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            • MPlibblog Scott Brison 211 post Business of Supply

              Mr. Speaker, the member and his government are very much out of touch with the economic reality faced by Canadians and the challenges faced by Canadian families across the country and in his riding of Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley.

              He said that 1.2 million new jobs have been created since 2008. He is ignoring the fact that the working age population in Canada, the number of people eligible to work in Canada, has increased by two million. We have had stagnant economic growth and flatlined job growth in terms of good-quality jobs.

              Is the member aware that in his own riding, which is part of the north region of Nova Scotia, there have been 6,700 net jobs lost since 2008? Sixty-three hundred of those jobs were full-time jobs. If he is not aware of that, why does he not have a better idea of what is going on in terms of the challenges faced by families in his own riding? If he is aware of it, how can he stand and boast about his government's record, when people in his own riding are struggling because they have lost full-time work and are trying to pay their bills on part-time jobs?

              • MPconblog Colin Carrie 157 post Taxation

                Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the Liberal leader would raise taxes on them, making life more expensive for families. Last month, prospective Liberal candidate, Bill Casey, confirmed that the Liberal leader would raise taxes for families and cut programs to pay for the Liberals' costly schemes. This is the same Bill Casey who once upon a time said, “federal surplus money should go back to Canadians in the form of meaningful tax cuts for families...”. Voters will see right past this opportunistic stunt by Casey to further his personal vendetta.

                The people of Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley know that they can count on their Conservative member and this Prime Minister to lower taxes and stand up for Canadian families.

                • MPconblog Colin Carrie 124 post Canadian Heritage

                  Mr. Speaker, this issue has been brought to our attention by the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley before. The House should know that our government is committed to protecting Beaubassin and presenting this unique part of our shared Canadian heritage to visitors from within Canada and around the world.

                  In fact, our government met with stakeholders last month to present plans for development of a vista, a view park area, trails, interpretation signs, a shelter, commemorative plaques and monuments, and an accessible parking area. These participants applauded Parks Canada's engagement in taking steps to present the exceptional history of the—

                  • MPlibblog Geoff Regan 95 post Canadian Heritage

                    Mr. Speaker, when I asked the environment minister to support the 17th century Acadian village of Beaubassin in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, her response was pure nonsense.

                    Obviously the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley has never complained about work stopping at Beaubassin three years ago, so I again ask if the minister will ensure that funding is provided to properly promote this incredible Acadian site in time for Canada's 150th anniversary.

                    • MPnews news Harper Government Creating Opportunities for Canadians to Connect with ... - DigitalJournal.com
                      AMHERST, NS, Nov. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Scott Armstrong, Member of Parliament for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, announced today that the Government of Canada is improving public access to Chignecto National Wildlife Area (NWA).and more » read more
                      Nov 14, 2014 1:52 pm> |
                      • MPnews news Harper Government Creating Opportunities for Canadians to Connect with ... - Canada NewsWire (press release)
                        AMHERST, NS, Nov. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Scott Armstrong, Member of Parliament for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, announced today that the Government of Canada is improving public access to Chignecto National Wildlife Area (NWA). read more
                        Nov 14, 2014 1:50 pm> |
                        • MPndpblog ChrisCharltonMP 1818 post Canada Pension Plan

                          Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to participate in the discussion of private member's Bill C-591, An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Act (pension and benefits).

                          I have listened with great interest to the rhetorical flourishes of the Conservative members who have debated this bill so far. The member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley said his government “always puts victims first”.

                          Not to be outdone, the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo said:

                          It is clear that our Conservative government continues to stand up for the rights of victims and that Canadians can count on us to deliver results.

                          Quite the chest-thumping by a party that is trying desperately to persuade Canadians that it is only party that is tough on crime.

                          The only problem is that this bill did not actually originate with them. This is decidedly not a Conservative bill. On the contrary, it is a watered-down version of a bill that was first introduced in this House as far back as June 2010, and which was then reintroduced in this current Parliament on June 9, 2011.

                          How can I be so certain of that chronology? It is because, in fact, it is my bill. I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and as New Democrats we are certainly used to governments stealing our ideas and implementing them. However, when the Liberals did it with respect to medicare and pensions, they at least did not have the audacity to claim these ideas as their own. That is why everyone knows it was J. S. Woodsworth who gave Canadians their old age pensions and Tommy Douglas who brought us medicare.

                          However, the Conservatives have made this place so hyperpartisan that they cannot even acknowledge in passing that this bill had its genesis across the aisle. It is mind-boggling, unless of course they were fearful that by referencing my bill, they would draw attention to the differences between our two legislative initiatives and that theirs would then be found to come up short, and indeed it would. Let me explain.

                          At the heart of both my bill and the bill now being put forward by the member for Chatham-Kent—Essex is the principle that criminals should not be able to profit from their crimes.

                          I had assumed that this principle would be firmly enshrined in the eligibility criteria for government benefit programs. Members may imagine my surprise then when I received the following correspondence.

                          I have a relative who killed his wife, served very little time for manslaughter, and is (and has been) collecting CPP survivor benefits for over 10 years. Since 1-2 women per week die at the hands of their partners, how many more men are collecting this? How is this legal?

                          I researched the file to verify that this could really happen and learned that there is no legal prohibition that prevents people who have been convicted of spousal homicide from collecting either the death benefit or the survivor pension. Clearly that is a loophole that must be closed.

                          My bill set out to do precisely that. It would have amended the Canada pension plan to prohibit the payment of a survivor's pension, orphan's benefit, or death benefit to a survivor or orphan of a deceased contributor if the survivor or orphan has been convicted of the murder or manslaughter of the deceased contributor.

                          Now I want to draw attention to that last line. My bill would have prohibited anyone from benefiting from both murder and manslaughter. That is something the Conservative bill we are debating here today does not do. Yes, if someone is convicted of first or second degree murder, that person will no longer be entitled to collect survivor pension benefits; however, if someone commits manslaughter, that person can merrily continue to collect.

                          Really? How is that fair? How is that putting victims first? I cannot imagine that this would pass the nod test for anyone who is watching this debate, either here in the House today or on their TVs.

