- MPconApr 10, 2014 10:50 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the process is simple. Amendments do not happen on the floor of the House. They happen at committee. The committee is active right now on this bill. There is opportunity for both the official opposition and the third party to bring amendments at committee. It is not a study. It is legislation. They can bring amendments when they go clause by clause. The committee is hearing, from my understanding, a tremendous number of witnesses who have been invited by all sides to talk about what is good and what needs to be improved. The minister would never, in this House, stand up in the middle of the debate happening at committee and move amendments or make any changes. That is what committees are for. That is why they are there. That is why they should be doing their job and working at committee.
- MPconApr 10, 2014 10:45 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that the motion is about procedure. I know the members are highlighting two areas of procedure they would like to change.
However, on the fair elections act, since the members asked, I want to point out that there have been more than 40 speakers to second reading; 40 speakers from all sides have had an opportunity to speak to it. As we have seen every night in the news and on television, a very proactive committee has met numerous times, inviting numerous guests and witnesses to the committee. We are hearing about it every day. The Senate, for example, is pre-studying the item.
The process is working. The Liberal members may not like the legislation, or parts of it, but through the process at committee they can move amendments. They can do whatever they wish. The process works.
That piece of legislation that is being highlighted here today will also come back to this House for more discussion and more debate. I think that is the appropriate way. We have allocated the right amount of time for it. There has been a lot of discussion on it, and that will continue. That is the appropriate way to deal with legislation.
- MPconApr 10, 2014 10:20 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak today. Just so my colleague across the way understands, when we get back to this fine institution in a couple of weeks, as a backbench member of the government I will be voting against the motion that is in front of us.
I have done a bit of research and have thought about the motion here in front of us. I basically broke down my presentation into two or three different areas, and hopefully I can get to them all.
First, so the public understands, let me talk about what is happening today.
Today is a supply day. Supply days were a creation of the Liberal government in 1968. They have been around for a long time. Previous to that time, the estimates, the actual allocating of money, was all dealt with in the House. It took up a tremendous amount of time. There was no time, or very little time, for creating legislation. The Liberal government of the day, in conjunction with the opposition members, came to the conclusion that things could be done more efficiently and effectively by allocating 25 days of the year to supply.
This means that the opposition parties can bring forward any motion that they would like on any topic that they would like. I am just guessing, but I think the vision of the day was that opposition parties would be able to bring a non-confidence motion forward and either criticize the government's policies or programs or maybe even present an alternative. That was the fundamental reason for supply days to begin with, and that is what we are doing here today.
I find it a bit strange that the Liberals are using this valuable time in this way. Because the Liberal Party is now in third place, it gets fewer days. Because the days are allocated by the size of the opposition, obviously the official opposition would get more days than the Liberal Party, and today the Liberals are using one of their two spring supply days to talk about process. I thought that was very strange, but I am happy to talk about process if that is what they want to talk about.
I thought maybe they wanted to define “middle class”. In part of my research, I was looking up “middle class”. The leader of the third party has been talking about the middle class quite a bit, so he must know a lot about it. His father was the prime minister of Canada and his upbringing was not really in the middle class, but I thought maybe it was his grandfather who instilled the middle class piece in him.
I looked in The Canadian Encyclopedia. I know my family and the vast majority of Canadian families are not mentioned in the The Canadian Encyclopedia, but the Trudeau family is. I found out that the former prime minister's father, the grandfather of the present leader of the Liberal Party, was listed there as being a wealthy businessman from Quebec and part of the elite even back in that generation.
I find it very strange that the Liberals are using today to talk about process. Maybe it is because they would have a difficult time talking about what they would like to accomplish, because they really have not indicated a whole lot to Canadians about what they want to do.
This brings to me to the actual motion, which is about time allocation.
The Liberals have chosen two specific areas to talk about in relation to time allocation. I want to make clear that what they are talking about is time allocation. Let me go through the three ways that it can happen.
There is a difference between closure and time allocation. Time allocation is allocating the amount of time in this House to deal with whatever the item happens to be. It makes it much easier and more convenient for us to determine how many speakers we have, when we will do it, and what days we will allocate to speaking on whatever item. It is purely organizational.
There are three ways that I know of that time allocation can happen.
First of all, the public should know that the House leaders from each party meet. They discuss the agenda, or the orders of the day as we call it here, such as, what is going to happen in the House, when things are coming forward, and how much time will be put to them.
It is my understanding that in the past the number one way of allocating time was by agreement between House leaders. For example, a House leader would agree to put up 20 speakers and another House leader would agree to 5 speakers. There would be an agreement on how much time is spent on a particular item. That is how it has happened in the past and it can happen in the future.
Then, when there is agreement, members would come back to the House. The House leaders go back to their whips and organizations, in our case the parliamentary secretary in charge of that area, and they would organize the speakers from our side who would speak to a particular item. The same thing happens with other parties and their critics.
A second way of allocating time is to have an agreement with the majority of the parties in the House. There are three recognized parties in the House, and two of the three can come together to figure out what we want to do. Technically they can allocate the time for whatever the discussion will be on a particular area.
The third way to allocate time is unfortunately what we have had to come to, but it is completely legal and fair. It is that the government of the day can allocate the time. That is not closure; it is not saying that we are not debating something.
I spoke earlier this week when we were debating our budget implementation bill. I was the 69th speaker, and there was going to be a speaker after me. There were 70 speakers at second reading, and five days were allocated to the debate in second reading.
The bill then goes to committee. If there are amendments at committee, it comes back here to report stage, which I did not know about until I got here. That was not mentioned much in the political science books that I read in university. However, there is a report stage. Again, there is an allocation, which may be done through the House leader on the government side or through a negotiation and discussion at the House leaders meeting. However, there is an allocation of time to debate the item, based on the amendments.
As members know, there could be a lot of amendments. The Speaker could group amendments together and we could then have debate on single sets of amendments. It is not just amendments in total, but on single sets. That could go on for a lengthy period of time. The bill then comes back for third reading. Third reading in this House has another time allocation piece to it.
Unfortunately, what is happening is that we are not able to get agreement from the other side on allocations, so the House leader on our side has to tell the House how much time will be allocated. There is always a 30-minute discussion on the government's allocation of time.
On the budget implementation bill, for example, we allocated five days to it. People can say that five days is not a lot. However, I did a little research on this, and I want people to understand the agenda in terms of the length of time that we are here.
In this calendar year, we will be sitting for 27 weeks in Ottawa, doing Canada's work. We all do plenty of work in our ridings, of course, but this is work on legislation that comes to the House. I then took all of the days that we have in a week and broke it down.
I do not know if people understand this, but there are 20-minute time slots for the speech and 10 minutes for questions and answer. Technically, one could split one's time. Today we have 20-minute slots, but to maximize the amount, it could be 10-minute speeches with a 5-minute question and answer period.
For example, on Monday, we are in the House from 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. We have to remove an hour for private members' business and an hour for question period. There are a lot of other things that eat into the time, but I am being judicious in saying that those two things automatically happen. There is also routine procedures and so on, which is another 15 minutes or so. In actual fact, we have about five hours and fifteen minutes on Monday, which is about 21 slots, if we split the time slots.
On Tuesdays there are six hours and fifteen minutes for discussion. That is 25 slots. On Wednesdays it is only a couple of hours, at two hours and fifteen minutes of actual time, which is nine slots. That time gets eaten up with trading over. On Thursdays we are back to the same as Tuesday, with 25 slots. On Fridays we have two hours and fifteen minutes, the same as Wednesday, with another nine slots.
If everything went absolutely smoothly and there were no interruptions or points of order and we went right to the minute and moved along, that is maybe 89 or 87 spots in a week.
I heard a few minutes ago that members of Parliament get elected here to talk about the items. Can members imagine if all members, all 308 of us, were required to speak to every item? We have about 88 spots a week. We are here about 27 weeks of the year. We then have supply days thrown in. We have other items. We have voting. If everything was as smooth as glass, based on my math, we would get maybe two pieces of legislation through every year.
That is not including the budget and the budget implementation bills, because in a sense those are automatics. We have a budget presented by the finance minister. There is debate and discussion on it. Then there are also two budget implementation bills, one in the fall and one in the spring, and time is allocated for debating those bills as well.
My estimate is that if we followed the rule or the expectation that all 308 of us would get a chance to speak to every item, we would get through a maximum of two pieces of legislation in the House.
That is not including committees. The public should know that. As I was saying this week, I was the 69th speaker at second reading. The bill then goes to committee. At committee, members of Parliament hear witnesses and get involved in debate and discussion about the legislation in front of us. The bill then comes back here for the report stage and third reading.
In my view, if there was no such thing as time allocation, as members of Parliament we would get virtually nothing done. I am not sure that the public of Canada is sending us to Ottawa to do absolutely nothing. The public expects some legislation to be passed.
The public expects discussion to take place, and there is discussion. There are speeches from both sides, from one side or the other, and there are often areas of concern or interest. On our side, normally we promoting. On the opposition side, members are often taking exception. Those discussions will happen.
People will notice that comments are often repeated over and over again. We do the same thing on our side. I am not saying that it is a one-sided thing. We repeat the same thing, or something very close to it. I know that the rules of this place are that we cannot say the exact same thing as somebody else. I do not really use speeches, as members can tell by my standing here. I have some notes, but I do not have actual speeches.
What I am saying is that time allocation does not stop debate. It assists debate. It allows fair discussion on the issues, and the limited time that the House has to deal with legislation requires time allocation.
