disable ads
To categorize your tweets related to the Leeds—Grenville riding add the hashtag #r35041. If you tweet from this page the hashtag will automatically be added to the tweetbox.

Riding Community Tweets (#r35041)

      view more

      Riding Mentions in News, Blogs, Facebook & Hansard

      • MPnews news The Sprout: Trade truces and trade fears - iPolitics.ca
        Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay's former chief of staff, Mary Jean McFall, lost her latest bid on Monday night to become the MP for the riding of Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands. As iPolitics' Charlie Pinkerton reports, Michael Barrett, a ... read more
        Dec 04, 2018 10:40 am> |
        • MPnews news The Sprout: Trade truces and trade fears - iPolitics.ca
          Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay's former chief of staff, Mary Jean McFall, lost her latest bid on Monday night to become the MP for the riding of Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands. As iPolitics' Charlie Pinkerton reports, Michael Barrett, a ... read more
          Dec 04, 2018 10:36 am> |
          • MPnews news The Sprout: Bye-bye NAFTA? - iPolitics.ca
            McFall is running in the byelection in Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands. The seat was formerly held by Conservative MP Gord Brown, who died suddenly earlier this year. Former NDP MP Joe Comartin has begun his role as consul general of Canada in ... read more
            Dec 03, 2018 10:52 am> |
            • MPnews news Evening Brief: Bannon backlash and uninvited guests - iPolitics.ca
              3 in the eastern Ontario riding of Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes (which has been vacant for almost six months since the death of Conservative MP Gordon Brown), but stayed mum on the others. The Canadian Press reports.and more » read more
              Oct 30, 2018 2:23 pm> |
              • MPnews news iPolitics AM: PM Trudeau to face New Democrat ire over Burnaby by-election delay - iPolitics.ca
                For its part, the government — or, at least, the unnamed “government spokesperson” cited by Canadian Press — is pointing to the fact that South Burnaby has only been without an MP since September 14, while Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and ...and more » read more
                Oct 29, 2018 2:49 am> |
                • MPnews news Statement by the Prime Minister on the death of MP Gordon Brown - Canada NewsWire (press release)
                  OTTAWA, May 2, 2018 /CNW/ - The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the death of Gordon Brown, Member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes: "Today, I join all ... read more
                  May 02, 2018 11:34 am> |
                  • MPnews news Trustees mull closure of 12 UCDSB schools as MPP asks them to fight province - CBC.ca
                    At an Upper Canada District School Board meeting in Kemptville Thursday evening, Leeds—Grenville MPP Steve Clark called on trustees to stand up to Ontario's Ministry of Education by putting a moratorium on rural school closures. Board staff recommend ...and more » read more
                    Mar 03, 2017 4:28 am> |
                    • MPnews news Media Advisory - Harper Government to make an announcement regarding the ... - Canada NewsWire (press release)
                      SMITHS FALLS, ON, May 31, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and Mr. Gordon Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds—Grenville, will take part in an announcement ... read more
                      May 31, 2015 7:12 am> |
                      • MPconblog MPLoisBrown 353 post Rise in anti-Semitism

                        Mr. Chair, I found it a little cool in here, so I went out to the lobby to grab my scarf. Perhaps it is serendipitous that I am wearing this one tonight because I call this my scarf of many colours. Maybe it is indicative that we stand in solidarity with our Jewish friends.

                        I am always very proud when I am able to have Seder dinner with my very good friends, Sam Goldstein and his wife, Shelly, or with my good friends Julius and Etta Suraski. It is always a pleasure when I am able to spend Second Seder with my good friends Carla and Robin Silver in Richmond Hill. It has been an education for me. They are always evenings of great delight and enjoyment, not only with food but also fellowship and new cultural experiences for me.

                        When I was first elected, I was part of an inquiry panel chaired by my good friend from Leeds—Grenville. It was a great investigation that we undertook. I will note from our report some comments by Rabbi Bulka. I have read this report several times through and I always come back to one part where he said:

                        How do we counter antisemitism? To me, the very simple answer is teach, teach, teach.... We need to create foot soldiers, and those foot soldiers are the children of the next generation. We owe it to them. We owe it to the legacy of our founding fathers and mothers that children going through any elementary or high school system will have been so inoculated against hate by the time they get to university that when they see it, they will reject it.

                        Could my colleague comment on his experience of how we can bring this education into our school curriculum so that as the rabbi said, children will recognize this as hatred and reject it?

                        • MPconblog James Bezan 1768 post The Budget

                          Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to talk about our new economic action plan 2014, “The Road to Balance: Creating Jobs and Opportunities”. I have been thumbing through it, and I am excited about all the good things in this budget and that we are on our way to a balanced budget. I am excited that we will be able to start paying down debt and making more investments into our economy and for Canadian families. There are so many great things in here. I am going to briefly go through a few of them, and then I am going to talk about the things that are important to my riding of Selkirk—Interlake.

                          We will launch the Canada job grant effective April 1, 2014. We will partner with most provinces and move ahead in matching jobs with people who need jobs. We will have the investment and partnership from the business community. The job-matching service is something we would do to help match jobs with Canadians who are looking for work.

                          We are going to create the Canada apprenticeship loan and run it the same way that we run the Canada student loans program. It would finally allow youth who want to participate in the red seal trades with an opportunity to get student loans while they are taking their apprenticeships. We would increase the number of unpaid internships for young Canadians, with $55 million.

                          We would cut more red tape for small business. I know of small businesses up and down the main streets in my communities and the owners have to do so much paperwork. The more we can do to reduce that load, the better. We have been working at this for the last several years, and the more we can do, the better off our businesses are going to be.

                          We are going to continue to have more research in technology and innovation and development, with $1.5 billion over the next decade to allow our universities and colleges to establish the Canada first research excellence fund. These are great things.

                          There were some things that I was hoping to see in this budget that I am very pleased to see are here. They are important to Manitoba and to Selkirk—Interlake.

                          One of the things we announced was a $200-million natural disasters mitigation program. This would help communities prepare for natural disasters. Selkirk—Interlake has had a number of overland floods because of either ice jams on the Red River, or flooding over Lake Manitoba because of the diversion along the Assiniboine River and Lake Winnipeg. Whenever we have had weather bombs come through and raise the lake levels, or there is excessive moisture because of heavy snow melts as well as wet springs, we have had a lot of damage.

                          Where we have been able to put in flood mitigations like the Red River Floodway, “Duff's Ditch”, as we call it in Manitoba, they have saved billions and billions of dollars from flooding in the city of Winnipeg. If we can continue to make those types of investments in dikes and diversions and floodways, it would provide more opportunities to protect more communities, more property, and more Manitobans.

                          However, it is not just in Manitoba; this is available across the country. I know that in Quebec we have had flooding. We have seen some disasters this past spring in Calgary and High River, and other places in southern Alberta. This is the type of investment from our federal government that would ensure we could mitigate those types of disasters and provide the infrastructure that would have ongoing benefits to communities. It would not cost the treasury billions of dollars time and again with the devastation like we saw in Calgary this year.

                          I am excited to see the new horizons program get another $5 million in addition to what it already gets. I know that the new horizons centres in my riding, as well as other seniors centres, have benefited from this program. Whether it is from accessibility grants, mentoring programs, or investing in their facility, it provides a place for seniors to gather, share, and have fun, and to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. I know they appreciate it whenever they get money to keep improving their facilities.

