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Mar 9th

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    Mar 09, 2015 8:20 am | Ontario, Ottawa South

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the motion he moved this morning. In my riding, we have the Ottawa International Airport, which provides at least 5,000 jobs. Every day, 5,000 people come and go at the airport.

    As we say in English, it is an economic generator of major significance.

    I would like my colleague to talk about the fact that he personally approached the minister. I wrote to the minister almost two years ago to ask him about the status of this issue. In Canada, 10 airports are waiting for an answer. It has been two years and they have yet to hear anything.

    Can my colleague help us understand why the government still has not made a decision that is important to these airports when it comes to security and their future role as economic generators in their regions?

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    Mar 09, 2015 8:30 am | Ontario, Windsor—Tecumseh

    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Ottawa South.

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    Mar 09, 2015 8:30 am | Ontario, Ottawa South

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by commending my colleague from Sherbrooke for bringing this motion. It is a very important motion. It speaks to the legitimate aspirations of many of Canada's smaller centres that want to join the ranks of centres that have proper backstopping, when it comes to their airport systems, to enable more trade, more travel, more tourism, more investment, more growth, and more jobs.

    It is unfortunate that this motion had to be brought by the member, because this is something the government has been seized with for many years. It is important to remind members of the House, and Canadians who are watching or reading, that this is the fifth minister of transport in perhaps eight years the government has cycled through the department. That might explain why there has not been serious action on this file for many years.

    There are at least 10 airports waiting for an answer, including Puvirnituq, Trois-Rivières, Schefferville, Bromont, and Sherbrooke, in Quebec; St. Catharines, Ontario; Cold Lake, Alberta; Dawson City, Yukon; Edson, Alberta; and Fort Nelson, B.C. All of these airports have repeatedly approached the government for a decision. On the strength of their overtures, the Liberal Party of Canada, through me, then the transport critic, wrote to the minister in June 2013 asking the minister to make a decision with respect to using CATSA security screening services and finding a mechanism whereby these 10 airports, which have been waiting and waiting, could do so at their own expense.

    I wrote to the minister in June 2013, on behalf of the Sherbrooke airport, pleading for the minister of transport to make a decision. I received a reply from the minister, but the reply was received on August 28, 2014, over a year later, to respond to that basic letter. I go back to my original comment that it is unfortunate that the member had to bring this motion today to compel the government to do its job.

    Everyone in the House recognizes that airports have to be safe and secure. They recognize that airports are becoming very popular economic generators for smaller and larger urban centres. They understand that they are job creators, that they bring in retail investment, and that they facilitate trade, tourism, travel, and the shipping of goods. What we do not understand is why it is taking so long for the government to do its job.

    This is not a big file. It is an extremely important file for all the airports involved. It is extremely important to them, but is not a big file for the government, with its thousands of employees at Transport Canada. This decision, and a mechanism to arrive at a decision, should have been made years ago in anticipation of the kind of growth we are seeing in Canada. Why are we seeing this growth? It is because we are seeing rapid urbanization.

    For example, Sherbrooke is becoming a regional city in Quebec. More and more people are going there and Sherbrooke is doing more and more trade. It is no different than the situation of the Halifax-Dartmouth region or the greater Vancouver regional district.

    We are seeing urbanization. The government knows this. We all know this. We all live it. For the life of us here in the Liberal Party, we cannot understand why this decision was not taken years ago.

    Be that as it may, it is encouraging to hear the government say, through its parliamentary secretary, that it will support an amended motion. Frankly, it is about time.

    All MPs in the House I am sure transit through Ottawa's beautiful international airport from time to time, and I am fortunate to represent the airport. It is a massive economic generator for the city of Ottawa. It employs at least 5,000 people day in and day out. It is very important to the success of the national capital region and the Ottawa-Gatineau census metropolitan area. Without it, we would have great difficulty competing, and our citizens would not be able to move as freely as they do.

    If I recollect correctly, it was the Liberal government that created CATSA. It was the Liberal government that facilitated, in the Open Skies agreement, the movement of Canadians to the United States and back with much greater ease, thereby facilitating the movement of goods and services and professional expertise and generating economic activity and jobs. Therefore, we are pleased that this motion is being brought to the floor of the House. We are also pleased to support it.

    We are scratching our heads trying to figure out why it has taken so long for the government to bring forward this kind of mechanism to facilitate this. It seems to have no problem whatsoever procuring, for example, advertising and running it during NHL hockey games or CFL games or you name it. It has spent $765 million and counting on advertising since its arrival. Not a single MP on the benches of the government can justify this or look their constituents in the eye and say that this was a good investment when we have so many needs, like this need for screening services in our airports, leaving aside other needs in society like insulin pumps for our kids. How about additional nurses? How about home care for our seniors? How about our veterans offices? It is an interesting juxtaposition that the government has found all this time and money for obscene partisan advertising, but it cannot find the time to solve this basic problem to make sure that Sherbrooke and nine other airports in Canada can get the security screening they need to compete. That is all people want. They want a fair shot at competing in their own cluster areas. That is a reasonable thing to be trying to do. We are supportive. It is about time.

