- MPconWed 11:10 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the tax-free savings account is another example of our Conservative government fulfilling our promises to keep taxes low. We are proud that 11 million Canadians of all ages and income levels have opened an account, allowing them to safe tax-free, including my 24-year-old daughter. The vast majority of accounts belong to low- and middle-income earners. It is a way for Canadians to save for retirement, for their kids' education, or for a down payment on a house.
The TFSA is helping Canadians, but the opposition wants to take it away. The NDP actually voted against the tax-free savings account, and the Liberal leader wants Canadians to pay more taxes, saying he will implement a carbon tax that will kill jobs and raise the price on everything. Perhaps he does not understand that ordinary Canadians cannot rely on a wealthy trust fund.
The facts are clear. Only our Conservative government can be trusted to keep taxes low.
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 12:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I am thankful to the member for highlighting the poll with respect to physician-assisted death. I agree with the poll because there was only one question. However, there are a lot of questions that come out of this, such as whether the individual would have to choose or whether someone else would choose for them.
Based on your knowledge of the subject area, are there certain questions you would like the public to answer before you make a decision on where this Parliament goes?
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 10:20 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. He was making my point, in a sense, by saying that broad consultation includes people from all the opposition parties and members, including our independent members, on what questions should be asked and what information is needed.
My colleague used one example, and everyone is hanging their hat on it. It was one piece. When we do our consultations on any topic, we use focus groups, we go to experts, we ask our constituents. It is a broad mix. It is a bigger basket. We need a really big basket.
My mother-in-law had cancer of the lung. She went through very serious surgery. She went on a program as a test case with a drug company. Fortunately for our family, she survived and has been cancer free for over a decade. Many of her friends who were in the same program did not. We had called the priest to come to give her last rites at the hospital. We could have made some different decisions, but those decisions were not made.
Every family should have an opportunity to comment on this matter. My mother-in-law should have an opportunity to have input on it.
That is why the consultations need to be broad.
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 10:15 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, now we know why this motion is here: they think this is an election issue. That is what the member just asked me. He asked if this should be in the debate during an election.
In my view, this is not an election issue and should not be an election issue. This is a very personal family issue that needs proper policy discussion. It is not an election issue.
We have not said today on this side that we are not open to broad public consultations. There are questions. For example, is the individual considering the option of assisted death by a doctor the only one to decide? Does a spouse decide, or a father or mother if it is a child? Who decides? Does one doctor do it? Do doctors have the right to refuse? Is there a panel to determine whether the person is of sound mind to make the decision? All these questions need to be addressed.
My view is that every Canadian should have an opportunity for input on what the answers are and what the questions should be. A parliamentary committee is not broad enough to be able to do that job.
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 10:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Kootenay—Columbia, with whom I have the honour of working on the justice committee. It is also an honour to know him as a former RCMP officer. I have a tremendous amount of respect for his thoughts on a number of justice issues, and he does a fantastic job on our committee.
It is also my pleasure and honour to speak today to the Liberal supply day motion. To be frank, I appreciate today's motion. We have had a number of supply day motions recently that have been less about what Parliament should be engaged in, in terms of discussion between parliamentarians. However, this one certainly goes to that point, and I do appreciate it. I also believe that this is a non-partisan issue, and the discussion has been very respectful, as it should be, on this particular tough issue.
I am going to spend most of my time talking about the procedural issues. In my view, this is a motion to deal with procedure on a policy issue. The Liberal motion today puts out a direction for, or a way of tackling, the issue. It recommends that this be done through a special committee. The Liberals have highlighted the membership of the committee, which would be roughly 60% Conservative, 30% NDP, and 10% Liberal. I made the point earlier about how the committee structure now is for a standing committee of 10 members. This would be for 12, which is the old way of doing things. It really does not matter. It is still a percentage. The new way would give the Liberal Party a little more presence on committees, with two fewer opposition members there, but that is what the Liberals have chosen to present today.
Here is why I do not think this is the right approach to this very important issue. I have been here nine years and have sat on a number of committees. I have been the chair of the justice committee for the last couple of years. In my view, the best use of time at committee for members of Parliament is to deal with actual legislation. That is when there are words on paper about the direction of the government or a member, depending on the type of bill. The wording is there, the clauses that we are dealing with are there, and the changes are all there.
Dealing with legislation is a better use of members' time. I have been on a number of committees that do studies, and they are interesting. Sometimes they are useful, and sometimes they are not. This particular item needs a very broad consultation before it goes to committee.
The committee that the Liberals are highlighting in today's motion is would be a special committee that would not deal with an actual piece of legislation. The Liberals are saying, let us study it and have it back by July 31. I assume that out of that study, they are thinking that there would be a piece of legislation that would come after the election. The public still would not know what Parliament's direction would be, based on the study that would be done by July. It would be an overview of the issues and a number of questions might be asked. There may be directions and recommendations coming out of it, but there would be no piece of actual legislation. Of course, there are a number of options that will be available to Parliament, including not doing anything. That is one of the options.
The motion would not really advance the issue to a point where people would think that by July, they will have an answer on where the Government of Canada and Parliament of Canada are going on this particular issue. Based on today's motion, that would absolutely not be the case.
It would have recommendations. No committee study can compel the government to do anything. That is standard, whether it is a standing committee or a special committee. A study cannot compel the government of the day to do anything. Even if, God forbid, after October 19, there is a change in government, the study could not compel that next government to do anything at all.
Today's motion does not do what I think the Liberal Party thinks it would do and wants to present it as doing. It is a reasonable approach, and I am not saying that what the Liberals are doing is wrong. I do not think it is what the public is anticipating based on this particular motion.
The other issue is that when I consider broad consultation, I think of a variety of different groups. At present when we call witnesses to committees, as chair of the committee I try to achieve a balance. We get submissions from all parties. Normally we try to accommodate everyone's witnesses, and that has happened 99% of the time. On some occasions, we cannot accommodate everyone. Then the witness list is based on the size of the committee membership. Approximately 50% of the witnesses then would be from the Conservatives; approximately 40% from the NDP, the official opposition; and approximately 10% or so from the Liberal Party.
The record of the justice committee shows that the number of witnesses from the Conservatives is much less, maybe 45%, and that witnesses from other parties fill in that space. We deal very little there with legislation that is a matter of life or death. If we do something right, it is great. If we do something wrong, normally we can change it, or the next government changes the policy or legislation to improve it or to make changes.
The hardest vote for me thus far has been when we commit the men and women of our armed services to foreign conflicts, whether in Afghanistan or to what is going on in the Middle East right now, because we know there is the potential for a Canadian to die. In this case that is what it is all about, someone having the option to proceed in that manner.