We are being criticized, partially in this motion, over time allocation as if it had never existed before and as if it were something new that we had come up with. As far as I know, time allocation has been part of the process here forever, because it would not make sense to do otherwise.
Stanley Knowles, a New Democrat member of Parliament many decades ago, has been quoted as saying that it is important to have time allocation, that it is important that we have an understanding of how much time we are going to spend on a particular item and move forward to make decisions on whether we are going to support or oppose something.
The Liberal motion today tries to focus on two specific types of bills. In my view, they have done that because they know very well that time allocation is an important process around here, and they are using these two items for political reasons, not for practical reasons of improving how this place operates. We have a reform bill by one of my colleagues here before us. But in my view, if we really want reform of this place, and we know how little time we have to debate different issues, and given the scheduling that we have to arrange between committees, and so on, I think there are better ways to operate the House of Commons. I have made some suggestions on the number of committees, the timing of committees, and how much time we allocate for House time. We could be much more efficient than we are, strictly from a business perspective.
My concern is that when we hear the opposition say they did not have time to debate it, if we look at the actual speeches they make, they are repetitive and clearly not supporting the actual legislation in front of the House. That is fair. That is their job, to be in opposition. However, they should be able to make their points and then move on. That is not what is happening.
Time allocation and closure are two different things. Closure is a motion invoked when a piece of legislation is required by a certain time, whether it is in other statutes, or a Supreme Court decision has been granted on a certain item and the House has to report back by a certain date. If we check the records, closure is rarely used.
Another item I have heard about recently, aside from the debate on the fair elections act, is omnibus bills. The opposition are concerned about the size of bills, and they will quote big numbers. This week they were quoting it as 489 pages long. I agree that the particular piece we were dealing with this week is 489 pages long, but it is in both English and French, so it is actually about 250 pages. The fair elections act is not even that long, but it is in two languages.
If, say, we have to read a couple hundred pages, I am pretty sure that most Canadians believe that members of Parliament can read a couple of hundred pages. Additionally, what is also great about the way the system works here is that despite the fact legislation arrives before us in legalese, there are summary pages at the front of every piece of legislation highlighting what is important and what each section does.
What happens is that I, as a member of Parliament, read through the summaries and look through the parts of the legislation that are of concern or interest. If there is something I do not understand, I read it in more detail. Then I have an opportunity to talk to the minister. That opportunity is open to every member of Parliament. They normally have a session with a briefing that anyone can attend, including staff. They are briefed at the bureaucratic level on what is in a bill so they will have an understanding of it.
With the amount of time we have, which I am running out of now, I do not think we should support the motion. Time allocation is getting a bad name because people do not understand what it is used for and how it works. It is something that makes the House operate. If we were to ask people on my street, they would believe we are way too slow in getting legislation through the House.
- MPconApr 08, 2014 2:05 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. He made an excellent speech earlier this evening.
I actually think five days is enough. When I tell people that we spent five days on the second reading before it went to committee, they believe that is plenty of time to discuss the issue.
- MPconApr 08, 2014 2:00 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to speak to this. It is exactly to the point.
I challenge my colleague from the other side to go door to door in her riding and say that we are allocating 140 or maybe 150 people to speak to this item. In addition, we are going to go to committee to talk about it. We are going to get it through the House. When it is all done, in about a month, I bet the general public in Canada will say, “What the heck takes you guys so long to get anything done in there?”
Could members imagine if we allowed all 308 members a speaking turn on every single item? Does the member know how many bills we would pass in this place? We would maybe get three or four bills maximum passed through the House of Commons to move the agenda forward, whether that is on economics, the justice system, or the social system. It would bring us to a grinding halt, and that is what the NDP want us to do.
- MPconApr 08, 2014 1:50 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand in the House today to talk about the budget implementation bill and a little about the process for budget 2014.
It seems that the opposition members have talked a lot about process in regard to this bill. They have talked about the number of hours being allocated to it, the size of the bill, and so on. I think it is important for the public, if anyone happens to be watching, to understand what is actually happening.
As we have for the whole eight years I have been here—and I do not know if it was any different before I arrived—the budget is presented, but it is not actually a bill because the budget has to be implemented. We have two implementation periods, one in the spring and one in the fall.
We try to get as much of the budget implemented in the first budget implementation bill, because it takes a while to get the bill through the system and for whatever changes that will be happening to be implemented. It is important that we do as much as possible in the first implementation bill.
I am fortunate to be speaking to this. It will go to a vote. I think the last speaker will be at about 5:05 p.m. I am the 69th speaker on this item. There have been five days of debate.
Members can talk to their constituents and say that the implementation bill is at second reading, that it has not gone to committee yet, and that there were 70 speakers addressing it, with opportunities for the different parties to have their turn. The bigger parties, like the government, obviously have more turns to speak. Then the official opposition and then the third party get a shot, and it is all based on numbers.
There have been 70 speakers. Then, after it is voted on, assuming it passes, which I believe it will, the bill will go to committee. I am not going to say what will happen there, because I do not actually know. However, a number of past implementation bills were broken up and sent to different committees. Different sections would go to different committees.
When I was on the finance committee, the whole bill came to the committee. We have changed that process a bit over the last number of times, and let other committees do a review.
There is an opportunity for any member of Parliament to go to committee to discuss the bill and to hear witnesses. That will take a number of weeks.
Then the bill comes back to the House, back to this fine place and its elected members. It will likely have approximately five days of debate. There could be another 70 speakers on this bill. In fact, if I do the math correctly, almost half the people in here will have an opportunity to speak to this particular bill. Not only will they speak to the bill, but members can also go to committee and talk to specific items that happen to be in this piece of legislation.
When members talk about time allocation and so on, that does not mean we are ending the debate. I have had to explain this to people in my riding. Time allocation happens because the House leaders of all the parties could not come together in agreement on how many speakers will be put forward.
My understanding is that is because there are parties in the House that believe that every single member should say the same thing over and over again. If members have listened to the Debate, as I have in the House and to the television in my office, the same things are being repeated over and over again. They are important items.
I am not belittling the points that people on both sides of the House are making. However, the same things are being said over and over again. The time allocation motion allocates a certain length of time; it does not end debate.
In this case, our House leader allocated five days to speak to this bill, which allows 70 members to speak to this one bill at second reading. Then we go to committee. If I am interested in a certain section, such as that dealing with tax credits for people with diabetes, I know that I can go to committee.
I have diabetes. I am fortunate that I am able to control my diabetes through diet and exercise, but there are many people I know who are severely affected by diabetes. In fact, there is a tax credit in this bill that would help with the cost of services that go with severe issues due to diabetes. People would be able to use those tax credits to help pay their medical costs because the tax credit for medical costs has been enhanced in this implementation bill. As was mentioned and discussed in the budget, it is actually implemented through this bill. If the bill is sent to the finance committee and I am available, I may go to the committee to talk about that section and find out what people are saying about it. There will be witnesses available at the committee to talk about the different sections.
This bill is thick. Members in the House say that this is an omnibus bill. I looked it up, and it is about 486 pages. Let us round up, for arguments sake, because there are appendices and so on; let us say it is a 500-page bill. People have to understand that it is 500 pages in English and in French. It is actually 250 pages of English, and it may be a bit longer in French because the language has more words in it. In length, it may be a little longer in French than it is in English. That is not always the case, but I believe that is the case here. Therefore, it entails the reading of 250 pages. I know that Canadians have confidence in the members of Parliament they have elected to read 250 pages.
Let us be frank: we have a lot to do as members of Parliament. There is a lot of reading and information. At the front of every single bill, there is a summary. The summary itemizes different parts of the bill and then summarizes, in point form, what the different items are. I am not a lawyer, and some of this is legalese, but after eight years, I am getting used to the reading and understanding of it. Granted, at first, for people who are not used to it, it is a bit of reading. However, the summary in this 486-page bill is five pages long. That is in French and English. One side is French and one side is English, and we can read it.
There are some tax measures in here, like the mining tax credit that my colleague mentioned earlier, the flow-through tax credit. It is interesting to me. I happened to know about it from my previous days on the finance committee. I read in the budget that we were renewing that tax credit. I do not need to go to page 265 to see exactly what we are doing because the summary tells me. I understand what we are doing. I read it in the summary. We are implementing it. I do not need any more than that.
There are certain sections that I am not as familiar with, so I looked in the summary, found out which pages they are on, and read them. If I do not understand them, guess what else happens? On our side of the House, the minister holds an information session that is open to all members of Parliament and their staff to ask questions about specific sections. The minister goes clause by clause, not with political people there, but staff from Finance and the different departments, to explain the changes and why they are being implemented. The bureaucratic staff, who do an excellent job for this country, are not there to say whether they agree or disagree. They are there to explain what is being implemented in the budget implementation bill.
There are plenty of opportunities to discuss the issues and get information. What we need to do as a country to continue moving forward is to keep implementing change and the things we would like to do to see this country move forward from an economic perspective.
- MPconApr 08, 2014 1:05 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I am speaking later and will be happy to answer his questions.
My question for my colleague is this. He talked about improvements through tax credits for mining and forestry, about supporting apprentices and training, and about matching people with skills sets to jobs. It is all about prosperity. Why is it important for the government to take action and not just talk about it?
- MPconApr 03, 2014 11:00 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, in our 2011 campaign platform we committed to being here for law-abiding Canadians.
Canadians want to know that their streets are safe and that their children are protected from predators. They believe in supporting the rehabilitation of offenders but also that the punishment fit the crime. Canadians also agree that the justice system should not put the rights of criminals ahead of the rights of victims. They believe that one victim is one victim too many.
