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Feb 26th

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:00 am | Ontario, Elgin—Middlesex—London

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 33rd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs entitled “M-428, Electronic Petitions”.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:00 am | Ontario, Niagara West—Glanbrook

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth and fifth reports of the Liaison Committee regarding committee activities and expenditures.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 7:05 am | British Columbia, Taschereau

    Mr. Speaker, finally, I have a petition signed by, again, thousands of people across the country who want to make sure the government ensures that Canadians receive home mail delivery from Canada Post.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:05 am | British Columbia, Langley

    Mr. Speaker, I present a petition that, sadly, informs the House that 22-year-old Kassandra Kaulius was tragically killed by a drunk driver who chose to drive while impaired. Kassandra's family was devastated.

    Families for Justice is a group of Canadians who have also lost loved ones who were killed by an impaired driver. They believe that Canada's impaired driving laws are much too lenient. They want the crime to be called what it is: vehicular homicide. It is the number one cause of criminal deaths in Canada. More than 1,200 Canadians are killed every year by drunk drivers.

    Families for Justice is calling for mandatory sentencing for vehicular homicide and for this Parliament to support Bill C-652.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 7:05 am | New Brunswick, Acadie—Bathurst

    Mr. Speaker, in the second petition, the petitioners are asking the Government of Canada and the House of Commons to make a commitment to adopt international policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and recognize their vital role in the fight against hunger and poverty and to ensure that Canadian policies and programs are developed in consultation with small family farmers and that they protect the rights of small family farmers in the global south to preserve, use and freely exchange seeds.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:05 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle

    Agreed and so ordered.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:10 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle

    Is that agreed?

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:10 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 7:15 am | British Columbia, Vancouver East

    Mr. Speaker, this is the 89th time that the government has put closure on debate on a bill. It really is a very shameful record. It is an historic but shameful record in the history of this Parliament.

    This bill, Bill C-2, is a particularly grievous one and is fundamentally flawed. I find it very ironic that the government itself sat on this bill for months and months—in fact, the better part of a year—before it brought it forward for debate. Now, all of a sudden, it decides it wants to rush it through at report stage and third reading at the last minute.

    I want to ask why it is cutting off debate, why it sat on this bill for so long, and why members of Parliament, who have the right to a thorough debate at report stage and third reading of this bill and to discuss all of the arguments that came out of committee, a legitimate process, are now being limited and foreclosed in the House.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:15 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle

    There will now be a 30-minute question period for members to participate in, and I would ask members to keep their questions or comments to around a minute and government responses to a similar length.

    The hon. member for Vancouver East.

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    MPlib
    Feb 26, 2015 7:20 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Centre

    Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of questions I would like to ask.

    Obviously I agree with my colleague in the New Democratic Party that this bill was delayed for a very long time and that all of a sudden the government wants to rush it through. At report stage, members heard from many people who challenged these proposed measures by pointing out that they did not in fact meet the Supreme Court rulings but overstepped them and are going to be open to a charter challenge.

    As well, when the bill was tabled by the Minister of Health, it did not go to the health committee. It actually went to an enforcement committee, the Standing Committee on Public Safety, which is a very strange and puzzling thing to happen. This tells us where the government is coming from. For the government, this is about enforcement and not at all about health. However, it is in fact about health.

    The question I want to ask is this. Why is it that members do not have the time to discuss what they heard at report stage, when there were two dissenting opinions by the opposition party saying that what was heard from witnesses was not reflected?

    This bill oversteps the Supreme Court ruling in many ways. The Supreme Court had five criteria. This bill, coming from a government that says health is a provincial jurisdiction, actually intrudes completely and in great detail into provincial governments, municipal governments, and local police rulings. In fact, those three groups—the provincial governments, the municipal governments, and the police—all put forward amendments that said this bill was intruding into their jurisdictions.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 7:25 am | British Columbia, Beloeil-Chambly

    Mr. Speaker, the more the Minister of Health speaks, the more we understand the reason for this closure motion, which brings time allocation to the House for the 89th time.

    The reality is that the government has refused to bring the legislation forward to the House for over a year simply because it was obvious after the first round of debates that there were many flaws in the bill.