    The government is going to have to explain to these different citizens and ridings why it took this motion. The minister is going to have to explain why it took her 15 months to respond to a basic piece of correspondence. The answer given says basically that they are still studying it.

    I implore the government to not just support the motion but to do what the Liberal Party of Canada has been asking of it for several years: fix the problem. Stop bobbing and weaving, hiding and ducking, and fix the problem for the 10 airports in our country that deserve a solution so that they can get the screening services they need to do what they do best, what Canadians do best, which is compete, create jobs, and grow their local economies.

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    Mar 09, 2015 8:55 am | Ontario, Windsor—Tecumseh

    Resuming debate.

    The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine has about eight minutes for her remarks today.

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    Mar 09, 2015 9:00 am | Ontario, Windsor—Tecumseh

    The hon. member will have three minutes and thirty seconds to finish her speech if she wishes.

    The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

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    Mar 09, 2015 9:15 am | Ontario, Option Nationale

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague rightly noted that the liability cap at $1 billion is a problem. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, close to where we reside, there was one oil spill into the river there that cost $1.2 billion to clean up.

    My question for my colleague is, why is it the liability capped at that rate? If that circumstance took place in our country, for that one incident alone, taxpayers would be on the hook for $200 million.

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    Mar 09, 2015 9:15 am | Saskatchewan, Nunavut

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite noted that this legislation is a step in the right direction, as many of his colleagues have already done. In fact, one even stated that they have been looking forward to legislation like this for some time.

    My question will be directly put: Will the member and his colleagues be supporting this legislation?

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    Mar 09, 2015 9:20 am | Saskatchewan, Nunavut

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand in my place and speak to this important piece of legislation.

    The pipeline safety act is another example of our government's commitment to protecting both Canada's economy and the environment. Our government knows that the two do go hand in hand.

    As Canadians know, our government is dedicated to creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for everyone across this great land. That is our first priority. However, we also recognize that jobs and economic growth cannot come at any price. As the Minister of Natural Resources has said repeatedly, no project will proceed under our plan for responsible resource development unless it has been proven safe for Canadians and for the environment.

    In fact, we have spelled it out very clearly as a commitment in our Speech from the Throne:

    Our government believes, and Canadians expect, that resource development must respect the environment. Our Government's plan for responsible resource development includes measures to protect against spills and other risks to the environment and local communities.

    The pipeline safety act is one more example of our government's promise made, promise kept approach to governing. I would like to read two more sections from our throne speech, because they outline the necessary action we promised to take on pipeline safety:

    Our government will: Enshrine the polluter-pay system into law; Set higher safety standards for companies operating offshore as well as those operating pipelines, and increase the required liability insurance.

    With Bill C-46, we are delivering, just as we promised and just as Canadians would expect from their government. I am truly proud of that. We are doing exactly what we said we would do.

    Specifically, this new legislation for pipeline safety focuses on prevention, on preparedness and response, as well as on liability and compensation.

    As the Minister of Natural Resources said when he launched this debate, the amendments in this act send a clear message. The Government of Canada will ensure that Canada's pipeline safety system is world class, that first nations are involved in pipeline safety operations, and that taxpayers are protected. These are fundamental responsibilities for a federal government, and we are fulfilling our obligations fully and directly.

    I am also pleased to see that members opposite have agreed that Bill C-46 is another important step in our efforts to ensure that Canada is a world leader in pipeline safety. As the member for Hamilton Mountain said, “I would be less than honest if I did not acknowledge that the amendments appear to be a step in the right direction”.

    Moreover, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley said, “This may sound strange, but I have looked forward to some version of such a bill for many years”. It is strange, since New Democrats are completely opposed to all form of resource development. However, we appreciate that they recognize an excellent piece of legislation when they see one.

    Just as important, it appears that all sides of this chamber have finally acknowledged that Canada's energy sector is the key engine driving our economy. The oil and gas industry alone contributes almost 8% to our gross domestic product. It employs 360,000 Canadians directly and indirectly, and it generates more than $23 billion annually in government revenue to help pay for social programs like health care, education, and infrastructure.

    At the same time, pipelines are crucial to the safe transport of oil and gas across our country and to markets beyond our borders. As we have heard many times during this debate, Canada has an enviable record on pipeline safety. Of all the oil and product transported through about 73,000 kilometres of federally regulated pipelines in Canada, 99.999% of it has arrived safely.