Today, with the introduction of the victims bill of rights, we will entrench the rights of victims into legislation at the federal level. The bill addresses the needs most often noted by victims: the right to information; the right to be protected; the right to participation; and the right to restitution and financial assistance.
This legislation is long overdue.
Under the leadership of our Conservative Prime Minister and our Conservative government, we will always stand on the side of victims.
- MPconApr 02, 2014 12:10 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 delegation of the Canada-Japan Inter-parliamentary Group respecting its participation in the co-chairs' annual visit held in Tokyo, Japan, from February 19 to 24, 2011.
- MPconApr 01, 2014 3:55 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure and honour to stand and speak tonight to Motion No. 456, and to draw attention to the palliative care needs and the end-of-life care needs of many Canadians.
I want to say to the mover of this motion that I appreciate that it is a motion and not a bill. I personally believe we can accomplish more in private members' time with motions than we do with small changes to legislation. This one is a bigger picture issue and it is very important that it has been brought forward.
As we know, the senior population in Canada is growing. In 2012, there were more than five million seniors in Canada, which is about 15% of the population. Based on what I have read, I believe that number may even double within the next 15 to 20 years. That is because of advancements in medicine and other factors that allow Canadians to live longer.
It is important for us to be ready for that aging population, even though many seniors today are very active in their older years, and that is very important. A few weeks ago I presented a bill on obesity, diabetes, and staying active, not just for youth but also for seniors.
Today's motion before the House draws some attention to the role of family caregivers. A Statistics Canada study revealed that family and friends provide 80% to 90% of the care for ill or disabled persons in our community. It is important to note that one-quarter of these caregivers are seniors themselves and are helping other seniors, whether their own spouses or family members. It can be expected that this will only increase with the increase in baby boomers.
At this point, I know other speakers have made this motion a bit of a personal piece, and I would like to take this time to do that on two fronts. One is that we are talking about hospice care. When I was on the council in the City of Burlington in 1999, it came to our attention that there was a need for palliative care and hospice care. Through the leadership of the mayor at the time, Mayor MacIsaac, and the Rotary Clubs of Burlington, they came up with a plan. By 2002, we had a 10-bed hospice, or maybe 12-bed, which was also able to exist because of the generosity of a number of Burlingtonians including the Carpenter family, which was the lead donor on the Carpenter Hospice, as we know it today. That was in 2002. As of last check, it has served over 1,600 individuals who lived there in palliative care since its inception. I have been very proud to be part of the council that developed that.
The other area that is very important to me and my family is that I am very fortunate to have relatively long life in my family. In fact, my grandmother Wallace will be celebrating her 97th birthday in a week and a half, or so. We are very proud of grandmother Wallace. Her mother, Granny Lasalle, lived to 100 years old; so I might be here for a while. In fact my Granny Lasalle worked on Parliament Hill. She was a housekeeping employee and, in a picture I have seen, she is cleaning the Prime Minister's offices.
We have been very fortunate. I want to wish my grandmother a very happy birthday. What is important is that she lives with my uncle and aunt. She has lived with a number of my dad's brothers over the years, and they are providing the care and support for her. We are very fortunate that Grandma Wallace is in really good health, but that is not the same for every family.
I lost another grandmother in the fall who was age 96. She was living with my parents for about five years. Therefore, I completely understand, from a personal perspective, the need for family members and the responsibility that goes along with end-of-life care and palliative care and care for seniors. The role that my Uncle Jack and Aunt Millie are playing for Grandma Wallace and that my Uncle Myles and his wife Cathy played for my grandmother Wallace in past years and that my own parents, Len and Cassie Wallace, played for my Grandma Gray make a big difference in the quality of life for them as the end of years come closer.
I am hoping, based on the 10% rule, that my Grandma Wallace will outlive her mother by about 10%. That will make her about 110 by the time she needs palliative care, and I am looking forward to that. That also means I will be the member of Parliament for Burlington until I am 120. Hopefully, I will have moved on before then.
Our government recognizes the critical role that many Canadians play in caring for family and friends with health conditions or disabilities, in addition to balancing their own work lives and family responsibilities. In 2012, over eight million individuals, or about 28% of Canadian adults, provided unpaid care to family members or friends with a long-term or terminal health condition, disability, or aging needs. Of these caregivers, about 67% provided care to a senior. Most often, family caregivers providing end-of-life care were caring for their own parents, as was happening in my own family. About one out of every 13 caregivers has provided this type of care in the last year alone.
Our government recognizes that while family caregiving is both beneficial and rewarding, it can also be very difficult. Take, for instance, the negative health impacts experienced by caregivers, particularly among seniors caring for other seniors, and those caring for individuals suffering from very difficult diseases like Alzheimer's and other related dementia. As these individuals become less capable of taking care of themselves, caregivers assume the responsibilities for their personal care. This gradual loss of independence often creates additional levels of stress and anxiety for the person with the disease, the caregiver, and the caregiver's family.
We have also supported research that is helping inform decisions as to how best to help the families and caregivers of people with chronic and progressive conditions. Indeed, since 2006, we have invested more than $650 million in research in areas related to aging, including more than $100 million in 2012 alone. Ongoing research, supported by our government, is also filling gaps in knowledge about rates of neurological conditions in Canada, including Alzheimer's disease. It is also looking at the efforts of individuals with these conditions, their families, and other caregivers.
Supporting Canada's caregivers presents an increasingly complex challenge, in part because of the very needs of each recipient and because of the unique situation of each caregiver. Responding to such needs typically involves the engagement of several partners at all levels of government, with the support of community-based organizations and employers. In addition to the above-mentioned research, the Canadian government has provided a variety of supports for unpaid family caregivers. For instance, economic action plan 2014 announced our intention to launch the Canadian employers for caregivers plan. This plan would engage employers to identify and implement cost-effective and promising workplace practices that better support employed caregivers.
I appreciate the motion from the member opposite to highlight and bring attention to the issue of palliative and end-of-life care, the important role of family members and family care for those in need, for the other opportunities that need to be addressed in working with other partners, including the provinces, and making sure that we have these services for the growing senior population we will have over the next number of years.
- MPconMar 24, 2014 12:00 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, as indicated in our Speech from the Throne, deepening Canada's trade and investment ties in the booming Asia-Pacific region is our priority. It is part of our Conservative government's ambitious pro-trade plan. The recently concluded agreement with South Korea is part of this plan, a plan to create jobs in every region of our country.
Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade update this House on what our government is pursuing next on this front?
- MPconMar 03, 2014 2:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I enjoy the entertainment of the member opposite who gave his soliloquy on misrepresentation and telling the truth. He also suggested that we needed a mirror.
I suggest that the member look in the mirror on the other side, say in Timmins—James Bay. When the member of Parliament for Timmins—James Bay told his constituents, the actual voters, that the member was going to support the removal of the gun registry, but when it came to a vote changed his mind and voted to keep the gun registry, was it a misrepresentation?
When the member for Timmins—James Bay puts out a pamphlet saying “Look at all the good things the government has done for the north”, but voted against every single item on the page, was that misrepresentation?
- MPconMar 03, 2014 2:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that the hon. member for Mississauga—Streetsville apologized to the House and voluntarily corrected the record. This is not the first time a member has had to correct the record and apologize to the House.
I am very concerned about our creating an environment in the House of punishing members. I am concerned about punishing a member of Parliament on any side of the House if that person comes forward and corrects the record and apologizes for making a mistake. Is that the environment of co-operation that the NDP has been talking about for many years?
- MPconMar 03, 2014 1:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have been here listening to the debate this afternoon on this question of privilege. My question to the member from the Liberal Party is simple.
I recall being here in 2010, when the member for St. Paul's, which I believe is a Liberal riding, posted on her website details of a bill that had not yet been presented in the House. That is against the privileges of everybody in the House. The member for St. Paul's understood that she had made that mistake and came to the House to apologize. That apology was accepted by the House.
As for the eight and a half years that I have been here, people do make mistakes. Members of Parliament make mistakes. We are human, by the way. We do make mistakes and when we do, we come here, we apologize, and we correct the record. That is what the member for Mississauga—Streetsville has done.
If we accepted the apology from the member for St. Paul's for violating everybody's privilege by posting information about a bill that had not yet been presented to the House of Commons, why should we not also accept the apology and the correction of the record from the member for Mississauga—Streetsville?
- MPconFeb 13, 2014 11:55 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is estimated that there are over 600 unidentified human remains across Canada. That means there are over 600 families that have not been able to have any closure in the loss of a loved one. Our government is standing up for victims by returning to the heart of our justice system. That is why we have announced a victims bill of rights.
Could the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness please tell this House what our government is doing to assist families of unidentified missing persons?
- MPconFeb 13, 2014 10:50 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Yukon for sharing his time with me today. He has done an excellent job, not only today but year-round. I want to thank him for his commitment last summer. He ran around his whole territory on behalf of diabetes disease, which I have. I want to thank him for bringing attention to that disease and for the work he does in that area.
Economic action plan 2014 is a Conservative budget. Is anybody here surprised that it is a Conservative budget? It is conservative as we move toward a balanced approach to our finances in this country. We do not use magic. We do not think books balance themselves. We have a plan. Economic action plan 2014 builds upon the plan that we have had for the years we have been in office.
Before I get into the points in this budget that I think relate very well to Burlington, my home riding, we have heard, through the questions being asked today, about not foreseeing the downturn in the economy. We had the member for Malpeque, as the previous speaker mentioned, on this and that. The Liberal Party took $60 billion out of the EI fund and reallocated it for its own use. We have the Liberals saying we are running big deficits, and then in the same breath they are talking about adding more.