    The government has not been willing to accept amendments. There have been concerns raised about jurisdiction and about strangling the safe injection site and what that means for health. There was concern over a wide variety of community impacts as well. We have a government that brought forward a badly flawed bill last year and forced it through. Initial debates reflected very poorly on the government, so it hid the bill for a year and is now bringing it forward with closure, trying to ram it through the House with no due parliamentary consideration.

    Is that not the real reason we are seeing closure today? Why did the government sit on the bill for over a year?

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    MPlib
    Feb 26, 2015 7:25 am | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie

    Mr. Speaker, I have to ask the hon. minister how she can say with a straight face that there is great urgency in passing the bill, given that it was taken off the table for such a long period of time.

    Now it absolutely has to pass in record time. The Supreme Court is waiting. All of these arguments are being brought forward. However, if all of the arguments she has presented are compelling in terms of speed, why did the bill suddenly disappear off the face of the earth for a very long time?

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    MPlib
    Feb 26, 2015 7:30 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Centre

    Mr. Speaker, the sudden rush is interesting, and this is what I want to speak about. Why the sudden rush, and why is the Minister of Health here when this was actually under a different committee, not health, where it should have been?

    The Supreme Court ruled on this in 2011. We need to discuss the bill in the House and re-debate it, because when the bill went to committee, despite recommendations from many people, as well as provinces, municipalities, and the Vancouver Police Department, not a comma in the bill was changed.

    This is part of the issue. The government listens to no one. Everyone is in agreement with the idea of public consultations. There were huge public consultations when InSite was brought in. No one is disagreeing with that. What we want to know is why the government has waited. The ruling was in 2011, and now, all of a sudden, it wants to ram everything through and not allow for debate on why the process at committee, which is important, was actually not listened to. Not a comma in the bill was changed. We need to discuss that in the House.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:30 am | Alberta, Edmonton—Spruce Grove

    Mr. Speaker, that is far from what has happened. This bill has been considered for a lengthy period of time. We have had 20 hours of debate. We have had debate at committee and input from members from all sides of the House. We have had input from people all across the country. I receive correspondence from Canadians all the time on this issue.

    However, the Supreme Court was clear about what it required us to put forward in this legislation. The most important requirement is public consultation and making sure that we hear from those in the community who will be impacted by this measure. If a supervised injection site is opened up next to a school, parents want to know. They want to have a say. If it is opened next to a condo complex, the people there would want to have a say. Local municipal leaders want to have a say.

    Most importantly, these people are not well. These are people who are drug addicts. We want to make sure, if such an establishment were to open up, that there would be treatment options available. Is this merely a supervised injection site, or are there resources available?

    We believe these people need help. They need intervention and treatment. We need prevention programs. We are focused on that and we deliver it, but we want to make sure that it is in concert with this measure.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:35 am | Alberta, Edmonton—Spruce Grove

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments, and I would love it if she could tell me what part of the bill she would like to strike down. Is it the part where we want public consultations with anyone who would be impacted in the neighbourhood of an establishment that received an exemption for the use of illicit drugs? Does she want to get rid of the part where we ask them to document that this is actually helping those who are part and parcel of using the establishment for supervised drug injections, or does she want to get rid of the part where we ask them to show that prevention and treatment options are available for those drug addicts who are using these supervised drug injection facilities?

    I would love to know what part of the bill she would like to get rid of. We heard loud and clear from Canadians, from those who care about people who are addicted to drugs and are looking for treatment and intervention, and from those in the community who would be impacted by this, that this is what they want.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:35 am | Manitoba, Kildonan—St. Paul

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for her very insightful comments on these questions. I wish all parliamentarians would listen very carefully to what she says, because it is very relevant.

    I would like the minister to expand on the response we need to have when we have collaboration across the country and when the Supreme Court and Canadians are saying that there is a certain thing they want, which is a voice. Could the minister address that a little bit more fully?

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:40 am | Alberta, Edmonton—Spruce Grove

    Mr. Speaker, we have debated this now for 20 hours in the House. It has gone to committee. We are at third reading. However, there is nothing more democratic than hearing from the public on an issue. That is what this bill is about. This bill would provide the framework to consider what others believe, not just the applicant. The applicant would apply to the Minister of Health for an exemption to allow illegal, illicit, and dangerous drugs to be used in a supervised way, but what about those who live in the community? What about parents? What about homeowners? What about the local police? What about the local municipal leaders? Why do they not have a say? They have not had a say up to this point, and they will not until this legislation is passed.