                          It sure does not pass the nod test for Susan Fetterkind. Susan is a woman from British Columbia whose father killed her mother. He stabbed her multiple times and then went on to collect pension survivor benefits for 28 years, until his death.

                          I have been on numerous radio and TV shows with Susan, and she has just one message:

                          The government is enabling killers to profit from murdering their spouse. You're not supposed to be able to profit from murdering somebody.

                          Ostensibly, the Conservative MPs want people to believe that they agree, so we would think that Susan would be happy with the legislation that is before this House today. We would be wrong.

                          Here is what she had to say about the bill being brought forward by the member for Chatham-Kent—Essex:

                          His bill mentions first and second degree murder but it does not mention manslaughter. My father did a plea bargain and he was convicted of manslaughter.

                          Therein lies the rub. Whereas my bill covers first and second degree murder as well as manslaughter, Bill C-591 does not include manslaughter as a reason for revoking pension entitlements.

                          This creates a huge policy gap, especially when we consider that the largest proportion of family-related homicides are spousal murders and that a great number of those result in a plea bargain to reduce conviction of manslaughter.

                          Do we really want to legislate a system wherein a person who is convicted of murder cannot collect pension benefits, but if he manages to have the charge plea bargained down to manslaughter then it is fine for him to collect? This is a loophole that must be closed. This is an area that my NDP colleagues and I are determined to redress when the bill gets to committee.

                          I know that more than one person will have picked up on the fact that I said “he” can still collect after committing manslaughter. I know that will generate some heated feedback from those who think I am promoting sexist stereotypes. Let me be clear: all violence is unacceptable. However, here is the reality. About half, 49%, of all female murder victims in Canada were killed by a former or current intimate partner. In contrast, only 7% of male murder victims were killed by intimate partners. That is why this issue is of critical importance to women's groups from across our country, and why I was proud to get support for my bill from the Woman Abuse Working Group's action committee in my hometown of Hamilton.

                          All of us in the women's movement, and in the NDP caucus, would prefer if instead of just dealing with the consequences of violence against women, we turned our attention in a systemic way to preventing intimate partner violence in the first place. It is not like we do not know what needs to be done. There have been gazillions of studies, with detailed recommendations, about how to reduce the rates of violence against women and how to protect vulnerable women. However, appallingly, we have a Conservative government that simply refuses to act.

                          All of the evidence shows that violence against women and children increases during times of economic crisis, which should suggest the need for an urgent increase in services. Instead, we have a federal government that has been single-minded in its purposeful gutting of financial resources for the most meaningful community supports. Cuts to social services, housing, child care, social assistance, shelters, and legal aid all contribute to diminishing the independence of women and making them more vulnerable to violence. It does not need to be that way, and it should not be that way. But when a government is intent on being tough on crime instead of being smart on crime, we end up dealing only with the symptoms and never the cause.

                          My NDP colleagues and I are committed to dealing with both. We will support the bill that is before us today, Bill C-591, and we will work to improve it in committee, by making sure it does not just cover first and second degree murder but manslaughter as well.

                          We will also fight to eradicate the root causes of domestic violence and continue to push for the passage of our Motion No. M-444, which calls on the federal government to establish a coordinated national action plan to address violence against women. The Conservatives have happily adopted my bill as its own. I would encourage them to steal Motion No. M-444 too.

                          New Democrats are secure in the knowledge that ours are still the only policies worth stealing. If the Conservatives need to be able to claim those ideas as their own in order for them to take action, then I say to my colleagues on the other side of the House, by all means, fill your boots. I have a number of other private member's bills on the order paper. Let us work together to get them passed too. I can assure members opposite that they are as meritorious as the one they stole here today.

                          • MPlibblog Rodger Cuzner 189 post Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act

                            Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciated the comments put forward by my colleague from the NDP.

                            The government has maintained that the proposed legislation is in compliance and satisfies the Supreme Court Bedford ruling. A lot of people do not agree with the government in that case.

                            When the Conservative member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley was speaking to some party faithful in Parrsboro just last week, he said the Conservatives will not put up with the Supreme Court decision. This was the comment he shared, which no doubt was a little home cooking for the base. However, he went on to say, “We don't care what the constitutional lawyers say”.

                            Does this sort of peel back the veil on what has been put forward by the government? Does my colleague believe that this peels back the veil and tells us what the legislation is really all about, which is to appease the Conservative base?

                            • MPconblog rodneywestonsj 1590 post Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1

                              Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand and speak tonight in support of this bill.

                              Before I start, I want to take a moment to mention that there is a dangerous situation unfolding as we speak here tonight in the city of Moncton in New Brunswick, my home province. I just want to let the people of Moncton know that they are definitely in our thoughts and prayers this evening. I ask that they listen to the authorities and stay inside and stay safe until the situation is over. Thank you for the opportunity to say that, Mr. Speaker.

                              I want to echo the words of my colleague from Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley when he paid homage to our good friend and former colleague, the Hon. Jim Flaherty, because what we are talking about tonight are the fruits of the former minister's labour.

                              He worked very hard over his time as Minister of Finance to bring us back to balance. This budget, this economic action plan 2014, puts us squarely on track for returning to balance. It does exactly what the minister set out to do. I am very pleased to be able to stand here tonight to speak to this bill, because it speaks very firmly to what is so important to my riding.

                              I truly believe that all politics are local. That is why, when I speak about this bill this evening, I want to speak to how it impacts my riding and my province and what it will do to enable our province to take advantage of the opportunities that are there in front of us today. I say this because the Province of New Brunswick, not unlike a lot of other provinces, has been having a rough time, to be frank. Our fiscal situation and fiscal outlook have not been very rosy.

                              This budget does exactly what it should be doing: it respects the provinces, it does not cut transfers, and it does not try to bring the budget back to balance in the same way that previous governments did. It does not do that. It does not balance the budget on the backs of the provinces. It respects the provinces for what they have to do. It respects the taxpayer. It respects Canadians. That is what is important. It is important that we do that.