The consultation with Canadians needs to be broader than the witnesses we pick to come to committee. There is a whole basket of opportunities. We should all be able to contribute those we consider to be experts. There are experts in this area who have different opinions in their particular fields, but there needs to be a broader way of consulting the public.
To my view, and I might be a bit biased, I think this issue should go to the justice committee and, based on the broad consultation at committee, the government should bring forward a piece of legislation. The justice committee, in its current form, has been working very well on a number of very difficult files, including the prostitution bill. The prostitution bill only really affected a small portion of the population, but this affects everyone, so we need a broader approach.
I am not supporting the motion today, because the process gives a false image that we will have legislation by July. The leader of the third party, the mover of the motion today, indicated that this does not create legislation. He said that directly to the House, that it is a study, a consultation. I do not disagree with him that we need broad consultation. I am not sure that the committee structure in the House of Commons is the appropriate structure to use to get that consultation, to develop legislation that should go to the standing committee process and result in witnesses being called to talk about actual legislation that will be developed.
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 10:00 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have been listening all morning to the comments on this topic, and all of us are treating this issue with the dignity it deserves.
My question is a procedural one, and the member is relatively new here, so I will bear that in mind. The leader of the Liberal Party who put the motion forward said today that this is not about legislation, but rather about studying the issues surrounding doctor-assisted death.
The report by the committee is deemed to be reported back to the House by the end of July, but an election is to be held on October 19, so the House will not sit until that is over. The message I am hearing is that we would have this resolved before the election, but in fact we are not debating legislation. This is not about legislation; it is about studying the issue.
How can a decision be made on the motion by the House prior to the election?
- MPconFeb 24, 2015 7:35 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is a valuable member of the justice committee, which I chair, and always has input.
I have just two questions for my colleague.
Today's motion from the Liberal Party is a procedural motion. It is about procedures moving forward. The leader indicated that it is not about reviewing legislation. It is more about setting up a committee to do a procedural thing.
The leader of the Liberal Party talked about expert witnesses. Does the member who just spoke have a definition of what experts are? This deals with all Canadians. How are they expecting to define who is an expert on this and who is not?
The standing committees now have 10 members. On a percentage basis, the Liberals have one seat. Committees have moved from what used to be the standing committee size of 12, which means that there was even less presence for the Liberal Party, in a sense, than they have now. Why did they choose 12 members over 10, which is the normal process for a standing committee of the House of Commons?
- MPconFeb 19, 2015 7:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, to enact the High Risk Child Sex Offender Database Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
- MPconFeb 17, 2015 10:50 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to Bill S-7. I have listened to the speeches all morning. I have been on duty here and have been able to take in the speeches from all sides.
In particular, as a father of two daughters, it is important for me to express my feelings on Bill S-7 and what it means to me as a father. My two girls do not listen to their father that much to start with, so I cannot imagine me forcing them into doing anything. However, it boggles my mind that there are cultural beliefs from a variety of different organizations.
I received a tweet a few minutes ago from someone who asked me which cultural group the Government of Canada was targeting with Bill S-7. The Liberal Party agrees to have the bill go to committee, which is excellent. The official opposition says that it disagrees with some of the wording. It does not like the word “cultural”. I think what is happening is the message is getting out that the bill is targeting different cultures. That is absolutely inaccurate. I read the definition of “cultural”. It is about a set of beliefs and values. People can look it up in Webster's Dictionary.
However, this is about barbaric cultural practices. It does not say it is X culture that does this. It could be any group or organization. The laws of our land have opposed polygamy since the 1800s. When the government of the day made the decision that polygamy was the wrong, it did not target a specific culture. The opposition has tried to portray cultures through the bill, which are not mentioned anywhere in the legislation. There is no specific culture identified. Those cultures the opposition have tried to to identify did not exist in Canada, unless we consider Scottish culture or English culture as groups.
It is a cultural practice, a belief system, that an individual or organization has. Wherever the origin, if families have grown up believing that their fathers have the absolute right to force their daughters to marry someone against their will at the age of 15, regardless of where they are from, that is not tolerable in Canada. This legislation would put an end to that barbaric activity.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration indicated that the official opposition members should take this back to their leadership and ensure they understood what they opposed. They do not like the title of the bill because of the use of the word “cultural”. It does not say X cultural activity. They really should reconsider their position on this.
Of course everyone cannot withstand “barbaric” activity. Some people in the House may think that word a bit strong, but that is exactly what it is. Why would we not call it what it is? Who in the House, who in the country, believes in violence against their sons or daughters because they disagree with them on who, when and at what age they should marry? How is that not barbaric? The legislation would deal with that.
I have heard some other comments that we are ending people's ability to have an arranged marriage. That is not the case. Arranged marriages, the ones I am familiar with, have two consulting individuals, two people who decide. An arranged marriage would not work in my family, but it may work in others, and that is fair. The man and the women, based on an arrangement made by their parents, consent to the marriage. They say it is a relationship, a marriage, they would both like to enter into. There is nothing wrong with an arranged marriage of two consenting adults.
The difference between an arranged and a forced marriage is that in the latter, one of those individuals, either the male or the female, does not agree, has had no say in it, and is not consenting to the marriage. That is what the bill is aiming at addressing.
There is a discussion about how many people this would affect and whether or not we have good statistics. In my personal view, if we have legislation that protects one young woman, one victim, from this happening to her, we have done our job as parliamentarians to pass laws protecting individuals. We cannot decide whether or not this is a barbaric activity based on whether or not it only affects one person that we know of. It is barbaric in itself as an action, and not barbaric based on its numbers.
We on this side understand that the Liberal Party will be supporting the bill at second reading. There may be some amendments. The Liberals are supporting the concept that there cannot be one more victim.
I was at an event this past weekend in my riding. I think it was called “one billion awareness”. An organization was bringing awareness across the globe to the fact that one billion women in this world have faced some sort of aggression from a male, whether physical or not. In this country, we need to take every opportunity to make sure that barbaric activity, that aggression against women, comes to an end here and around the world.
Unfortunately, we cannot make it happen in other countries, but we do have a responsibility. I have a responsibility to my children, to my daughters. I have a responsibility to my wife to make sure that we take every opportunity we have to protect women and young boys in this case, young men and young women, from barbaric activities not of their choice but a result of a cultural norm some of their family members believe in. We need to be able to protect them from that. We cannot and should not tolerate that here in Canada.
This piece of legislation, in my view, should be supported by all parties. We should be able to deal with this at second reading, quickly get it to committee, quickly get it back to the House and pass it. We should have done it long ago. It is long overdue, and I appreciate the support of all members of Parliament for Bill S-7.
- MPconFeb 17, 2015 10:15 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague's speech, and I have two questions.
