pushing the federal government to expand the CPP. However, the government has been dragging its heels. We have heard the minister responsible stand in the House and speak against that. However, it is coming in loud and clear from the provinces that changes have to be made. The government's new PRPP retirement plans are voluntary tools. Employers do not have to offer them, and employees do not have to use them.
We know that Canadians are not saving enough for retirement. There are reasons for that. In the last five years, we have seen an increase of 78% in the number of Canadians who are working for minimum wage. People working for minimum wage are doing the best they can to pay the bills. People are doing the best they can to keep the wolves away from the door if they are trying to run a household on minimum wage. Therefore, they are not able to make those types of investments in savings. What they are investing in is food and heat and lights for their homes. That has to be of concern.
CIBC recently did a study that showed that a 35-year-old today saves half of what a 35-year-old saved a generation ago. I think we all know about those experiences.
To sum up, the bill does two things. It gives Canadians the right to contribute to a decent retirement plan and to be provided with up-to-date, unbiased information about their savings plans. That is worthwhile and noble. If we were able to embrace that through this legislation, those principles would serve us well. That is why I would be happy to stand and support my colleague from York West when the opportunity arises to vote on this piece of legislation.
- MPlibFri 9:15 am | Quebec, Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
With regard to the most recent Supreme Court Appointment process: (a) on what dates was the Quebec Government consulted and who was consulted; (b) when was the Barreau du Quebec consulted; (c) when were judges from the Quebec Court of Appeal (QCCA) consulted; (d) concerning Justice Marc Nadon specifically, (i) on what dates was the Quebec Government consulted regarding his nomination, (ii) when was the Barreau du Quebec consulted, (iii) when were judges from the QCCA consulted; (e) when was the issue of Justice Nadon’s eligibility first raised, (i) by whom, (ii) how, (iii) with what response; (f) still concerning Justice Nadon, (i) from whom did the government seek legal opinions, (ii) on what dates, (iii) at what cost, broken down by opinion, (iv) how many lawyers from Quebec were consulted on Justice Nadon’s eligibility, (v) how many judges from Quebec were consulted, (vi) what scholars from Quebec were consulted; (g) by what measure was the litigation risk evaluated relative to Justice Nadon’s appointment, (i) by whom, (ii) on what date, (iii) what communications were sent between the Department of Justice and the Minister of Justice regarding the risk of litigation surrounding the appointment; (h) with respect to assessing Justice Nadon’s eligibility, (i) what was the role of the Department of Justice, (ii) what was the role of the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, (iii) what was the role of the Minister of Justice, (iv) what steps did the Minister of Justice take to assure himself of Justice Nadon’s eligibility to assume a Quebec seat on the Supreme Court of Canada; (i) how much funding is allocated to any defence needed to a legal challenge to Justice Nadon’s appointment; (j) is the government aware of any instance in which a Supreme Court justice has stepped aside from his or her duties; (k) what steps is the government taking proactively (i) to ensure that Quebec is not under-represented at the Supreme Court of Canada while Justice Nadon is recused, (ii) to ensure gender parity at the Supreme Court of Canada; (l) what steps has the government taken with regard to addressing the lack of racial diversity at the Supreme Court of Canada; (m) who developed the questionnaire provided to judges in the most recent round of Supreme Court appointments, (i) what specific questions were asked of judges, (ii) what information was sought from potential Justices during the process; (n) for each of the last six appointment cycles, what were the questions given to judges and what additional information was sought from candidates; (o) what steps are being taken to modify the process of Supreme Court appointments for the next vacancy?
- MPlibFri 9:15 am | Ontario, Markham—Unionville
With regard to removal orders, by country and for each calendar year from 2006 to 2013: (a) what are the number of issued (i) departure orders, (ii) exclusions orders, (iii) deportation orders; (b) for each category of orders under (a), what is the total number of people issued removal orders by country to which they were to be removed; and (c) for each category of orders under (a), how many of these orders were successfully executed?
- MPlibFri 9:15 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
With regard to the proposed divestiture of the Agroforestry Development Centre at Indian Head, Saskatchewan: (a) have any studies been conducted, either internally or by external consultants or advisors, to identify the costs or benefits, including any possible continuation of any science or research activity at the existing site or elsewhere; (b) who prepared the studies; (c) when were those studies completed; and (d) what were the detailed results of any such study?
- MPlibFri 9:15 am | Ontario, York West
With regard to the government’s allocation of the public service budget for each fiscal year starting with 2006-2007 to present: (a) what is the total number of staff, by department, in each Executive (EX) and Deputy Minister (DM) pay category; (b) what is the total number of staff in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canadian Forces, Canada Border Services Agency and Correctional Services Canada, receiving the maximum remuneration permitted, including bonuses?
- MPlibFri 9:15 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra
With regard to the Department of National Defence Jericho property in Vancouver, British Columbia, which has been declared surplus and identified as a “strategic disposal”: (a) when will the property be transferred to Canada Lands for disposal; (b) what are the processes, stages, and time frames for disposal; (c) what consultations will be conducted, including with the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver community, First Nations (including the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations), and the general public; (d) what consultations have already taken place; and (e) are the lands of the former Kitsilano Coast Guard base implicated in the sale of the Jericho Lands and, if so, how?