                          In 2005, one of the bills I introduced when I was in opposition was called Jonathan's Bill. That became law a couple of years ago, through the hard work of my friend and colleague from Leeds—Grenville. We were able to establish a program that provides EI sick benefits to parents and families who are caring for terminally ill or critically ill or injured children. I am happy to report that program will be enhanced by $2.4 million over the next two years. It would continue after that with funding of $1.2 million in excess of the EI benefit there now, to allow families to stay at home and care for their children. There is nothing worse for children than to have to depend on the care of someone who is not their mother, father, or grandparent, and to be sitting with strangers, maybe in a hospital.

                          It is better for their recovery and for their well-being if they can have time to sit at home and be cared for by a family member. Especially if they are undergoing treatment or surgery, it is going to be important that children are with loved ones and that their families get the support they need to help them recover.

                          In my riding, I often hear how difficult it is to be wired in on the Internet. In rural Manitoba, as in lots of places across rural Canada, Internet access is difficult. It is either dial-up or really poor wireless service. The $305-million broadband program that was announced would speed, extend, and enhance the broadband high-speed Internet network across Canada to over 280,000 Canadian households. That would be a welcome addition for so many homeowners and businesses throughout Selkirk—Interlake.

                          We would invest another $40 million to improve small craft harbours. I know that many people do not realize that in Manitoba we have an inland sea. In the riding of Selkirk—Interlake, we have over 1,000 commercial fishers. Those commercial fishers on Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba depend on having safe harbours. It is important that they have the ability to access funding to improve those harbours to keep them safe and to deal with some of the weather damage they have experienced over the last few years. I can assure everyone that they are thankful.

                          As a farmer in an area that represents a large farming and ranching area, I am glad to see one thing I have been asking to have for some time, which is an extension of the tax deferral program for livestock producers when they undergo drought or overland flooding. Right now cattle, goats, sheep, bison, and hogs are the only livestock that qualify for tax deferral. If farmers are in a situation where they have no feed, no pasture, and no opportunity to grow a crop to feed those animals because of flooding or drought, one option many farmers and ranchers entertain is to actually sell the livestock and re-buy stock when weather conditions improve. We have always offered farmers a tax deferral of up to 12 months if they have had to liquidate their herds. Rather than having to pay it off as income tax, they have that cash on hand so they can purchase replacement livestock.

                          I am glad to report that in the budget we would extend that program to include bees and horses, because in our area, we have a lot of PMU operations and horse breeders. Those are commercial farm operations.

                          When we talk about bees, we are not just talking about honeybees. We are also talking about leafcutter bees, which pollinate a lot of our crops, especially clover, alfalfa, and some of the other legumes that are so important to the overall production of western Canadian crops.

                          One thing my friend from Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette has been working on is having the recreational fisheries conservation partnership program. We ran it for the last two years as a pilot. It went over so well that it would be extended another two years and would be increased to $15 million. I see my friend from Wetaskiwin is here, who has also been a very big player in having this program. It enhances not only the commercial fishery but the recreational fishery for the sports fishers who go out there and angle and go after trophy walleye and catfish in the Red River in Manitoba and northern pike, which we call jackfish.

                          There are so many opportunities for working in partnership with local fish and wildlife organizations in our small communities to develop better fisheries, to enhance the habitat, and to protect and conserve those important natural areas. I am very excited to see that.

                          One thing that has been very positive, as well, in my area is the trails program, whether it is for snowmobiles or hiking. This $10 million for the National Trails Coalition would improve accessibility for people who love the outdoors and want to get out and see our natural spaces. It is one area that has great benefit for the riding of Selkirk—Interlake, not only for the snowmobilers and off-roaders but for people who like to go out on bikes or to hike and just enjoy the beautiful area of Selkirk—Interlake.

                          With that I am more than happy to take some questions from my colleagues. I encourage everyone in the House to support this great budget and get back to having a balanced budget and paying down our national debt again.

                          • MPconblog BlakeRichardsMP 1576 post Canadian Museum of History Act

                            Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to contribute to this discussion on Bill C-7, a bill that would establish the new Canadian museum of history.

                            I would like to use this opportunity to remind the House of the importance of museums to our society, our identity, our unity, and our future as Canadians.

                            Our government values our museums and has demonstrated our support in a number of tangible ways. We have spoken also of the network that the new Canadian museum of history will lead. This network will connect Canada's history museums across the country so that they can access some of the 3 million items that are in the national collection.

                            Like most museums, the Canadian Museum of Civilization has the vast majority of its collection in storage. The future Canadian museum of history will be negotiating agreements in every single province and territory in this country so that it can get this collection moving across the country.

                            History is all around us; we are just not always consciously aware of it. Are members aware that the more than 2,500 museums in Canada welcome more than 27 million visitors every year?

                            Our museums are where many Canadians learn about their history. Our museums have a myriad of stories to tell, stories of grand accomplishments, perseverance, struggle, community, tragedy, and triumph.

                            As was already noted by the member for Leeds—Grenville in the previous intervention, according to the Canadian Museums Association, 96% of Canadians believe that museums contribute to the quality of life in our nation. Furthermore, 97% believe that museums do an excellent job of preserving and presenting our history.

                            Recently our government announced that museums across Canada will be able to share their exhibits with the Canadian museum of history and be able to access the new museum's collection.

                            To make it possible to share this rich collection with all Canadians, changes are being made to the federal museums assistance program in order to remove barriers to the circulation of museum exhibitions interprovincially and to financially assist small museums in borrowing objects and exhibitions from the Canadian museum of history.

                            We know that it is expensive to host and move exhibits and artifacts. That is why this government thought it was important to help smaller museums across the country access the national collection of the Canadian museum of history and make sure the artifacts could be displayed all across our country. That is exactly what our government is doing. Smaller museums often do not have the capacity to acquire an artifact to complete their collection or simply to be able to add an exhibit for their visitors. With the new support that we are putting in place, it would be easier for smaller museums to approach the Canadian museum of history and access its extensive national collection.

                            I would also like to point out that it has been more than 20 years since the current Canadian Museum of Civilization has been updated in a significant way. Therefore, it is time to refresh its mandate and orientation so that a new Canadian museum of history can focus on the story of this great country.

                            As has been mentioned in past debates, the Children's Museum will continue to be an integral part of the new museum; so will the Grand Hall and the First Peoples Hall, which present chapters of our story that are of immense importance, the history of Canada's first peoples.

                            At the same time, a significant part of the museum's success will be its ability to reach all Canadians and tell their stories, the stories of the people who helped build this country and those who continue to do so today. With that goal in mind, the future Canadian museum of history is signing partnership agreements with a number of museums to establish a nationwide museum network.

                            This new national museum will work with museums all across Canada to help ensure that our country's achievements and accomplishments are highlighted. We know that museums develop pride in local traditions and customs and that they help people to feel a sense of belonging and involvement in their community. Museums and the programming they support promote co-operation among different cultures and different age groups and help to create community and social networks.

                            As the creation of the Canadian museum of history shows, our government values the role that museums play in preserving and commemorating our past.

                            By the time we celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, Canadians will have a new museum that highlights the moments, the people, and the objects that have helped to shape our great country.

                            I ask that the members of the House consider the statement by one of Canada's best known and most respected historians, Michael Bliss, when he said that our collective history is our collective memory. He added that without memory, people become unmoored, adrift, lost, and said that was why so many people work so hard to preserve our national memories, our sense of ourselves as Canadians—as a people who have had a long and rich common experience.