First, the indication from the speaker opposite is that they are not supporting the bill because they do not like the words “cultural” and “barbaric” together. I looked up the definition of culture. Merriam-Webster's definition of culture is:
the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.
a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)
Where in the bill does the NDP find a specific cultural group identified? It is about barbaric activity that individuals believe is the right thing to do to their wives, children, and other women. We do not agree with it. It is not the Canadian way.
Where in the bill does it mention any particular cultural group?
- MPconFeb 03, 2015 2:35 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I think you will find, if you ask for it, unanimous consent to see the clock at 5:52 p.m. to allow for the bells to ring for us to begin the vote tonight.
- MPconFeb 03, 2015 7:35 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-587, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (increasing parole ineligibility). The committee has studied the bill and, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1, request a 30-day extension to consider it.
In addition, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation of Bill C-590, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (blood alcohol content). The committee has studied the bill and, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1, requests a 30-day extension to be considered.
- MPconJan 27, 2015 2:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I believe if you were to seek it, you would find the unanimous consent of the House to see the clock as 5:30 p.m.
- MPconJan 27, 2015 2:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and happy New Year.
First, it is my honour, as always, as it is an honour for every member of Parliament, to speak in the House of Commons. I am looking forward to our discussions over the next number of months here in the House as we lead into an election. What I am very excited about is that the motion today, particularly part (b), states:
prepare a budget that addresses the economic challenges facing the middle class by creating more good-quality full-time jobs, and by encouraging economic diversification.
That is exactly what our finance minister will be doing. That tells me, based on its opposition motion, that the opposition will be supporting our budget when we present it. That will be the first time in the nine years I have been here that the opposition has supported our budget.
Of course, we need to take our time to ensure that things are accurate. We heard the Liberal Party's last speaker on this particular topic say to just give them numbers, whether they are accurate or not, and then be patient.
My response to the opposition, the third party, is that it also needs to be patient. Our finance minister is putting together a budget that will be accurate, reflecting the issues and the events that are happening today, and those numbers will be ones Canadians can trust and have faith in and that this Parliament and this House can have faith in. It will happen in a few short weeks. In fact, what would be interesting for my colleagues from across the way to learn is that legislation actually does not require a budget to be presented at any time. In fact, a former finance minister, Minister Flaherty, presented the earliest budget in Canadian history a number of years ago in this House.
There is plenty of time for us to bring the budget forward. We will have accurate numbers. We will be moving this economy forward. We will continue to create jobs and create opportunities for Canadians. That is why they should have patience on the other side.
- MPconJan 27, 2015 9:55 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I am not familiar with the riding the member represents, so I looked up the city website on the Internet. I noticed that in 2012 the average house price in New Westminster was $645,400. It is a little surprising that riding has an NDP member.
I have a question for the NDP member. I have heard the comments of the NDP members about our promise of income splitting for families. I am assuming that also applies to pension splitting.
Are the NDP members telling Canadians that not only would they not follow through on the income splitting for families, but that they would take away pension splitting for seniors, which we put in place a number of years ago, as well?
- MPconDec 10, 2014 1:05 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill S-2, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act and to make consequential amendments to the Statutory Instruments Regulations. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back without amendment.
This is the fourth bill this committee has reported back in the last three weeks. I thank it for its hard work.
- MPconDec 09, 2014 11:10 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, our government is fulfilling its promise to balance the federal budget, and we are now in a position to fulfill our promise to help Canadian families balance theirs.
A single parent making $50,000 a year, with two kids, will see almost a $1,000 in relief and benefits. Families earning less than $30,000 a year will see an average benefit of $1,200 a year. Under our government's plan, all families with children benefit. A vast majority of these benefits will flow to low and middle income families.
Since coming to office, we have introduced the enhanced universal child care benefit, the children's arts tax credit, and now the family tax cut. Our government lowers Canadians' taxes, we balance budgets, we put money back in the pockets of hard-working Canadians, and we will continue to stand up for Canadians day in and day out.
- MPconDec 03, 2014 12:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-32, An Act to enact the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and to amend certain Acts.
The committee has studied the bill and has decided, unanimously, to report the bill back to this House with amendments.
Mr. Speaker, I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill S-221, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (assaults against public transit operators).
The committee has studied the bill and has decided, unanimously, to report the bill back to this House without amendments.
I hope the House leaders move quickly on both these items.
- MPconDec 02, 2014 3:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, our government has been building an outstanding safety record with world-class, world-leading liability regimes and preparedness for a response to all modes of transportation of energy in this country.
From my reading of this bill, which the member is presenting, it would prohibit oil tankers on the Dixon Entrance, the Hecate Strait, and the Queen Charlotte Sound. It is very specific in a geographical way.
Is the member opposed to all tanker traffic in Canada?
- MPconDec 02, 2014 10:35 am | Ontario, Burlington
If he were new, Mr. Speaker, I could understand.
There is a tremendous amount of input. I know that the finance committee has been meeting three times a week with full panels of people coming and giving suggestions on what was happening. I know in my own riding I have had a pre-budget program. I had the chamber invite about 20 people who came out and gave us ideas on what they wanted to do.
I have never been on the opposition benches, but I am assuming the opposition members send to the Minister of Finance on the government side their suggestions for what they would like to see in the budget. There is plenty of opportunity for discussion on what should be in the budget and then there is plenty of debate on it.
Even in this case where we split the bill and send it to different committees, I am not asking, or even expecting, people to agree on what is in the budget, but they have an opportunity to question it. What is really important is that they have an opportunity to tell us what their alternative is, not just to be in opposition but to say what their alternatives would be. However, we rarely—
- MPconDec 02, 2014 10:30 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, if the government accepts the recommendation that it needs financial support, it could go through. However, the general rule is that a private member's bill cannot raise taxes. I did not know that at the time and learned a really good lesson as a parliamentarian. It helped to ensure that I understood the rules of the House of Commons, committees, and how everything works around here. Over the last nine years, I have done my best to try to learn the rules, which has certainly helped me as a chair of a committee in understanding how this place operates.
That being said, I did a lot of research on the project. A number of years later, the whip on the government side took up the cause for Lindsey's Law, the law to provide a missing persons database for the country. I am very happy to see that was included in this year's budget. It is important for families and individuals to get closure if someone in their families is missing. It will cost a bit of money and that is why a missing persons data bank is actually in the budget. It is in an implementation bill because putting it in place will require some funding, but it is important for us to do so
I congratulate those who followed the lead. I will give full credit to Gary Lunn, who got this project started in the House; the others who I know had private members' bills in a similar vein; and the government whip for making sure that it was included in the budget. This is what an implementation bill is about. It is about taking what was highlighted as a direction for this government, whether it is creating jobs, helping families or, in this case, helping families who have been suffering, putting it in writing, and making it happen.