    My colleague from Nanaimo—Alberni captured this point very well with a reference to his home province of British Columbia. He said:

    We had a pipeline going through Burnaby for more than 60 years, and most people in Burnaby did not even know it...

    As my colleague for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry said:

    ...most homes in Canada are heated with natural gas, all of which is delivered by pipelines, but Canadians do not need to give it a second thought because it all happens so safety and seamlessly every single day.

    Canada has a reputation for building and operating pipelines safely. This is one of our country's many strengths, and our government is determined to keep improving upon this record. That is why we have already implemented other important measures. For example, we gave the National Energy Board new authority to levy administrative monetary penalties and additional resources to increase its inspections and audits each year. As a result, oil and gas pipeline inspections have increased by 50% a year and comprehensive audits of pipelines have doubled.

    The pipeline safety act would move those yardsticks even further. I would like to highlight a few examples. At the top of the list is the proposal to enshrine in law the polluter pays principle, to ensure that polluters would be held financially responsible for any costs and damages they cause. The legislation would also introduce absolute no-fault liability and require companies operating pipelines to hold minimum financial resources for incident response. For companies operating major oil pipelines the requirement would be set at $1 billion. As well, the pipeline safety act would, in exceptional circumstances, provide the NEB with the authority and resources to take control of incident response and cleanup when a company is unable to do so. Also, the new legislation would expand NEB authority to recover costs from industry for that backstop.

    Furthermore, we are working with aboriginal communities and industry to enhance the participation of aboriginal peoples in all aspects of pipeline operations, from planning and monitoring to responding to incidents. This would ensure that aboriginal peoples participate fully in related employment and business opportunities.

    These are all right and good measures. They are perfect examples of how our government is leading the way in protecting the well-being of Canadians, our communities and the environment. They also remind us of how safety standards can and should be enhanced as technologies evolve and regulations are improved.

    The pipeline safety act delivers on all of these fronts. It ensures that Canadians keep setting the bar when it comes to the safe transport of oil and gas. I urge all members to support this valuable piece of legislation.

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    Mar 09, 2015 9:25 am | Saskatchewan, Nunavut

    Mr. Speaker, we know that between 2000 and 2011, federally regulated pipelines boasted a safety record of over 99.99%. Pipeline companies would remain fully liable when they are found at fault or negligent in the unlikely event of a spill.

    An analysis of historical examples demonstrates that this level of absolute liability and financial capacity provides world-class coverage. The average cost of major pipeline spills in North America has resulted in cleanup costs in the range of $20 million to $50 million.

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    Mar 09, 2015 9:30 am | Ontario, Option Nationale

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on this important bill to have the polluter pays principle apply to some of the government's legislation, which has been long sought after in this chamber. Therefore, Bill C-46, an act to amend the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act, will be receiving our support to send it to committee.

    There are some issues with this bill. It is lacklustre in some components, whether that be with respect to the clarity of the National Energy Board's oversight or liability. We have talked a bit about that today. However, the significant Achilles heel of the bill is the determination of the cleanup costs for companies that reach the $1-billion liability limit. That might sound like a lot of money on the surface, but in reality we have had spills that have cost more than $1 billion in terms of cleanup. I will speak to one in my area. Although it is an American example, our energy is integrated and it happened in a river that is connected to the Great Lakes tributary system. It affected the largest clean water supply. This is important not only with respect to the environment and water consumption for individuals but also to the general economy. We have ships that service all of the Great Lakes right out to the oceans, as well as tourism worth hundreds of millions of dollars with respect to the ecosystem. To give some perspective, over 800,000 U.S. gallons of oil escaped into the Kalamazoo River from a 30-inch pipeline. It got into the water system and required $1.2 billion U.S. to clean up. Given the value of our dollar today, that would be much higher than it was at the time. The reality is that it affected us.

    To give those who are listening to the debate today an idea, a lot of effort and public money was spent to clean up the Great Lakes and other ecosystems. Therefore, it is not just about the damage and the problems that are caused at the moment a spill occurs, it is also about undermining all of the public investment that has been done to try to restore some of our ecosystems because we have treated them poorly so many times.

    Most recently, we were able to celebrate the release of the sturgeon back into the Kalamazoo area, which is important to both the ecosystem and tourism sectors. A lot of hard work has been done to improve the terms and conditions by which we can use those and we have turned a negative into an asset. Therefore, when a spill takes place we cannot think of it in the context of that one moment, that one spill and that one time. When we look at the spills we have had across the country, there have also been legacy costs due to other related effects on the community, with respect to loss of use of water resources or land. Canadians have been quite clear and have consistently shown poll after poll that they do not have any confidence with respect to companies being able to clean up and contain oil spills affecting land and, in particular, water. A few years back, we saw some more modest spills that had shown up unexpectedly in the Detroit River when people found oil washing up on the shore. The company had no idea there was a spill.