- MPlibFri 9:15 am | Ontario, Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot
With respect to the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COARGLBE): (a) what is the current status of approvals with respect to each proposed Annex within each department or agency that is a partner to the Canadian Federal Great Lakes Program (CFGLP); (b) which department or agency is the responsible authority for consulting First Nations on the COARGLBE; (c) what was or is the budget of each department or agency that is a partner to the CFGLP for consulting with First Nations on the COARGLBE; (d) which department is the responsible authority for considering and developing the proposed First Nations Annex (FNA); (e) which departments or agencies have discussed the proposed FNA with First Nations; (f) what is the status of deliberations or discussions with respect to the proposed FNA; (g) which departments or agencies have committed verbally or in writing to creating an FNA; (h) what is the expected timeline for approving the FNA; and (i) what is the expected timeline of approving the COARGLBE?
- MPlibFri 8:55 am | Nova Scotia, Cape Breton—Canso
Mr. Speaker, the hemorrhaging of jobs for young people in this country is troubling. There are now 70,000 fewer youth employed in this country than when the Conservative government took power eight years ago.
As the minister indicated, the Canada summer jobs program opens today. That program funds fewer jobs now than it did in 2005. Today's job numbers show that we have lost an additional 26,000 youth jobs in the last month. Does the minister even recognize this? Young Canadians do. Does the minister recognize this troubling trend?
- MPlibFri 8:50 am | New Brunswick, Beauséjour
Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, I met with Melissa O’Rourke from Mount Allison University and Luke Robertson from St. Thomas. Both are impressive student leaders who know the difficulties post-secondary students face. They described the benefits of the Canada student grants program, and previously, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. However, the grants program has not been increased since its creation, while tuition and university costs have skyrocketed.
Could the minister tell us what plans he has to finally make up the difference and increase the Canada grants program for students so that the high cost of post-secondary education is not a factor that discourages people from going to university and college?
- MPlibFri 8:50 am | Nova Scotia, Kings—Hants
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance used to call EI a job-killing payroll tax, but according to the PBO, the Conservatives are keeping EI taxes “higher than necessary” in 2015 and 2016.
If the Conservatives kept their promise to set EI taxes at a break-even rate, the EI taxes would fall significantly in 2015. With a sluggish Canadian economy, why are the Conservatives breaking their promise by freezing EI premiums at an artificially high rate until the end of 2016?
- MPlibFri 8:40 am | Ontario, Ottawa South
Mr. Speaker, the sworn RCMP statements are very clear.
Thanks to Senator Gerstein, the Prime Minister's Office received inappropriate information about the audit of Mike Duffy.
The evidence clearly shows that Gerstein not only tried to put an end to the audit, but he also offered payment to a sitting senator. The Prime Minister knows that.
When will the Prime Minister finally allow his former employees and Senator Gerstein to testify, under oath, about what they did?
- MPlibFri 8:35 am | Newfoundland, Avalon
Mr. Speaker, the RCMP had to ask repeatedly for Benjamin Perrin's emails before the Prime Minister finally coughed them up. No one believes the story that they were simply forgotten about.
The only way to get to the bottom of why Perrin's emails were hidden from the RCMP is for the Prime Minister and the Clerk of the Privy Council Office, Wayne Wouters, to appear before the ethics committee under oath.
Will the Prime Minister and the Clerk of the Privy Council appear before the ethics committee?
- MPlibFri 8:25 am | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
Mr. Speaker, on this sad anniversary of the tragedy at École Polytechnique, we remember the 14 young women and their families.
As we come together today, we invite the government to lead the way in putting an end to violence against women and girls in Canada.
Can we all come together and—with the help of our partners, the provinces and territories, the first nations, women's groups, victims' groups and law enforcement—develop a national strategy and put an end to this tragic violence?
- MPlibFri 8:25 am | Ontario, Etobicoke North
Mr. Speaker, on this sad anniversary, we remember 14 young women and their families. As we draw together, we invite the government to take the lead to end violence against women and girls in Canada.
Working with our partners across the country, the provinces and territories, first nations, women's groups, victims' groups and law enforcement, can we all come together to develop a national action plan to end the tragedy of violence in our country?
- MPlibFri 8:25 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
Mr. Speaker, from Diefenbaker to Clark and Mulroney, Canadian governments stood with the people of South Africa, especially Nelson Mandela, in the fight against apartheid. Mr. Chrétien made him an honorary citizen of Canada.
In his final days, Mandela expressed just one regret, that he had not won the battle against HIV/AIDS, which claimed the life of his own son.
As a fitting memorial to this global icon, will the Canadian government establish an ever more robust initiative in Mandela's name to battle the scourge of AIDS in Africa, just as Canadians helped Mandela battle apartheid?
- MPlibFri 8:15 am | Ontario, Etobicoke North
Mr. Speaker, today we remember 14 young smart women who had bright futures ahead, their families and all those who knew them. Each of us in the House hopes their families feel the loving arms of the nation around them.
Those young women were killed that terrible day simply because they were women. That night, all parents held their girls just little bit tighter in their arms. Today, the scars remain.
Let us honour these young women's memories by being strong women who fight hard for other women and by ending violence here in Canada and around the world.
To the families, we would like them to know that their daughters are not forgotten. They instill courage, they inspire and they remind us all to fight tirelessly to end violence. We profoundly thank these families for sharing their daughters with us and we keep them in our prayers.
- MPlibFri 8:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
Mr. Speaker, people around the world today are remembering the late Nelson Mandela.