I am happy to be here. The government of the day is responsible for doing things, not criticizing. I am so proud of our government. We hear that this is an omnibus bill. Yes, it is 400 some-odd pages long in French and English, but it is a couple of hundred pages of action, of actually doing things for Canadians. At election time, people will judge us on what we did for Canadians and they will have confidence that the Conservative government will continue to do things for Canadians.
- MPconDec 02, 2014 10:25 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the third party likes to yell about going to an election. Its members hold their collective breath every time their leader is at a microphone, because they have no idea what will be said. If they want to go to an election right now, holding their breath for 60 days, because that is how long it would take, they can hold their breath.
- MPconNov 24, 2014 12:05 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to the study on proposals for a miscellaneous statute law amendment act, 2014.
- MPconNov 18, 2014 11:10 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, as my colleague said a few moments ago, we want parents to keep their hard-earned incomes, not the government.
Under our family tax cut, every parent with children will be better off. The average benefit is over $1,100 and every parent will now receive nearly $2,000 per child from the enhanced universal child care benefit. However, the Liberal leader would reverse that tax relief and even said that Canadians could be convinced by him to accept a tax hike. Perhaps the Liberal leader should explain why he thinks he is better qualified to spend the money of parents than them.
Our Conservative government is proud to be putting money back into the pockets of Canadian families, where it belongs.
- MPconNov 17, 2014 12:55 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for this particular concurrence motion. I also want to thank the finance committee that is looking at this issue.
In my own household, I have two young women: one has just graduated and one is in her final year. The experience in my household and in my daughter's peer group is that some are having difficulty finding work but others are not. It depends on which field they have chosen, where they are looking, whether they are willing to be mobile, and so on. It is an issue that I am quite familiar with, based on the challenges of my own family and daughter's peer group.
Fortunately for us, my daughter seems to be on the lucky side and was able to find employment in her field. She is a graduate from the University of Ottawa.
In my newsletter that goes out three times a year, I have a column on industries that need people. I do not expect youth to be reading my newsletter; I am gearing it to the parents of young people who will be able to better inform their young people of where the opportunities might be.
Does the member have any comment about the role of parents in the future of the young people and whether they choose a university or skills trade path?
- MPconNov 05, 2014 2:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I will not be supporting the motion to have parliamentary oversight.
I have been on the Hill for eight years. One of our key functions as members of Parliament is financial oversight. Today our supplementary estimates (B) and performance reports were tabled. In having parliamentary oversight, there is a lot of room for improvement on the financial side.
If the member thinks there needs to be oversight, then we should change, improve or enhance the abilities of those organizations that already exist to provide oversight. Adding another layer, particularly a set of parliamentarians, will not enhance or improve the oversight of the spy agency or the other agencies or bodies that already exist and have that responsibility. Improve their responsibility, but do not add another layer of bureaucracy, particularly one that has a political element to it.
- MPconNov 05, 2014 2:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, that is a reasonable question, but I do not think that Bill C-44 would change that balance.
Canadians, including those from Burlington, believe that we do have a role and responsibility as a government to protect our citizens, particularly in a world where, unfortunately, terrorism is not a far-off threat. It is something that can happen here on this soil, in homes, communities and places of work.
We have organizations, such as the RCMP, police forces and CSIS, which are our agencies to help with protection. In a careful review of what Bill C-44 would do in terms of protecting Canadians, it would actually enhance the ability for Canadians to enjoy the freedoms they have in their homes, in their communities, in their province and in their country.
- MPconNov 05, 2014 2:05 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Centre.
It is my honour this afternoon to speak to Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act. As the House knows, this measure was introduced before the events on the Hill on October 22.
Before I start my speech, I want to say one thing. First, I am glad to be anywhere to give a speech after the events on October 22, but what surprised me was the outpouring of concern and affection for my family back home, not just for me but to find out how my wife and kids were doing that day. There were hundreds of calls and contacts and emails to my wife and family. I appreciate the outpouring of concern for my family and myself on that day from the people of my riding. It was very heartwarming. I sent a letter off to the local newspaper thanking people for their concern.
It is my privilege, as I said, to rise today to voice my opinion in this debate on the protection of Canada from terrorists act. As we have seen over the last number of weeks, acts of terror are not limited to troubled areas of the world, such as Syria, Iran, and Iraq. They are carried out by individuals and groups in cities and regions around the world. All of these actions are done for a variety of motives and by different means, but they all have a common goal, which is to strike terror and fear into the hearts of governments and citizens and all of the people they affect.
We will not be intimidated by those cowardly acts. In late October, terrorism hit Canada twice in the span of only a few days. In our typical Canadian fashion, we picked ourselves up, got back to work in the House, came together to grieve for our fallen heroes, and carried on.
The one thing I will never forget is the opportunity I had to attend Corporal Cirillo's funeral in Hamilton. My riding of Burlington is a neighbouring riding to Hamilton, where Corporal Cirillo and his family are from, and many of his colleagues in his regiment live and work in my riding. It was a great honour to be at the funeral to pay my respects on behalf of my community and of the House.
We will continue to strive to protect individuals' rights and stand up for the rule of law, because that is who we are. However, it is clear that our national security agencies need new tools, particularly in the areas of surveillance, detention, and arrest. We will not overreact to threats against us, as some have suggested, but it is high time that we stop under-reacting. We need to be more proactive and start taking terrorist threats seriously, because nothing is more important than keeping Canadians safe from harm and fear, whether in the streets of their communities or when they are travelling or living abroad.
No government can guarantee that it will be able to stop every terrorist act from occurring, but we can make every effort to prevent, detect, deny, and respond to terrorist threats. At its most basic, this means reaching out to communities and religious leaders who will help law enforcement identify individuals who are threats to our collective peace and security.
There are a number of initiatives and programs in place to help governments and law enforcement build those relationships, and we have seen that trust and collaboration flourish over the past few years. This type of interaction is invaluable in terms of helping to uncover potential threats.
We often hear the terms “lone wolf” and “radicalized individuals” used to describe people who may become radicalized to violence without law enforcement having any signals or warnings. While these individuals may be hidden from view, they are often inspired by terrorist entities that are strong in number and loud in their calls for death. Terrorist groups often are happy to let the world know who they are, what they believe in, and what their plans are. Through the Internet in particular, groups like ISIL and al Qaeda broadcast their message of hate and terror, calling on new recruits and followers to carry out their acts of violence against innocent civilians.
Members of the House know the influence the Internet can have on individuals and organizations. We do not need to talk about terrorism to see the effect it has. We all get emails that are inaccurate and tell the wrong story about all kinds of issues. They all end up on our desks, and we all have to respond about inaccuracies and so on. It is this kind of access to information—even erroneous, poorly informed information—that causes individuals who are not being radicalized to make inaccurate statements, believing what they are reading on the Internet. Unfortunately, for individuals who are lost in terms of their place in this world, the Internet is a source of radicalization. Terrorist organizations are able to do this through countless online outlets that are easily accessible and available throughout the globe. We need to be very diligent in that area.