    Ironically, at one point in time if companies were fined for an oil spill or received a corporate fine or penalty, they could claim it as a tax deduction. I am proud that in 2004 the New Democrats fought to get that law changed so that they could no longer write off the costs of polluting. Not only did the polluter not pay, it was rewarded because it was a business-related expense at the time. That can no longer happen and is a step forward.

    However, we are still left with some problems related to this bill. As I have noted, Canadians do not have confidence in the cleanup. Part of the problem that we have with the bill is that the National Energy Board's ability to act and investigate would not be sufficient.

    I would point to the poor track record of the Conservative government. It is important that we did some see some action related to the horrible incident in Lac-Mégantic, but for some time now, we have been warning about some of the problems that the government has in relation to self-regulation.

    I was on the transport committee when we tabled a report on rail safety in this chamber. I cannot say what was done when we were in camera, but I can say that the report did not have a dissenting opinion put with it. That was odd, because there were things that were clearly missing in the report that we tabled. A report prior to that talked about the safety management systems and how there was a culture of fear at CN and CP.

    With a self-regulating body, are people going to feel strong enough and confident enough to go forward and challenge some of the industries that clearly have the ear of the Conservative government? This is a concern that I have with the National Energy Board. As we move to the self-regulation aspect, having seen cuts to the regulatory oversight, is that going to be enough? I do not think that it will be. That is what causes me major concern about this bill. It is the liability and accountability.

    I would like to conclude with this. As I mentioned, in terms of their confidence in cleaning up oil spills, only 27% of Canadians are confident that the Government of Canada is able to respond effectively to a significant oil spill on water. That is significant. That lack of confidence from Canadians would be felt from coast to coast to coast and on our inland operations where we get our freshwater supplies.

    We will move this bill to committee, but we will be asking significant questions to try to figure out why there is a $1 billion cap and why taxpayers should be on the hook for negligence.

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    Mar 09, 2015 9:30 am | Ontario, Newmarket—Aurora

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague spoke a bit about the engagement that the government wants to have with aboriginal communities as we move forward with pipelines. I wonder if she could talk just a little more about the opportunities that this is going to present for our aboriginal youth, employment opportunities and moving forward with new places and new careers.

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    Mar 09, 2015 9:30 am | Saskatchewan, Nunavut

    Mr. Speaker, the natural resources sector is the largest private employer of first nations people in Canada. In the next decade, over 400,000 aboriginal youth will be entering the workforce, creating an unprecedented opportunity to address the need for new workers in the oil and gas industry. In 2012, more than 13,500 aboriginal people worked in the Canadian energy sector. We have developed this plan closely with industry and aboriginal communities to provide training for aboriginal communities on pipeline monitoring and response. This would allow first nations to continue to make important contributions as a full partner in the development of our natural resources.

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    Mar 09, 2015 9:40 am | Ontario, Option Nationale

    Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear. Generally speaking, our position on natural resources is that we should be in control of them by appropriately managing them and making sure that when we use them, it is done with the polluter pay principle and is sustainable. That is how we believe Canada's natural resources are best suited for use.

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    Mar 09, 2015 9:45 am | Ontario, Option Nationale

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for raising in greater detail what took place in Michigan, because I think it is important.

    Coming from that area, I know how much work has been done over the years to try to clean up the Great Lakes and the tributary systems that feed the Great Lakes. It has been a real challenge. We have all heard the stories of the Hudson River being on fire and a series of things like that, but we have had a series of other problems in the Michigan area as well.

    There has been a lot of public investment, not so much on the Canadian site but on the American side, because we share this treasured resource. When we have a spill like this through the negligence of Enbridge, it undermines all the other taxpayer-funded initiatives that try to make it a better place to live.

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    Mar 09, 2015 10:40 am | Ontario, Ottawa South

    Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague.

    She is probably already aware that there was another explosion last weekend in northern Ontario, as another train exploded. Over the past three years, the transportation of petroleum products on our railways has increased by 1,600%. This size of increase is completely overwhelming. By 2024, even if we build the three oil and gas pipelines that have been planned, there will be an additional 1 million barrels of oil that cannot be transported through the pipeline system and that ultimately will be carried by rail, by train.

    Perhaps she could tell us how she views this increase and the fact that there is only $1 billion in freight liability? We have seen that the cost for Lake Mégantic has now reached $600 million.

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    Mar 09, 2015 10:45 am | Ontario, Timmins—James Bay

    Mr. Speaker, we have a situation in northern Ontario right now, in the Gogama region, where there has been a third derailment. Crude oil is burning in the Mattagami River. We know there is a major environmental impact from the movement of bitumen and crude. Questions are being raised in terms of the Gogama accident about oversight and safety. This is the same argument that is being dealt with on the pipelines.