Where do they think the money comes from? We would have to raise taxes, which we know is what the NDP wants to do, and now it definitely sounds like the Liberals want to do it too. They cannot complain that we have deficits. We are getting those deficits down. We are working very hard to make that happen, and we are almost there. We have another year, and hopefully we will have accomplished that goal.
We did stimulus spending in an appropriate way so that we created jobs in this country. A million jobs have been created since the end of the recession. We have been working hard in those areas.
I am fully aware that the opposition has a role to criticize. It should be criticizing what is in the budget, if it finds things it can do better. However, to criticize us for our actions to get this country back to work, to keep us as the number one economy of all of our partners, is just not accurate. I think it does not do this House or the parties any good.
I will get back to what is in this budget that we have in front of us, in economic action plan 2014.
There are a few things that I would like to highlight. The reason I would like to highlight them is that often there is the impression that a backbencher member of Parliament might not have a tremendous amount of influence. Our finance minister has an open mind and an open door to suggestions about what should be in the budget. There are things in this budget that I have advocated for, either this year or in previous years. Sometimes things do not happen overnight. I know that is hard for people to believe. Sometimes we have to keep advocating for what we believe in.
I want to point out a couple of things in this budget that I have been working on as a member of Parliament on behalf of my constituents that have made it into this budget.
The first one is very personal. I have a daughter who has just graduated from university. I know a number of her colleagues and friends. They are all looking for work. Fortunately for my daughter, she was a co-op student. The co-op has made a big difference in her ability to find employment because she has some experience.
In this budget, the finance minister, in his wisdom and under our Prime Minister, said that this kind of learning, this kind of experience, is what we need for our young people to get ahead, to get a start, and we have put aside $40 million for 3,000 full-time internships in high-demand jobs. It is exactly what we need to get young people into the workforce and moving forward in their careers.
People may say this sounds silly. I have an open door policy in my office. Year after year, there are two groups of university students, two organizations, that come to see me every year with demands. I do not agree with every one of their demands. Trust me. And I am clear with those young folks that I do not agree with them.
However, one of the items I have agreed with, and I have actually put in a submission to the Minister of Finance, is to not include vehicles in the calculations of student loans. If a student's car were worth $3,000 or $5,000, it would go against the value he or she could borrow because it was an asset that we would account for. In this budget, we would eliminate that. There are 19,000 students in this country who drive to school. In my riding of Burlington, we do not have a university main campus. We have a satellite campus for McMaster University in my riding, for MBA students, but we do not have a main campus; so people often drive to McMaster or to Guelph or to college in Oakville or to Toronto. They live at home to save money, and they drive to school every day. This is a request that has come year after year from these organizations. They thought, and I agreed with them, that this is something we should look at. I submitted it to the Minister of Finance last year and this year, and it made the budget. I am very proud that we saw the light that we need to be helping our young people in my area to pay for their education.
There is another area we get criticized on, research and innovation, which is not accurate, but the opposition members like to criticize. In this budget, there would be $1.5 billion in funding for post-secondary education research. In addition to that, we would give $46 million to granting councils that grant to individual organizations that do research. Just so people know, they are the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. All three councils would get funding from this $46 million to carry out research. We have been criticized as being very narrow on what we want to see done in terms of research. We would give a chunk of this $46 million to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. I am very proud of the work we are doing in that area.
Here is another item that is close to my heart. Ford Canada has its manufacturing plant office in my neighbouring riding of Oakville, and lots of individuals work for Ford, but a lot more individuals work in companies that are suppliers to Ford in my riding. In support of innovation and an understanding that we need to move forward in this industry if we are going to stay ahead of the curve in terms of innovation, we would put forward $500 million in the innovative automotive sector over two years. That is additional money that automotive companies in this country could use to innovate and do research on the new products they are going to bring to the marketplace.
That is not the only area. We are also looking at what has been working. This is not in my riding, but transformation has been needed in the forestry industry, and we would re-fund to a tune of $90 million the forest institute transformation fund, which allows forestry companies to look at where they are now and what the future will be in terms of the products and services that need to be provided, and it would give them some funding to help them get there.
Another area is seniors. Seniors make up almost half of my riding. I think a little over 50% of the residents are age 55 and over now. Someone age 55 is not a senior, but that is the statistic I have, and I am getting there. We have a program that helps seniors, and we have been able to deliver a large number of small projects in my riding through this program. One example is that we gave $5,000 to a small organization that helps Polish seniors in my riding to buy computer equipment, so they can have access to the Internet and gain an understanding of it. They were so excited that this money was delivered to them. Our seniors centre has a new kitchen, to be able to provide a breakfast program to shut-in seniors who are not able to get out. Without our providing that money through this seniors program, they would not be out every other Sunday morning. We would re-fund that as a $5 million per year program, which is excellent for my riding.
I will finish with this. I had a private member's bill eight years ago dealing with a DNA database for missing persons, a missing persons index. It did not make it because it needed royal assent and needed money spent on it, which is not allowed in a private member's bill. Today, in this budget, the DNA-base missing persons databank will come to fruition. I thank the minister and the Prime Minister for their foresight on that.
- MPconFeb 12, 2014 12:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in contraband tobacco).
The committee considered the bill and decided to report it to the House without amendment.
- MPconFeb 11, 2014 1:45 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Canadians, let me congratulate the minister for his work in returning Canada to a balanced budget in 2015. While other countries struggle with their finances, Canada is showing the world that strong fiscal management is the right path for job creation and economic growth.
On a personal note, I want to thank the minister for including the missing person's index in this budget. I worked on that as a private members' bill eight years ago.
I would also like to thank the minister for his work on supporting charities and on encouraging charitable giving in Canada. Given the important work charities do in every community, what will economic action plan 2014 do to help charities?
- MPconFeb 05, 2014 12:00 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, over the last 20 years, wireless services have grown into something Canadians rely on daily. As a result, we are seeing new cell towers being constructed in our communities. Their placement in my riding has been a very divisive issue. I believe Canadians deserve a say on how and where new cell tower locations are identified.
Can the Minister of Industry please tell the House what our government is doing to ensure that local voices are heard?
- MPconFeb 03, 2014 1:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, that is a very good point about whether we can legislate convenience away.
The other thing the member said that got a lot of jeers from the other side was about bank profits. They look at all of their services and decide which services will attract which fees to be able to make a profit. I am 100% in support of banks making a profit. My CPP is fully invested in Canadian banks. Most union pension plans are fully invested in Canadian banks. The more stable and profitable the banking system is in this country, the better off 99% of Canadians will be in the long term, because we have a quality banking system that helps support an investment community and our retirement savings. We will have a good quality of life for many years to come partly because of the quality of the banking system we have in Canada.
- MPconFeb 03, 2014 1:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I will explain why I say that the uncompetitive piece is not accurate. I will use my own example from yesterday.
I was at a bank that was not my own bank. I am not trying to brag, but I had been at the office and doing a little banking for my office account. It is a long story. I use a different bank than I do for my personal banking.
I was having a Super Bowl gathering at my house and I needed $200. I could have done one of four things. I could have got the money from this bank while I was doing the banking. I was in a mall, so I could have walked across the mall to a different bank that charges $1.50 instead of $2 a transaction. I could have got in my car and gone across the road and got it for free at my own bank. I also could have gone to the convenience store beside the place where I was getting the wings and use a white machine, because it has a white machine there, for which I would have probably paid $3. There were four choices available to me, all within two or three minutes of each other. My decision to do it there was made out of convenience. It cost me 1%, and that was worth my time.
I do not think our system is uncompetitive. What we need to do is have people think about it and make decisions. When my younger kids go out, instead of waiting to get their cash at the white machine at the local pub, they go to their own branch and get it for free, and that is what they should be doing.
- MPconFeb 03, 2014 1:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, too much. That is somewhat hurtful, but I can take it.
The issue we have here today is important. ATM fees affect us all. There is no doubt about it. However, I am not sure the appropriate response by government is to limit the fees and to make the decision on behalf of consumers about what they are going to pay and where they are going to pay.
My concern would be that the Government of Canada would say that banks can charge only 50¢, and then every bank, whether people have an account there or not, would start charging everyone 50¢. It is a dangerous approach. There are other ways to influence the banking system to give consumers proper transparency and to influence consumers to make the appropriate choices, particularly in their banking and financial literacy.
For that reason, I will not be supporting the motion as it is worded. However, I do want to say that these are the kinds of issues we should be debating in the House of Commons, as they affect every riding and every constituency. I appreciate the time, and I look forward to answering any questions.
- MPconFeb 03, 2014 1:00 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to be here today to speak to the opposition day motion. I want to say nice things about my colleague from Sudbury. He is concerned and has spoken many times in the House about consumer issues, and I believe he has done a good job representing his party on some of those issues here today.
It does not mean that I have to agree with what the New Democrats have brought forward today. I have not been here all day, but I have heard a number of speeches that have talked about capping, which seems to be around the 50¢ mark. The motion itself reads:
That, in the opinion of the House, Canadian consumers face unfair Automated Teller Machine (ATM) fees as a result of an uncompetitive marketplace and that the House call on the government to take action in Budget 2014 to protect consumers by limiting ATM fees.
I want to thank the NDP. I was a member of the finance committee for six years, and I cannot remember New Democrats bringing forward concrete budget ideas. This is one. They have brought forward a budget idea. However, with eight days left before the budget is produced, it is a wee bit late and a little bit thin.