                            Since the announcement in October 2012 of the transformation of the Canadian Museum of Civilization into the Canadian museum of history, we have heard from many organizations that enthusiastically support this change. I would like to read just a few of those quotes from some of those individuals.

                            John McAvity is the executive director of the Canadian Museums Association. He said, “The Museum is developing equal partnerships with other history museums across Canada. ... That is good news.”

                            A press release from the Ontario Museum Association said that the OMA “...welcomes the initiative to strengthen partnerships among museums in Ontario and across the country.” Marie Lalonde, executive director of the OMA, also said, “...we welcome the opportunity to explore new ways that museums may work with each other.” She added that they look forward to the new direction announced by the government.

                            To go a little further with a couple of additional quotes, Marie Senécal-Tremblay, the president of the Fédération canadienne des amis des musées, said that this announcement will allow small museums to better showcase their unique collections to many more Canadians and visitors.

                            Finally, Jack Granatstein, a prominent Canadian historian, said, “This move is exactly what I thought should happen” and “ I'm delighted the government and the museum are doing it.”

                            This is very clear support for the moves being made by our government, and very clear particularly in relation to the fact that we are looking to share that very vast national collection with museums all across this country. It is important to note that.

                            Clearly, our commitment to Canada's museums is real and ongoing. In the last fiscal year alone, this government invested approximately $355 million in museums and heritage institutions. Our government has made key investments in the museum sector. This includes support for two new national museums, namely the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax. We have also increased funding for summer internships in small and medium-sized museums. This year, some 1,600 students were hired to work and learn in museums all across the country.

                            In my riding alone, here are just a few of the examples of many I could name. One is the Peter and Catharine Whyte Foundation, which was able to hire a summer intern to help with its work. Another is the Centennial Museum Society of Canmore. There is also the Luxton Museum Society in Banff National Park, where they have preserved the local first nations history. Those are great examples from my riding of Wild Rose alone.

                            Now we are embarking on the creation of the Canadian museum of history. In 2017 we will celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, and as we approach that important date, the timing seems right to pause and rethink the way we tell our story to Canadians and visitors from abroad.

                            Our museums hold the cultural wealth of the nation for all generations, both past, present, and future. Museums play a central role in giving Canadians the resources to celebrate why Canada is such a unique and great country.

                            Let us all join together to create the national Canadian museum of history as the institution that will capture our lived experiences.

                            • MPconblog BlakeRichardsMP 1565 post Canadian Museum of History Act

                              Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time this evening with my good friend, the member for Leeds—Grenville.

                              I am delighted to rise to speak to Bill C-49, which will create the new Canadian museum of history. In my remarks tonight, I would like to focus on why it is so important to have a national museum dedicated to Canadian history.

                              Our government believes in our national museums, and we recognize the tremendous value 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.

                              We have all heard the statistics. Canadians lack knowledge of our history and wish that they knew more about it. Although more than 75% of Canadians feel that learning Canadian history strengthens their attachment to the country, fewer than 50% are able to pass a basic citizenship exam that tests general knowledge of Canada, and only 26% of youth aged 18 to 24 know the year of Confederation. Only 37% know that the Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought in World War I, and only 76% of Canadians are embarrassed about the lack of knowledge Canadians have about their history. Something obviously has to change. Our children deserve and should know more about the long and complex history of this great nation.

                              The establishment of the Canadian museum of history will give Canadians the opportunity to learn, appreciate and feel proud of the richness of Canada's history. The museum will chronicle our country's national achievements. It will explore the major themes, events and people of our national experience by bringing history to life and providing the public with a strong sense of Canadian identity.

                              Our government believes that it has a solemn responsibility to wisely manage the money Canadians send to us. That is why we chose not to build a new national museum from the ground up but rather to build on the reputation and popularity of the Canadian Museum of Civilization to create a national museum of history that will showcase the national achievements that have shaped this great country.

                              The Canadian Museum of Civilization is set to begin a progressive transformation that will be completed over the next five years and will lead up to Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. The Canadian Museum of History will provide the public with the opportunity to appreciate how Canada's identity has been shaped over the course of our history. Canadians deserve a national museum that tells our story and presents our country's treasures to the world.

                              Members might ask what this transformation involves. The government investment will allow the museum to undertake the renovation of almost half its permanent exhibition space. The result will be more than 43,000 square feet of permanent exhibition space, due to open in 2016, presenting a comprehensive and chronological history of Canada to Canadians and to the world.

                              It is important to remember that the Grand Hall and the First People's Hall, which present the history of Canada's first peoples, will remain an integral part of the new museum, as will the Children's Museum.

                              To complement the government's investment and to ensure that Canadians in all regions have new opportunities to learn about Canada's history, the new museum will sign agreements with several museums across the country to travel exhibitions outside the national capital region, to share expertise and to lend artifacts and other material from its collection to enhance their local exhibitions and educational programs.

                              To quote Michael Bliss, a Canadian historian and award-winning author, this new museum is a “terrific opportunity” for our local and provincial historical societies as well as our national organizations.

                              Understanding that not all Canadian museums have the ability to accept large travelling exhibitions, the new museum also plans to work with those institutions to develop travelling exhibitions tailored specifically to their needs. These institutions will also be able to borrow artifacts from the new museum.

                              The new Canadian Museum of History will not only open its collections to museums across the country but will also provide a showcase for Canadian museums. To increase its capacity to host travelling exhibitions created by museums across this country, the museum will renovate 7,500 square feet on the street level floor of its main building to create a new temporary exhibition gallery. These exhibitions will help the Canadian museum of history to tell a truly national story and connect the treasures that are scattered in local museums across the country to our national narrative.

                              Between now and 2017, the museum is planning a series of temporary exhibitions that will highlight its new mandate and will build excitement about the changes in its programming.

                              In terms of how Canada's history is presented, some have wondered if there is a move afoot to present our history in a way that favours a partisan approach. I would remind everyone that the Canadian museum of history will remain a federal crown corporation and will continue to operate at arm's length from the government. The board of trustees and the management of the museum are responsible for determining exactly how the museum will present Canadian history.

                              Our government has established a new mandate for the Canadian museum of history. That is true. Having done that, we will leave it up to the capable management of the museum to make its decisions about the implementation of that mandate.

                              I would like to note that the museum reached out to Canadians, in person and online, to seek their opinions and ideas. The Canadian Museum of Civilization even launched an online forum located at myhistory.ca. The museum also carried out a series of cross-country consultations that gave Canadians the opportunity to give their opinions on the personalities, events and milestones that truly tell the Canadian story. In total, more than 20,000 Canadians contributed their ideas to the website, panel discussions and round tables all across Canada. We are delighted by this level of engagement. By the time we celebrate Canada's 150th birthday in 2017, Canadians will have a new museum dedicated to the history of this country. It will be a celebration of our history and the achievements and accomplishments that have shaped this great land.

                              This is a great opportunity for young and not so young Canadians alike to have a better sense of and get a better share in our history. We will be able to share the collection gathered at the museum here in Ottawa with other museums across the country, whether they be large museums that can benefit from large exhibitions or some of the smaller museums in smaller communities, like those in my riding of Wild Rose or in Kenora, as my friend from Kenora has just pointed out. Lots of communities across this country will have an opportunity to have the exhibitions travel to their parts of the country so that they can experience them first-hand. Of course, we will see some of the great pieces in some of the museums across the country come to the National capital region to be shared with people here. It is a great opportunity for all Canadians. It is a great opportunity for many of the museums across this country, whether they be large or small.