                              It is not just words that I am echoing here tonight. Our government has been solid on respect for the provinces and on growing the transfers to the provinces. To a province like New Brunswick, those transfers are very important. In this fiscal year, those transfers will total $2.6 billion for the Province of New Brunswick. Of that $2.6 billion, $1.7 billion will be through equalization. There will be $682 million under the Canada health transfer and $267 million will be through the Canada social transfer. Those dollars are extremely important, and those dollars have been increasing over the life of our government.

                              Since 2006, our government has increased those numbers. In equalization alone, those numbers have increased by 24%. In health, they have increased by 37%, and for the Canada social transfer, they have increased by 26% since 2006. That is important.

                              I talk about these numbers and about how important they are because I have a background with the Province of New Brunswick, which many members in this House have heard me speak about different times. I was a provincial member of the legislative assembly. I know how important these transfers are and I know what they do for the work that the province does on an ongoing basis.

                              The fact that we have been able to bring our budget back to balance without doing it on the backs of the provinces is laudable. We have done it by providing tax relief to Canadians and we have done it by providing new investments to provinces such as New Brunswick. Those new investments are very important, and that tax relief is so important to a province like New Brunswick.

                              As I said, our fiscal outlook is not very good. Our fiscal situation is rough, although there are some good signs on the horizon. There are some good things happening in New Brunswick. There are some real opportunities, and this budget allows us to take advantage of those opportunities. There are opportunities out there, such as our resource sector, which remains undeveloped for the most part. We talk about a resource sector that is just waiting for us to develop it.

                              I talk about shale gas development. I talk about potash. I talk about some of the things we have within my own city. I talk about the port and the opportunities that lie with the pipeline from western Canada. That energy east pipeline will come to Saint John, New Brunswick. Something that puts us in an enviable position is our deepwater ice-free port. Not only do we have a deepwater ice-free port, but we have the largest refinery in North America, and we are anxious to see the pipeline come to Saint John, New Brunswick, so that we can support and grow our industry and take advantage of some of those opportunities.

                              I talk about having the largest refinery in North America. I talk about our ice-free deepwater port, but we also have an LNG terminal that is anxious to transform itself from an import LNG terminal to an export terminal. Those opportunities come from the fact that we have this port.

                              The market is craving energy, and the people of New Brunswick have been waiting for some time to see their economy transformed. We have been waiting to see this happen. Unlike most New Brunswickers, I was born there, I was raised there, and I have watched a lot of my friends and relatives have to leave there for the opportunities that are sitting on our doorstep. They have to leave our province. Many of them go to western Canada. Many of them go to Newfoundland on a weekly basis.

                              I travel here to take my seat in the House of Commons to represent the people of my riding. I sit on airplanes with many people leaving my city and province to go to Newfoundland or western Canada as they look for opportunities. Those opportunities are right there at home for those people; we just need to take advantage of them.

                              The economic action plan gives us the tools to be able to take advantage of those opportunities. It invests in job creation. It gives us the opportunity to develop the skills and develop the workforce. Through the Canada job grant, we will be able to work with the provinces to develop our workforce so that when these opportunities come forward, people will be able to take full advantage of them.

                              We talk a lot in the House about temporary foreign workers. We have to bring temporary foreign workers into New Brunswick, and one might wonder why. It is because a lot of our trained workforce has left the province and there are situations that need temporary foreign workers, but we want to see our people come back home. We want to work with the province to bring our citizens back to New Brunswick to take advantage of these opportunities. They want to come back to do the same thing they are travelling west to do, the same thing they are travelling to Newfoundland to do: they want to develop our natural resources, and they want to do it at home. They want to contribute to the economy. They want to see their families, and there is nothing wrong with that.

                              We want to give them the opportunity. We want to give them the ability to do that. It is so important for this budget to move forward so that we will be able to do those things. We have to have a strong economy in the province. We have to have the tools in place to do it, and this government has done that through economic action plan 2014.

                              We provided funding of $28 million over the next two years to ensure that the National Energy Board review process goes smoothly. It is important that we put our money where these opportunities lie. There are many opportunities out there. We have supported these things and we want to see them move forward.

                              I could talk for quite some time on the budget and what it means to the people of New Brunswick and to the people of Saint John. Most of all it means that we will have the opportunity and the ability and the tools to take advantage of what lies in front of us, and that is all we are asking for.

                              We are asking for the chance to do that. We want members of the House to help support us and give us the ability to do that.

                                • MPndpblog Megan Leslie 3573 post Privilege

                                  Mr. Speaker, the third little spot in a row to stand up and talk about this point does not exactly scream diversity, does it?

                                  Earlier, I asked my colleague from Welland a question. As I mentioned, I hoped that I would have a longer period of time because I want to get this out. I want to air this.

                                  What we are talking about here, is my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley moved that there be a prima facie finding of contempt. The Speaker found that the matter merited further consideration by the appropriate committee. We have a motion. We have a decision. The Speaker then invited the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley to move the traditional motion. That is what happened. The Speaker is referring this issue to committee.

                                  I have found it very curious, over the past day and a half, that Conservative members have stood up in the House and by the way they are arguing and presenting the “facts”, which I will put in air quotes, it sounds like they are disagreeing with the Speaker. They are saying that it is not contempt. It was not to mislead. I just heard the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley say that he believed the member meant this, and that he believed that the member did not mean that.

                                  It sounds to me like they are disagreeing with the ruling of the Speaker to send this to committee. I have not understood this argument. I have not understood how or why they would bring this forward.

                                  However, now it is starting to become clear. Procedurally, I did not understand that it was possible to vote against the Speaker's ruling, but I now understand that this is exactly what we have here.

                                  We live in a day and age where communication is instant. I can read media reports well before the newspapers are printed the next day. I will read from a Globe and Mail article by Josh Wingrove. The first paragraph says:

                                  The Conservative government is signaling it will vote down a motion to study whether one of its MPs misled the House of Commons, rejecting a finding by the Speaker that the issue deserves a closer look if only to “clear the air.”

                                  That was my "ahah" moment. Maybe I am slower to get to it than others, but the Conservative government is going to vote against this. That is unbelievable to me.