Today's motion is focused on ATM fees, which consumers have to know are charged through chartered banks. They are also charged through what I think are called “white machines”, or private sector companies that are not banks but provide machines in restaurants or bars where they charge money to get one's own money out.
I will congratulate the members. They have an idea for a budget, and I appreciate their focusing on some financial and consumer issues, as the Conservative Party has been focused on consumer issues since we have taken office.
We have done a number of things on a variety of issues, from banks and credit cards, which I will highlight in a few minutes, to the telecom business. We have been trying our darndest to make sure we have a very robust and competitive marketplace. We believe that competition is what will drive prices down and give consumers more choice.
I am a little confused by some of the comments, and I want to make sure it is on the record as to how I understand that an ATM works at a chartered bank. I am a member of chartered bank A. When I go there to take money at any of its branches, I do not get charged for removing my money from the account. However, because of convenience and timing, if I go to a branch of another bank, I would be charged for taking money out of my account. Yesterday, I made a conscious decision, as a consumer, to take $200 out. There was a $2 charge, 1%. I made the decision that the 1% was the amount I was willing to pay to take money out of my account at a different bank so that I could get to my appointment at a more convenient time.
As with the mover of the motion, my town also has a population of 170,000 to 180,000 people. We have a branch at every corner. There is a branch of one type or another virtually everywhere in my community. I can easily access my own brand of bank that I have chosen for my personal accounts, and I pay zero fees. If I had a credit card or a card from a department store, let us say Winners, for example, I have an agreement with Winners and bank A. I do business with that particular bank. I do not do business with other banks in my area. I cannot use my Winners card if I go to Fortinos, which is my grocery store. The store does not allow it to be used there.
We are very lucky in this country that we are able to access our money from different banks and different machines. We have a world-renowned banking system. During the recession, other countries, even our neighbours, had difficulties with their banking systems. Canada's banking system has been ranked number one, and part of the reason is the relationship our banks have with each other and other financial institutions. They are able to share information. They can tell each other that someone has x dollars in an account with bank A. Bank B will accept a bank A card and bank B will allow money to be taken out. There is a small fee.
I agree that consumers have to make a conscious choice. Do I spend that 1%? If I only want to take $20 out, it would be 10%, and I would think that was way too high. I would walk across the road and go to a branch of my bank and pay no fee. I make the choice as the consumer.
We on this side of the House believe that we need to provide the infrastructure and the system. We need to provide business with the ability to do business. We need to provide consumers with the ability to make choices. All we are dealing with today is the ATM.
We need to be able to make choices. I can give the House some examples of how we recognize that.
I was never a fan of reverse billing. People would not be forewarned that their contracts were up. A company would automatically re-bill people without asking if people wanted to continue with the contract. We outlawed that. We changed the law so that consumers had a choice. Individual Canadians, looking at their needs, could make the choice. We changed the law so that the company could not make it for them. Canadians had to decide whether they wanted to continue to do business with that company or go somewhere else.
That is a concrete example of us taking action on behalf of consumers, which was the appropriate approach for us to take.
We have, without having to regulate, made some changes to the banking system. The white ATMs are in a different bailiwick altogether. The motion before us today deals with banking institutions that have ATMs.
We have indicated to the banks that people need a cooling off period when they use credit cards from a bank. We have introduced a 21-day cooling off period. Why? We did that to protect the consumer. It was not to protect the bank or the credit card company.
We have indicated to the banking industry that we do not think it has done a quality job when looking at its customer base in terms of students and seniors and making sure that they have access.
I have two daughters in university. Access to their bank machine is a big deal to them. Access to a bank machine on their campus made a difference with respect to which bank they would deal with. They made the choice of which bank to choose.
The motion says that it is “uncompetitive”. I have to differ with that opinion. There is choice for consumers. Do we have thousands of banks in Canada? No. We have five big banks, seven other banks that are close, and a number of credit unions. We do have choice.
The other thing we have is considerable confidence in our banks and banking system. The bank will be there tomorrow. Our money is safe in that bank, and we can rely on access to our funds, which does not happen, including in this past year, in some banking systems around the world. All of a sudden, a bank was closing up and people were lined up trying to get their money out. That has never happened in Canada, not in my lifetime. I am not sure what happened during the Depression, to be frank, but in terms of the modern banking system we have now, we do not have those concerns, which is an important piece.
The opposition says in its motion that it is uncompetitive. We on this side of the House encourage competition, particularly in the banking system, as we do in other areas. That is one reason we have looked at trying to open up the market to an approved national credit union system.
At present, the credit unions are under provincial jurisdiction. We have offered to make some changes. I continue to talk to the lobbyists groups with the credit unions to see if they are taking up the cause. There are a few that are big enough to branch out across the country to provide further competition. I am not saying that there cannot be more competition, but I would not phrase the present situation as uncompetitive. However, we are doing some things in this area.
My wife works for Easter Seals, which helps physically disabled children in the province of Ontario. She has indicated to me in the past that there are some important services in the banking area that could help physically disabled people. I know that we on this side have indicated to the banking system that it needs to improve in that area. It needs to make it much more accessible for those who are disabled. That number, unfortunately, is not going to go down, as we have an aging population, including me. There are going to be more people with physical needs accessing these branches and ATMs.
I have heard today that branches and ATMs are closing and that the service is not quite there. It was not that long ago that I was a bank employee. I lasted six whole weeks with the bank. I did not really like it, and so I left. The branch I was in opened at 10 a.m. and closed at 4:30 p.m., and it was not open on Saturdays or Sundays. It was a main branch in a major city in Ontario.
Things have changed, and we have improved access. There is access now through the Internet, which all the banks have for paying bills. I have not paid a bill by mail or at a teller in probably five or six years. I pay everything online out of my account.
In terms of access, the banks are working on it. We need to keep pressuring the banks on that, but I have no issue with it.
There are other things we have done to protect consumers in this realm. For example, the bank used to send me a cheque with my credit card bill. I could use the cheque, and it would go against my credit card. We have ended that practice. We understand that there have been issues. The Minister of Finance has been clear that there have been issues.
The other thing that is very important is to make sure that these issues are brought to our attention by our constituents. We also need to put pressure on the banks and the financial system to improve their customer service and to provide more transparency and information.
There needs to be an understanding of financial literacy. There needs to be an understanding by all of us, including me, of financial literacy so that I understand that when I go to bank B and use my card, it will charge me extra, but if I go to my own bank, they will not. Those kinds of issues need to be taught.
I know it is hard to believe, but as I said, I have one daughter in university. At her school, the one area that has been excellent is that it has a required course on financial literacy. They are university kids. They are managing lots of money, paying their bills, and financing their education. It is an important piece. I think it should be done at a younger age so that people do not get into bad financial habits and go to those white machines to get cash and pay well over $2 or $1.50, just because they are convenient. People have to think about what their financial goals are and how they can manage their money more effectively.
I am working on putting on a financial literacy seminar in my riding. I am finding it a little more difficult than I anticipated to attract people to come to that seminar, but we are working on it, because it is terribly important to make sure that we do.
One other area, particularly with young people in a household, is unsolicited credit cards. We have ended that practice. Nothing drove me crazier than when a bank or a credit card company sent a card to people's houses and said that they had been pre-qualified for an x limit, without actually asking for one iota of information about people. That was, in my view, a formula for disaster for those who were not able to understand what they were signing up for. Our side, looking out for consumers, decided that it was not an appropriate program, and we ended it.
Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have left?
- MPconFeb 03, 2014 11:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, February is Heart Month in Canada. Remarkable progress has been made tackling cardiovascular disease. In fact, death rates have declined by more than 75% over the past 60 years. This means that 90% of Canadians who have a heart attack and 80% who have a stroke will survive.
While this is great news, we cannot lose sight of the fact that heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada. Today, heart disease and stroke take one life every seven minutes.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation, thanks to its 140,000 dedicated volunteers and two million donors from across Canada, continues to make a real difference in reducing deaths and disability from heart disease and stroke.
We all have a part to play in helping Canadians live the healthiest lives possible. We need to support our constituents in their efforts to make the right choices for their health. By supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation this February, we can make a real difference for all Canadians.
- MPconJan 30, 2014 10:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his speech. I disagree with much of it.
I have been sitting here all day listening to the speeches, and I am a little concerned that some of the speeches from the opposition benches are saying that the 650 or 600 new sites are going to give bad service, that our veterans and the people of Canada are getting bad service. Why do the opposition members consistently attack our civil servants who work at our Service Canada sites across this country? They give excellent service, and on this side, we are proud of the work they are doing. Why are those members not?
- MPconJan 29, 2014 12:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I present a petition from my constituents for the creation of a legislative ombudsman mechanism for responsible mining.
- MPconDec 04, 2013 3:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to my motion, Motion No. 425, in the last couple of minutes. Hopefully, I will not take all my five minutes.
I would like to thank each and every one of my fellow parliamentarians who spoke on the issue. I heard some comments about how the motion did not go far enough and how it did not have enough teeth in terms of what the solutions were. To be frank, I do not have the solutions.
I appreciate the presentation this evening by the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, who also made the point that there could have been more in this motion. However, the fact is, in a very personal presentation on the issue of what this motion would deal with in obesity, I really appreciate the efforts the member made in being here and speaking to the issue.
I brought forward this issue in because of a personal matter. Coming to Ottawa, I gained 30 or maybe 40 pounds. I was not eating healthily. I was participating in all the receptions that go on around here. I was diagnosed with diabetes, as I said in my first speech.