                              It is also a great opportunity to see the stories of our Canadian history told. We have a very rich history. Look at some of the amazing feats of soldiers, in particular, in World War I and World War II. I believe that some of those battles were the coming of age of this country. I have had the opportunity to visit some of the places where those battles took place. That is certainly not an opportunity all Canadians have. I wish they did.

                              Museums that will benefit from the travelling exhibitions are the places where Canadians can learn about these significant parts of our Canadian history. It is a great opportunity for Canadians and for all museums across the country to share our Canadian history.

                              I will conclude by encouraging all members of the House to join me in supporting this worthwhile and responsible piece of legislation. I will quote John McAvity, the executive director of the Canadian Museums Association. He said that “the renaming of the Museum of Civilization...is essential”, the it “is good news”, and that “it will give Canadians greater access to their heritage [and] to their history”.

                              • MPlibblog bobraeMP 2682 post The Budget

                                Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak in the debate. I certainly was listening carefully to the comments of the previous speakers and I have some comments to make about what has been said.

                                Last week I said in a scrum that if the Minister of Finance was William Tell, I am very glad that I did not have an apple on my head.

                                I would like to document the gross inaccuracy of the predictions that have been made by the minister before the members opposite start congratulating themselves too much on their alleged record of economic management. Let us have a look at that record.

                                In 2006, in his first budget, the Minister of Finance predicted 3% growth. The actual growth was 2.8%. In 2007 he predicted 2.3%. He missed that target as well. In 2008 he predicted 1.7% growth and actual growth was 0.7%. In 2009 the minister had to admit that there was going to be a contraction in the economy of 0.8%. The actual contraction was 2.8%. In 2011 he predicted 2.9% growth and the actual growth was 2.5%. Last year he predicted 2.1% growth and the actual was roughly 1.8%.

                                If the annual real GDP growth experienced under every prime minister were averaged, only one prime minister in the living memory of some members, R.B. Bennett, had a worse economic growth record than that of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister's average annual growth during the time of his prime ministership has been 1.4% over his seven years.

                                When the Minister of Finance announced the economic action plan in budget 2009, he promised a temporary deficit that would be eliminated in 2013-14, which by the way, begins six days from now. Instead, we have an $18.7-billion deficit predicted for 2013-14. Based on his previous record, that is not going to be an easy target to reach.

                                I want to go back over the ground because members keep saying “Let's pretend we don't have a memory of any of these things”. The problem is we do have a memory and we do have a record.

                                In 2008 the minister predicted a surplus of $2.3 billion. That became a deficit of $5.8 billion, an $8.1-billion difference. In 2009 he predicted a deficit of $33.7 billion, which became a deficit of $55.6 billion, a $21.9-billion difference. In 2012 he predicted a deficit of $21.1 billion, which has become a deficit of $25.9 billion, a $4.8 billion-difference.

                                Perhaps the most famous inaccuracy of the Minister of Finance, and the bow and arrow is looking a bit shaky in his hands right now, was the 2008 fall economic update, which is perhaps his most infamous economic prediction. We all remember that because it was the one where he predicted no recession for Canada, a series of future budget balances that came in at a $0.1-billion surplus and the balance would be achieved from the future sale of government assets.

                                It is worth recalling that we reached our lowest point in terms of our debt at $458 billion six years ago. This budget predicts that by the end of this fiscal year it will be $627 billion, an increase of $169 billion.

                                This is the same Minister of Finance who, as he is delivering his budget speech, stands up and waxes full of pieties saying governments cannot spend their way out of a recession and then, looking meaningfully over at the opposition, says some people might disagree with this statement, but nevertheless the government is standing by its record of economic management and fiscal prudence. A $170-billion increase in the national debt and the government has the nerve to say that it is some kind of an example of fiscal prudence. It is preposterous.

                                It is also preposterous to say that it is a government that has somehow embraced restraint. Program spending has gone from $175 billion in 2005-06 to $253 billion today, which is a 45% increase. That is far greater than the rate of inflation and the rate of growth in the real economy.

                                Let us look at the fact that Canada is a federation. One cannot just take the federal programs and the federal approach in isolation. What I would like to see in this budget is not only a statement of the federal government's plans and hopes for the future, which is allegedly what we had in the budget statement. I, and I think most Canadians, would like to see how the federation is doing. How are Canadians doing? Where is the unemployment rate? Where is the job-creation rate? How indebted are Canadians? Have they fallen behind or are they moving ahead? How are the provinces doing? How are the municipalities doing?

                                Let us look at simple facts. Since 2007-08, the provincial debt, the debt of all the provinces, has gone from $321 billion to $534 billion, which is a $230-billion increase. This year, 2012-13, only Saskatchewan and the three territories that are largely supported by the federal government are now expected to run a surplus. Therefore, when we look at the actual condition of the federation, it is far more serious than the government is prepared to tell us. It is far more problematic than the government is prepared to admit.

                                However, we have a government that nevertheless is eager to pat itself on the back. I heard this in the statements of my colleagues for Leeds—Grenville and Okanagan—Coquihalla, who said that this was such a wonderful budget because for the first time in 40 years the government had identified the skills challenge as a problem facing Canada. What?

                                This is not the first time in 40 years that a problem with job training has been identified. There is obviously a problem. Everyone is well aware of this and recognizes the problem. However, acknowledging that there is a problem and proposing a solution are two completely different things.

                                Let us take a moment to talk about job training. Six years ago, the government signed a number of agreements with the provinces whereby it handed over complete authority for training to the provinces. The government gave them money and told them to do their best to solve the job training problem.

                                It seems that the Prime Minister became angry recently when he learned that there was a problem. He was the last to notice and to realize what was happening.

                                The Prime Minister went slightly overboard six years ago. Now he is getting back to work and is saying that he has a solution. He has announced that the government will allow young students and workers to receive $15,000. The government will take care of all the advertising for this wonderful program and will take back responsibility for training.

                                The Prime Minister said that his government would solve this problem that no one else had addressed before. What an exaggeration, what arrogance on the part of the federal government and the Conservative Party.

                                The provinces had actually started working on it. Not everyone wanted the government to create a $15,000 program because the Prime Minister would then announce that everyone—including the federal and provincial governments and the private sector—would have to contribute $5,000.

                                Today, the Prime Minister is saying that he is prepared to sit down and to negotiate with the provinces. It is not a good idea to announce a program before you have conducted negotiations. In fact, that is contrary to what should be done. Better yet, the government should say that it has things to discuss with the provinces and that it wants to do that.

                                They had an opportunity. Just six months ago, the premiers made an unprecedented decision to tell the Prime Minister that they would like to have a meeting to discuss the economy. They wanted to have a chance to discuss the issues that concern them and concern the government, because running a modern economy or running a federation is not the exclusive property of the Government of Canada. It is not the exclusive jurisdiction of the Conservative Party. It is a concern of every political party, a concern of every region, and a concern of every government.

                                The Prime Minister declined. The Prime Minister of Canada refused to attend. If we compare Canada to every other federation in the world, no other federation would be in a situation in which the leader of its federal government would refuse to sit down with the premiers who had specifically asked for a meeting to discuss the economy. It is unbelievable.

                                After the last 48 hours, I have a suggestion for the premiers: they should rent themselves panda costumes and get together and tell the Prime Minister there is going to be a fantastic photo opportunity. They will not even be behind glass. They will be out in public and willing to sit down. That is the only way I think we can get this Prime Minister to sit down and talk to the premiers.