During one remarkable trip to Canada, Mandela was walking up Parliament Hill to deliver a speech in the House of Commons. By complete chance, he encountered a group of Metis from Saskatchewan. It too was headed up the Hill to sit in the gallery to hear what this champion of human dignity would have to say.
As a spontaneous gesture of affection from a group in Canada that had felt the sting of discrimination and disadvantage, one of the Metis took off his traditional sash and presented it to the South African icon. A short while later, Mandela honoured the Metis by wearing that sash in the Canadian Parliament, while he delivered his speech. He knew how much that would mean.
Nelson Mandela was a beacon of goodness in his own country and his life illuminated the whole world. He changed things for the better and millions are grateful for the hope he inspired.
- MPlibThu 11:50 am | Newfoundland, Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor
Mr. Speaker, I rise once again to talk about the potential of a major environmental disaster off of the northeast coast of Newfoundland. The ship is known as the Manolis L and it sits at the bottom of the ocean. It contains over 500 tonnes of bunker C and diesel oil.
Citizens have been calling, saying that one third of the sea birds they observe have oil on them. Aerial surveillance also shows oil on the water. This is one serious environmental issue.
Where is the government plan to do something about this? Emergency measures are not needed in the future. They are needed now.
- MPlibThu 11:45 am | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
Mr. Speaker, Canadians are beginning to realize the enormous price paid by our soldiers when they are sent into battle.
Many need help to recover from the horrors they have witnessed or lived through. We must not hesitate to do everything we can to help them. All our soldiers must be informed of the resources available to them and encouraged to use them.
I think the government is beginning to understand this. I would therefore ask the government to inform us of any action it plans to take in the future to help our soldiers.
- MPlibThu 11:45 am | Ontario, Etobicoke North
Mr. Speaker, post-traumatic stress disorder is a major issue facing Canadian Forces personnel, as has been made painfully clear in the last week.
Has the Department of National Defence reached out in person to the more than 75,000 Canadian Forces personnel to remind them of the resources available to them if they need help?
- MPlibThu 11:35 am | New Brunswick, Beauséjour
Mr. Speaker, last night Conservative senators protected Senator Gerstein's unethical conduct in attempting to kill an audit into Mike Duffy. This is not the first time the Conservative Party has mopped up Gerstein.
When charged under the Canada Elections Act, he only plea-bargained out when the Conservative Party pled guilty for him. Nigel Wright resigned or was fired—which, we are not sure anymore—for offering money to Mike Duffy. We know that Gerstein also offered money to Mike Duffy.
How can the Prime Minister still have full confidence in this now-disgraced Conservative senator, Irving Gerstein?
- MPlibThu 11:30 am | New Brunswick, Beauséjour
Mr. Speaker, now the government is trying to lay all the blame on Benjamin Perrin for the disappearance of those emails. However, we know that the government had those emails in its possession for at least six months. The Prime Minister is also blaming his own department.
Is the Privy Council so out of touch with reality that it did not notice this Conservative scandal in the news? Did it not know that the RCMP was looking for Mr. Perrin's emails? Is the Prime Minister accusing the secretary to the cabinet of committing reprehensible acts or simply of being incompetent?
- MPlibThu 11:20 am | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie
Mr. Speaker, the RCMP's sworn statements clearly show that the Prime Minister's staff received privileged information from Senator Gerstein about the audit of Mr. Duffy.
However, the Deloitte auditor could not form a conclusion because Mr. Duffy was following orders from the Prime Minister's Office and refused to co-operate.
When will the government stop interfering with the process and order Senator Gerstein and former PMO staffers to testify under oath?
- MPlibThu 11:20 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
Mr. Speaker, Gerstein's scheme with Runia to mess with an audit was not an isolated transgression. According to sworn police evidence, Gerstein also agreed to pay Duffy with Conservative Party money as long as it was only $30,000. That would be against the law, but Gerstein's concern was not about principles, just the price.
Yesterday, in a blatant conflict of interest, he himself ruled on a conflict complaint about his own conduct. If Gerstein cannot tell right from wrong, why does he still have the Prime Minister's full confidence?
- MPlibThu 11:10 am | Nova Scotia, Sydney—Victoria
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize three of my constituents who were presented with the Governor General's Medal of Bravery today in Ottawa.
In August 2008, Francis Marshall, of Membertou, and Joey Sylvester, from Sydney, evacuated residents from a burning apartment building. Mr. Sylvester rushed his family to safety before going back to rescue his neighbour and his two children. He then returned inside for a third time to help pull a disabled woman from her apartment. Mr. Marshall also braved the heat and smoke in an attempt to extinguish the flames and survived a propane tank explosion.
In August 2009, Len MacIntyre, of Sydney Mines, rescued a woman from a burning apartment in Florence. Mr. MacIntyre ran inside and used a quilt to help shield the victim from the flames, pulling her outside to safety.
I commend these Cape Bretoners for their bravery in saving lives while putting theirs at risk. Their leadership is a great example to all Canadians.
- MPlibThu 7:05 am | Ontario, Etobicoke North
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition regarding concussions. The signatures were collected by two extraordinary young women in my riding, Sandhya and Swapna Mylabathula, who have spent almost three years working on a bill proposal for a pan-Canadian concussion strategy.