                                  We have a spokeswoman from the whip's office saying that all of the facts are known on the issue, so there is nothing for a committee to study, and there is little to be gained by sending the issue to committee. There is also a quote from the government House leader, who said:

                                  The question you have to ask is if that is actually going to serve any utility? There’s really no dispute...Certainly, one cannot picture anything that will come of great utility from further discussion of the matter.

                                  They are going to vote against this. I find that pretty unbelievable.

                                  First of all, I heard my colleague from Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley say he believed that this is what the member meant and he believed that the member did not mean to mislead us. If he believes it, how about we have it aired out? How about we actually talk about it and figure out what is going on? Why did he make these statements? What was the intention here?

                                  Let us go back to what the Speaker said:

                                  ...the fact remains that the House continues to be seized of completely contradictory statements. This is a difficult position in which to leave members who must be able to depend on the integrity of the information with which they are provided to perform their parliamentary duties.

                                  Those are not very many words. They are two sentences, but those two sentences have a lot of weight. Members “must be able to depend on the integrity of the information with which they are provided to perform their parliamentary duties”. Parliamentary duties. Parlement. We are here. This is a place where we use words, where we talk, and where we have debate. It is a place of words.

                                  I know that in the U.K., where our parliamentary tradition comes from, there is no paper. It is all in the spoken word. We are nothing but our words. We are nothing but our integrity and our words. Parlement.

                                  We have a situation here where someone has diminished not only their own integrity but also the integrity of Parlement, of Parliament, and the ability for us to rely on our words, put weight on them, and believe in them.

                                  I think that the Speaker made the right ruling and I do not know how the vote is going to turn out. Maybe there will be some rogue MPs on the Conservative side, but it looks like they are going to vote it down, and I find that truly outrageous.

                                  There is another thing that I find truly outrageous. I am at what I perceive to be the end of the debate. I was here yesterday at the beginning of the debate. I heard the Speaker's ruling and then the response from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. If the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is speaking, I would take that to be the words of government. That is not an individual private member speaking on a private member's motion; that is the word of government.

                                  I was sitting in this very chair and I could barely stand to listen to the argument put forward. I have a lot of respect for the parliamentary secretary, I think he is a good guy, but the arguments he was putting forward were really sending me pretty close to the edge. There was one point in the debate where, I do not know if you noticed, Mr. Speaker, I actually threw up my arms and screamed. I do not see it recorded in Hansard, but it happened, because I was overcome with how preposterous the argument was that the parliamentary secretary was putting forward.

                                  Now I have the opportunity to dissect the argument he was putting forward and I have been looking forward to this. He started by saying the following:

                                  A few things have been said this afternoon that I think have not been accurate, and I want to try to set the record straight.

                                  That is a good goal, but did he actually set the record straight? I do not think so, because he went on to say:

                                  The other thing I want to point out, and I do not think it really needs to be pointed out to members, particularly any member who has been here for any length of time...there are opportunities when all members, and I emphasize all members, tend to torque their language a bit, perhaps to embellish or to exaggerate. Is that something we should encourage? Certainly not. Does it happen regularly? Yes, it does.

                                  He talked about torquing language, embellishing, exaggerating, and asked whether it is something we should encourage, “I have exaggerated, I will stand here in the House of Commons and admit that I have exaggerated”, but let us look at what the member for Mississauga—Streetsville said:

                                  I have actually witnessed other people picking up the voter cards, going to the campaign office of whatever candidate they support and handing out these voter cards to other individuals, who then—

                                  Maybe he can see through walls:

                                  —walk into voting stations with friends who vouch for them with no ID.

                                  He states again, referring to the minister:

                                  I will relate to him something I have actually seen.

                                  This is not exaggeration, this is not torquing, this is not embellishing. This is saying something that did not actually happen.

                                  I will go back to the parliamentary secretary's speech. He went on to state:

                                  I am suggesting that this happens perhaps all too routinely in this place, but should it then be considered contempt? My friend opposite continues to make the point that it was contempt. Again, that is simply not accurate. The Speaker has merely referred this to committee for an examination.

                                  I am going to go back to what the Speaker said. He stated:

                                  ...the fact remains that the House continues to be seized of completely contradictory statements. This is a difficult position in which to leave members, who must be able to depend on the integrity of the information with which they are provided to perform their parliamentary duties.

                                  Members should get ready because I am going to be going back to these two quotes a lot. The parliamentary secretary continued:

                                  The problem we now have before us is that because the member for Mississauga—Streetsville came back to this place and corrected the record, he is now facing possible sanction

                                  That is not the problem we have here. The problem is not that this guy might get his wrist slapped. The problem is that he stood up in the House, not once but twice, and said, “I have actually witnessed people doing these actions”. It is unbelievable.

                                  The parliamentary secretary went on to state:

                                  What the consequence or the net result of this may be is that the truth begins to be pushed underground.

                                  What? How is the truth being pushed underground when the statements were not based on truth?

                                  If somebody comes in and says “I did not actually see that”, how are we pushing truth underground by actually exposing it to light? How would we be pushing truth underground by actually referring this to committee and saying “Hey, member for Mississauga—Streetsville, what happened here? Why don't you tell us in your own words? Were you all excited about things? Did you want to contribute to the debate? Did you want to catch the eye of the Prime Minister?”

                                  We actually have to have this discussion at committee. I do not think the truth is being pushed underground at all.

                                  The parliamentary secretary then goes on, but there is so much material to work with that I am going to go to a point further on in his debate.

                                  He says:

                                  Since the Chair has not found the member to have lied, even though my colleagues opposite keep trying to tell that tale, they perhaps should stand up and set the record straight, because the Chair did not find the member for Mississauga—Streetsville to have deliberately misled this House

                                  In other words, he did not find that he had lied, merely that the committee should take an examination and try to clarify the comments surrounding the member's statements of February 6.

                                  I will go back to the piece of paper in my hand. The Speaker found that there were contradictory statements, and I do not think we can put enough emphasis on the fact that we have nothing but our integrity and the words that we say in this House. Our laws are created based on Parliament, on the fact that we get to stand here and speak and use our words and tell our stories from our ridings. One would hope that those stories were actually true.