                                Instead of having a meeting and a serious discussion, what does the Government of Canada do? On health care, the Minister of Finance walked into a luncheon meeting of the ministers of finance and said, “I am too busy to have lunch. By the way, I want to tell you what the transfers for health care are going to be for the next 10 years.”

                                The member for Peterborough is saying “Hear, hear”. Maybe that goes down well where he comes from, but having sat at a premiers' table and at a ministers of finance table, I can say it is ridiculous to have a federal government walk in and in five minutes describe what the program for transfers is going to be.

                                There has to be a discussion. The government cannot have a take it or leave it approach. The take it or leave it approach is even being rejected by the members of the Conservative Party opposite.

                                Even now, even at this late hour in the life of the government, we are beginning to see signs of life, signs of people wanting to speak up, signs of members of the blue army chorus saying they want to wear something different and come out today and have a voice of their own. However, even that is being stamped down by the leadership of the Conservative Party.

                                This budget does so much less than what it pretends to do. In the dialogue between the member for Okanagan—Coquihalla and the member for Peterborough, the member for Peterborough was saying, “Isn't it a wonderful thing? We have discovered that if you reduce tariffs, it is going to have a positive effect on the economy.”

                                The Conservatives raised tariff revenues for the federal government in this budget by $300 million, but the two items upon which they reduced them magically leaped out—magically.

                                John Ivison from the National Post magically picked the items out of all the possibilities of items that the government would either reduce or increase, and he said that the reporters from The Globe and Mail had the same magic information. How did that happen? How would they have suddenly landed on baby clothes and hockey equipment? Of all the items that are there, those are the items they picked.

                                I do not think so. I do not think it was a lucky guess. I know my friends in the New Democratic Party have written to the RCMP and are going to launch an investigation. I wish the investigators well in their search for this difficult piece of information.

                                The government has raised tariffs by $300 million. I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to the Minister of Finance talking to our Asian friends and saying, “We really want to lower tariffs and we really want to engage with you in the Pacific negotiations, but by the way, we are taking a $300-million cash grab before we sit down and have a serious discussion about tariffs.”

                                It is ridiculous. The range of things the government is doing, not to improve the budget but to simply sell the budget, is unbelievable to me.

                                I have to hand it to the government. It knows how to orchestrate leaks. It knows how to feed little pieces of gruel to the press the week before and say, "Here is a little item. You might want to nibble on this. You might want to nibble on that." Suddenly and magically, the press knew that skills training and infrastructure were going to be the focus of the budget. Every single speech given by a member opposite, dutifully prepared by the Prime Minister's Office, expressed it.

                                That is what we know. We know the Conservatives know how to orchestrate. We know that after they have orchestrated, as the member for Cape Breton—Canso would have said, they also know how to sell.

                                He is not even here to listen to what I have to say. This is what happens to an interim leader. He says to mention his riding, but when I go to the length and trouble of bringing him into the story, he walks out. I cannot understand it.

                                • MPconblog bruce_stanton 41 post Canada National Parks Act

                                  Resuming debate. Seeing no one, I ask the hon. member for Leeds—Grenville for his right of reply for up to five minutes.

                                  • MPconblog James Bezan 1988 post Helping Families in Need Act

                                    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-44, the helping families in need act, which delivers on several of our commitments to support Canadian families as we seek to help them balance work and family responsibilities.

                                    The legislation supports parents of murdered and missing children, and parents of critically ill children. It also provides enhanced access to EI sickness benefits for parents who fall ill while receiving EI parental benefits. The amendments proposed in the helping families in need act will allow us to offer new support measures to Canadian families at a time when they need it the most.

                                    For parents, it means they will not have to quit their jobs to care for critically ill children. For employers, it means retaining valued employees who, otherwise, would have had to give up their jobs to care for a child who is critically ill. For children, it means they can have their parents at their sides during the most difficult times they will ever face in their lives.

                                    Children who are critically ill require not only ongoing care, but they need the love and emotional support of their parents during this time of need. I am extremely pleased to see our government taking action to help the parents of critically ill children. In fact, since I was first elected in 2004, one of my first orders of business was to table a motion calling for just this kind of support.

                                    Before politics and after I was first elected, our neighbours had a son, Jonathan Watson, who was terminally ill with neuroblastoma. We witnessed first-hand his courageous battle, his tremendous spirit and how he was just so loved, not only by his family but by our entire community of Teulon. They farmed just down the road from us. It was an incredible hardship for them to deal with all the emotional stress of caring for their son who for seven years fought this terrible disease, which he finally succumbed to.

                                    Brenda, his mother, had to give up her job to be with him full time. His dad had to take on two jobs just to support the family. They did quite a bit of the surgery and care down in the U.S., because the surgeries were just not available in Canada. It took an incredible toll on the entire family, a family of very dear friends.

                                    Jonathan wanted to raise awareness of the battle he was going through. His parents, Ken and Brenda, wanted to raise awareness of their struggle. Using the Candlelighters organization, which gave them a lot of support, along with the tremendous support they got from the community, there were fundraising events. There was also charitable giving, because we knew of the financial hardship the family was going through. We also witnessed their having to pretty much end their farming careers because they just could not afford to put the time into two jobs and the farm while Jonathan dealt with his reoccurring illness, which finally got the better of him.

                                    One of the things Jonathan did that I was able to participate in a little bit was that he twice participated in a car push. He was the driver of a car and a couple of strong men pushed the car for an entire weekend, ongoing, to break the Guinness world record for the longest car push. It was a fundraising event to raise awareness, as well as to raise support for medical research for children's diseases. It was something he was incredibly proud of and we were all quite proud of his participation in it. It was his idea and he was able get involved with a couple of great big guys and do it over a weekend.

                                    I introduced a motion back in November 2005. Motion No. 309 said:

                                    That, in the opinion of the House, the government should provide income support payments, expanded parental leave and tax relief to parents, legal guardians or family members leaving work to provide home care to critically and terminally ill children requiring full-time palliative care as certified in a letter from a medical practitioner.

                                    I called that Jonathan's bill. I was quite pleased that in the following Parliament my seatmate, the member for Leeds—Grenville, brought forward Bill C-542 in the 39th and 40th Parliament, and again in this Parliament, Bill C-371, which called for the exact same types of support for families dealing with children who are critically and terminally ill, and also made sure that we have the EI support and employment protection reforms in place. He carried the ball on that in the Parliaments after I originally tabled the motion. It is something I am very proud of him for doing. He worked very closely with Sharon Ruth of Kemptville, a constituent of his, and she has worked hard on this issue, and I want to congratulate both of them.

                                    Parents of critically ill children face difficult choices. In addition to the emotional and physical stress of caring for a critically ill child, many parents must choose between continuing to work to support their families or incurring financial hardship when they temporarily leave work to care for their child.

                                    Are loving parents willing to take leave from their jobs in order to be with their ill children? Of course they are. Should these parents be provided with as much support as possible so they are not penalized for being with their families in time of need? Most members in the House would believe that is true. I hope all parties would support that and all members would have the same realization as we do on this side of the House. Indeed, in a 2006 study of EI compassionate care benefits, it was found that parents of children receiving curative treatments, such as chemotherapy or having major surgery, are likely to quit their jobs to be with their child regardless of the prognosis. I think all of us as parents would do the same thing.