Those living with concussions deserve comprehensive action and support. The petitioners call upon the government to enact a pan-Canadian concussion awareness week; a pan-Canadian strategy for prevention, diagnosis and management; and a centre of excellence for concussion research.
- MPlibThu 7:05 am | Nova Scotia, Halifax West
Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition on behalf of Nova Scotians and other Canadians who are calling on Parliament to create a strategy to preserve the Sambro Island lighthouse, an important symbol of our heritage. The Sambro Island lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in operation in North America.
I would like to congratulate the Sambro Island Lighthouse Heritage Society for its efforts to preserve and maintain this structure. The society has actually gathered over 5,000 signatures in support of its lighthouse. It is calling on the federal government to fund the Sambro Island lighthouse. I certainly support them.
- MPlibWed 2:30 pm | British Columbia, Party: Québec solidaire
Mr. Speaker, the motion speaks to obesity, which has become a national problem in Canada. It talks about the long-term health risks, which we all know, and it talks about supporting, promoting and funding organizations and individuals who are involved in the physical well-being of Canadians.
This is something that is motherhood, and we obviously support it.
However, I want to say that if we are going to talk about funding people and organizations involved in physical activity—because we know there are two things that can deal with obesity: one is obviously eating properly and eating well and the second is daily physical exercise—we need to have very clear standards for those organizations and very clear certification for the people who would be doing training or actually directing the physical activity programs, because this is not a case where someone can say, “I am fit and, therefore, I am capable of helping other people be fit”.
The whole concept of kinesiology, which is the art of exercise and how exercise works, is something that needs to be certificated. It is very important because an individual could be hurt by people if they give the wrong exercises to do, if we were to let just anybody hang out a shingle.
In principle, this is a very good idea. However, I think there need to be some very clear accountability structures, certification structures and training structures attached to something like this.
There is no one answer. We know that diet is one good way, how we eat, et cetera, and we know that physical activity is a second. Just dealing with physical activity and not dealing with the whole issue of how we eat and what we eat that tends to increase the amount of obesity, is something I wanted to talk about.
It would have been an interesting if the motion had in it the whole concept of food, how we eat and what we eat.
We know that many people in Canada today eat a lot of processed foods. With both adults in the family working, they are unable to come home and put a meal on the table as they used to in the old days. They bring home processed foods that they can quickly cook, foods that can be cooked in the microwave in five minutes, et cetera, and one of the reasons processed foods are a vehicle for eating poorly is that they contain high amounts of sodium and trans fats.
Now, the government has the ability to ensure—and has been advised since 2007 to do so by advisory panels—that we have the minimum levels of trans fats and sodium shown on the labels, because Canadians eat twice the normal sodium levels and there is a fair amount of foods that contain trans fats. It would be simple thing to mandate the industry. It is a great piece of health promotion and disease prevention. I understand the Minister of Health made a speech to the Canadian Medical Association in the summer, talking about the interest of the current government in health promotion and disease prevention.
This is like falling off a log. The health department wants to do this, the advisory committees to the minister have wanted to do it since 2007 and it still has not been done.
I would have liked to see both prongs dealt with.
There is a saying that for every problem there is a simple and neat solution. That is wrong. Simple and neat does not always answer the problems of complexity. Especially in disease and health, we know that complex factors create illness and complex factors create health.
However, we really have to be concerned. That is why we are supporting the principle of this particular motion. Children ages 2 to 17 in this country have an obesity rate of 26%, which is up from 15% in 1979; youth ages 12 to 17 have an even higher rate of 29%; and first nations' children have an obesity rate of 41%. We have all these children who will be growing up to be an adult generation with type 2 diabetes, heart disease and risk of stroke. We know that these children are not going to live as long as their parents. The whole idea of progress in health is to ensure that we have people in future generations who are going to live longer than we did.
This is a really sad indictment on what is happening in Canada. High cholesterol is a huge problem because of eating a lot of trans fats. These are some of the things we have to talk about.
What is most concerning, though, about the increasing rate of obesity in Canada, is that not just the rates are increasing but actually the type of obesity. We are finding more people with morbidly rated obesity, people who are so large that they are at imminent risk of getting disease. It is one thing to be 10 to 15 pounds overweight; it is one thing to say “I could lose up to 10% of my weight”. However, we are seeing morbidly obese people now, morbidly obese children. I know it is a combination of poor eating and lack of activity. Of course, we well know that progress has led us to this point where kids sit around and play computer games and watch TV and do everything except go outside and play.
We know that we have worked with the provinces to talk about one hour of quality physical activity in the schools every day. In 1980, I was chair of the council on health promotion and disease prevention of the British Columbia Medical Association. In 1980, we were asking for the Province of British Columbia to bring in one hour of quality daily physical activity to the schools. It only happened about five years ago, which is a long time, and that is a whole generation of people and kids who did not get the benefit of having that opportunity not to be obese.
We notice, for reasons we do not understand, that in the Atlantic provinces the obesity rates are higher than anywhere else in Canada. Obviously, in the north the obesity rates are higher than everywhere else in Canada because of the high populations of Inuit aboriginal people where we see 41% obesity in children.
We studied obesity in the parliamentary health committee about eight years ago. We came up with beautiful recommendations and nothing has happened. So there has to be political will. A very good friend of mine who is a public health physician asked me one day if I knew what is the biggest determinant of health. I asked what. He said the biggest determinant of health is political will. When there is not the political will to do the things that must be done to make Canadians healthy or to improve their health, it is not going to happen.