                                  The parliamentary secretary then went on to say:

                                  While I know the opposition wants to convince Canadians that there is some nefarious reason behind the comments of my colleague from Mississauga—Streetsville, I would purport to you and everyone else in this place that he merely did what so many of us have done previously: in the heat of debate, he had simply gone overboard.

                                  Mr. Speaker, you have heard me admit to exaggeration. I am sure that, under duress maybe, most of us in this House would admit to exaggeration, but we are not talking about being in the heat of debate and simply going overboard. This is not the heat of debate. I am looking at the quotes from the member for Mississauga—Streetsville. This is not a vigorous back-and-forth. This is not a moment in which all of a sudden someone says, “Oops, I didn't mean to say it that way.” This is two interventions, and I will repeat the words.

                                  I have actually witnessed other people....

                                  It was not even something like “This could happen, and, like, I have seen some folks picking up the cards, and maybe this happened.” He said, “I have actually witnessed other people picking up the voter cards”. He said, “I will relate to him something I have actually seen.” This is not the heat of debate. This is not a bit of an exaggeration. This is saying something that was not based on fact.

                                  The member admitted it was untrue. I cannot get over the arguments put forward by government that this is just about a bit of torquing, a bit of exaggeration. The Conservative members are saying that if they exaggerate, they should not be punished for exaggeration.

                                  First of all, it is not an exaggeration. Second, we are not actually talking about punishment. I do not believe that the Speaker, and I have his words here, said “And therefore, we send this man to committee to be punished”. No, not at all. He said we actually have to send this to committee. What we are doing is we are sending it to committee.

                                  The Speaker does have a line in there about at least clearing the air. The member for Mississauga—Streetsville stands up, he says that he did not mean to say what he said, he wanted to set the record straight, and then nothing more. There is no more.

                                  This is what we do. We get to the bottom of things. We air things out at committee. Sometimes we travel. Sometimes we hear from Canadians. Sometimes we hear from expert witnesses. In this case, we have to hear from the person himself who actually said these statements. We need to know why, what was going through his mind, and what was happening here.

                                  The line that made me throw up my hands in exasperation was, “Would I like to see everything said in this place said in a reasoned, sensible manner, devoid of the partisanship that we see all too often?”.

                                  I am going to skip to a little later to where the partisan piece came up in his speech again:

                                  Opposition parties are trying to score some political points here, and I do not begrudge them that. It is what opposition parties do. They opposed Bill C-23, the fair elections act. We understand that. We understand that they are trying to do everything in their power to delay, obstruct, or perhaps even kill that piece of legislation. I get that. However, that is what I believe is truly behind the motion we are debating today.

                                  Really? Then I think the Speaker would have probably seen through that. If the Speaker thought that this was just to delay, I hardly think he would have found this to be a prima facie case.

                                  I want to go back to the scoring of political points, that we would like to see things devoid of the partisanship that we see all too often. The opposite is true here. If we look at the statements that the member for Mississauga—Streetsville made, that is the example of what the parliamentary secretary is talking about. Those statements are an example of someone trying to score political points. Those statements are an example of the partisanship that we see all too often.

                                  The member was trying to score political points, saying things that were not true to support a position after the fact. If we want to talk partisanship, if we want to talk political points, I think we should go back to these statements: “I have actually witnessed other people picking up the voter cards..”.

                                  Why would he say that? Was it being said to cause mischief, to validate the Conservatives' points after the fact, instead of having a hearing on whether we need changes to the Elections Act?

                                  I will finish with the parliamentary secretary saying the following:

                                  In conclusion, I agree, and I believe my colleague the member for Mississauga—Streetsville would also agree, that if one does not speak accurately in this place, records should be corrected. If one does not speak with accuracy on any point, whether it be legislation or during debate, it should not be tolerated. However, when is it right to punish someone for correcting the record? When does one become a victim for speaking what one needed to say, which was to correct the record?

                                  Oh, so the member for Mississauga—Streetsville is a victim here. Right. The big, bad opposition is ganging up and punishing him. Give me a break. That is the wickedest twisting of words that I have seen in some time.

                                  I believe that the Speaker was right in his ruling. I think we need to have an airing out of this. We need to understand what the member was doing. I do not think he was a victim. I do not think we are trying to punish. I think we are trying to get to the bottom of something in Parliament, where we use our words to talk about these issues, to debate these issues, and to represent Canadians.

                                  • MPlibblog Joyce Murray 334 post Privilege

                                    Mr. Speaker, the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley just made a comment about what is really important, and claimed that it was about this bill and the voting cards. I would contend that what is really important is that Canadians can trust that members of Parliament in the House will not knowingly mislead other members for some ulterior purpose, that they will in fact tell the truth and that when they fail to tell the truth, they will apologize.

                                    The member has claimed that the member for Mississauga—Streetsville apologized. Does he consider an apology to be a statement that does not contain the words “apology” or “apologize” or “I am sorry”. I would like to read for the record the statement made by the member of Parliament for Mississauga—Streetsville on February 24, when he rose in this House. He said:

                                    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with respect to debate that took place on February 6 in this House regarding the fair elections act. I made a statement in the House during the debate that is not accurate. I just want to reflect the fact that I have not personally witnessed individuals retrieving voter notification cards from the garbage cans or from the mailbox areas of apartment buildings. I have not personally witnessed that activity and want the record to properly show that.

                                    I ask the member this: where in that statement is there an apology? And would he like to correct the record where he asserts that the member for Mississauga—Streetsville apologized, because otherwise he himself is showing a challenged relationship with the truth.

                                    • MPndpblog Peter Stoffer 3137 post Offshore Health and Safety Act

                                      Mr. Speaker, I would like to put on the record that I am wearing a tie tonight.

                                      I want to thank all the colleagues, but before I start I first want to say a little prayer and express thoughts for the 17 people who were killed in the terrible incident in March 2009 when the aircraft went down. Unfortunately, I guess sometimes it takes an accident for good things to happen. I want members of the government to know that the NDP will be supporting the bill at second reading, on the premise and in hope that the government will recognize that recommendation 29 is extremely important.