However, these large groups need more than cheap communications, which the Internet provides. They need money, weapons, explosives, people, and other types of resources to carry out their work. That is why our government is taking decisive action, through legal means, to stop terrorist groups.
One way is to cut off their source of funds and resources. We know that global terrorist groups actively seek funds and resources internationally. Under Canada's Anti-terrorism Act, our government can list an entity under the Criminal Code if it has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in, or facilitated a terrorist activity, or if it is knowingly acting on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with any entity involved in a terrorist activity.
The listing process requires analysis of intelligence and criminal information. These reports are submitted to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for consideration. If the minister has reasonable grounds to believe that the entity's activities fall within the parameters I just mentioned, the minister can place that organization on the list of terrorist entities. Once on the list, the entity is effectively denied its source of critical funding from Canadian sources. Its assets are frozen and subject to seizure, restraint, or forfeiture.
As a further measure, the listing makes it a criminal offence for any Canadian, at home or abroad, to knowingly participate, directly or indirectly, in the activities of a listed entity for the purpose of enhancing its ability to carry out a terrorist activity.
Which entities are on the list? They include aI Qaeda, which serves as the strategic hub and driver for the global Islamist terrorist movement; al Shabaab, a group that is waging a campaign of violence and terror in Somalia; and, of course, ISIL. As we know, this barbaric group has carried out prominent attacks involving suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, improvised explosive devices, armed attacks, hostage takings, and beheadings.
This is just one way we are able to use legal means to address threats to our safety and security.
As I have heard from all the parties, it appears that the bill is going to go to committee, which I think is appropriate. There we can discuss the issues further and gain a better understanding of them.
I hope all parties can accept the legislation put before us today. It is balanced, reasonable, and effective. It would create new and important tools to allow CSIS to continue to operate successfully. It is the first step in keeping Canadians safe.
- MPconNov 04, 2014 11:00 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to announce that it is that time of year again. It is time for the ninth annual Gift of Giving Back community food drive, which is being held on November 5 and 6 in Burlington, at Nelson High School.
Last year, the Burlington hockey families, including the Burlington City Rep Eagles, the Burlington junior A hockey club, and the Burlington Barracuda's Girls Hockey Club, really got into the giving spirit with great compassion by collecting and donating an astonishing 207,000 pounds of non-perishable goods during their food drive in mid-November.
This year, the beneficiaries include Burlington flood relief, Carpenter Hospice, Halton Women's Place, Partnership West and, of course, the Salvation Army. I encourage all residents to give to this food drive. I know Burlingtonians have huge hearts. I strongly believe in their generosity, which, in turn, strengthens our entire community. It is no surprise that Burlington has been declared one of the best places to live in Canada.
Good luck to all involved with the annual Gift of Giving Back community food drive.
- MPconOct 29, 2014 2:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, on that point, this budget bill is 400 and some-odd pages, half in French, half in English.
The previous questioner has written a few books. They are likely over 200 pages. That member likely expects people to read her books, so I am expecting members of Parliament to read 200 pages.
The change to the child tax credit for physical fitness is becoming refundable. Since November is financial literacy month, there are only three other refundable tax credits. Refundable means that if individuals are not paying taxes, they still get their money back for that.
Why is that important to poor families who have kids in physical fitness programs in this country?
- MPconOct 08, 2014 11:15 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, Canadians from coast to coast have much to be thankful for: a strong Canadian economy; a government committed to lowering taxes; increasing trade with our global partners; and much more. Last but not least, is the fact that the NHL is back.
After a long summer of watching our professional baseball team tease Canadian sports fans with hopes of making the playoffs, the Canadian Football League playoffs are just around the corner.
As Canadian hockey fans, we are ready to eat, sleep and breathe hockey, as we embark on the emotional roller coaster of following our favourite teams through every puck drop, penalty shot, goal scored, overtime and shootouts.
For all those who are supporting our Canadian teams, the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, here is hoping our teams have a great season.
- MPconOct 07, 2014 11:10 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, Canadians from coast to coast are being invited to celebrate and share their Pan Am spirit by taking part in the Toronto 2015 Pan Am torch relay.
This national event will be fuelled by hometown pride, with stops planned in five Canadian cities that have previously hosted major games. They include Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Halifax, and Vancouver as well as 130 communities across Ontario, including my hometown of Burlington. Three thousand torch bearers will proudly carry the flame and share the Pan Am spirit of the games during the 41-day journey toward lighting the caldron at our opening ceremony in Toronto.
I know this event will be an opportunity to showcase our diverse culture, accomplishments, vast geography, and proud history. Our government is proud to support the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games torch relay, and we encourage all Canadians to take part in this celebration.
I encourage those wishing to become torch bearers to check out the toronto2015.org website for all the details. Mr. Speaker, I have registered to be a torch bearer, and I hope you have too.
- MPconOct 01, 2014 2:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I will start with the second question first. If there are witnesses that any of the parties wanted to see but did not invite, it is their fault that they did not hear from them. If the Conservative Party did not desire to hear from telephone companies and did not put them on the list, they would not be invited. I do not recall any telephone companies being on the list to be invited. My recommendation to the committee is that if there are people or organizations that members want to see, get them on the list. If they are a priority, make them a priority. As a group, we will decide how many meetings to have, and it is usually based on how many witnesses we have. If there are only a few witnesses, there are fewer meetings.
With regard to Carol Todd, she did not want privacy rights trampled on, and I do not believe the bill tramples on any privacy rights.
- MPconOct 01, 2014 2:35 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague across the way. She does an excellent job on behalf of her party at committee.
It would not be wise for this committee or any committee to wait until the Supreme Court decides on the issue. I am not a lawyer, but if we look at the decision that was brought down, it defined activities of the police, but it did not change what was in the bill.
The wheels of justice move relatively slowly in this country. Getting legislation through the House moves slowly. Cyberbullying is one of those areas that is not moving slowly. It is progressing every single day. We needed to act, and we acted appropriately.
If in the future, after this is reviewed, if changes to legislation need to be made based on rulings from the Supreme Court, that can happen, but we should not have to wait until the Supreme Court has decided on everything. As elected officials, we decide here in the House.
- MPconOct 01, 2014 2:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak to Bill C-13.
I will put my speech aside, because I want to respond to the accusations just made by the member opposite. I am actually the chair of the justice committee, and as chair, part of my responsibility is to make sure that everyone gets a fair opportunity to be heard. I think members of the committee work very well together, to be perfectly honest.
The way it has worked and will continue to work at committee is that each party is able to submit the names of witnesses they would like to hear from. Based on the numbers we get, we ask members to prioritize who they would like to hear from, because time may run out.
