Mr. Speaker, this week Quebec marked Hooked on School Days with events across the province. It was an opportunity to raise awareness and rally the public to encourage our young people throughout their school days. The purpose of the week is to increase not only the number of students who stay in school, but also the number of students who pursue a higher education.
As a member of Parliament, it is always a privilege for me to see the pride and enthusiasm in the students whom I congratulate every year at graduation. Today's young people are tomorrow's workforce. Whatever we can do to help as individuals or a community goes a long way.
I would like to acknowledge the exceptional work of all the organizations in Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière and all the partner organizations in Quebec that held countless activities to encourage our young people to stay in school, succeed and keep believing that they can achieve their full potential.
During the week of constituency work, I had the pleasure of hearing from many families in my riding of Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, who are thrilled with our new tax cuts and other benefits for families.
Every family in Quebec and Canada will benefit by an average of $1,100 per year. Thanks to us, from now on, parents will receive approximately $2,000 for every child under the age of six. However, the Liberals and the NDP intend to take that money away and put it back into the bureaucracy. Our plan helps every single family with children. The NDP's plan will not put money back in the pockets of families. The Liberal leader, in turn, plans to increase taxes for ordinary Canadians. We will never let that happen.
The Conservative government believes that Canadians should be able to keep more of their hard-earned money. With our tax cuts and other benefits for families, we are proud to help them do exactly that.
Mr. Speaker, how can we properly and easily understand the role that alcohol plays in our lives? I invite the people of Canada, the people of Quebec and the people of Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière to learn the answer to that question by joining me in the Longest 28 Days of Your Life Challenge.
The objective of the challenge is to raise $100,000 and to make 50,000 teens aged 12-14 more aware of the many risks of using alcohol and drugs.
We all know that, over the long term, irresponsible alcohol use has devastating effects on young people, their friends and their family.
I invite everyone who wants to join in, for one dollar a day for 28 days, to track their progress with the help of a downloadable mobile app and to work together to achieve the objective of this second Longest 28 Days of Your Life Challenge.
Mr. Speaker, as is always the case, we will do what we said we were going to do, which is to protect supply management and promote it internationally.
Next week, the hon. member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière and I will meet with Quebec's dairy and cheese industry to hear their concerns. I want to reassure them by pointing to an important clause in the free trade agreement providing that if the producers ever lose money, the Government of Canada will compensate them. We will honour that agreement and our signature.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that I will be sharing my time today with the hard-working member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.
It is an honour for me to have the opportunity to participate in the debate on this motion about the proposal to block the development of the port of Gros-Cacouna marine terminal which was put forward by my colleague from the riding of Drummond.
I will begin by saying that the real outcome of this motion, if it is adopted, would be to bolster efforts to shut down Canada's oil resource industry by preventing Canadian oil from reaching any global market. Those listening at home need to understand that the port terminal which the NDP proposes to block is a key element of the effort to bring Canadian oil to markets in eastern North America and beyond. It could even help deliver energy to our allies in eastern Europe, who currently have to rely on, and be dependent upon, supplies from an ever more aggressive and expansionist Russia.
The energy east pipeline is a complex project aimed at constructing and operating a 4,600 kilometre pipeline from Alberta to the east coast, and it includes the construction of terminals at Gros-Cacouna, Quebec and Saint John, New Brunswick.
Why would anyone seek to prevent Canadian energy resources from going to willing markets as the NDP is always trying to do? I will give the member for Drummond enough credit to assume that he knows full well that energy markets are at least North America wide, and that there is already a glut of refining capacity. He is intelligent enough to know that spending literally billions of dollars on unneeded refining capacity would be just throwing Canadian and Quebec taxpayer dollars down a very deep hole.
I am aware of the concerns raised by the member for Drummond, especially concerning the impact of this terminal on the Saint Lawrence ecosystem generally and upon the beluga whale population in particular.
Today I want to reassure my hon. colleague that the Government of Canada is very committed to protecting the safety and security of all Canadians and of the environment.
A number of federal and provincial responsibilities have already been called into action as a result of the proposed Gros-Cacouna marine terminal, including those of the National Energy Board, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Transport Canada and Environment Canada, to name only a few.
For example, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is well on top of this issue and has already conducted a detailed scientific study of the impact of the necessary geophysical surveys on the Saint Lawrence beluga. It concluded that the risk of physical harm from these activities is low, and that any habitat deterioration from them will be temporary, if they are subject to strict scientifically determined conditions.