    That is why this is all about democracy. It is making sure that Canadians have a say.

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    MPlib
    Feb 26, 2015 7:45 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Centre

    Mr. Speaker, I think this is a farce. We have spent, what, 100 hours over the course of the government's tenure here since 2011 talking about time allocation. That is 100 wasted hours of the time in this House.

    We had an all-party committee, where the Province of British Columbia, the municipalities around Vancouver, and the Vancouver Police Department brought in amendments that were consistent with the Supreme Court ruling, and they warned the government that it was intruding in those jurisdictions. This is a government that always says that it cannot do anything for anyone because it is not the jurisdiction of the federal government. Suddenly, it is intruding in jurisdictions, and yet not a change was made.

    We need to discuss why the government does not listen at committee stage to anything anyone says. It does not accept any amendments from anyone at all, and then it complains that the opposition refuses to allow public consultation. Everyone has accepted that public consultation should occur. Public consultations went on before InSite was set up in Vancouver, so the minister is not really being honest with everyone in this House when she says that the opposition is opposed to public consultation. We are absolutely not opposed, but we think we should listen to experts and to people who tell the minister what the government should be doing with the bill, but nobody listens in this government.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:45 am | Ontario, Simcoe North

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.

    The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 7:45 am | Alberta, Edmonton—Spruce Grove

    Mr. Speaker, we have listened to experts. We have listened to the Supreme Court justices. We have listened to health experts, public safety experts, and police members. We have listened to many people since 2011, which is how we drafted the bill.

    However, the nexus of all of this is that we also want to hear from regular Canadians about having the illicit use of drugs in a supervised way in their communities.

    In terms of jurisdiction, this is an exemption. These establishments only exist because the Minister of Health is able to give them an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and that is truly within federal jurisdiction. By all means, this is absolutely within federal jurisdiction.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 8:25 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle

    I declare the motion carried.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 8:30 am | Alberta, Edmonton—Strathcona

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise to speak to C-46, An Act to amend the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act. The government has chosen to name the bill as the pipeline safety act.

    The measures to increase liability for pipelines are long overdue and very much welcome. However, there are some concerns that the measures may be inadequate, which I will speak to.

    Crude oil petroleum products, natural gas liquids, and natural gas move through 71,000 kilometres of existing interprovincial and international pipelines. That does not include the three proposed pipelines to be regulated by the National Energy Board.

    This bill purports to reinforce the polluter pays principle. It purports to confirm that the liability of companies operating pipelines would, first, be unlimited if an unintended or uncontrolled release of oil, gas, or other commodity is a result of their fault or negligence; and, second, be a limited liability to a maximum of $1 billion for pipelines with capacity to transport a minimum of 250,000 barrels of oil per day if there is no proof of fault or negligence.

    The bill purports to obligate pipeline operators to maintain the financial resources necessary to cover potential liability. It also purports to authorize the National Energy Board to reimburse government entities for any costs incurred in a spill response.

    It purports to improve responses to abandoned pipelines. That is a new measure, as the National Energy Board previously was not regulating abandoned pipelines. It also expands that responsibility to inquire into accidents involving abandoned pipelines. It purports to grant discretion to the National Energy Board to require companies to maintain funds for abandoned pipelines.

    It also purports to empower cabinet to establish a pipeline claims tribunal in certain circumstances. The tribunal would examine and adjudicate compensation claims. It also authorizes spending to respond to spills, to establish the tribunals, and to pay for compensation awards that are issued by the tribunal. Furthermore, it authorizes the National Energy Board to recover funds paid out by the government as opposed to the company.

    It expands on the polluter pays principle by imposing liability on operators for losses to non-use value of public resources. However, it limits the power of the federal Crown to pursue those, and there is some concern expressed at how seriously the National Energy Board will pursue that.