                                      To reiterate, section 29 would make the safety aspect of the board completely stand alone. The reality is that we cannot have the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board or the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board patrolling themselves when it comes to safety. We need to have someone who is independent, a firm that has the authority to go in and double-check all the safety standards, to ensure that the legislation and the laws of the land are being monitored and followed properly, and to also ensure that the regulatory board does what it does in terms of oil and gas exploration but that the safety aspects of that are done by an independent board. Mr. Wells' report was very important.

                                      The fact is that Bill C-5 is a culmination of over 12 years of negotiation, starting in 2001 between the federal government and the Provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. The proposed amendments to the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Atlantic accord implementation act aim to strengthen offshore health and safety practices in the oil and gas industry. Bill C-5 seeks to fill a legislative gap created by the 1992 amendments to the Atlantic accord that separated the health and safety issues, resulting in the provincial offshore petroleum regulatory agencies enforcing health and safety issues contained in draft regulations. Bill C-5 largely puts existing practices into legislation by placing authority and the fundamental principles of occupational health and safety within the accord acts. This is an important improvement to the offshore occupational health and safety regime that the NDP has been calling for in all relevant jurisdictions.

                                      Very clearly, in July 2011, in phase II of the inquiry's report, the Hon. Robert Wells wrote:

                                      The oversight role which I am recommending would not conflict with the roles of other regulators, but it would when necessary enhance other regulatory measures....

                                      Worldwide, the thinking and practices of safety have developed and changed greatly in the past quarter-century. In the C-NL offshore, it is time for a new and more comprehensive approach to offshore safety regulation.

                                      Bill C-5 fails to establish the options set out in recommendation 29 of the Wells report. The Newfoundland government stated that while discussions have been ongoing with the federal government on the implementation of recommendation 29, the federal government has not yet indicated any interest in establishing a separate safety agency. The NDP will remain firm and is steadfast in ensuring that the federal government and the provincial governments work together to ensure this independent, stand-alone safety aspect.

                                      We are not quite sure why the government would have been reluctant to put this in there, but there has to be a particular reason why and we would like to know why. We were hoping that when we support the legislation being sent to the committee these questions will be asked. I am glad to see that the Liberals and most members will be supporting it. Hopefully Robert Wells will be invited to reiterate as to why he felt this was such an important recommendation. As well, we are hoping that the committee members on both sides will ask, and maybe just once in a committee will be able to work together to change the Conservatives' mind on the legislation and put this very important aspect into being.

                                      While I am on my feet talking about the Canada-Newfoundland and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the accords, I cannot help but go back into a bit of the history of how the hon. member for Central Nova once said in the House of Commons that if somebody in his own party voted against the budget, they would not be kicked out of the caucus.

                                      As members know, there was quite a debate here in the House of Commons over the Atlantic accord in terms of whether there were gaps, whether there were caps to the accord, whether Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia were receiving all the benefits attributed to them from the offshore oil and gas sector. There was quite a heated debate going on in the House of Commons back and forth for quite some time.

                                      Mr. Bill Casey, the then hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, was quite adamant and correct in his opposition to the Conservatives' plan against that accord.

                                      I repeat, the reality is that the member for Central Nova said that they would not kick people out of their caucus who voted against the budget. Very shortly after that, the hon. Mr. Casey stood up in the House and voted against the government's budget when it came to the Atlantic accord. Before he even sat down, his computer was completely emptied and the accounts that he had with the riding association were done. That man was persona non grata before he even sat down in his chair after the vote. I remember the whip of the party at that time doing that.

                                      The fact is that we have to ask ourselves this. When it comes to the accord discussions, did the Conservatives say one thing and do another? It was a cabinet minister who said they would not kick people out of their caucus if they voted against the budget. That is what Mr. Casey did, and before he even sat down, he was toast. Everybody knows that if a politician is on the front page of the fold of any newspaper in the country in a positive light for six days in a row, he or she is cooking with gas. Actually, that is what we want.

                                      The problem with all of that was the discussion of the cap and whether we on the east coast were getting all of the benefits attributed to both provinces from the oil and gas sector that we thought we deserved.

                                      I personally want to thank Mr. Williams, the former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Dr. John Hamm, the former premier of Nova Scotia, for working with the Martin government to secure those additional monies, which I believe was almost $2 billion going to Newfoundland and Labrador and about $800 million going to Nova Scotia, that went toward paying down the respective debts and services within the provinces. That was a good thing. However, they should not have had to go cap in hand in order to do what is considered the right thing.

                                      Getting back to Bill C-5, I want to thank the government for the opportunity to bring this forward and that it at least understands that the good people of the east coast have asked for this for a long time. Unfortunately, as stated by other members in the House, it took a tragedy wherein 17 very good people lost their lives, but fortunately one person did survive. What were the reasons for it? We can argue that it was the helicopter and everything else. However, if this legislation had come before that incident happened, maybe those lives could have been saved, although we do not know for sure. We will never know. That is speculation, and I would not want to impugn the reputation of anyone in that regard. I know that Cougar Helicopters in Newfoundland and Labrador is a very good company. It has wonderful people and great management. It has been a long-time employer in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. This was a most unfortunate incident.

                                      However, I and my party are hoping, and I am sure most parliamentarians on all sides would hope, that the regulatory framework in Bill C-5 will go forward to improve the aspects of health and safety in this regard so that there would be no other incidents in the future.

                                      While I am on my feet, I also want to mention the Ocean Ranger, which went down in 1982, killing an awful lot of guys who were working on the rig. That was a horrible incident at that time. Fortunately, we have never had another incident like that again on the east coast. However, as members know, the governments of the day move fairly quickly to work with industry and the provinces in order to improve and enhance safety features for the men and women who work on the oil rigs. It has now been almost 31 years and we have not had another major incident of that kind. Thank God for that, because when the Ocean Ranger went down, it was unbelievable.