    We have a government that has stripped the environmental protection laws of this country to push the pipelines through, which has created a serious backlash in the population who do not trust the government to put the interests of environment ahead of the very narrow interests of the Alberta oil lobby.

    I would like to ask my hon. colleague what she thinks needs to be done to ensure that, however we are transporting crude oil, whether it is through pipelines or on trains, we ensure that public safety is first and foremost a priority.

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    Mar 09, 2015 10:55 am | Ontario, Windsor—Tecumseh

    That will bring the debate to an end at this time. The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands will have approximately three minutes of questions and comments when we resume debate on this bill.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:00 am | New Brunswick, Tobique—Mactaquac

    Mr. Speaker, as the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and that saying will ring true this coming weekend when Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carleton–York hold their annual Bowl for Kids Sake.

    The vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters is that every child in Canada who needs a mentor has a mentor. Big Brothers Big Sisters offers a wide range of mentoring opportunities to meet the varied needs of volunteers, children, and families. Currently the local organization has 10 matches of bigs and littles as well as an in-school mentoring program.

    Serving as role models, the mentors teach the importance of giving back, staying in school, and having respect for family, peers, and community.

    I want to express my sincere appreciation for the work done by this local group, led by executive director, Mary-Beth Rideout, her board of directors, the event sponsors, and numerous volunteers who make these fundraisers happen.

    This weekend will see 34 teams and 200 participants lacing up their shoes at the Woodstock Bowlacade. I encourage everyone in the local community to provide their encouragement and financial support to this event that leads to the development of young people, and, as a result, makes our rural communities stronger.

    While this weekend is about raising money, we need to say a big thanks to all of the bigs who give the most valuable gift of all, their time.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:00 am | Ontario, Etobicoke North

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday was International Women's Day, when we celebrate the tremendous women in our lives who care for us, inspire us, and fight for equality, freedom, and justice.

    We celebrate the many milestones achieved on the road to gender equality. Despite the strides, women still lag behind men in critical areas such as political representation and wage equality.

    Canada ranks 19th among 142 countries regarding the gender gap, 42nd in female parliamentary representation, and a shocking 100th on health and survival.

    Let us all recommit to fight for the rights and opportunities of women and girls in Canada and around the world. Empowering women is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. When women succeed, nations are more prosperous, safe, and secure.

    Let us work together to create a world where our daughters and sons can achieve their full potential.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:05 am | Ontario, Kitchener—Conestoga

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to once again highlight the importance of organ donation.

    In Ontario alone, over 1,500 people are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, while only 26% of the population are registered donors.

    Each of us can relate to the importance of having hope in our lives. When my wife Betty died in May 2011, my personal faith and knowing that her organs saved the lives of five people allowed me and my family to find hope in the midst of our grief.

    George Marcello, founder of the Torch of Life initiative and a transplant survivor himself, has made it his life's mission to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation and to offer others the same chance he received to enjoy a healthy future with friends and loved ones.

    Tomorrow George will bring the Torch of Life to the Hill. I look forward to commending George for all of his important work.

    I want to encourage every member to urge their constituents to register as donors at beadonor.ca.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:05 am | Ontario, Niagara West—Glanbrook

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to welcome the United Nations' Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro.

    Dr. Nabarro's visit to Canada marks an important time in the international community's fight against the spread of this deadly and highly infectious disease. Without the strong leadership of individuals like Dr. Nabarro, the goal of getting to zero cases worldwide would be no more than a dream.

    When it comes to confronting the Ebola virus, Canadians can be proud to support a government that is leading global efforts against its spread. To date, Canada has committed over $110 million in health, humanitarian, and security contributions to help fight the spread of Ebola.

    From coordinating the world's response to malaria in 1999 to managing crisis response operations in Darfur, Sudan, and in countries affected by the 2004 tsunami, Dr. Nabarro has made his life's work about protecting the health and the humanity of this world.

    I want to thank Dr. Nabarro for his continued service and leadership in protecting global health and for strengthening the international communities' abilities in the fight against infectious disease.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:05 am | Ontario, Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing

    Mr. Speaker, autism takes many forms and is spread across our population with no exceptions.

    Often what families and individuals facing the challenges of a diagnosis need most is acceptance and community awareness. That was the goal of the second annual Espanola Autism Acceptance and Espanola Rivermen event that took place on March 1st. In the lead-up to World Autism Day on April 2, this event brought more than 150 people together to raise awareness and have lots of fun.

    Families from the North Shore and Manitoulin took in a number of activities, ranging from swimming, bowling, and Zumba to watching a hometown Rivermen hockey game.

    The event was coordinated by Dennis Lendrum, who has been a champion of this issue since his grandson, Alex Bertrand, was diagnosed on the spectrum.