    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could interrupt. The minister is having a conversation with another member and I am having a very hard time hearing myself talk. I wonder if they could be asked to move it outside.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 8:30 am | Ontario, Simcoe North

    Order, please. I realize there are several conversations going on in the House. Obviously, when a member has been recognized and has the floor, we ask the indulgence of all members to bring their attention to the speaker who has the floor, who at the moment is the hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona. Therefore, I would again ask all members who wish to carry on conversations if they might leave the chamber and carry on outside in their respective lobbies.

    The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 8:50 am | Alberta, Edmonton—Strathcona

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the terrific role he plays as the critic for natural resources. It is a pleasure to work with him in that role.

    I can not answer why the government has chosen $1 billion. Canadians will be pleased that we have gone from, I think, $50 million before to $1 billion. Simply doing it as a one-off for offshore activity, shipping and so forth is inadequate. We are glad the government is coming forward with a larger sum to potentially recover after a pipeline spill.

    There is a measure in the bill wherein the discretion of the cabinet could opt to increase that amount, but again there is no criteria given for when it might opt to increase that amount. Again, that topic merits discussion at committee. There is potential for an amendment to the bill to provide criteria either by regulation or within the context of the legislation in those incidents where we would require more than $1 billion, not only to clean up the spill but to provide compensation.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 8:55 am | Alberta, Edmonton—Strathcona

    Mr. Speaker, I did note in my speech that there was some growing concern about the factoring in of bankruptcy. That of course would particularly arise where there were abandoned pipelines, as is the case in my province where there are tens of thousands of abandoned well sites. In some cases in residential development of suburbs we discover, after the fact, that there are abandoned well sites and someone has to move in to clean that up. It may be companies have disappeared or may have been bought by another company, and there is the issue of who is liable.

    What the relationship would be in the case of bankruptcy and the powers under this legislation to recover the costs are matters that need serious discussion at committee. Particularly what it does is send a wake-up call that time may lapse and the company may be bankrupt. This follows on the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development 's report on the failure of the National Energy Board to move quickly enough to ensure compliance or action to address what it has issued in its orders.

    We need measures in both ways. We need to look to the resources and the intention of the NEB and where its priorities lie. We also need to ensure we have dealt with this in the bill.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 9:15 am | Alberta, Edmonton—Strathcona

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to that commentary. It is regrettable, given the seriousness of this bill, that the hon. member gave little attention to talking about the significant measures in this bill or to cogent recommendations on how we can further strengthen it.

    I am a little bit troubled that the minister is saying that when we are talking about compensation for spills from pipelines, we should be balanced and take a pragmatic approach in regulation. That is deeply troubling.

    This specific bill is supposed to be about pipeline safety and about putting in place significant measures to genuinely offer a way in which people can be compensated. This bill is not about the mumbo-jumbo that we are hearing about what our energy policy should be. I hope that when we get to committee, we will have a discussion about the specific measures under the bill.

    I did find what the minister talked about very interesting. I do follow up with these projects that Western Economic Diversification Canada supports. If the minister is genuinely concerned about acting on climate change, I would be happy if her agency gave greater attention, or at least equal attention, to supporting the renewable energy sector. She has continuously rejected it when it applies to invest in jobs in Alberta and in exporting clean technology to the rest of the world.

    I look forward to her response about when the government is going to move from further research and dialogue about addressing climate change and the regulation of the fossil fuel sector and actually take action to address the impacts of the oil and gas sector.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 9:50 am | Saskatchewan, Nunavut

    Mr. Speaker, we know that Canada has a world-class pipeline safety system. In many respects, no other country in the world has legislation that is as comprehensive. For example, while the United States and the United Kingdom have similar legislation in place, the $1-billion minimum financial capacity and absolute liability limit are unique to Canada.

    Alongside these measures, Canada's pipeline safety system already transports 99.999% of product safely, as was mentioned earlier. With this in mind, I would ask if the member opposite supports what can fairly be described as the best pipeline safety system in the world.

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    MPlib
    Feb 26, 2015 10:10 am | Ontario, Ottawa South

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. We worked together previously in the Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

    I have a question that relates to this bill and the whole question of pipeline safety, because it is impossible to distinguish pipeline safety from the transportation of oil by rail. As the member knows, as chair of the natural resources committee, on present courses, if all of the pipelines that we are contemplating building are built—one to the west, one to the south, which appears to be on permanent hold, and one to the east—in nine years from now, based on the plans to continue exploiting fossil fuels from our oil sands, we will have 1 million barrels a day in excess oil capacity that will not be transported by pipeline.