                                      I encourage every single person in the House, and those who are listening, to pick up a copy of Ron Hynes' song Atlantic Blue. He refers to the Ocean Ranger and that incident. It is one of the most haunting and beautiful songs the master of a thousand songs has ever written. It is a beautiful song about those men who served on the Ocean Ranger, which unfortunately went down in that horrific storm in 1982.

                                      We hope that Bill C-5 will do what it is intended to do. We also hope that the government and the committee will be amenable to recommendations, changes, and amendments to ensure that when it leaves the House and goes over to the Senate, they will do a proper and thorough job of so-called sober second thought to ensure that it does exactly what all of us hope it will do. Most important is that we have an independent safety regulator in this regard, because that is the crux of all of this.

                                      Mr. Wells wrote a very well-thought-out and enhanced report and spent a lot of money doing it. He is an esteemed gentleman who knows exactly what he is talking about. The people who were with him listened to the testimony from the witnesses and understood. Then following that, recommendations were made. Just maybe this time we can get it right.

                                      Hopefully, we can enhance other safety regulations in the future across our country so we do not have to wait for an accident before we do the right thing.

                                      Why does the government not want to have an independent safety regulation board in this particular regard? What is it that the government is so opposed to? I am not sure anyone here has ever answered that question. We will keep asking it and keep on going in that regard.

                                      The reality is that this particular legislation would enhance the safety of the men and women working in the offshore, but also those flying the helicopters back and forth. Also, if we have enhanced safety procedures and everything else, it gives people and the industry the confidence that there are proper regulations in place to ensure that all the checks and balances are done. Maybe with this proper enhancement it would improve and enhance the aspects of oil and gas exploration off the east coast. One never knows. The reality is that everyone knows that there are opportunities here to work in the offshore.

                                      I do not know, Mr. Speaker, if you have ever been in the North Atlantic, 200 miles off the coast in November, but I do not think it is the most pleasant place to be on the planet. However, those brave Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and everyone else working there, are some of the hardiest souls ever. They spend an awful lot of time away from their families to work on the rigs for a certain period of time. Then they come off again. They enjoy that work because it pays them very well in health benefits as well as wages. It is an important aspect to the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. Thus, it is an important aspect of our economy right across the country.

                                      The minimum that we can do is to ensure that the men and women who literally risk their lives to provide the energy supplies that we use on a daily basis are confident that the provincial and federal governments have their safety in mind, are listening to them and the industry, and are ensuring that when they go to work they do not have to die.

                                      April 28 is our national day of mourning when we recognize all the people who have gone to work in the morning and unfortunately, did not come home at night to their families. In Nova Scotia alone, we have had 28 occupational deaths this year, and the year is not even over yet. That is 28 too many people who have passed away.

                                      I am sure I speak for all parliamentarians when I say this: no one should get up in the morning, go to work, and not come home again. This is not just about Bill C-5 and the safety regulations of the offshore of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, but right across the country. We should be working with all companies. We should be working with the labour movement. We should be working with the provinces and the municipalities, anyone out there who can provide the proper advice to ensure that every single person who goes to work in the morning, or on shift work, knows that they will be able to go home to their families. That is the crucial aspect. It is what I believe is the litmus test for this legislation if we are to indeed improve it.

                                      It was already done after 1982. We have not had another rig incident since then. People are probably very proud of the fact that nothing has happened in 31 years, but unfortunately, it took the 1982 incident for that to come into being. Unfortunately, it took a helicopter coming down, which took the lives of 17 people, to once again get governments, and for that matter all parliamentarians and provincial folks, to react to this particular issue.

                                      It should not happen. We should be sensible enough, proactive enough to ensure that when industries like the oil and gas sector off our coastline are in effect and working well, that before an incident happens we have ensured the highest level of safety protection is there. That is just like how we would push to make sure that the highest environmental standards are there, because if we have proper environmental standards, proper health and safety standards, then the industry, the workers and management, the people who work in those industries will be allowed to flourish.

                                      On behalf of our federal New Democratic Party, I want to personally say that we will be supporting this legislation. I am proud of my colleagues from St. John's East and St. John's South—Mount Pearl who have been big promoters and supporters of this. I am also proud of the provincial NDP government, especially Mr. Frank Corbett, who was very active in promoting this. Unfortunately, we are not the government there anymore, but maybe one day we will be back.

                                      The reality is that this is an important issue that crosses political lines. It crosses bipartisanship in terms of Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats. It crosses provincial concerns as well. I think it is vital that this legislation is passed, with the caveat that the government and everyone involved carefully and seriously look at recommendation 29 to ensure that an independent safety regulator is going to be there.

                                      That sector may grow. It may become enhanced. If more oil and gas is found, and a lot of deposits that may be out there, we are going to see a lot more expansion and a lot more traffic. We needed to have this type of legislation as of yesterday, not necessarily tomorrow.

                                      With that, I will be more than happy to take any questions or comments that the good people of this legislature may have. I understand that my hon. colleague from Acadie—Bathurst wishes me to say a couple of more words, but I am more or less done. I would be happy to take any questions.

                                      • MPconblog Joe_Preston 377 post Committees of the House

                                        Mr. Speaker, if you will indulgence me a little, for more than six months, our committee has been looking at the electoral boundaries from coast to coast. I would like to thank the committee for its hard work and its teamwork on this project.

                                        I would like to thank our clerk, Marie-France. She is the best. Michel and Andre, our analysts, got the report right and in as good a form as we possibly could. I would also like to thank our junior analyst, Charles, who was there for one day. All of the other committee supports and translations have been superb throughout the whole long process.

                                        I would like to thank the more than 100 MPs who presented to our committee, and I would also like to thank the members of the committee, the members for Louis-Saint-Laurent, Hull—Aylmer, Skeena—Bulkley Valley, Toronto—Danforth, Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, Oxford, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, Brampton—Springdale, Richmond Hill and Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley. They are a heck of a team, and they got it done well.

                                        I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 61st report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs in relation to the report on the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario.

                                        • MPconblog Keith Ashfield 123 post Sealing Industry

                                          Mr. Speaker, like my friend from Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, I am proud to be part of a government that is standing shoulder to shoulder with Canadian sealers. Unlike the Liberals, who through the activities of Ontario Senator Mac Harb have consistently tried to destroy the livelihoods of Canadian sealers, our Conservative government will continue to fight for Canadian sealers and their families.