    Dennis is already organizing for next year's event. Anyone who wants to stay informed or get involved can be in touch through the Espanola Autism Acceptance Facebook page.

    I am sure all members will join me in sending our heartfelt congratulations to the volunteers, organizers, and participants involved in this exemplary event.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:10 am | Quebec, Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the memory of Sergeant Andrew Doiron of Moncton, New Brunswick. By all accounts, Drew, as he was affectionately known to his friends, was a force to be reckoned with.

    He led a Special Forces detachment in Iraq. Before that, he had also been deployed to Niger and Italy. In Italy, he personally accompanied veterans from the First Special Service Force to the top of Mount La Difensa, which they had occupied during the Second World War.

    He was a fierce competitor in the International Practical Shooting Confederation and won many three-gun competitions.

    Sergeant Doiron was a man of action. His courage and indeed his life, which was dedicated to Canada's security, are a source of inspiration for us all.

    Rest in peace, Sergeant Doiron. We will never forget you.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:10 am | New Brunswick, Beauséjour

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I learned this weekend of the death of Sergeant Andrew Doiron, originally from Moncton. He was a pleasant, passionate and proud man. The memories of Sergeant Doiron's friends and colleagues are a testament to the character of this man whom we have tragically lost.

    The fact that he rose to the level of sergeant in our Special Forces shows that Andrew was part of the best that Canada had to offer.

    Many people in my riding knew him when he was a student at École Mathieu-Martin in Dieppe, and I know that the entire Greater Moncton community is proud to have known him and sad to have lost him so prematurely.

    I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his colleagues in the Canadian Forces. We also pray for those who were injured with Sergeant Doiron.

    Above all, I would like to extend my condolences to his parents and his entire family. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you in these difficult times.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:10 am | Ontario, Welland

    Mr. Speaker, today I join with all members of the House as we mourn the loss of Sergeant Andrew Joseph Doiron. Our hearts go out to his family, his friends, and the Canadian Forces community.

    Our thoughts are also with the three brave soldiers who were injured. We wish them a swift recovery.

    This is another reminder of the heavy responsibility we have as parliamentarians when deciding whether to send our men and women into harm's way. His family said, “Our son gave all and through his loss, we gave all.”

    His friends described him as passionate, determined, charismatic, funny, humble, and sensitive. These are words we can use to describe our own sons and daughters.

    As we attempt to comprehend what Sergeant Doiron's death may mean, let us recommit ourselves to providing all the assistance we can to our veterans and to comfort all those who have suffered such losses.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:15 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Halifax for her condolences. I join with all members in expressing our most profound condolences to the family of Sergeant Doiron. His comrades, the other three Canadian troops wounded on Friday night, are in our thoughts and prayers.

    This incident was a tragic question of friendly fire resulting from mistaken identity. Our troops followed all of the established protocols that they have for several months in these kinds of training missions. They were well within the rules of engagement of their advise and assist mission to provide training to the Kurdish peshmerga.

    Obviously, our operators are ensuring that steps are taken to ensure there is no repeat of this tragic incident. There are three investigations that we hope to see the results of very soon.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:15 am | Nova Scotia, Halifax

    Mr. Speaker, since the start of this mission in Iraq, the government has been hiding the truth from Canadians.

    In the beginning, it talked about an air mission and training. Now we have discovered that our troops are on the front lines and being targeted by the enemy and that there have been Canadian casualties.

    The Prime Minister must tell us the truth. How many Canadian soldiers are presently in a combat situation in Iraq?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:20 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger

    Mr. Speaker, the truth is that Canada believes we have a responsibility, a moral and national security responsibility, to act in the defence of global security and of our own security against this genocidal terrorist organization, ISIL, this death cult that has sought to destroy entire minority communities, that has explicitly declared war on Canada. That is why we have Canadian special operations forces in their advise and assist mission in northern Iraq. That is why we have the Royal Canadian Air Force flying sorties against ISIL positions in Iraq.

    Of course, we believe there is an important ongoing role for Canada to play. If we seek an extension, we obviously will table a motion in this place.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:20 am | Ontario, Halton

    Mr. Speaker, always, the safety and security of Canadians is Transport Canada's top priority. In the past number of years, strong statements and strong actions have been taken with respect to trains and the movement of goods and transportation of dangerous goods in the country. Most notably is the fact that we have moved 5,000 cars out of the system and that we have brought in new standards to be followed for tank cars. We are working with the United States on a new tank car standard to be utilized in the future. We have been working diligently on this file since then.

    We need to wait to see the response of the Transportation Safety Board as to why this accident happened.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:20 am | Nova Scotia, Halifax

    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Conservatives have not been transparent about this mission from the start. Women and men of our armed forces, their families and all Canadians deserve to know the truth.