If I recall correctly, there was no set time for this particular bill. If the committee did not hear from certain segments, it was because those witnesses were not recommended or brought forward. The committee did not call those witnesses not because the government was trying to do something inappropriate but because the witnesses were not asked for. The government cannot be blamed for not calling witnesses who were not asked for.
Conservatives had an opportunity to ask for witnesses. New Democrats asked for witnesses and the Liberals asked for witnesses. I take some offence that the member said this was not done appropriately. It was absolutely done appropriately. It was done in this committee in dealing with Bill C-13 and is done for all other legislation that comes to the committee.
I think the committee is operating well, and everyone has an opportunity to have their say. If parties, including my own, want to hear from witnesses, they can put them on the list. There will be a discussion as to how many meetings there will be on it, and then we will hear from those witnesses. That is how it has worked and will continue to work as long as I am in the chair. We will see if that continues.
I also want to respond to the issue of splitting this omnibus bill. I have the bill in front of me. It is in French and English, as all bills are. It is 53 pages long, plus 12 pages of explanatory notes. It is not a very big bill. If members can read it in both languages, that is great, but let us assume that most read in one language or the other. That would make it about 25 or 26 pages long. It did not need to be split, in my view. I think there is lots of opportunity to talk about all the issues. It is not a very difficult bill to grasp. I think someone could read it in a few hours.
There are a number of issues in the bill, but the process at committee did not limit members to talking about just certain parts of the bill. Members could have brought forward witnesses and we could have had a discussion, which we did, on all parts of that bill. I have to take some offence on the issue of what happened.
As we know, as the minister and the previous speaker on this side have pointed out, the bill would do a number of things, but in general, it would create a new offence for the distribution of non-consensual pictures on the Internet.
I did not know how big a problem it was, to be perfectly honest. I had not really experienced it in my office or had anyone come to see me. I took the opportunity to ask my daughters, who just graduated and are in university now. They were able to illustrate to me a number of actual cases, in their own high school, of young women who had had photos taken of them that were then posted on different people's sites as revenge or cyberbullying. This was a surprise to me.
That does not make the news. What makes the news is when it goes too far and the bullying is so egregious that someone, unfortunately, takes his or her life. Then it makes big news. This is a problem that is happening every day in every community across this country, so we needed to act.
There was mention of the previous legislation that was brought forward in Bill C-30, and appropriately so. The government recognized that there were some issues that needed to be dealt with, so we brought it back, took it off the table, and redid the bill.
We made changes based on the public and the response in this House in terms of the changes that needed to be made. I believe that those were made. Do we get credit as a government for making those changes? No, and the previous speaker criticized us, saying that we did not do it right in the first place.
I am sure that opposition members believe that they are perfect, and maybe even some of us think we are perfect on this side, but let us be honest. We had a bill in front of us, we recognized that there were some issues, we took it back, and we made changes and improvements. We addressed those problems and brought something back that we could all pass.
I am not sure what the NDP are doing. I heard from the last speaker that the Liberals are supporting the bill going forward, and I appreciate that.
I do not think as a government that we should be criticized for hearing the concerns and then making changes. I will agree that there were a number of amendments put forward, 30-some amendments, and one, on a review period, did pass, which I personally supported. I do not vote on the committee as the chair, but I do support that.
As we all know, it takes some time for legislation, especially with the Criminal Code, to get through the system, get in place, and get tested in practice. I think it will take some time before this piece of legislation is tested, and that length of time for the review is appropriate.
The other issue we heard a lot about was that the bill would give the police a lot more power than they already have. I think the issue on Bill C-30 was that it looked like the police could do things without a warrant. Well, this bill would clearly resolve that issue, in my view.
Bill C-13 clearly indicates that for preservation orders and for the police to be able to do their jobs in terms of attacking the problem of cyberbullying in particular cases, they need judicial support to move forward.
I think it is important to give the police those tools. In this electronic environment of the Internet, things move so fast, on or off, we need to be able to do that.
We experience that around here all the time. If a member of Parliament makes a mistake or does something on the Internet, and somebody catches it, a few hours later, if not less, it is gone. We have all experienced that in this House with members of Parliament doing things on electronic systems.
When it is a criminal activity, we need to have the police able to go after it quickly. We need to give them those tools to make that happen. I am very supportive of the opportunity for the police to be able to do their work.
We have been asked as a government to do something about the cyberbullying problem. This is not an easy area to legislate. We cannot legislate cyberbullying to stop. It is not that easy. I appreciate that we have looked at opportunities and issues in terms of addressing cyberbullying through our legal system, which is what this bill would do.
Bill C-13 would give the police better tools to track and trace telecommunications. It would streamline the process of obtaining multiple warrants so that the police could execute their jobs.
The witnesses we saw whose families were affected by cyberbullying were fully supportive of what we were doing. I want every member of this House to think about that. If it was their son or daughter whose photo was online and who was being bullied, would they want the police to be able to act to resolve the issue and have a penalty for cyberbullying? I believe the answer is yes, and it is yes for the vast majority of Canadians. That is why we need to support Bill C-13.
- MPconSep 30, 2014 12:45 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, absolutely, it does not take an M.B.A. to know that being there first in the marketplace, companies are going to be better off. They can get established with customers, and establish their products. They will be able to develop business relationships. That is what CETA will do for us. In my community, the vast majority of employers are at the 50- to 100-person level. I have done numerous plant tours and discussions. Almost all of them sell to Europe. This will help them to be more competitive and able to grow hopefully bigger than 100 employees.
- MPconSep 30, 2014 12:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is clear through this agreement, and others that we will be signing, about our relationship with the provinces. It is a mistake to consider that the federal government has a parental role with the provinces. They are well-established, independent governments and duly elected. This agreement and other agreements we have treat provinces as partners. As the agreement says in the section mentioned, we would work with our partners at the provincial level for them to enact the environmental protections that the member brought forward.
- MPconSep 30, 2014 12:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak this afternoon to the trade agreement that we have been able to establish with our friends from South Korea.
First of all, let me give my congratulations to the Minister of International Trade for making this happen. The minister has been very busy on the international trade files and meeting with a number of countries, including Korea and our recent announcement of CETA. He is working very hard on other issues in the Asian market, such as a bilateral agreement with Japan. There is also the TPP, the trans-Pacific partnership, which is a larger trade pact where countries from Asia and in the Pacific are working very hard to put together an appropriate free trade zone so that countries like Canada can take advantage of those large markets for our goods and services. Right now, due to trade barriers, we have an issue accessing them.
We have to remember that Canada only has about 33 million people. The trade partners that we are after are much larger than Canada. Their markets are much larger than Canada's. It only makes sense that Canada would be a trading country. It started as a trading country, and it should continue that.
I would like to congratulate, under the leadership of our Prime Minister, our foreign affairs advocates, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of International Trade, who all work together to try to promote opportunities for Canadian business in other areas of the world. We simply cannot survive on the Canadian market alone.