                                          I am pleased to report that sealers working in the North Atlantic Ocean are on target to increase this year's harvest by some 40%. We remain committed to supporting jobs and growth generated by Canada's humane seal hunt.

                                          • MPconblog andrewscheer 31 post Justice

                                            Order, please. The hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley has the floor.

                                            • MPconblog Phil McColeman 1263 post The Budget

                                              Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley.

                                              Economic action plan 2013 is great news for my riding of Brant, for southern Ontario and indeed for all of Canada. It is a plan that keeps Canada well positioned for long-term, stable economic growth and balanced budgets. It includes a variety of exciting common sense proposals that would make government more productive and efficient and create jobs in southern Ontario.

                                              Economic growth in my riding of Brant is largely driven by small and medium-sized businesses that are innovating and gaining a leading edge in the 21st century economy, and I will provide an example of a company. GreenMantra Technologies recently opened up as a new start-up company. As a government we were able to help it through our southern economic development agency, FedDev, to get the funding to produce new, innovative and patentable technologies creating wax products for commercial use. This is a very exciting development and one which would create hundreds of jobs in our community down the road.

                                              Our government continues to build on the unprecedented support for businesses that are innovating and transforming southern Ontario's economy. In particular, we are providing record support for manufacturers and processors. Since 2006, our government has assisted manufacturers by lowering taxes, making Canada the first tariff-free zone for manufacturers in the G20, reducing unnecessary red tape and improving conditions for business investment.

                                              In economic action plan 2013, we are taking further action to support Canada's manufacturers. We are providing tax relief for manufacturing equipment through the extension of the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance. This measure would allow manufacturers to invest in new machinery and equipment to help them compete. We are also continuing our support for innovative businesses like GreenMantra Technologies, which I referred to earlier, by renewing the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario with new funding of $920 million. FedDev has been a critical agency. It has helped provide much needed support in my riding by boosting businesses that are showing leadership with transformative projects, which in turn would allow them to capitalize on new world market opportunities and compete in the 21st century economy.

                                              I would like to refer to another company in my riding called Systems Logic. Systems Logic produces software and hardware for the warehousing industry. It has recently expanded its market base extensively into the United States with new and innovative products. This is another great example of new jobs being created in the 21st century right in my community as a result of our budget initiatives.

                                              Through economic action plan 2013, FedDev Ontario would offer businesses in Brant new support through the exciting new $200 million advanced manufacturing fund, which is aimed at helping our region's manufacturing industry to further innovate and become more competitive.

                                              The good news for Brant does not stop there. There is a burgeoning entrepreneurial spirit that is emerging in my community. Businesses are seeing the opportunities and investing in my community, which has a skilled labour force made up of people from all walks of life who are ready and willing to go to work and take advantage of the new economic opportunities.

                                              Our government understands the tangible benefits that such an entrepreneurial spirit can deliver for our communities and knows that southern Ontario's long-term economic competitiveness needs to be driven by globally competitive, high-growth businesses that take risks, innovate and create high-quality jobs. That is why economic action plan 2013 continues building on our government's support for entrepreneurs and risk takers in my riding.

                                              Economic action plan 2012 announced resources to support Canada's venture capital industry, including $400 million to help increase private-sector investments and early-stage risk capital and to support the creation of large-scale venture capital funds led by the private sector. Shortly after, our Prime Minister announced a comprehensive venture capital action plan, which will improve access to venture capital financing by high-growth companies. The plan will promote a vibrant capital environment in Canada, rooted in a strong entrepreneurial culture and well-established networks that link investors to innovative companies.

                                              Budget 2013 would advance the venture capital action plan by offering $60 million to help outstanding and high-potential incubator and accelerator organizations expand their services to entrepreneurs, as well as $100 million through the Business Development Bank of Canada to invest in firms graduating from business accelerators. We would also provide funding specifically designated for young risk-taking entrepreneurs who are working to create the jobs of tomorrow through the Canada Youth Business Foundation. All of this is great news for entrepreneurs, not only in Canada but in my specific riding of Brant.

                                              We know that businesses and workers alike in my riding would benefit from the tremendous new support that the economic action plan offers in terms of skills training and connecting workers with jobs. We would increase skills and training support with the new Canada job grant to help more workers get high-quality, well-paying jobs. Under the new grant, Canadians would be able to qualify for up to $15,000 per person to get the skills and training they most importantly need. Training and skill development would be focused on jobs that are in demand. In fact, the grant would directly connect employers looking for skilled workers with Canadians who want to fill those jobs.

                                              Meanwhile, our budget would create opportunities for apprenticeships that would allow young people to learn a skilled trade while gaining paid, on-the-job work experience. Also, we would offer even more targeted support to promote labour market participation and a more inclusive workforce.

                                              Residents of the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation in my riding would benefit from an investment of $241 million to improve the on-reserve income assistance program to help ensure aboriginal youth can access the skills training they need to secure employment and better outcomes for their futures.

                                              Among a series of new proposals that are garnering excitement among disability advocates and experts from across the country, our budget calls for $222 million per year to improve employment prospects for persons with disabilities. Canadians with disabilities represent a significant untapped pool of talented people who are ready, willing and able to work. In fact, there are more than 800,000 Canadians whose disabilities do not prevent them from working. We know about the enormous opportunities for social and economic inclusion that gainful employment can provide these people.

                                              In my riding, we have several fine examples of entrepreneurial companies that have hired people with disabilities. One is Brantford Volkswagen, and someone from this company will be coming to Parliament to tell the human resources committee about how positive the experience has been and how much of a business case there is for taking on people with disabilities.

                                              I am thrilled to see that we would move forward to help those who want to get work—those who are willing and able—move in the directions that employers and entrepreneurs and businesses need.

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Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley

The electoral district of Cumberland--Colchester--Musquodoboit Valley (Nova Scotia) has a population of 87,895 with 68,172 registered voters and 221 polling divisions.

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