As I said, this is a good motion. One cannot not support the motion. It is a very supportable motion. However, it only deals with one problem. It deals with the physical activity problem and it does not deal with the problem that is in the government's grasp. There is no need for legislation. The Governor in Council can just say it is going to do this, that this is a policy and then mandate the levels of salt and trans fats in our foods. Let us educate. The Canada food guide goes out to parents. Parents often do not know how to interpret it. They have to go and read labels in the stores, and most of them do not understand what the labels are really saying because the labels say “x calories per”, and they do not know how many grams are in it and they have to do the math. People want simple labelling, so they can reach onto shelves and get the food they need for their children without looking at whether those children are going to be obese or be put at risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The problem here as well is a very real one in terms of the delivery of medicare. We know that obesity results in economic costs of approximately $7.1 billion a year. If we could halve that and take $3 billion to put into promotion and disease prevention at the front end of the health care system, just imagine what a difference that would make.
This is a motion that is supportable. I would have liked to see some teeth in it. I would have liked to see it come up with certification and ensuring that people who are going to be delivering kinesiology and exercise programs are qualified and know what they are doing. However, I find that I cannot not support this. I support the motion.
- MPlibWed 12:25 pm | Newfoundland, Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor
With regard to copyrighted material held by the government: (a) what copyrighted material does the government own, broken down by (i) department, (ii) creation date, (iii) publication date, (iv) author, (v) fee charged for use, (vi) total fees collected to date in the lifetime of the material, (vii) format or media type, (viii) cost of production, (ix) future plans, (x) for any material not available to the public, what are the reasons for the secrecy and the name and title of the person responsible for the decision to keep the material from the public; and (b) what enforcement action has the government taken to protect its copyright on any material since January, 2006, broken down by (i) department, (ii) creation date, (iii) publication date, (iv) author, (v) fee charged for use, (vi) total fees collected to date in the lifetime of the material, (vii) alleged infraction, (viii) damages sought, (ix) case status, (x) case outcome or settlement?
- MPlibWed 12:25 pm | Ontario, Etobicoke North
With regard to the letter dated June 12, 2013, I received from former Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews in response to my letter dated May 8, 2013, regarding homicides and attempted homicides among Somali-Canadian males in Canada since 2006: (a) what conferences supported by Public Safety (PS) with the Somali-Canadian community have taken place since 2006, and for each conference what were the (i) locations, (ii) dates, (iii) funds provided by PS, including but not limited to, funds allocated to advertising, set-up, speakers, reports, and others; (b) what events has PS supported with the Somali-Canadian community since 2006, and for each, what were the (i) locations, (ii) dates, (iii) funds provided by PS, including, but not limited to, funds allocated to advertising, set-up, speakers, reports, and others; (c) what “outreach sessions” has the PS hosted with the Somali-Canadian community since 2006, and for each outreach session what were the (i) locations, (ii) dates, (iii) funds provided by the PS, including, but not limited to, funds allocated to advertising, set-up, speakers, reports, and others; (d) what meetings has PS hosted or attended since 2010 with “community representatives”, to “discuss issues including the number of Somali-Canadian men killed in gang-related violence”, and for each meeting, what were the (i) locations, (ii) dates, (iii) why was there a delay of four years in hearing about the homicides; (e) what meetings with “Imams” to “discuss issues including the number of Somali-Canadian men killed in gang-related violence” have taken place since 2010, and for each meeting, what were the (i) locations, (ii) dates, (iii) why was there a delay of four years in hearing about the homicides; (f) what meetings with “mothers” to “discuss issues including the number of Somali-Canadian men killed in gang-related violence” have taken place since 2010, and for each meeting, what were the (i) locations, (ii) dates, (iii) why was there was a delay of four years in hearing about the homicides; (g) how many times have “officials” met with mothers who have lost their sons, broken down by location and date, (i) why did the Minister choose not meet with these grieving mothers, (ii) how does his personal absence from such meetings reflect an appropriate level of “concern” that would give the Canadian public the “assurance” that PS is taking this issue “very seriously”; (h) what stakeholder groups amongst the Somali-Canadian community did the Minister meet with in June 2012 in Toronto, (i) what was the location and date of the meeting, (ii) were the homicides discussed and, if so, why was this not mentioned in the June 18, 2013 letter and, if not, why not, (iii) what concerns were identified, (iv) what “possible ways forward” were identified for the homicides; (i) what specific stakeholders had input into the “joint work plan”, (i) what “various meetings over the past year”, their dates, and locations were the basis for developing the work plan, (ii) what stakeholders had input into the prioritization of issues, (iii) what issues were prioritized and in what order, (iv) were homicides included in the priorities and, if so, at what rank, (v) with what stakeholders was the “joint work plan” finalized; (j) how were “Somali-Canadian leaders, youth, mothers and Imams from Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Calgary” contacted to be part of the “October workshop”, (i) what was the date and location of the workshop, (ii) what stakeholders were present, (iii) how many grieving mothers attended, (iv) what issues were on the agenda, (v) what Members of Parliament were invited, (vi) what was the total number of participants; (k) what is the function of a PS “community’s primary point of contact” and how does this function relate to other avenues of contact, (i) how common is it for PS to have a “community’s primary point of contact”, (ii) does PS have a community primary point of contact for other communities than the Somali-Canadian community, (iii) if so, what is the name of