I have two stories that I would like to share. I am from Burlington, which is an urban riding. There is no one large employer. The largest employer in Burlington is a pork production facility. That is right. It is food processing. There are hogs that come in every day by the truckload and they are processed there. Its number one client in the past was South Korea, until South Korea signed a deal with the United States.
The deal had a significant impact on the ability of our Canadian companies, such as this one. It is owned by Canadians who own a number of food processing facilities across the country. They are the largest employer in Burlington, with about 800 or 600 people who work there now.
As a member of Parliament, the owners called me in. This was a number of years ago. They said that they were losing market share to their competitors because Canada was not at the table with a trade agreement with South Korea. This was not a secondary customer or a tertiary customer. South Korea was one of their primary customers. Some 90% of the product leaving this plant was for export, either to the United States or to Korea. The Korean deal with the United States had a major impact, not only on their bottom line but on our ability to maintain good-quality, high-paying jobs in Burlington.
With that information, I came back here and there was a discussion. I did what all of us on this side of the House would do. We are all free traders here on this side of the House. Being a Conservative means that we support free trade, and we make no apologies for that. We do not make excuses for that. We believe that free trade will create opportunities and employment for Canadians here at home for their products and services abroad, so I was very happy to find out that we were working hard on a South Korean deal and that things were progressing.
The largest employer within the boundaries of Burlington is this food production facility for pork production. However, in the riding next to me in Oakville is the head office for Ford Canada. I had a number of meetings with Ford Canada, which is an automotive producer with an excellent production facility here in Canada. The workers, bar none, are the best automotive workers available to Ford in North America.
Ford had some concerns about the South Korean deal. There was a tariff on the import of Korean vehicles of 6.1% or 6.2%. Ford was concerned that would give Korea somewhat of a market advantage. I was very clear with our friends at Ford, including the president for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect. I told the company that a Conservative government will continue to work on free trade agreements with key partners around the world because it is good for the overall economic business of this country. In my view, it is also good for Ford.
The automotive sector south of the border signed on to the deal. Things are a bit different south of the border. The tariff in the United States on Korean-made cars was slightly over 2%, which on a $30,000 car is not as significant as 6%. Ford felt the protective tariff that was there was not nearly as severe. However, tariffs on automobiles going into South Korea were around 8%. This deal will provide us with the opportunity to reduce tariffs on both sides. I have heard many times from previous questioners that there are non-tariff barriers to getting into those markets.
I have never been to South Korea but I have been to Japan numerous times. Based on the products that I have seen in Japan, we need to make vehicles that are designed for that marketplace to be successful and have access to that marketplace. North American manufacturers are getting there. They might be there already. It would be fair to say that before the recession, trucks and SUVs were not that popular in some Asian markets, including what I know of Japan.
That is why I wanted to talk about this today. We need to understand that our free trade agreement with South Korea is comprehensive. It will affect all marketplaces across this country. It will even affect small Burlington. It will have a huge impact on employment and our ability to trade.
Burlington has a close relationship with South Korea. A number of Canadians who fought for the freedom of South Korea live in Burlington. This past summer we unveiled a new naval monument on the lakefront to commemorate the activity of Canadian soldiers in the Korean War, particularly those in the navy. The HMCS Haida, which participated in that conflict, is in Hamilton. A lot of my constituents in Burlington served bravely for Canada in that conflict.
I am happy that we have been able to develop not only a diplomatic relationship with South Korea but a much closer economic relationship. I look forward to this trade agreement coming into force in the new year. It will benefit all communities across this country.
- MPconSep 29, 2014 9:30 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I want to follow-up.
As chair of a committee, we have orders of the day. We know exactly what is going to be discussed. In the House of Commons, we have orders of the day. It is in writing, what is going to be discussed.
It makes sense that the Speaker, or the chair, is able to rule someone out of order if they are not relevant to what is listed. Is the member advocating, based on that logic, that all questions to the cabinet and the Prime Minister would be in writing, 24 hours in advance, so that answers can be prepared?
People need to know that there is about 30 seconds to ask a question and about 35 seconds to respond. I think this place would operate better if everything was in writing. Speakers could then, in my view, rule whether an answer was relevant or not, if the questions were given in advance.
Is the NDP advocating for questions to be given in advance?
- MPconSep 29, 2014 8:40 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to stand here today and talk about why I support Bill S-211.
I want to challenge my colleague across the way. On the same weekend that he will be running the half marathon, I will be running a full marathon in Moncton. It will be my eighth marathon, and I am trying to do one in every province. I will have Newfoundland and Manitoba left to do after this. I have done the Bluenose already, so I know the member can do it, and I want to congratulate him on his effort.
In the few minutes I have here, I would like to talk about the 10 top reasons that I support Bill S-211, an act to establish a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians. It is a coincidence that I am borrowing the top 10 list from talk show host David Letterman, who went to Ball State University in Indiana. My daughter went there on an athletic scholarship, so there is a bit of a connection with respect to health and fitness and stealing his top 10 list.
I am excited that this legislation seems to have the full support of all members in the House and that in the near future the first Saturday of every June will be a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians.
Let me mention all 10 of the reasons that I support this legislation in case I do not have time to mention them all.
First of all, this bill is universal. It affects everyone.
Second, the bill aligns with a motion I put forward in the House on obesity, a motion that was unanimously passed.
Third, it brings awareness to the problem. Nobody can fix a problem if they do not know that there is one. A day promoting health and fitness would let people know about the problem. It would coordinate efforts to promote health and fitness across municipalities, provinces, and the whole country. It would help to provide opportunities to promote health and fitness.
A national day would provide an opportunity to celebrate the success of those who have made a difference and are making a difference in their own lives and the lives of their families, communities, provinces, and country.
As the mover of the motion has said, this is not all about elite or pro athletes, and I will come back to that.
As a practical point, health and fitness reduce health care costs, and those costs affect every taxpayer across this country.
A national day to promote health and fitness would be a national statement. It would be about our country and where we are going in this particular policy area.
I would like to say a few nice words about the supporters of the motion, both in the other place and in the House, but first I would like to talk about the universality of a national day to promote health and fitness.
Health and fitness affects everyone from eight to 80. In my own family, a number of my immediate relatives have lived past 90. Health and fitness play a significant role in the quality of their life, as well as in the quality of life for young people, middle-aged people, and seniors. significant role in the lives of our youth and seniors.
Quality of life has several aspects. Having the financial support to look after oneself is also important, but one area that is absolutely under the control of individuals is their own physical health. They can take advantage of all opportunities available to them to make sure they do what they can to stay as healthy and fit as possible.