    Can the member help us understand how the government sees this question of pipeline safety and this incredible risk of longer trains carrying many more cars with oil? We saw what happened at Lac-Mégantic. We saw another explosion last week in the United States.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 10:20 am | British Columbia, Taschereau

    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-46 takes a long overdue first step toward a true polluter pays regime for pipelines in Canada, which has always been an element of the NDP's plan to grow the economy while also protecting the environment. I think this is a positive first step.

    Presently in Canada some of the pipeline proposals are to export raw bitumen, which is not only a substance that will float to the bottom of the ocean and that cannot really be contained but is a substance that represents the export of jobs. That bitumen could remain in Canada and be processed here, creating all sorts of good, high-paying jobs for Canadians. I am wondering if the member has an opinion as to whether Canada should be seeking to try to process bitumen in Canada.

    My second question is on climate change. Does she have any concerns that increasing our exports of fossil fuels will contribute to global carbon emissions, leading to climate change, and does she have some ideas on how we should be dealing with that?

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 10:40 am | British Columbia, Taschereau

    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on an excellent speech and for the fine work he does on behalf of a balanced and intelligent energy and environment policy in our country.

    My question is one that I asked my Conservative colleague a few moments ago, and that is about the relationship between pipelines and climate change.

    Conservatives, to their shame, pulled Canada out of the Kyoto accord. Liberal Party Eddie Goldenberg, the former assistant to the Liberal prime minister said that the Liberals never had any intention of every implementing Kyoto. In fact, greenhouse gas emissions rose under Liberal administration.

    If we are to increase pipelines in the country, if we are to move resources, what are Canada's obligations or the proper policy course for us in order to play a responsible role on the world stage in dealing with climate change?

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:00 am | Ontario, Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke

    Mr. Speaker, if anything demonstrates the need for the House to quickly pass Bill C-26, our Conservative legislation for tougher penalties against child predators, it is the decision by the Liberal Party in Toronto to introduce sweeping changes to how grade school children are taught sex education.

    This curriculum was written by someone charged with two counts of distributing child pornography, one count each of making child pornography, counselling to commit an indictable offence, and agreeing to or arranging for a sexual offence against a child under 16. As a hand-picked provincial Liberal deputy minister, this powerful party insider was caught only after an international online probe. If withdrawal of this Liberal policy can prevent one child from being groomed for exploitation, it really must be withdrawn.

    On behalf of the parents, grandparents, and the vulnerable children of Ontario, we demand that the federal party leader order this outrageous policy to be withdrawn now.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:00 am | Saskatchewan, Cypress Hills—Grasslands

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I extended an invitation to colleagues to join an international network of legislators committed to advocating against religious persecution and supporting religious freedom for all.

    Last June, a small group of parliamentarians gathered together in Oxford. An agreement was reached to begin to build a wider international coalition. This plan became a reality in Oslo in November 2014 when interested MPs from around the world met to launch the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief. They pledged to work together to see an end to belief-based persecution.

    Members of IPPFoRB hold various political perspectives, diverse religious beliefs, and hail from many different countries. These currently include Argentina, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Nepal, Norway, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay. What we share in common is our belief in the importance of freedom of religion or belief. We are committed to see those freedoms strengthened worldwide.

    Again, I extend the invitation to any interested legislators to join.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 11:00 am | Ontario, Beaches—East York

    Mr. Speaker, last Sunday, Julianne Moore won the Academy Award for best actress for her portrayal of a college professor suffering early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Still Alice is a powerful story of an accomplished and engaged professional, fighting to stay ahead in a race she knows she will eventually lose.

    Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia in Canada. It is also a progressive and irreversible disease. Sadly, there is no cure. The number of Canadians living with it is expected to double by 2031, and women represent 70% of new cases.

    Our government understands the tremendous burden that dementia can place on those it touches, as well as on society in general, and has invested over $220 million dollars for research into Alzheimer's disease and related dementias since 2006. Government partners include the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Women's Brain Health Initiative, and Baycrest.