Also, once submitted by the proponent, the proposed energy east pipeline project will be assessed by the National Energy Board, which is the responsible authority. As members may know, that organization is an independent federal agency established as long ago as 1959.
Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and the National Energy Board Act, the National Energy Board will ensure that the appropriate environmental assessments are conducted for any project under its jurisdiction, including this one.
When that application has been made, Environment Canada will also participate in the review process. It will carry out a science-based review of the project, including environmental emergency preparedness and response, oil spill prevention. migratory birds, wetlands, and wildlife species at risk, and air quality.
Through this environmental assessment and hearing process, mitigation measures will be identified to reduce any risk whatsoever. For example, an important part of Environment Canada's review will be dedicated to modelling the very remote risk of spills and predicting the potential fate of any oil spill that might remotely originate from this project under a full range of conditions. This will be used to assess any impacts from a spill and to develop contingency and response plans to minimize such impacts. The Canadian Coast Guard will be the lead agency for ship-source spill response.
Mr. Speaker, contrary to the soothing words of the Prime Minister, yesterday the member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière said that he was concerned about the massive transfer of Canadians' private information to the government. He said:
It is worrisome. Today, we were surprised to see how many requests there were. We will look at what we can do to protect people's privacy.
Does the minister think it is worrisome? Does he share his Conservative colleague's concern? If it is worrisome, why not support the Liberal motion for the Standing Committee on Access to Information to study this worrisome issue?
Mr. Speaker, National Volunteer Week is April 6 to 12, 2014, and for the 40th consecutive year, the Fédération des centres d'action bénévole du Québec has declared a theme. This year's theme is “Volunteer from head to toe”.
Many activities will be organized by the various volunteer action centres and by many community organizations in order to highlight the commitment of all volunteers and to honour a variety of achievements by people whose noble goal is to do good in the community.
In Quebec alone, there are approximately 2 million volunteers who devote 310 million hours to volunteering. What a wonderful demonstration of our collective generosity.
I would like to congratulate the federation on 40 years of outreach, as well as the 111 volunteer action centres in Quebec and everyone in Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière who helps improve the lives of those around them through their volunteer commitments and their generosity of spirit.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, municipal elections were held in Quebec, and I would like to congratulate all of the mayors in Quebec, as well as all the new councillors, and particularly those in my riding, with whom I will have the privilege of working.
The people of Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière have vision, and they show a lot of talent and leadership. Our municipal officials are the ones who will realize the aspirations and carry out the constructive and unifying projects that are important to our constituents.
Municipal officials play a very important role. They are involved in various key sectors, including infrastructure, the economy, community and culture.
I believe that the key to progress is for the federal, provincial and municipal governments to work together to build strong communities in Quebec, within a united Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak in support of Bill C-49 which will establish the new Canadian museum of history.
It will come as no surprise to Canadians that our government believes in our national museums. We recognize the tremendous value that they hold for all Canadians. As we approach Canada's 150th birthday, it is an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate our history and those achievements that define who we are as Canadians.
This government cannot overstate the important role that Canada's national museums play in preserving and sharing the Canadian story. Museums reach out in a myriad of ways to all communities across this great country, through travelling exhibitions, publications and online programming. Indeed, the digital age has expanded the reach of heritage institutions in this country and around the world. It has made it possible for us to share our stories in a way that was never imagined.
Mr. Speaker, I will also be sharing my time with the member for Lotbinière-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.
The Canadian museum of history, like all our national museums, will reach out to Canadians and share our history through new digital initiatives. However, this is only one aspect of the Government of Canada's approach to capitalizing on the digital aid in service of Canada's history and heritage.
I would like to take this opportunity to draw to the attention of hon. members another important tool that the government has established to preserve and share our history, the Virtual Museum of Canada. The Virtual Museum of Canada was created as a result of the close partnership between Canada's museum community and the Department of Canadian Heritage. At the leading edge of this initiative is the Canadian Heritage Information Network, a special operating agency of the department.
The Canadian Heritage Information Network is a national centre of expertise in the use of digital technologies by museums, and it has been assisting our heritage community in taking full advantage of new digital technologies. The network and virtual museum are well-known and recognized as models by heritage communities in Canada and abroad.
The Virtual Museum of Canada receives millions of visits annually, from over 200 countries. It includes a detailed directory of more than 3,000 heritage institutions. That directory also allows Canadians and tourists to better understand and access these valuable repositories of our history.The Virtual Museum of Canada is also home to Artifacts Canada's inventory of almost four million objects and nearly one million images that showcase museum collections nationwide.