                                    Between 40% and 63% of families who have children with cancer lose income because they work less while they care for their sick child. Loss of income and out of pocket expenses for travel, accommodation and payment for medical supplies can account for nearly 25% of the total disposable income available to these families. As I mentioned with the Watsons, it was even higher than that because they had to go to the United States for the care, treatment and surgeries for neuroblastoma on Jonathan.

                                    Our government wants to ensure that these parents do not suffer undue financial hardship any longer and that we support them and their families during these difficult times. That is why we have created this new EI benefit that would provide temporary income support for eligible claimants who take leave from work to provide care and support to a critically ill child. These measures would be available to parents of a critically ill child under the age of 18 and would provide support for up to 35 weeks. As I said before, we will also amend the Canada Labour Code to allow for unpaid leave for employees under federal jurisdiction to ensure that their jobs are protected if they take time off to care for a critically ill child.

                                    These changes are not simply worth doing, they are the right thing to do to support Canadian families. I am pleased to hear that the NDP and the Liberals will be supporting the bill. The families that this legislation supports need this help as soon as possible. It is too late for the Watsons, but in talking to Brenda and Ken, they want to see that this help is there for families who are going through the same experience that they went through back in 2005 and the seven years previous to that.

                                    One of the areas that has not received much attention from previous governments is supporting families who have been negatively impacted by crime. This is perplexing because it is quite possibly one of the most difficult experiences a parent could ever go through: the loss or disappearance of a child as a result of a criminal act. That is why parents who work for a federally regulated employer who take a leave of absence from work to cope with such circumstances will also receive job protection under this legislation. We will also be providing financial help to parents through the new federal income support for parents of murdered or missing children. This grant is expected to be available as early as January 1, 2013.

                                    Another portion of the bill that would have a significant economic and labour impact is enhancing the access to EI sickness benefits. Under the bill, the Employment Insurance Act would be amended to allow parents access to EI sickness benefits if they fall ill during the time they are on EI parental leave. If a parent is already on parental leave to care for a newborn and then fall ill with cancer or something that would take them out of the workforce for a lengthy period of time, they could still access those EI sickness benefits after the parental leave.

                                    These combined initiatives, which our government is proposing in the helping families in need act, are just some of the actions taken by our government to help Canadian parents balance work and family responsibilities. The bill is in addition to the measures we have already brought in, such as expanding eligibility for compassionate care, allowing the self-employed to opt into the EI program to access maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits, and improved access to EI parental benefits for military families. The initiatives in the bill underscore our government's commitment to support Canadian families and help them through the times when they are most in need.

                                    I want to thank the Prime Minister for originally introducing the bill and talking about it. I also want to thank the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development for bringing it to the House and, as I said, the member of Parliament for Leeds—Grenville, as well as the families and the non-government agencies such as Candlelighters that have been promoting and lobbying for these changes for so long, families such as the Watsons and the Rudys who have been affected by these unfortunate incidents, as has the hon. member for Brant with his own family.

                                    • MPconblog Phil McColeman 1686 post Helping Families in Need Act

                                      Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today in support of Bill C-44, the helping families in need act.

                                      Before I make my formal remarks, I would like to extend my appreciation to both the NDP and Liberal Parties for their support of this bill, even though at this point it sounds like there may be some conditions around that. I think this is a great example of what some parents and groups across the nation consider a revolutionary change and, certainly, a compassionate new way to recognize those most in need.

                                      The bill contains three measures that will help Canadian families at a time when they most need it. These include EI benefits for parents of critically ill children, enhanced access to sickness benefits for parents receiving EI parental benefits, and federal income support for parents of murdered or missing children.

                                      Thankfully, we have a Prime Minister and government that understand that families are the building blocks of our society and recognize that parents should have the option of being with their children at a time of crisis, without fear of losing their job or financial security.

                                      I would also highlight the work of the member for Leeds—Grenville in his private member's bill on this matter in the last two parliaments, which acted as a catalyst for these changes to be made in this very compassionate bill. As well I would recognize the member for Selkirk—Interlake who moved a motion in 2006 on this topic and has been a determined advocate for parents of critically ill children.

                                      Today presents a rare opportunity for me as a member of Parliament to connect with an issue so personal and so close and to tell a story that I have never told in public before. I stand today to speak for the many families whose lives will suddenly be turned upside down and irreversibly changed when told that their child has a life-threatening critical illness, or has been murdered or is missing and cannot be found.

                                      The Canadian Cancer Society reports that today and every day in Canada four families will receive the news that their child has life-threatening cancer diagnosis. That is four today, four tomorrow and four every day.

                                      Twenty-four years ago my family and I received the news that our two-year old son was critically ill with a very high-risk, life-threatening leukemia. The odds of his survival were slim.

                                      The news was delivered on a Saturday afternoon, and our son was transferred immediately from our local hospital to the McMaster oncology unit in Hamilton where toxic chemicals were injected into his body to arrest the blood cells gone wild. Remission happened two weeks later, and an aggressive two-year chemotherapy and radiation protocol was put into place after the McMaster team of doctors determined that is what would be necessary to cure our son.

                                      We spent over 270 days in hospital over those two years. Our son went through cranial radiation, spinal cord injections, and toxic chemicals were regularly put into his body. However, there was always one parent by his side. We quickly realized that we were not unique: there were 8 to 12 other families at the McMaster oncology unit at any point in time, at different points in the process.

                                      It is true that cancer does not discriminate. It does not discriminate by social situation, economic situation or, for that matter, any situation that people find themselves in.

                                      I was self-employed and, frankly, I had never had the opportunity to participate in EI. It was never available up until the time our government changed it to enable self-employed people to become part of the EI program. Now our government has set the platform for self-employed people to become part of the EI program. Even then, some 24 years ago, that was not possible. Our government corrected that.

                                      We also learned at the time that for those with life-threatening conditions, much more is needed for them to get better than just round the clock medical care. Our children need the comfort of their parents and their family beside them.

                                      Our son Jordan is a miracle child. Now 26, he is here with us today in Ottawa, a cancer survivor after having beaten the odds. He is a unique young man because, like many who received the same treatment protocol, he suffered brain damage as a result of the combination of cranial radiation and a very aggressive chemotherapy used in his treatment protocol. There are many families who face such circumstances and no parent should have to choose between a job and supporting a loved one.

                                      I can tell many stories of the families we met at the McMaster oncology unit. However, I will tell one that has stuck with our family ever since we spent two years at that unit. It is the story of a 16-year-old girl who was in the room next to our son's. There were times we could go home and then back. As I said, we spent over 270 days in hospital. However, every time we went back, she would be on the ward, experiencing yet another trial of a bone marrow transplant or some other experimental drug to try to save her from this dreaded disease. The one time we were there, her entire family had gathered around her because all of the treatment options had been exhausted for her. There she was, a beautiful young girl aged 16, with her family around her saying goodbye to her because the end was near. This is not an unusual story, as there are children of many ages who are being treated today at many hospitals across this country.

                                      As we have said here today, this would immediately help 6,000 families. It will help everyone as it goes forward. When we are told by the opposition that their support is conditional, we say that it should not be conditional. This should have happened a long time ago under previous governments, for all the people who are currently experiencing this.

                                      What Sharon Ruth said at the announcement last week about her daughter and her situation absolutely parallels our experience and that of many other families. She has been such a strong advocate through the years, via the member for Leeds—Grenville, to bring it to where it is today. Therefore, criticism from the opposition saying that this is conditional is absolutely unacceptable to my mind.