each community for which PS has such a contact; (l) is the funding relationship between a “community’s primary point of contact” and other departments of the government considered in the acceptance of such point of contact by PS and, if so, how, including the possibility of conflicts of interest, bias, or incomplete information; (m) is the location between a “community’s primary point of contact” and other departments of the government considered in the acceptance of such point of contact by PS and, if so, how, including the possibility of conflicts of interest, bias or incomplete information; (n) how was the organization of Canadian Friends of Somalia in Ottawa chosen to be PS’s “community’s primary point of contact”, (i) was a memorandum of understanding signed and, if so, on what date, (ii) was any funding provided and, if so, by whom and on what date, (iii) what other organizations were being considered for this role by the community, (iv) is it common for PS’s “community’s primary point of contact” to be funded by other departments of the government; (o) what are all the “community steering committees” established across Canada and, for each, what are (i) their goals and milestones, (ii) the timelines for achieving the established goals; (p) what are the dates, locations, and number of people who attended each “outreach session“ with the RCMP and the Somali-Canadian community, and how were these events advertised and at what cost; (q) why was Ottawa chosen for the February 20, 2013 youth employment session hosted by PS when Toronto has a Somali-Canadian population of 140,000, Ottawa has a population of 20,000, and Edmonton has a population of 17,000; (r) when does PS plan to “extend these sessions to other cities”, (i) what are the planned locations and dates, (ii) at how many of these sessions will the RCMP be present to discuss job opportunities, (iii) why was this information not given in response to my Order Paper question which was answered June 18, 2013; and (s) what input did the Somali-Canadian community have into Bill C-51, the Safer Witness Act, (i) what stakeholder groups were invited to comment, (ii) what stakeholder groups did comment, (iii) did the Canadian Friends of Somalia in Ottawa comment, (iv) did the “community steering committees” comment, (v) did the grieving mothers comment, (vi) what specific comments as to whether the Bill would or would not encourage Somali-Canadians to come forward after a homicide or attempted homicide were made and by what stakeholders were each specific comment made and on what date?
- MPlibWed 12:25 pm | Prince Edward Island, Cardigan
With regard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans: (a) what is the complete and detailed breakdown of all money spent to date as part of the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures program; (b) what is the complete and detailed breakdown of all money spent as part of the Community Adjustment Fund on measures related to Canada’s lobster industry; (c) what is the total amount of lobster landed in each lobster fishing area (LFA) in each year since 2000; (d) what is the total number of lobster fishing licenses issued in each LFA since 2000; (e) what is the total amount of lobster exported by Canada in each year since 2000, broken down by export country in both quantity and dollar value; (f) what is the total amount of lobster imported by Canada each year since 2000, broken down by country, in both quantity and dollar value; and (g) what measures will the government take to address the significantly low prices being paid to lobster fishers in 2013?
- MPlibWed 12:20 pm | Quebec, Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Mr. Speaker, a thousand people have signed a petition reminding the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and all members, particularly in the Conservative Party, that labour-sponsored funds, which are often used as a primary tool for saving for retirement, are savings vehicles for the middle class. These investments often go to small and medium-sized businesses.
The petitioners are calling on the Conservatives, the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister to take all necessary steps to reverse the government's decision to eliminate the 15% federal tax credit granted to people who invest in labour-sponsored funds, as announced in the budget on March 21, 2013.
- MPlibWed 12:15 pm | Ontario, Etobicoke North
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition regarding climate change, our most pressing environmental issue. Climate change is expensive. By 2050, the annual adaptation costs could be $21 billion to $43 billion annually. In 2011, the U.S. experienced 14 extreme weather events that each cost $1 billion.
The petitioners call on the government to model climate impacts to inform decisions about adaptation and to allocate resources to help Canadians adapt.
- MPlibWed 11:50 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra
Mr. Speaker, reports are circulating that the program to supply close combat vehicles to the armed forces is being cancelled at the nth hour, after years of work.
This is another example of taxpayer dollars wasted in a botched defence project that delivers nothing, except a big hit to the government's credibility.
Would the minister tell the House today? Has the decision to cancel this purchase of the armoured vehicles been taken, yes or no?
- MPlibWed 11:50 am | Ontario, Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Shell Oil told the Government of Canada, “...signal to the world that Canada is stepping up to do its part” on oil and gas emissions and regulations.
The provinces and territories are there. The NGOs are there. The industry is signalling that it wants somebody there.
When will the minister and the government show up to “do its part” to bring order to this chaos?
- MPlibWed 11:40 am | Newfoundland, Avalon
Mr. Speaker, the case of the Ben Perrin emails is a complete farce.
The RCMP had been asking for these emails repeatedly since September, and only when it was ready to raid the PMO did they magically appear. No one believes the excuses of this Prime Minister and his office. His office is trying to hide, deny, and deflect.
Why is the PMO obstructing an RCMP investigation? When will they publicly release Perrin's emails, which they now confess they have had for ages?
- MPlibWed 11:35 am | Newfoundland, Random—Burin—St. George's
Mr. Speaker, the Conservative leadership in the Senate is resisting efforts to hear testimony from Michael Runia and Senator Irving Gerstein. It claims the Senate cannot investigate the integrity of an audit it commissioned because the RCMP is investigating the matter, yet in this House, the government always claims that it is only Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy who are being investigated.