The Virtual Museum of Canada is also a highly interactive learning tool and resource for Canada's schools, teachers and students. Its teacher centre brings museums into the classroom. It offers teachers access to museum collections in the form of digital learning resources created by educators and museum professionals. It offers them a secure and customizable space to create and share lesson plans with each other and to interact with students. The teacher centre currently has over 3,000 registered users, students and teachers, and provides access to over 1,700 learning objects.
One example of a learning object collection is the one produced by the Royal Ontario Museum called “Shaping Canada: our voices and stories”. It provides teachers with the opportunity to demonstrate, by examining key artifacts, so we gain insight into Canada's collective history. At the end of the day, the Virtual Museum of Canada is essentially Canada's national online museum. It is designed to enable museums to work together in the development of an important and visible online presence. As its name suggests, the Virtual Museum of Canada is currently home to over 700 virtual exhibits, promoting the content of Canada's museums.
Connected with those exhibitions are more than 150 interactive resources, including “History matters”, which presents a series of audio and video podcasts, as well as short engaging stories of historical relevance. Both of these programs invite the viewer to say why history matters to them.
This is an absolutely fascinating aspect of the Virtual Museum of Canada. I urge all members to take a peek at it, at virtualmuseum.ca.
The range of virtual exhibits available for viewing, free of charge, of course, to everyone visiting the site, is extraordinary. The stories they tell us about our history are important, but they are not always easy. One example is "The Beginning of a New Era: the Quiet Revolution" , produced by the Musée québécois de culture populaire de Trois-Rivières. This fascinating online exhibit chronicles the in-depth political, social and cultural transformation that took place in less than a decade in Quebec, in the 1960s.
A further example is the exhibit presented by the Air Force Heritage Museum, in Winnipeg, entitled "For Valour: Canadian Airmen and the Victoria Cross" . This exhibit tells the amazing story of seven Canadian airmen who were awarded the Commonwealth's highest decoration, the Victoria Cross. It allows the viewers to imagine themselves flying in a bomber at 20,000 feet in total darkness, only to have their aircraft strafed and rendered inoperable by enemy fire. In the midst of this experience, we learn about the bravery and sacrifice of individual Canadians who earned our nation's highest honour. This story is even more compelling as we approach the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.
I could go on with more fascinating examples of stories of our history that are brought to life through Canada's museum and the Virtual Museum of Canada. I would encourage everyone here to explore them online, as millions already do.
The point I would like to make in closing is that the Virtual Museum of Canada shows that there is not just one way to preserve and share Canada's history with Canadians. The Canadian museum of history will be an important addition to that toolkit. It will provide the public with the opportunity to appreciate how Canada's identity has been shaped over the course of history. Canadians deserve a national museum that tells our stories and presents our country's treasures to the world.
I urge all of my hon. colleagues to support this new museum and to support Canada's history. Let us pass this bill as expeditiously as possible. I am sure that my friend, the member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, will have more to say on this subject after a few questions and responses.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak this afternoon and share my time with an outstanding person, namely the member for Ottawa—Orléans. He represents a community in the suburbs of the greater Ottawa area, which includes a large French-speaking community, and he serves it very well.
He also serves veterans very well. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion. I can always count on him. He always attends events organized for veterans. I want to thank him and tell him that I am extremely proud to be with him in a Conservative caucus that is working every day to improve the quality of life for the entire Canadian population.
I want to say in no uncertain terms that I will be supporting our government’s 2013 economic action plan without reservation, for three very simple reasons.
First, this budget is tailor-made for Canadian families. It is consistent with our policies. For example, we have the lowest taxation rate for families. What we want is for the money to stay in the pockets of our families, so they can use it for their many needs.
We want to be an efficient government that is at their service. That is why we have reduced taxes more than 150 times since 2006. As a result, an average family with four children has $3,200 more in its pockets because it is paying less in taxes. Young families, among others, are also receiving grants to raise their children up to age six. People are also paying less in GST. We are naturally staying the course on the economy, and a return to a balanced budget.
Second, every person elected represents municipalities or cities. I have the privilege of representing a large portion of the city of Lévis, with my colleague the member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière. Now, the city of Lévis has significant infrastructure needs in order to support families and economic growth, and to be able to provide a quality of life in a changing environment. The city of Lévis has infrastructure projects, but so does the municipality of Bellechasse and the Des Etchemins regional county municipality. I am also thinking of Beaumont, which is growing very quickly, and Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague. These municipalities have infrastructure projects.