                                      As was also mentioned, the helping families in need act will also provide federal income support for parents of murdered or missing children. I would be remiss if I did not highlight the work of my caucus colleague, Senator Boisvenu, for his tireless advocacy on behalf of victims of crime. It is based on his personal experience from the tragic loss of his daughter, who was murdered. He took up this matter and his advocacy work has led to this part of this proposal. For far too long, families who are touched by a traumatic circumstance of a criminal act committed against a family member have not received the support they need and deserve. As Senator Boisvenu would say, the unique situations families face when seeking justice within the criminal justice system require a unique measure to support them during such a trying time. These measures expand on and complement other government supports for parents, many of which have been strengthened by our economic action plan.

                                      Our government recognizes that it is difficult for working Canadians to balance their job and their desire to care for family members with a serious illness or disability, or cope with the trauma of a missing or murdered child. I personally cannot imagine what receiving that news would be like.

                                      I am hopeful that the opposition will be supporting this legislation as they said they would, because this legislation needs to be passed quickly to meet our government's ambitious timelines for implementation.

                                      I cannot put it better than Sharon Ruth, the mother of a cancer survivor. She spoke last week when we announced this new bill. She said the following:

                                      My hope is that this legislation passes quickly and without incident. I know all too well what it's like to suffer the emotional and financial devastation of a child with a cancer diagnosis. The sooner our government can bring relief to those thousands of families across Canada currently navigating this life-altering journey, juggling jobs, bills, treatment and hope, the better.

                                      It is pretty hard to argue with that. I call on all members of the House to support the speedy passage of Bill C-44, so we can deliver this much needed help to families in incredibly difficult circumstances.

                                      • MPconblog Diane Finley 1787 post Helping Families in Need Act

                                        moved that Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Insurance Act and to make consequential amendments to the Income Tax Act and the Income Tax Regulations, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

                                        Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in this House today in support of Bill C-44, Helping Families in Need Act.

                                        The government is delivering on our commitment to support Canadian families by introducing new income supports for them in times of sickness and tragedy.

                                        Our government listens to Canadian families. We know that raising a child is one of the most important responsibilities that someone will ever have, so when a parent has to struggle with illness while balancing other responsibilities, whether at work, home or both, the whole family is affected.

                                        We have heard from families all across this great country about situations where a parent becomes ill soon after a child is born and while the parents are still receiving parental benefits. In those cases, parents have been unable to access EI sickness benefits during or after their receipt of parental benefits because of the way the Employment Insurance Act is written.

                                        Our government is taking action and changing the rules for ill parents.

                                        Bill C-44 will enable parents to receive employment insurance sickness benefits if they become ill while they are receiving parental benefits.

                                        This new measure will benefit approximately 6,000 Canadians per year and will come into effect in early 2013. Additionally, as part of the bill, we are including changes for other income supports for families when they need these the most.

                                        As the Prime Minister announced in April of this year, we will provide financial support to parents who are struggling with the disappearance or death of their child as a result of a crime. This measure will come into force in January 2013.

                                        I would like to point out that Senator Boisvenu has worked tirelessly on moving forward with this issue.

                                        I must pause here before proceeding. Everyone I have spoken with and heard from has applauded the introduction of these changes, acknowledging that our government will be providing families in the most tragic and difficult situations with up to 35 weeks of income support.

                                        However, I was absolutely stunned last week when the NDP actually voted against helping these Canadian families. In the ways and means motion that was required to introduce these changes, NDP members turned their backs on parents who need our help. Our strong, stable, national, Conservative, majority government stood up for parents of murdered or missing children last week.

                                        NDP members, as we know, never say no to spending. It seems that that is all they know how to do sometimes, along with providing massive tax increases. However, last week, without any sound rationale, they said no to parents who really need our support.

                                        I am hoping that they have changed their minds since then. Perhaps they heard Bruno Serre's story. It is a tragic story about when he lost his daughter to crime. Perhaps they heard the story as he related it at the launch of the bill last week.

                                        Bruno Serre is the vice-president of the Association of Families of Persons Assassinated or Disappeared and the father of Brigitte, who was murdered in January 2006, at the age of 17, while working a shift at a Shell gas station in Montreal. This is what he said:

                                        I would like to thank...the Conservative government for keeping its promise, a promise that gives families like mine renewed confidence in our government's willingness to help them.

                                        The third component of this legislation was also previously announced by our Prime Minister this summer, that we will offer employment insurance benefits to parents of critically ill or injured children.

                                        Every year about 19,000 children get sick enough to require prolonged treatment in intensive care units.

                                        To heal, seriously ill children not only need doctors day and night, but they also need the comfort that their parents can provide. This new benefit will help alleviate some of the financial hardships experienced by parents who have to miss work to spend time with their families.

                                        They need the comfort of their parents. This benefit will help reduce some of the financial pressure that parents experience as they take time away from work to look after their family. Working parents in this situation have to use up their vacation and any other leave and allowances they may have. Then they will likely have to take unpaid leave from work, often with no clear idea of when or if they will be able to get back to work.

                                        Our government has committed to helping and we are doing so with this legislation. Conservatives have been working hard for families for years and some of the work on this new EI benefit was actually started in 2008 by my colleague, the MP for Leeds—Grenville, who introduced a private member's bill on this topic. That bill and the subsequent discussions helped create the policy for parents of critically ill or injured children, and I thank my colleague from Leeds—Grenville for his efforts.

                                        When announcing the tabling of this legislation last week, I was particularly touched by the story of Sharon Ruth, an advocate for parents of critically ill children. Sharon's daughter, Colleen, was six years old when she was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. Sharon's world was suddenly and completely changed. At the podium Sharon said:

                                        [I]t wasn't until our country finally got a majority government that I'm standing here today with all of you on the brink of what I hope will be revolutionary change to help those families that are in need and most vulnerable.

                                        The most important news is that Colleen is now cancer free and is enjoying life as a healthy and very active young woman. Sharon's worlds were clear on behalf of all of the parents who continue to struggle:

                                        My hope is that this legislation passes quickly and without incident. I know all too well what it's like to suffer the emotional and financial devastation of a child with a cancer diagnosis. The sooner our government can bring relief to those thousands of families across Canada currently navigating this life-altering journey, juggling jobs, bills, treatment and hope the better.

                                        To Sharon I say, I hope for that too.

                                        Family, as well as the importance we attach to it, is one of the fundamental values that unite us as Canadians.

                                        When times are tough, sometimes beyond what we could ever have imagined, that is when we support each other. That is what we do as Canadians and that is what we are doing as government. After all, the last thing that a parent should have to worry about at such a time is how to make a mortgage payment or how not to lose their job.

                                        On that note, changes will also be made to the Canada Labour Code as part of Bill C-44 to provide job protection for parents under federal jurisdiction who take a leave of absence while coping with having a critically ill or injured child, or a murdered or missing child.

                                        All of these measures will be providing assistance during some of the most trying or tragic times that a family could ever endure. They also represent our government's steadfast commitment to fulfilling our promises, listening to Canadians and making life better for hard-working families in this country.

                                        As Dan Demers of the Canadian Cancer Society stated:

                                        [I] think it's critically important that we acknowledge that in the last election, this government made a commitment to parents and families who are caring for children in the most difficult situations we can imagine and today, we're not only seeing the Government take action to fulfill this commitment, but they're moving in this town at lightening speed and...they're exceeding our expectations.