At the time of my first hour, I had two grandmothers who were 96. One passed away between this speech and the last, but we have long life in my family. I thought I was invincible, but none of us are.
The purpose of the motion was to get into a conversation and continue it on all sides of the House about what we needed to do about the issue of obesity and health. For me, physical activity is only one component. I agree with everyone's comments that physical activity is only one component of solving this issue. It is an area where I happen to be able to run marathons and take up running. I have been able to accomplish and challenge myself and to overcome some of my difficulties with obesity and being overweight using physical fitness and better eating habits.
I am encouraging the government to continue to work on this, make it a priority for public health and continue to work with organizations and other government levels to make it happen at all levels. We cannot provide every program federally. We need support from community groups, from other political levels and from other governments to make things happen.
I would appreciate everyone supporting the motion. I hope we continue this conversation after the motion is hopefully passed. The issue of obesity in our children and our health is not just important for individuals; it is also important for their families and for our health care system. I would appreciate everyone's support.
- MPconDec 04, 2013 12:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights entitled “Supplementary Estimates (B) 2013-14: Votes 1b, 5b, 35b and 50b under JUSTICE”.
- MPconDec 04, 2013 11:00 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, Crime Stoppers of Halton is an independent charitable organization, governed by a volunteer board of directors, made up of citizens representing all areas of the Halton region. Put simply, it is a three-part approach to solving crime problems. Crime Stoppers relies on co-operation between the police, the media, and the general community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals.
Since its creation in 1988, Crime Stoppers of Halton has helped the police make over 1,000 arrests, recovering nearly $20 million in money and assets, and it has paid $54,000 in rewards. Halton has been named the safest municipality in Canada. Its Crime Stoppers branch receives 600 tips per year.
Norm Bellefontaine, the chair of Crime Stoppers of Halton, said that he would like to think that Crime Stoppers has been a tool in the toolbox to keep his region safe.
On behalf of the citizens of Burlington, I congratulate the Crime Stoppers of Halton for their 25 years of fantastic service to the community.
- MPconDec 03, 2013 1:35 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I actually really appreciate that question from the member opposite.
First, by definition, a tax credit is to credit people for taxes paid. If they do not pay taxes, they do not get the credit. I am not sure if the member opposite knows, but there are, I believe, three non-refundable tax credits in our system now, only three. I could be corrected on that; it could be five, but there are very few.
I agree that support for those with disabilities is very important. In my home, my wife works for Easter Seals, which provides services and support to families with children with physical disabilities. I completely understand the issue, and I am completely supportive of doing what we can. I am not sure that using the tax system, making tax credits refundable or non-refundable, is the appropriate use of the system in solving the issue that the individual has brought forward.
I am in favour of having non-refundable tax credits because people need to be paying taxes to get their taxes back. There are other methods to attack other issues in all public policy, not just for disabilities.
- MPconDec 03, 2013 1:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's questions, and I will say hello to her sister-in-law from Burlington when I see her.
The fact of the matter is that the government looks at all programs, including EI, and we look to where there are efficiencies and effectiveness. I was not at the finance meetings to hear what the public service witnesses had to say, so I am not sure what their testimony was.
I am very proud of this side of the House, this government. When we came to office we looked at the EI program, and the member is absolutely right that EI is funded by the employer and the employee, and we set up a fund for that money to go into so that governments could not take that money and use it for general expenses, as has been the case in previous years. So we set that up and I am happy with what we are doing. It is only appropriate for EI and all programs that the government of the day look at how to be more efficient and more effective in providing the services that those programs are to provide, and I am supportive of what we are doing in the EI program.
- MPconDec 03, 2013 1:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak again to Bill C-4. I had the opportunity to speak to it at second reading before it went to committee.
I am happy to talk to my friend from the Liberal Party and ensure that he understands what is in Bill C-4.
What I found funny this week when I was listening was that I was speaker 69 last time and I think the speaker before me wanted to go to the vote on it, and I know we are relatively close to that again this time.
We have had a large number of speakers to the bill. It was funny that we were hearing from the opposition that we were not given enough time to speak on the bill. Then this week, I hear from a number of opposition members that we keep repeating ourselves. We keep repeating ourselves because there is only so much in this bill and everybody understands what is in it. One either agrees or disagrees with it. It is not that complicated.
The opposition says that it is an omnibus bill. Yes, it is a couple of hundred pages: 100 in French, 100 in English. Can they read that? I am not sure. I know I can and I am pretty sure my opposition members can read that much.
Anyway, I want to talk about the areas in Bill C-4, which is the implementation bill of the budget and other measures. People seem to miss the title of the bill, which does say “other measures”. Therefore, it was not just what was in the budget in the spring, but other measures that this government thought were important to bring forward and to get through the House, and I will talk a little about that.
I want to talk about the things that directly affect my riding.
The first thing I want to speak about is the lifetime capital gains exemption basically for small business. The largest employer in my riding has about 600 employees. The municipality, in fact, has about that many employees, or a bit less. The vast majority of employers in my riding are small and medium-sized businesses.
These businesses are often individually owned businesses or group owned. Very few are traded on the stock market, but there are some there, such as financial offices of different organizations in terms of credit. We have components of different larger organizations, but the vast majority are medium-sized businesses owned by small groups of individuals or individuals themselves.
Through this bill, we would increase the capital gains. Business owners could save based on the amount they could retain after they sell their business or pass it on. Small and medium-sized businesses are often passed on to family members. The sale of a business would allow for money to be left in the pockets of the entrepreneurs. They created the jobs and economic activity in my riding and have earned the right to retain earnings. It is their retirement often.
Not all businesses in my riding own their buildings or real estate, for example. Therefore, the retained earnings they would get and the savings they would make on the change to the capital gains exemption would be significant to them, to their families and to their retirement.
We often hear concern about turning a business over, whatever that business might be, because of the cost of capital gains and what would be left in one's pocket after the taxes were paid. This measure would allow for a little more to stay in an owner's pocket, which I think is very important.
The next thing I want to talk about is the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment.
We have the ACCA on a number of items across the country. It is part of the accounting packages that we allow for accelerated capital cost allowance. Basically, it would allow a company to write-off capital expenditures much faster than it would have been able to under normal charts in terms of expected lifespan. It is an accounting piece that would allow companies to invest in equipment and realize profits from that equipment in a much quicker manner. I am very supportive of that.
Part of it is that we have included clean energy generation and clean energy equipment that did not qualify previously for the accelerated capital cost allowance, and this does that. For companies in my riding, if they are not directly involved in the clean energy generation business but are suppliers of those businesses—for example, parts for equipment they may buy—it makes a significant difference to those small and medium-sized businesses being able to take advantage of that ACCA.
I would now like to talk about the hiring credit for small business. In budget 2011, we brought forward the $1,000 per employee small business hiring credit, and we are continuing that process through Bill C-4. This would allow those small and medium-sized businesses in my riding an opportunity to grow, to provide economic growth not just for Burlington but for Ontario and for Canada.
Growth comes in a number of ways, through sales and so on, and if businesses continue to grow, they often need more people. We want to encourage employment through Bill C-4, through our whole budget, our economic action plan, and this mechanism helps encourage employment, particularly for young people in my riding of Burlington. It is a relatively expensive place to live, and we are having an issue with young people who have grown up and gone to high school in Burlington, have gone away for post-secondary education either at McMaster next door in Hamilton, in the area or across the country, and are having a hard time finding positions to come home to in Burlington. The mayor and the city council have looked at this. The small business hiring credit would assist small businesses in my riding to hire young people and help them get started in their careers after their education.
We are doing what we can federally, as is the municipality through a number of programs, to encourage local employment for young people, particularly ones who have a connection with our community and have added to its quality of life.
The other couple of areas I would speak to are on the other categories in the bill. I am fortunate enough to be the chair of the justice committee, which I will talk about last; but first, I have also been fortunate to be assigned to the citizenship and immigration committee, which is a new experience for me. I had not been on that committee before, and this fall I was asked to sit on the committee. I have enjoyed my time there. Part of the discussion we have been having was with Bill C-4. As members know, there were a number of areas under the “other” category, and the finance committee sent those parts of Bill C-4 to those committees for further study.
At the citizenship and immigration committee, we had the opportunity to talk about two things that are in Bill C-4. One is the passport issue. I think we have done the appropriate thing. People who come into my office to talk to me about passports are somewhat surprised, and even I was surprised, that passports were under Foreign Affairs. In actual fact, we are moving it over to Citizenship and Immigration, where it is more appropriate for it to be managed, and that would make for a better system.
My final point is that the Supreme Court Act was also submitted in Bill C-4 and was referred to my committee. We had excellent committee meetings on this issue. We talked about what we are doing, moving forward, in being able to appoint individuals to the Supreme Court. It was an excellent discussion. We had a number of meetings with a variety of different witnesses, suggested mostly by the opposition, so we were able to deal with that issue and send it back to finance. I think it was the appropriate thing to do.
I am happy to answer any questions that may come my way.
- MPconNov 28, 2013 12:45 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, my colleague gave an excellent speech on this particular topic. We heard a number of speeches in the House on it yesterday, including from the opposition.
In general most of us around the table agree that we need to move forward on the cyberbullying bill and continue to tackle this problem. The minister has been at the justice committee, which I chair, even as of today, defending the estimates. There was a discussion about this particular piece of legislation. The minister clearly indicated that there was no such thing as a warrantless search as there had been in previous legislation that had been brought forward.
My question to my colleague is this. At the end of the day the bill is about protecting victims of cyberbullying. Why do you believe it is important for us as parliamentarians to move to help protect victims of these crimes?