Why does the Prime Minister claim there is no RCMP investigation of Gerstein and Runia when his leader in the Senate says there is?
- MPlibWed 11:25 am | Quebec, Papineau
Mr. Speaker, last night Canadians heard more sad news. We are now up to four Canadian soldiers who have died in the past week.
Can the Prime Minister tell us what is being done to communicate with Canadian Forces members, specifically those who are suffering from post-traumatic stress, to ensure that they get all the help they need?
- MPlibTue 4:55 pm | Newfoundland, Random—Burin—St. George's
Mr. Speaker, we agree to apply. We vote yes.
- MPlibTue 4:50 pm | Newfoundland, Random—Burin—St. George's
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals agree to apply and will vote yes.
- MPlibTue 4:45 pm | Newfoundland, Random—Burin—St. George's
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals agree to apply and will vote yes.
- MPlibDec 03, 2013 3:50 pm | Newfoundland, Random—Burin—St. George's
Mr. Speaker, I would ask for the unanimous consent of the House to allow us to vote. We did not hear you call for yeas. Otherwise, we would have stood in support of the motion.
- MPlibDec 03, 2013 2:35 pm | Ontario, York West
Mr. Speaker, I will make good use of whatever amount of time I have left, as the last speaker.
I am pleased to be on my feet again to address it. Many of our colleagues have spoken at length to various issues of a bill on which it is most unfortunate that again we have had to see closure; especially on things like the omnibus bills being passed, which are actually massive in volume. No matter how much work all of us do in this House, we can never get through it enough to find all of the bits and pieces in this omnibus bill that are nothing short of a bunch of poison pills that are going to have huge effects on the Canadian economy and on the Canadian people. However, the Conservatives have their majority and they are going to do with this what they do with everything else, which is to implement time allocation and drive it through in order to achieve their agenda and do what they want.
I am using my valuable time to speak to this issue, on the things I think are important to Canadians and things we should be talking about more. Issues like jobs, infrastructure, household debt, youth unemployment and government waste are too important to simply be lumped in with many non-budgetary measures such as court reform, which the government is hiding within the budget. They put things like court reform and other things that have nothing to do with a budget bill into an omnibus bill. They bury them in there with the hopes that nobody in the opposition will be able to find them because they are overwhelmed with the bill from the beginning anyway and do not have enough time. Normally we would have had several months here, and we are lucky if we have several days.
Let us talk about jobs first, and quality jobs, which are at the heart of any healthy and growing economy. Without adequate employment, Canadians cannot enjoy dignity and quality living, no matter what the GDP says. On this front, of course the government has clearly failed.
Too often, the Prime Minister has droned on about the GDP without giving consideration to the impact around the kitchen tables of the nation. He says the economy is growing, but the reality is that more and more Canadians are falling farther and farther behind. Instead, the Conservatives are repackaging existing programs, taking more money out of the economy and calling it an economic action plan. This budget clearly has no plan to help the middle class, and that is its first great failing.
In budget 2013, the Conservatives prioritize spending cuts ahead of strengthening the economy and creating Canadian jobs. Their latest round of spending cuts is going to hurt Canada's already-weakened economy. The EI premium hike in budget 2013 would again cost more jobs. Canada's job market has not recovered from the recession, no matter what this Prime Minister and the government say. It is even more difficult for young Canadians to find a job, with an employment rate that is five points worse than it was before the recession. So we risk creating a lost generation of youth, unable to move out of their parents' home, scarred with high debt and with no meaningful job experience. I guess that would make the government's failure to address youth unemployment the second greatest failing of this budget. However, it is a failing of which the full impact will not be understood fully for years, and that is an important point.
The current government has developed a habit of kicking a can down the road on key issues. Government is about leadership and making real decisions. Passing the bill to our children for our generations of mismanagement is unethical, short-sighted and just plain wrong.
Budget 2013 announcements on infrastructure, training and manufacturing are not enough to kickstart the economy. These are not new programs. The Conservatives are just using budget 2013 to rebrand programs that already exist. Again, the Conservatives are just kicking the can down the road.
Worse than all of this, the budget would fail to do anything to shore up the very foundation of the economy, middle-class workers. Canadian workers are the true fuel of the economy, and they have been ignored by the current government. Instead, the Minister of Finance has developed a habit of calling the banks and demanding that they increase mortgage prices. This may look great on paper, but it will only make it harder for middle-class families to make ends meet. Canadian housing prices are overvalued, and prices are now starting to drop. The minister is to blame with his risky mortgage scheme in budget 2006 that brought U.S.-style 40-year mortgages with zero down payment to Canada, and helped create the current housing bubble. Then the Conservatives had to change it, so now the only real growth in Canada's economy is the growth in household debt. Personal debt levels in Canada are now worse than they were in the U.S. before the U.S. housing crush.
Canadians are not wasteful mismanagers. They are not putting new TVs and fancy cars on their credit cards. They are putting food and rent on their credit cards.
The responsibility for this climate rests on the shoulders of the Conservatives. This budget's failure is not isolated to the country's workers. They have also turned their backs on seniors. Despite their billion-dollar ad campaign to the contrary, Conservatives have no plan for middle class prosperity. Instead, they repeatedly punish the middle class. Conservatives taxed income trusts, wiping out billions in retirement savings, after saying they would never touch them. They made old age security harder to get by moving it up to age 67. The Conservatives PRPP scheme is a joke. It is nothing better than just something for the banks and insurance companies. Seventy per cent of Canadians have no pension, yet Conservative incompetence is making it much harder to retire with dignity. I cannot help but wonder why the Prime Minister wants poverty to be part of middle class retirement.