    Ms. Moore said in her Oscar acceptance speech that people with Alzheimer's deserve to be seen, so that we can find a cure. I agree, and I encourage all Canadians to witness this performance that is very much worth seeing.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:05 am | Alberta, Edmonton East

    Mr. Speaker, an ecclesial leader of great repute, a proponent of Orthodox unity, the devout head of the worldwide Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church passed away on Tuesday.

    Metropolitan Mefodiy stood for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, from the Orange Revolution to Euromaidan. He advocated for the unity of the Orthodox church in Ukraine.

    I met with Metropolitan Mefodiy in January in Kyiv. For hours, we discussed Ukraine and Orthodox unity. He believed that Orthodox unity would lead to greater social and political stability in Ukraine.

    Ukraine, indeed the world's Orthodox church, lost a great ecclesiastical leader on Tuesday, a pious man of the people.

    On behalf of Canada, I would like to express our sincerest condolences to Metropolitan Mefodiy's family, his ecclesial colleagues, friends, and everyone with whom he had a human and spiritual connection. Memories eternal.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 11:10 am | British Columbia, Taschereau

    Mr. Speaker, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital has an emergency department that is staffed by excellent medical professionals. However, it is severely overcrowded and under strain. The emergency department was built to handle 14,000 visits per year. It is now seeing over 28,000. Up to three patients are being housed in rooms built for one and physicians are treating patients in the hallways. There is no proper isolation capability, which is a serious concern for the control of infectious disease. Patient privacy, proper medical histories, and staff safety are being sacrificed.

    The hospital requested $24 million from the provincial government to build a new emergency department. Unfortunately, this funding was refused by the B.C. Liberals.

    MSJ provides the only emergency department conveniently accessible to east Vancouver residents. Because the department is only open until 8 p.m., residents are put at unnecessary risk as they are forced to travel to Burnaby or the west side of Vancouver to receive emergency care.

    I request that the federal government work with its provincial counterpart to ensure that this important facility can better protect the health of Canadians.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:10 am | Alberta, Peace River

    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to lowering taxes, and keeping them low for all Canadians. With the strong leadership of our Prime Minister we will balance the federal budget, and we are continuously putting forward measures to help Canadian families do the same.

    We are proud that 11 million Canadians of all ages and income levels have opened an account that allows them to save tax-free with the tax-free savings account. We introduced the TFSAs as a way for Canadians to save for retirement, for their children's education, or for a down payment on a house. The vast majority of accounts belong to low- and middle-income earners.

    However, the Liberals and the NDP will raise taxes and will reverse these benefits. They will implement a carbon tax that would hurt the Canadian economy and kill Canadian jobs.

    The facts are clear. Only our Conservative government can be trusted to keep taxes low, and that is exactly what we are doing.

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    MPlib
    Feb 26, 2015 11:10 am | Quebec, Saint-Laurent—Cartierville

    Mr. Speaker, March 1 will mark the closing ceremonies of the 2015 Canada Winter Games, which are being hosted by the City of Prince George, British Columbia. The games showcase Canada's sports excellence, sportsmanship, health, and active living. This year's 17-day national competition will have welcomed about 2,400 of our best athletes in 19 sports ranging from alpine skiing and hockey to table tennis.

    I was not aware that tennis table was a winter sport.

    The games, which were run by volunteers, were a great success, and these volunteers deserve the recognition of all Canadians for their remarkable efforts. There is no question that the games help the athletes make a name for themselves, boost local economies and provide high-quality entertainment for people all across the country.

    On behalf of my colleague, the member for Etobicoke North and the Liberal spokesperson for sports, and the Liberal Party of Canada, I congratulate everyone.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:15 am | Alberta, La Peltrie

    Mr. Speaker, we have strong, independent oversight committees and agencies that do very good work. Now is not the time to attack our police and security agencies. Now is the time to take on the terrorists. That is what this bill does.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 11:15 am | Nova Scotia, Halifax

    Mr. Speaker, in 2010, the Conservatives committed to improving oversight of our national security agencies. They also promised a mechanism to ensure that the RCMP and CSIS are accountable and obey the law. That was over four years ago and the Conservatives have still done nothing.

    How can they be trusted on Bill C-51 when they do not even keep their own promises?