    The mandate for this current mission is ending in just a few weeks. The decision about deploying our service people overseas is among the most important decisions that we make as parliamentarians. Therefore, could the government tell us when a debate and a vote on a mission extension will occur?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:20 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, first, of the 1.2 million new jobs created, 85% are full time, 80% are in the private sector and approximately two-thirds are in high-wage industries.

    We are reducing taxes not only for families but also for the companies that hire workers.

    The Liberal Party believes that the budget will balance itself, but that is not true, just as it is not true for families' budgets either. Given the opportunity, the Liberals would raise taxes, which would be harmful to families and employment.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:20 am | Ontario, Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing

    Mr. Speaker, Northern Ontario has now seen three train wrecks in less than a month. Two of them in Gogama and one between Hornepayne and Oba. The last two were only a few days apart this week.

    This most recent derailment had 94 cars on the train carrying crude oil. Thirty-five of them derailed, caught fire and several ended up in the Makami River.

    The people of Northern Ontario are concerned about their safety, about the destruction of air and water quality. Could the minister tell us what measures she has taken to protect the communities of Northern Ontario today?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:20 am | Quebec, Westmount—Ville-Marie

    Mr. Speaker, before I ask my question, I would like to say that the tragic death of Sergeant Andrew Doiron reminds us once again of the risks our soldiers face on our behalf.

    We owe Sergeant Doiron a debt that cannot be repaid. We extend our most sincere condolences to his loved ones.

    According to the CIBC's analysis, job quality in Canada is the lowest it has been in the 15 years that the bank has been collecting statistics.

    What is the government doing to respond to the deterioration of job quality?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:25 am | Ontario, Oak Ridges—Markham

    Mr. Speaker, as I just said, we will continue to provide every possible assistance that we can to the Crown in its case against Mr. Duffy. I contrast that to the NDP.

    When the Leader of the Opposition had the opportunity some 17 years ago to come forward with information that would have helped the people of Quebec, he chose to hide that information.

    Again, the NDP owes some $2.7 million to Canadian taxpayers. Instead of just paying the money the NDP members owe to the Canadian taxpayers, they are doing everything possible to hide and ensure that they do not pay it. What they have to do is come clean and pay the taxpayers back the money they owe.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:25 am | Nova Scotia, Kings—Hants

    Mr. Speaker, the only good-paying jobs the Conservatives want to protect are their own.

    CIBC is not alone in raising the alarm on Canada's job market. The Bank of Canada has reported that Canada's jobs market is weaker than unemployment rates suggest. The bank has reacted by lowering interest rates.

    However, our soft jobs market cannot be fixed by monetary policy alone. Why are the Conservatives ignoring the facts and delaying the budget? Why do they not understand that Canadians need a real plan now for good jobs and growth?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:25 am | Ontario, Timmins—James Bay

    Well, Mr. Speaker, those bizarre evasions will not make this one go away, because we know from the RCMP investigation that at least a dozen key Conservative insiders are involved in the Duffy expense scandal and the PMO-orchestrated coverup.

    With the Duffy trial about to begin, will the Prime Minister tell us how many of his current staff have received subpoenas and does the Prime Minister know whether there is any indication that he himself will be called as a witness by the defence?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:25 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, here is what the New York Times actually said about the middle class in Canada, “Life in Canada, Home of the World’s Most Affluent Middle Class”.

    The article then compares the Liberal era, actually, saying, “After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States”.

    We have the wealthiest middle-class in the world. Its net worth has gone up by approximately 40%, and take-home pay, after taxes, after inflation, is up 10%. The middle class is better off with us.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:30 am | Ontario, Oak Ridges—Markham

    Mr. Speaker, what we know is that the NDP owes the taxpayers over $2.7 million, and it will be the taxpayer who is on the hook if NDP members do not do the right thing and pay up. For instance, the member for Trois-Rivières owes $30,000. The member for Honoré-Mercier owes $29,000. The member for Jeanne-Le Ber owes $31,000. The Leader of the Opposition some $400,000. The Leader of the Opposition with the whip owes some $600,000 to the Canadian taxpayer. They should make it easy and just pay it back.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:30 am | Ontario, Timmins—James Bay

    Mr. Speaker, it is something watching my hon. colleague fumble through his Rolodex of the ridiculous.

    Let us stick on the issue here, because not only are Conservative insiders being subpoenaed, but last week we learned that a number of key Conservative MPs have been called to testify.

    Let me ask a simple, straight-forward question. Who will be on the hook for the legal bills of the Conservative Party insiders and MPs? Will it be the Conservative Party, because this had to do with Conservative malfeasance in fundraising and bribery, or will it be the taxpayer? It is a simple question.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:30 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, we have already acknowledged that there were problems with the program. That is why we made adjustments. We proposed financial penalties and even prison terms for anyone who abuses the temporary foreign worker program.