The government's answer to this problem has always been trade. It has failed to note that more trade has not always been better for Canadian industry. Canadian farmers know this better than anyone. For the past 50 years, farmers have been increasing their production levels each year, only to watch their incomes fall well into negative margins.
I support trade, and so does my party. However, trade has to be on an equal and profitable footing. Trade success is more than a simple scorecard. It has to include real gains for Canadian industry and workers. Instead, the government talks big, but unlike certain goods in places like the U.S., talk is cheap. For example, the suggested Canadian retail price for an Acura, a car made in Alliston, Ontario, is $54,990, yet our U.S. friends can buy the same car for just $46,120. That is a $9,000 price differential, a price paid by Canadian families. It goes right back into the manufacturer's hands. The differential applies to every car from the Matrix to the Impala. In short, everyone has their hand in consumers' pockets and despite the government's promise to get serious about price parity, it continues to do nothing on those big issues.
Empty words will not close this gap, nor will they help middle-class families raise their families. The government has spent well over half a billion dollars on advertising, trying to buy Canadian voters with their own tax dollars. Most recently, it has spent more than $8 million to tell Canadians in rural Canada that they should not be happy with their cellphone service. Effectively, to score cheap political points, the government is using tax dollars to run ads against Canadian businesses. It calls this action on behalf of consumers.
As bad as this is, incompetent military procurement, like the $40 billion runaway F-35 costs, are draining government resources at a time when Canadians need them the most. This kind of waste is taking money from workers, students and middle class families, plain and simple.
I could go on with example after example of just how the government has failed Canadians, but time simply does not permit a full reading of the list. In short, this budget takes drastically reduced economic growth forecasts and magically turns them into increased revenue projections. The government is projecting a balanced budget by 2015, with an $800 million surplus, yet short of a math error, has no real explanation of how to attain that goal.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to conclude this debate. With great sadness, we will rise tonight and vote against Bill C-4.
- MPlibDec 03, 2013 1:30 pm | Ontario, York West
Mr. Speaker, I listened with lots of interest to my colleague go on and on about what he considers successes but what many of us on this side would challenge. We actually led the way when dealing with an almost-bankrupt government back in 1993 as a result of previous Conservative governments, when they had an opportunity to be here.
However, I want to ask the member very specifically about the issue of the refundable tax credit for the disabled, and whether he really understands that non-refundable tax credits are only good for those people who have an income. For the somewhere around four million people who are in need of this tax credit, with all of the wonderful things the member talks about why is it that nobody was paying attention to changing that disability tax credit to apply to the people who do not have enough income and truly are deserving and need that? And why has the government not decided to make that a fully refundable tax credit and really help people who are very much in need?
- MPlibDec 03, 2013 12:30 pm | Prince Edward Island, Malpeque
Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the remarks by the member for Ottawa—Vanier. He basically talked about workers' rights in Canada, especially in the public service.
We have been very fortunate in this country to have always had a reliable, non-partisan public service that was, until the last number of years, able to give advice to ministers, without fear of repercussions, in a non-partisan way. However, when I talk to people within the public service in this day and age, there is a tremendous fear. It is as if they are being attacked by ministers, by the President of the Treasury Board, and by the government itself.
There are a lot of public servants in the member's riding. I am seeing a real fear within the public service, and that has to be having an impact on morale and productivity.
I wonder if the member for Ottawa—Vanier is seeing the same thing, which is that ministries clearly do not accept advice they do not agree with. They have the right to turn it down, but instead of accepting that advice as good advice to consider, they seem to turn it around and attack the public service. I think all Canadians are the losers.
- MPlibDec 03, 2013 11:55 am | British Columbia, Party: Québec solidaire
Mr. Speaker, 46% of patients, mostly seniors, are forced to occupy hospital beds while waiting for long-term care, blocking ER admissions and surgeries.
In the 2004 health accord, provinces agreed to share jurisdiction and to create a pan-Canadian long-term home and community care system and unblock hospital beds. The Conservative government abandoned the plan, saying it is a provincial problem.
Our senior population will double in two decades. The accord ends in 2014. When will the Prime Minister meet with the premiers to negotiate a new accord?
- MPlibDec 03, 2013 11:50 am | Ontario, York West
Mr. Speaker, many Canadians with disabilities would love to earn enough to pay taxes and therefore qualify for the disability tax credit, but sadly, this is not the reality.
The very people who are most in need of this tax credit are being left out by government inaction. The government talks as if it cares, but talk alone will not pay any of the bills.
When is the government going to make the disability tax credit fully refundable and available to all of those who need it?
- MPlibDec 03, 2013 11:50 am | Ontario, Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot
Mr. Speaker, the failure of the Government of Canada to secure greenhouse gas regulations has resulted in the delay of Keystone XL. As a consequence, we have the worst of all possible worlds. We have massive delays in the building of pipelines, we have pipeline congestion, we have substantial increases in dangerous rail shipments, we have steep price discounts, and we have ever-increasing environmental degradation.
Will the Prime Minister make a decision, or will President Obama have to do it for him.?
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