As I mentioned, I had a motion in the House on obesity that passed a number of months ago. I used myself as an example. I was elected to the House of Commons eight and a half years ago, and it did not take long for me to gain 40 pounds. On the Hill there are a lot of receptions and other things that go on, and I became a little heavier than I should have.
As a result, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. There is no diabetes in my family, except for maybe my 95-year-old grandmother, and that onset came with age. There is no history of it in my family. It was obvious that physical fitness was one of the aspects that was missing, and proper and healthy eating was another part.
I have lost that 40 pounds. I have made a commitment to physical fitness, as I mentioned before. For me, it is running. I do not run because I love it, but because it helps me stay physically fit. I have a commitment to my family to stay physically fit, so I can be here when I am 96 to see my great-grandchildren. I have a grandmother who had great-great-grandchildren. I am hoping I am going to be one of those.
This motion brings awareness to the problem. I had not given it any thought prior to my own personal issues. I had very athletic, very active children. They went to volleyball, track and field, gymnastics, swimming. They were high performers. They worked out, sometimes for two different sports for three or four hours a day.
It was not that physical fitness was not around me, but I never considered it for myself. I did not think about it being a problem until it hit me at home.
A national day to promote health and fitness will bring that issue forward, at least on that first Saturday in June. It is an opportunity to make sure that we understand there is a problem, which was very well articulated by the mover of the motion. It would coordinate efforts and allow municipalities, provinces, and the country to have a focus. We can coordinate promotion and have the opportunity to talk about physical fitness and health on a particular day in the calendar year.
It has already happened in a lot of municipalities across this country. I hope it will continue, and that coordinated efforts will help bring that message to a higher level. Hopefully, that message gets through.
It does give opportunities to promote what is available to Canadians. It is not all about elite sports. There are lots of activities: walking, hiking, whatever the activity, as long as it is healthy.
In my area of Burlington, there are a tremendous amount of opportunities for a variety of different ways to get involved, to get active. This day will give organizations and individuals an opportunity to promote those opportunities.
We should be celebrating success. When communities, individuals, or organizations are doing a great thing on the physical fitness file, that day could be a day where we celebrate their success.
I have mentioned that I am one of those who watches pro sports on television. It is not all about being an elite athlete. I cannot outrun my daughter. I cannot outvolleyball them. I cannot outdo a lot of things they do. I may be a little smarter than them, but do not tell them that.
It is not about just sitting on the couch and watching; it is about participation. That is what is important. Being healthy simply reduces health care costs. If people can avoid going to the doctor and to the hospital, it reduces costs. It is not a hard message to understand; it is national in scope.
Finally, I want to thank the two key movers behind this motion: first, the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country—and I hope they change the name of that riding—for that member's efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle here on the Hill and throughout this country, and our national hero, Senator Nancy Greene Raine. She is a role model, and not just for physical fitness, but also for many women across the country. She has brought this bill to the forefront to have this day acclaimed in this country.
- MPconSep 29, 2014 8:20 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, my question is simple. This bill has had a bit of history. Often bills do not start in the Senate and come here.
Why is the history of this bill and how it got here important to its development and today's events?
- MPconSep 16, 2014 11:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, on August 4, parts of the city of Burlington received 191 millimetres of rain in just a few hours. This is almost double the amount of rain Hurricane Hazel dumped on the city many decades ago. Over 3,000 homes were flooded with either rainwater or sewage, including my own basement. Many of the victims of the flood had little or no insurance to cover this type of disaster.
The outreach by neighbours to those affected by the flood has been overwhelming. Their generous support has come in all forms, from food and clothing to toys for children; from financial donations at public events to opening homes for the use of laundry facilities.
We do live in a caring community, but there is more to do. The Burlington Community Foundation has set a goal of raising $2 million dollars to help flood victims in the most need. This fund may be matched by the Ontario disaster relief fund. I ask the residents of Burlington to continue to come together to support the BCF flood relief program.
I thank the residents of Burlington for the caring and compassion they have shown for their neighbours.
- MPconSep 16, 2014 7:55 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, during the debate tonight pursuant to Standing Order 52, no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.
- MPconSep 15, 2014 12:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
With regard to questions on the Order Paper numbers Q-1 through Q-253, what is the estimated cost of the government's response for each question?
- MPconSep 15, 2014 12:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-36, an act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report it back to the House with amendments presented by all parties of this House.
- MPconJun 18, 2014 11:15 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, summer is officially set to begin this weekend and Canadian athletes and communities cannot wait. This summer we will be looking forward to the great job Canadians will be doing hosting major national and international sporting events. I for one look forward to seeing the pride and excitement on the faces of our special Olympians who will be competing in Vancouver this August. I am sure the increase in funding from Special Olympics Canada announced in this year's budget will go a long way to help the 36,000 athletes and the 16,000 volunteers have the time of their lives.
The world's eyes are already focused on the World Cup. It will be Canada's turn this August as Toronto, Edmonton, Moncton, and Montreal host the under 20 Women's World Cup as a precursor to the Women's World Cup to be held across six Canadian cities in 2015. Speaking of 2015, members should not forget to celebrate the one year countdown for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games across the GTA and the Golden Horseshoe.
For more information on how to volunteer, make sure to check out our website at Toronto2015.org.
- MPconJun 17, 2014 3:35 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the premise of the question is that because an injection site, where people who take illegal drugs can get them legally, is in a defined location that this is safe and healthy. Since I am giving my personal opinion, I am not convinced that just because a spot has registered nurses or whomever to provide the clean needles, that the government of the day, whether it is municipal, provincial, or federal, should provide that site. Nobody disagrees that these are harmful substances for those who take them.
Personally I am not sure whether this is the right approach for any government to take.
- MPconJun 17, 2014 3:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the important message is that with the legislation we are respecting what the Supreme Court has indicated. We believe that if these sites are to continue in different locations across the country, those communities in which the sites wish to operate have a responsibility to discuss their locations, debate them and understand what the needs of the community and those injection sites are. Where they are to be located should be accepted by the local communities in which they will exist, if they exist in the future.
- MPconJun 16, 2014 12:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Delegation of the Canada-Japan Inter-parliamentary Group, respecting its participation at the co-chair's annual visit to Japan held in Tokyo, Japan, April 7-12, 2013.
Also, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canada-China Legislative Association and the Canada-Japan Inter-parliamentary Group, respecting its participation at the 34th annual assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, held in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, September 23, 2013.
- MPconJun 04, 2014 8:50 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have been very honoured to be part of a juvenile diabetes caucus on the Hill. Part of that was to convince the minister and the government to provide money for research, which they did, for an artificial pancreas. We are getting very close in Canada to being able to develop that. We will be the first ones in the world to develop an artificial pancreas with help from research funding from the government to make that happen.
I am very proud of the government's support of juvenile diabetes and the research that needs to be done to make better lives for those who are suffering from that disease.
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