    We encourage employers to hire Canadians before hiring foreign workers. We have limited the percentage of foreign workers in a given workplace. We will continue to work on fixing the problems.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:35 am | British Columbia, Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam

    Mr. Speaker, of course, we have not stood by. We have put in place programs like the advanced manufacturing fund and the automotive innovation fund that have resulted in job growth in this country since the recession. There have been 1.2 million net new jobs created since the depths of the recession. As a matter of fact, just in the month of January, 10,700 new manufacturing jobs were created in the Canadian economy. It is in large part because our government has kept taxes low and we have kept the Canadian economy competitive. If my hon. colleague from London—Fanshawe would like to know, she should know that 5,000 new jobs were created in her hometown of London, in spite of the fact that she is an MP for London.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:35 am | Ontario, St. Paul's

    Aboriginal women and girls are five times more likely to be murdered in Canada. Unfortunately, the Minister of Status of Women has dismissed this ongoing tragedy by blaming aboriginal men, by highlighting domestic abuse. She has sadly demonstrated her ignorance of the RCMP report, which found that indigenous women were actually less likely to be killed by a spouse or a former spouse than non-indigenous women.

    Will the government finally accept the consensus, get the facts straight and call for a national public inquiry now?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:35 am | Ontario, London—Fanshawe

    Mr. Speaker, while eating breakfast before heading to work, a Timmins father found a note from workers who are now out of work. The note was written on the last box of cereal ever produced at the London Kellogg's plant by three workers who had each put in more than 20 years of work at the factory, the same factory where I worked as a university student. Kellogg's closed last December, putting 550 people out of work.

    Why have the Conservatives stood by while so many good manufacturing jobs continue to disappear? Where is the jobs plan?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:35 am | Ontario, Parkdale—High Park

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have abandoned more than just the manufacturing sector. Never has the job market been so precarious.

    The CIBC employment quality index indicates that job quality is at an all-time low. The Conservatives have managed to perform even worse than the Liberals, if you can believe that. The CIBC believes that the decline is here to stay and could even last for decades.

    When will the government finally take action and make employment for middle-class families a priority?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:35 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, the facts show the opposite. The median net income of Canadian families has increased by 44% from 2005 values, when the Liberals were in power. Disposable income after tax and inflation has risen by 10% across all income levels since 2006, most of all among the poorest families.

    We have achieved this by lowering taxes and implementing the universal child care benefit. The NDP wants to raise taxes and claw back all of those benefits. We will not let them do so.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:40 am | Alberta, Jeanne-Mance-Viger

    Mr. Speaker, of course we continue to express our sorrow to the family of Mr. Langridge for what happened, the tragic incident that occurred. I can confirm that last Friday the Provost Marshal of the Canadian Armed Forces did remove the protected designation for the interim report, so that it can now be made public. With respect to the specific request made by my friend from St. John's, I will look into that matter and get back to him as quickly as possible.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:40 am | Ontario, Markham—Unionville

    Mr. Speaker, this weekend, when he thought he was only speaking to Conservatives, the member for New Brunswick Southwest, and a former communications director to the Prime Minister no less, referred to “whities” and “brown people” to divide Canadians. This is unacceptable. Will the Prime Minister denounce these words in no uncertain terms, and will the Prime Minister also request that the member apologize to Canadians, in this House?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:40 am | Newfoundland, St. John's East

    Mr. Speaker, the sad saga of the death of Corporal Stuart Langridge continues. At least now the family will not have to sue the Department of National Defence in order to get the department's response to the upcoming report of the Military Police Complaints Commission. However, the family members have still never been shown the results of the previous military board of inquiry into their son's death. They have never been briefed on the inquiry. With the family here in Ottawa today, will the new Minister of National Defence give the family members the findings of the internal board of inquiry in the death of their son, Corporal Stuart Langridge?

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:40 am | Ontario, Nepean—Carleton

    Mr. Speaker, the member immediately recognized that the comments were unacceptable. He apologized.

    We speak about the broader job market. The reality is we have a good-news story that there are 1.2 million net new jobs: 85% full-time, 80% in the private sector, two-thirds in high-wage industries. Incomes are up, taxes are down. We are moving in the right direction.

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    Mar 09, 2015 11:45 am | British Columbia, Taschereau

    Mr. Speaker, when the latest case of BSE was discovered, the Minister of Agriculture said he did not think it would interfere with trade, but here we are, a month later, and the list of countries that have banned Canadian beef is growing.

    Last week, China closed its borders. Including South Korea and Taiwan, that makes six important markets that have now banned beef exports.

    With every week that passes, these restrictions cost our farmers and our economy. Why have the Conservatives failed to protect our beef exports, and what are they doing to restore them?

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