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:20 am | Alberta, La Peltrie

    Mr. Speaker, the government has been acting on a multi-pronged action plan to deal with this problem, beginning first and foremost with cracking down on violent crime. We are also funding shelters and family violence preventions to protect women and children, supporting dedicated RCMP project teams and the development of community safety plans, supporting a national centre for missing persons, providing additional investigative tools for the police, and providing additional rights for Canadian women who live on reserve in the form of matrimonial property rights and human rights. Now is the time for action, not for more NDP study.

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    MPndp
    Feb 26, 2015 11:20 am | Nova Scotia, Halifax

    Mr. Speaker, 1,200 indigenous women and girls are missing or have been murdered in Canada. Families of the victims are coming together today in Ottawa to prepare for tomorrow's national round table. They are looking for answers and they are looking for concrete coordinated action. So far, all they have heard are the same empty lines from the government.

    Will the Prime Minister take the opportunity that is offered to him today? Will he listen to the families? Will he change his rhetoric and finally recognize the need for a national public inquiry?

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:20 am | Quebec, Lévis—Bellechasse

    Mr. Speaker, first, we have the greatest respect for aboriginal peoples. We respect the rights of all Canadians. Nonetheless, we also have a responsibility to oppose terrorism, violence and Criminal Code offences.

    Again, I invite the member to consult Bill C-51, where it is clearly indicated that peaceful protest is exempt. I invite him to reread the bill. If he needs help, we can go to committee. The NDP can stop obstructing the process and we can talk about the bill in committee.

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    MPlib
    Feb 26, 2015 11:20 am | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie

    Mr. Speaker, the recession ended six years ago. However, there are 140,000 more jobless Canadians now than there were in 2008. Last year, the government boasted that it had created 186,000 jobs, but it had to revise that figure to 120,000. The Bank of Canada says that 200,000 young Canadians are underemployed and live with their parents.

    Does the government believe that it has done enough to help Canadians and create jobs?

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:25 am | Alberta, La Peltrie

    Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth, and Canadians know this. Canadians know we are not living in another decade. We are living right now in one of the most troubled world economic environments. In spite of that, this government has overseen the creation of 1.2 million net new jobs.

    We have done that by pursuing sound economic policies, reducing taxes, focused investment, balancing our budget, all of the things the Liberal Party opposes, all of the things the Liberal Party would reverse to give us the kind of result we have in Greece. We will never have that here.

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:25 am | Quebec, Lévis—Bellechasse

    Mr. Speaker, if Canadians are watching the debate on Bill C-51, they will wonder why the NDP is obstructing a democratic process. There are more than 48 witnesses. I am told by my colleague that there are more than nine sessions. My counterpart, the Minister of Justice, and I are ready to appear with the department officials.

    Why is the NDP obstructing a democratic process and preventing us from protecting Canadians?

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    MPlib
    Feb 26, 2015 11:25 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

    Mr. Speaker, speaking of facts, in the nine years since the government took office, job creation has been half of what it was in the nine years before.

    The recession ended nearly six years ago, and still the jobs record of the Conservative is anaemic. Last year, they first bragged about creating 186,000 new jobs, but had to admit it was actually one-third less than that, barely 120,000 jobs, and that was down from the year before, which was down from the year before that.

    Why is the government such a failure at generating jobs?

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    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:30 am | Quebec, Lévis—Bellechasse

    Mr. Speaker, our government has had a strategy against terrorism for years. The first pillar of that strategy is prevention. We meet with the cultural communities; our police officers are reaching out to them.

    Why are the New Democrats opposed to our strategy? Why are they preventing our government from putting tools in place to protect Canadians?

    I urge them to get out of the way and let the committee hear from witnesses and move forward on this.

  • retweet
    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:30 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle

    Order, please. There is still far too much noise during questions and answers. I would ask members to come to order. It is increasingly difficult for the Chair to hear.

    The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.

  • retweet
    MPcon
    Feb 26, 2015 11:30 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, we acknowledge that the waiting list is unacceptable.

    That is why my predecessor ordered his departmental officials, his experts, to look at every case in appeal right now, in order to resolve them before they even make it to the tribunal. That will enable us to settle them much more quickly.

    Our goal is to eliminate the long-term wait list before the end of the summer. I spoke to my departmental officials last week. They told me that they were on track to accomplish this goal.


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