- MPconNov 27, 2013 2:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to help support my colleague on this important piece of Canadian heritage. The function of the hon. member's private member's bill is to make sure that we, as Canadians, honour and respect the history and the heritage of hunting and trapping and the individuals who make their living in the heritage industries. It is a way of life in this country that helped to build Canada.
It is important for us, and we have done a very good job over the last number of years as a government to make sure that Canadians understand our historical past and the pieces of history that have shaped this country. I want to make sure Canadians understand what we are doing.
This private member's bill would help us understand where we have come from and would preserve this way of life, the ability of individuals and organizations in this country to continue to fish, hunt, and trap and honour our past and preserve that way of life, whether it is for making a living and actually providing for families and their communities or as a recreational opportunity.
Let us be frank. It is important for me, as somebody from an urban area, from the city of Burlington, Ontario, that I and all members stand together on this private member's bill, Bill C-501, to support those from across the country in honouring a special day of the year, a heritage day for hunting, trapping and fishing. Let me just read out the preamble to the bill, which sums up what we are doing:
Whereas hunting, trapping and fishing are part of our natural heritage; Whereas the Aboriginal peoples of Canada have traditionally participated in hunting, trapping and fishing; Whereas Canada's hunters, trappers and fishers have made a significant contribution to the development of our nation by traversing and mapping the prairies, forests, streams and rivers from coast to coast to coast; Whereas millions of Canadians participate in and enjoy hunting, trapping and fishing; And whereas hunting, trapping and fishing contribute significantly to our national economy....
We would have this special day set aside. I now live in an urban area, and therefore, those who participate in fishing and hunting are recreational hunters and fishers. They are not doing it for a living. However, I grew up in a small town in Ontario, Port Elgin, on Lake Huron. Beside that community is a native reserve, the Saugeen Indian reserve, which I grew up knowing. That reserve actually owns the property that is now Sauble Beach.
Fishing played a very important role in the lives of the first nations, and not just in the past for the aboriginal people fishing out of the Great Lakes. Fishing played a key role in the survival, growth, and development of that aboriginal area, the Saugeen reserve.
I can recall distinctly, growing up, that down at the end of my street, there had been an Indian settlement at one time. We had longhouses redeveloped there. Numerous artifacts from that area were from a fishing village. Their livelihood was not from farming but was from fishing. Most of the artifacts from that area dealt with their fishing existence.
It is important that this heritage day highlight and assist others in remembering where we come from in terms of traditional fishing, hunting, and trapping opportunities and where we will go, as a nation, in the future.
- MPconNov 27, 2013 2:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the parliamentary secretary. We have two excellent parliamentary secretaries, as was mentioned. As chair of the justice and human rights committee, we have worked very well with all parties in putting aside the appropriate time to deal with the issues that have come in front of the committee. I assume that will continue in the future.
At the end of the day, Bill C-13, which is related to other legislation that our government has done in the past, is to help protect victims. It is not about the perpetrators. It is about the victims and what we as a government can do to help the security and safety of all Canadians and those who have, unfortunately, become victims.
Could the parliamentary secretary comment on why this is important legislation for victims of cyberbullying?
- MPconNov 18, 2013 12:05 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, entitled “C-489, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (restrictions on offenders)”.
- MPconOct 29, 2013 2:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand and speak to Bill C-4 today, the last speaker before we vote on this.
Yesterday I heard a lot of discussion from both sides of the House. I want to take a couple of minutes to explain exactly what we are doing here. This is a budget implementation bill. It is the second one. We have one in the spring and one in the fall. It is the traditional way of doing things. We have a budget, and out of that budget, we have to implement what is going on in the budget. That is what this bill does.
I am the 69th speaker to this item. Twenty-two percent of members of the House have spoken to this implementation bill thus far. This is at second reading stage. Then the bill goes to committee, and committee studies the bill. It calls witnesses, has a discussion, and more members of Parliament have an opportunity to comment on the bill. Then the bill comes back to the House for report stage. Then there is another set of speakers to this. Then there is third reading.
More than half the members of the House of Commons have an opportunity to speak to the bill. That is a significant amount of input and debate on this implementation bill.
I have heard over and over about there not being enough time, about closure motions, and about time allocation. The reality is that the public expects us to get things done for them. That is what we are doing here, and that is what the implementation bill does.
I hear about the omnibus bill. The bill is 309 or 312 pages, French and English. I know that I can read 150 pages. I am making the assumption that the opposition members can read 150 pages. I cannot read it in French. I wish I had that talent, but I do not. I do not think there is anything in the bill we need to complain about in terms of there being so much in it that it cannot be understood. Those are not the facts.
We on this side will do our homework. We will do the job we need to do to get things done for Canadians and move things forward. There are many good pieces in this bill. If members do not want to read the whole bill, there are summary pages at the front. In the summary, the very first item is to increase the lifetime capital gains exemption to $800,000 and to index it to inflation. For the first time, it would be indexed to inflation.
We are giving small businesses the opportunity to create jobs and create wealth for them, their families, and their communities. They get to keep it after they have done their jobs. They pass that on to the next generation. They sell it to the next entrepreneur, and they keep building this country through jobs and economic activity. We support small business. We support entrepreneurs, and that is what the implementation bill does. I am very happy that we are getting it done.
Tonight we are voting on it. We will get it to committee and will get it back in this House. Hopefully we will get it passed by Christmas so that people can continue to create good-quality jobs for this country and for our youth, and we will continue to build a great Canada.
- MPconOct 28, 2013 3:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have been here all day, and I have been listening to the opposition members saying that we should be spending more and more and more. Then in the same breath, they complain about the deficits the government has had to incur to get us through the financial crisis. It is not even logical that they would say the same thing on two opposite sides. It is hypocritical. Does the member agree that it is hypocritical for members to say to spend more and reduce deficits at the same time?
- MPconOct 21, 2013 9:00 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to present the following motion:
That ways and means Motion No. 1 be deemed adopted on division.
- MPconOct 17, 2013 2:55 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. I would agree that the motion is not intended to give specifics. That is what motions, in my view, in the House of Commons are for, which is to generate discussion about particular policies or topics.
There is an area where I disagree with the member. I agree that other jurisdictions, industries and health care providers have identified obesity as an issue, but I am not convinced that the Public Health Agency of Canada has made it a priority. The purpose of my motion is to say that we are thinking about this in the House of Commons and we would like to see some action. I am very happy that in the Speech from the Throne there is actually a line regarding obesity and the security of families and children in the future. It is moving up on the ladder of priorities and I am very supportive of our government moving forward with it.
- MPconOct 17, 2013 2:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should continue to: (a) recognize the long-term health risks and costs of obesity in Canada; (b) support, promote and fund organizations and individuals who are involved in the physical well-being of Canadians; and (c) make the reduction of obesity of Canadians a public health priority.
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure this evening to rise to speak to my motion, Motion No. 425, regarding obesity, and the issue that is facing this country.
I want to first thank the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country for his work on the issue of health and fitness, trying to make Canada the fittest country in the world, and on initiating a national fitness day, which I believe next year will be June 7. He is doing great work, and I really appreciate his support.
In this House we are usually talking about policy or legislation. Tonight I am going to take the opportunity to talk about something that has personally affected me and why I brought this motion forward--it is not a bill, but a motion--to bring light to the issue and to have some discussion among our colleagues about what could be happening with our health care in terms of the issue of obesity and looking after one's health.
I thought I would start by telling members a personal story.
I have known four great-grandparents. I have two grandmothers still alive; they are both 96. I have known my grandfathers; they lived into their late eighties. I have a picture of myself, my daughter, my father, his mother, and her mother. It is a five-generation picture.
I have very good genes for long life. We have no heart disease in the family. One grandmother, who is 96, did survive cancer at age 40, a long time ago. Other than that, we have been very lucky with our health.
A year and a half ago, I was having some difficulty, so I went to my doctor. I thought there was something wrong with my prostate; however, I found out that I had diabetes, which was a bit of a shock to me. I thought that I was virtually indestructible because of my genes.
However, my lifestyle included drinking five or six Coca-Colas a day, eating improperly, and not keeping proper hours, in the sense that these are long days. It is a really interesting career one chooses in federal politics, and travelling back and forth, not eating breakfast, and just not doing things correctly, I gained weight here, as I know some of us all have. I was about 225 pounds at one point. I hid it well with big suits.
Things changed for me. I went to the doctor; I was having some difficulty. Lo and behold, they claimed that I had diabetes. Of course, my first reaction was to say, “No way. That is not possible. How is that possible when I have no diabetes in my family, when I have no heart disease?” My blood pressure was excellent. It still is excellent. However, my sugar levels were through the roof.
The doctor indicated that if I continued, I had a chance of my pancreas getting worse. I would have to take insulin, and so on and so forth. The doctor diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes—not type 1, of course, which is juvenile diabetes—and put me on a pill, Metformin, which is the standard thing they start a diabetes patient on. I told the doctor I did not want to take pharmaceuticals if I did not have to and asked if there was a way for me to do something about it.
He indicated that it was possible—not likely, but possible—that if I lost weight and exercised regularly, I might be able to get off Metformin.
I took his advice. I started exercising again. I set a goal for myself to run a marathon in every province; I have run six. I just ran one this past weekend, in Victoria, British Columbia. I do not advise everyone that they have to run marathons to get healthy, but I have taken on that task. I eat better, I have lost weight, and I am not on Metformin anymore. It has been about a year.