I support the economic action plan because the huge sums involved will enable municipalities to invest in infrastructure not only this year, but in the years to come. More than $50 billion in infrastructure spending is planned. For example, we are making the transfer of the excise tax on gasoline permanent. That will enable our municipalities to invest. We will be partnering with the provincial governments to enable them to generate leverage with the investments they make in infrastructure. This will consolidate the economic prosperity of our country.
Third, I support this budget because it is designed to serve people who have put their lives at risk for our country. They have served under Canada’s flag. Whether they are still in the ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces or have left, they are our veterans and their families.
I would like to take a few moments to show how much this budget respects the government’s responsibility towards its veterans and their families.
In the economic action plan, we have, so to speak, an investment that will represent huge sums in the years ahead for veterans and their families. Among other things, there is one specific measure in the budget: the war veterans’ allowance. For this measure to come into force, however, the economic action plan must be supported. I will talk a little more about it.
What struck me first in the budget with respect to benefits for veterans and their families is the need for support when a veteran dies. The funeral and burial program has been substantially improved with respect to funerals for eligible veterans. We are receiving constructive comments from the veteran community on this matter.
We are also improving our contribution to the important date coming up in 2017, namely the 150th anniversary of our country. That will also be the 100th anniversary of a landmark event in our history: the Battle of Vimy Ridge, where Canadians fought together for the first time. We were victorious, but we suffered substantial losses. That is why it is important that we, as a nation, make sure that people do not forget their sacrifice. That is also why we will be investing $5 million in an interpretation centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
The measures contained in the economic action plan 2013 take our unprecedented support for Canada's veterans and their families to the next level and demonstrate our continued commitment to veterans. We can see this commitment clearly in our government's response to a Federal Court ruling last spring.
The judge who made the decision did not specify its scope. However, he did indicate that there is no connection with the programs provided by National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada. That said, under the leadership of our Prime Minister and with the support of the Conservative caucus, our government has decided to go beyond this decision, which involved only National Defence, so that the harmonization of our programs also covers those delivered by Veterans Affairs Canada.
This is an envelope of nearly $1.9 billion. Our government therefore decided immediately to go beyond the court’s decision and to stop deducting the disability pension from Veterans Affairs Canada in calculating the monthly payments as an allowance for lost revenue from the department and as an income support allowance from the Canadian Forces. We were able to do it immediately because that was what we wanted to do.
We wanted to accomplish a third item: the war veterans allowance. To do this, we need regulatory changes. That is why we need support from all parliamentarians for the approval of this measure, which is included in the 2013 economic action plan. Some 2,500 modern-era veterans and survivors should benefit from these changes in the first year alone. We also intend to adjust this veterans allowance in the same way.
Economic action plan 2013 calculates that the total impact of these measures, when we combine National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada together, would be $1.9 billion over seven years. That is an extra $1.9 billion in the pockets of disabled veterans and men and women in uniform. We think this is the right thing to do and we seek support from the House to do so. This includes an additional $95.4 million to veterans above what was announced previously when calculating the earning loss benefit and the Canadian Forces income support benefit.
I want to reiterate how important it is as a government to support the budget for three reasons.
The first is the major increase in the funeral and burial program for those who need it.
The second is the support for the commemorations that would occur at the Vimy memorial centre, which is important. We actually have the Vimy memorial on our new $20 bill. It is our duty to remember.
The third is the harmonization of all of our programs, especially the veterans war allowance.
That is why I invite members to support the budget not only for all Canadian families, but especially for what it does for our veterans and their families.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell you about the video made by people involved in the St-Étienne-de-Lauzon Scouts, an organization in my riding. The video is posted on the official Scouts Canada site.
Every year, more than 125 young people in my riding, and Scouts across Canada, have the opportunity to participate in a movement that emphasizes sharing, respect, adventure, teamwork and family. The Grande tournée du bonheur is an event that reflects the wonderful values of this movement. The scouting movement helps develop leadership skills and a sense of community; it ignites and reignites passions.
The scouting movement was established in Canada 45 years ago. Every year, during Scouting Week, we celebrate the wonderful success of the movement founded by Robert Baden-Powell and his wife, Olave.
I am very proud to highlight the outstanding contributions of everyone involved with the young Beavers and Brownies in Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.
We can never say it enough: our young people are our greatest treasure.
Order, please. The hon. member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.
The electoral district of Lotbinière--Chutes-de-la-Chaudière (Quebec) has a population of 100,454 with 79,721 registered voters and 206 polling divisions.
This action requires you to be logged into Politwitter. No regisrtation is required, just authenticate using your Twitter account.