What woke me up to this issue is that I really did not pay attention. I have two daughters who are athletes. One is on a sports scholarship at a university in the United States. The other plays competitive volleyball. They are both in very good shape. Obesity and diabetes were never an issue around our house. All of a sudden there was something there.
I started thinking that if it could happen to me, what about everybody else? I started looking around and talking to different individuals and organizations about what is happening. In that time frame, even the United States had announced that obesity was actually a disease and that if it did not get on top of it, it would become a real health care issue for them.
Based on the motion, I have broken it down into three pieces. This is just to get people to think about where we are going from a health perspective.
The first part of the motion is to recognize the long-term health risks and costs of obesity. I can put a lot of statistics out there and talk about the costs of obesity and the like. However, it is just common sense. If people are not healthy, they will be using the system. There is no magic to it or statistician's formula. I am always a little nervous about statisticians. If I give my friend a dollar today and a dollar tomorrow, there is a 100% increase yet it is still only a dollar, so one has to be careful with that.
The reality is that if we look around at what we are eating and what we are doing in terms of being healthy, there will be a long-term cost to our health care system. Members may not like the way I put this but at the federal level health care is writing cheques to the provinces that deliver the actual health care. That is a lot of pressure, not necessarily on the federal system but on the provincial system. In general, we need to worry about the costs with respect to health care.
We also need to worry about the health risks. It is claimed, and I hope it is not true, that we might be the last generation with the ability to outlive our children. Imagine a generation that is unable to outlive its children. That is just not right and not what I think should happen. However, if we do not do something in terms of looking after our health, that is an actual and real possibility. I do not think that is something we want.
The second part of the motion is about supporting the promotion of health and healthy living, not just financially but in other ways. There are a number of great organizations. Some are not for profit and others are for profit. I have no issue with that. I just want to highlight a couple.
There are organizations that are oriented toward health issues. For me, the Diabetes Association has been fantastic. It provided me with a lot of information about what diabetes was, what I could do about it and the two different types. There is the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the lung associations. There are a number of organizations that do great work.
My motion asks that all levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal, continue to support those organizations in their efforts. That does not necessarily mean we have to write them a cheque. Rather, it means going to their events and supporting their efforts in the communities. If one has a neighbour or friend who is running in a marathon, which I do, in support of diabetes, support that individual. Those groups are doing great work in their areas of expertise and are important in terms of not only helping those with the disease or health issue they are dealing with but at promoting awareness and education and they need to do that.
Another organization, which I am very excited about and which the Government of Canada has supported, is ParticipACTION. I am a keen supporter of organizations that get people moving and healthy. It does not have to be running. It can be karate. It can be whatever activity one wants to do. I want to encourage people to take advantage of what these organizations do. We do not have to be experts at whatever we are doing.
I ran my marathon this weekend in four hours and 42 minutes. The gentleman sitting beside me in the plane coming back ran it in two hours and 19 minutes. I was exactly halfway when he was finished. We have to just get out there and get involved. If members could, I want them to encourage neighbours, friends and communities. Whatever is happening in a community, if members of Parliament could, they should help support those organizations.
There are for-profit organizations that are helpful, and I'll use the Weight Watchers organization as an example. I think it is an excellent organization. I have not personally used it. I lost my 25 or 30 pounds basically by eating less and not drinking Coke, which I miss. However, people do need help and there are organizations that will help and they are doing a great job.
Another organization in my community that has recognized this issue is Big Brothers Big Sisters. It has a program for the clients they serve, the young people, because youth is a big issue. If we do not convince youth to take care of themselves both by eating healthily and keeping physically fit, there will be a problem. Big Brothers Big Sisters has a program for those young people to make sure they understand what good health is, what good fitness is and what good eating is. I applaud its efforts.
As I mentioned before, one of my daughters goes to school in Indiana and she is in an education program. It was interesting to hear this past week that in one of the courses she takes, which talks about introducing healthy eating and activity into the classroom, it used Canada as an example of how it is done well. I am very supportive of our education system, and I think it does a good job, but we need to continue to support it to make sure physical activity does not leave the curriculum of our Canadian school children, particularly those at a young age, and ensure that other things do not ease it out, being more of a priority. Health is a priority and we need to teach young folks that piece.
The last piece I have to talk about is the public health priority. I think it is fair to say that the public health policy here at the federal level has been somewhat lacking in the obesity and fitness area over the last number of years. It just has not made it to the top as a priority piece. I am hopeful that will change under our government and with the support of all members.
If members look at the throne speech from yesterday, under safeguarding families and communities, they will see that the government will also work with provinces, territories and not-for-profit sectors to encourage young Canadians to be more physically active. I did not know that would be in the speech. I have had this motion in front of the House for a while, because it kept getting bumped for other private member's motions that I felt were of higher priority in terms of timing. So this was a very pleasant surprise for me, and as a member of Parliament, I am going to use it to encourage my government to be proactive in making sure we meet the mandate we have put in this throne speech over the next number of years.
I thank members for their attention and for their attention to their own health and their family's health. I would be happy to answer any questions.
- MPconOct 17, 2013 2:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I hope my colleague on the other side can explain to this side of the House why the Liberals are so confused about prorogation.
Let me just go through it. The 37th Parliament, which was a majority with Chrétien and Martin, had three sessions and two prorogations. The 36th Parliament, which was a majority with Chrétien, had two sessions and one prorogation. The 35th Parliament, which was a majority with Chrétien, had two sessions and one prorogation.
Let us go to Trudeau. The 32nd Parliament, the Trudeau-Turner majority, had two sessions and one prorogation. The 30th Parliament, with a Trudeau majority, had four sessions and three prorogations.
I could go on and on. It is a process that has happened year after year in this House. Why is the Liberal Party claiming we did something that is not normal? Do the Liberals not understand Canada's history? Do they not understand how it works around here?
- MPconOct 17, 2013 12:00 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, for too long the voices of victims have been silenced while the system, and yes, that includes the Liberals and the NDP, coddled criminals. The opposition even opposed us repealing Pierre Trudeau's faint hope clause which gave murderers a shot at an early parole.
Will the minister explain our upcoming agenda to support and protect Canadian families?
- MPconOct 17, 2013 9:55 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, there were two parts of the hon. member's speech. The end of the speech was about trust and having Canadians trust what is going to be done for them, and as an opposition leader should do, the member criticized the government's plans. However, the only plan we have heard from the third party is that the member would legalize drugs.
Were there any economic plans he would like to share, and build trust with Canadians, that he has developed? Are we waiting? What are we waiting for, or do the Liberals just not have any?
- MPconOct 17, 2013 7:10 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition here signed by a large number of constituents of mine from the Roman Catholic faith who were upset and appalled by the CBC program This Hour Has 22 Minutes when it made fun of the sacrament of Holy Communion, which they found to be a very objectionable and disrespectful attack on their faith. I would like to put that on the table.
- MPconJun 18, 2013 4:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague in the Conservative Party, who is a very good member of the justice committee. I mentioned that to make sure people know that just because he sits on that side of the House it does not mean he is not a Conservative. In fact, he is more Conservative than many of us on this side of the House.
The member is good at reading legislation placed in front of a committee and challenging witnesses on statements. Why is it important to have the facts in front of witnesses, or a member of Parliament, when dealing with a legislative committee like the justice committee?
- MPconJun 18, 2013 9:30 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, there has been consultation among the parties and I believe it is possible that you could find unanimous consent for the following motion:
That Bill S-15, an act to amend the Canada National Parks Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, be taken up at the report stage later today.
- MPconJun 17, 2013 8:50 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I found one of my hon. colleague's comments interesting. Maybe the member is not aware, so I would like to bring his to attention this. It was the discussion about medical experts and having them comment. The review panels at present are composed of three members, and one of them is a judge and not a medical expert. There was an amendment put forward that the committee did not accept because it would have limited the panel to medical experts only. However, the review panels already have judicial expertise on them.
Based on the presentation tonight, is the member recommending that those voices not be heard and that, for example, there would be changes to the review panels so they would consist of all medical experts and no longer have judicial representation on them?
- MPconJun 17, 2013 8:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for attending those meetings and for bringing forward amendments. I also thank her for her professionalism at committee.
The fact is that the minister came to committee and talked about consultation. There was consultation across this country with every provincial government of every stripe, and the discussion was that we needed to move forward on this high-risk designation.
We as a Conservative government like to take action. We like to move forward. We like to make decisions on what we should be doing and address whatever problem comes to our attention. In this case, there have been a number of issues across this country with respect to those who have been found NCR committing brutal, serious, personal criminal offences. We consulted with the provinces and with those in the business of prosecuting those offences. We asked what solutions they would like to see come forward in terms of changes to the legislation. Consultation was done, as the minister put forward, and that is why this bill is here today. We heard over and over again from victims at committee that we should pass this legislation as soon as possible.
- MPconJun 17, 2013 8:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things in this legislation for victims, including one of the amendments that was brought forward by the New Democratic Party, which we unanimously accepted.
The amendment included a notification, if a victim asked to be notified, of where someone with a high-risk NCR designation would be living afterwards.
There is notification of when that discharge would happen. There are non-communication changes so that victims do not have to run into or have communication with someone who has a high-risk designation. We are ensuring the safety of victims.
One area I heard mentioned over and over again as I was chairing the justice committee was the review board. Every year victims go and listen to the review board's recommendations. They listen to the discussion and the evidence. They have to relive their victimization. They have to relive the serious offence that happened to them or their family.
This legislation allows for a longer-term period of healing for those victimized families.
1 2 3 4 5 6