                                        He also said:

                                        These programs will strengthen Canadian families and provide them the flexibility and the security they need to help keep their lives as normal as possible through a very very difficult time.

                                        I could not agree with him more, and I can only hope for all the parents who could benefit from these changes that the NDP will realize that this is not time for partisan games and needless dissent.

                                        It is time to work together and help families in this country when they need it most.

                                        • MPconblog MPLaurieHawn 1504 post Canada National Parks Act

                                          Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to talk about Bill C-370, which would change the name of St. Lawrence Islands National Park to Thousand Islands National Park. I also want to welcome viewers at home and members of the House back from what I hope was a good summer in the ridings for what I know will be a productive and, hopefully, somewhat congenial session of Parliament. I think this private member's bill is a good way to start.

                                          The bill the hon. member for Leeds—Grenville has brought forward for debate today would celebrate and recognize the national heritage that Canada and the famous Thousand Islands region have to offer.

                                          What is in the name of a park?

                                          A name with meaning builds the location in the consciousness of the public. It sets a site within the context of its surroundings. It is open and inviting to those who seek to engage with our nation's protected natural heritage. It is vast and it is something of which we are all proud. The St. Lawrence is a great and majestic river that originates from the outflow from Lake Ontario, near Kingston, and moves eastward 3,058 kilometres, one of the longest rivers in the world, where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. There are several prominent islands in the St. Lawrence: Wolfe Island, Montreal, Île d'Orléans and Anticosti Island are just a few.

                                          What does St. Lawrence Islands National Park, as a name, say to the average Canadian?

                                          Those who do not know the park would not imagine a region where majestic castles and historic summer homes stand in contrast to rugged islands of granite and pine that are home to lumbering turtles, soaring eagles and countless other species. The current name says nothing about how the park is located in the heart of the Thousand Islands area, an 80-kilometre-wide extension of granite hilltops joining the Canadian Shield of northern Ontario with the Adirondack Mountains in New York State.

                                          This is a park that showcases the unique landscape created by glaciers retreating 10,000 years ago, scraping sediments and exposing the rounded knobs of an ancient mountain chain. When the St. Lawrence River flooded the area on its path to the Atlantic Ocean, 1,000 hilltops became the Thousand Islands. It is a land where soil was slow to form over the acidic granite; where even today the area retains a rugged beauty.

                                          Plants and animals migrated to the region, encouraged by the moderating effects of the Great Lakes and the variety of microhabitats that were created by the rugged topography. The islands form a land bridge, as was mentioned by the previous speaker, from northwest to southeast, across the St. Lawrence River, aiding movement of species across the landscape.

                                          Notable examples of species that are common in the area, but rare in the rest of Canada, include: the deerberry, a plant that exists in only two locations in this country; the black rat snake, Canada's largest snake; the pitch pine, a southern tree species with a range that extends along the Frontenac Arch to just north of the Thousand Islands; and the least bittern, a wading bird whose wetland habitats are decreasing elsewhere within its northern range.

                                          This national park in the Thousand Islands forms part of the UNESCO-recognized Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve. It is an area that has important natural and ecological values and is a place where people live, work and enjoy a variety of economic and recreational activities based upon respect for the environment. The people of the region recognize the importance of protecting this land. Local residents were lobbying as far back as the 1880s for the creation of a national park in the Thousand Islands. As was stated earlier, although it took until 1904, the park was still the first national park east of the Rockies.

                                          So, why did the park end up being called St. Lawrence Islands National Park? That is a good question, which my colleague beside me failed to answer, as well. I do not know the answer, either.

                                          Historic government records do not clearly explain why that name was selected but refer to the park land as islands in the St. Lawrence which comprise the Thousand Islands group. They should have had a clue right there.

                                          Despite what may be on the entry sign, many locals and visitors have always used the name Thousand Islands National Park. Each year, the park receives many letters from visitors who address their comments to Thousand Islands National Park. Quite simply, the name St. Lawrence Islands does not fit. It does not fit what this park is, it does not mean anything, and it is not recognized by even those who return to the park on an annual basis.

                                          The idea of changing the park name is not new. It has been debated at the local level for decades. There was a recommendation to change the name of the park to Thousands Islands National Park in 1978, by the St. Lawrence Islands National Park advisory committee. This committee was formed by the Hon. Judd Buchanan, the then Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. The committee was made up of representatives of local municipalities, chambers of commerce, local citizens, and provincial and national organizations.

                                          For this current action to change the park's name, the City of Kingston, the Front of Yonge township, the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, the Town of Gananoque, the Thousand Islands Area Residents' Association and the directors of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve all approved motions in support of the name change. The 1000 Islands Gananoque Chamber of Commerce also supports the proposal.

                                          St. Lawrence Islands National Park is a tiny jewel comprised of over 20 islands with a rich and complex history of natural and human interactions. However, the current name does not fit the billboard. The current name does not build public identity and does not increase awareness and support for the park in the Thousand Islands region. It does not capture the imagination of the public. It does not fit the historical regional references to the park.

                                          Our national parks are national treasures. They are also personal treasures. We have all grown up visiting national parks. Growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, we spent a lot of time at Riding Mountain National Park. As an Albertan now, I and my family spend a lot of time in Banff and Jasper national parks, which are just magnificent. Those who have not been there need to go. Vacationing on the west coast, we spent time in Pacific Rim National Park.

                                          These are all fabulous areas that are the envy of the world. We should take great pride in them, and we should make sure that they are treated accordingly, whether it is respect for the environment or whether it is making the name mean something.

                                          Let me conclude by saying that I respect the dedication of the hon. member in bringing this bill to our attention for a second time. Changing the name of a national park is not an easy thing to do and it should not be an easy thing to do. I support the member's obvious commitment to the protection of our national environment, and I support his commitment to inspiring the meaningful recognition of a national treasure that does not hold a proper place in the consciousness of Canadians at the present time.

                                          Thousand Islands National Park is a name that has meaning. Thousand Islands National Park inspires imagination. Thousand Islands National Park says something specific about an incredible and unique region of our country. Thousand Islands National Park provides a direct link to the public with Parks Canada's mandate to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage, and to foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations.

                                          It is time for the Thousand Islands National Park to be recognized for what it is, what it has always been and what it will be for future generations. I would urge all members of the House to support this worthwhile bill.

                                          • MPlibblog KirstyDuncanMP 1381 post Canada National Parks Act

                                            Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-370, an act to amend the Canada National Parks Act, namely to change the name of St. Lawrence Islands National Park to Thousand Islands National Park. There has been considerable community consultation and there is broad consensus that this will be good for the region and the economy, as the name is recognized by tourists all over the world. I would therefore like to commend the member for Leeds—Grenville for this initiative and recognize that both he and the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands are both good friends of St. Lawrence Islands National Park and of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, an official United Nations biosphere reserve.

                                            Very briefly, a biosphere reserve is where local communities or representatives from key sectors such as agriculture, business, conservation, education and tourism work together to develop projects that link conservation with economic development in the region. The committees are voluntary and community based.

                                            St. Lawrence Islands National Park is the smallest national park in Canada and the oldest national park east of the Rockies, having been created in 1904. The area is an important part of our history. The first inhabitants of the park were aboriginal people who began fishing and hunting about 10,000 years ago at the beginning of the Holocene epoch, the epoch that we are now exiting. Later, following the American revolution, European settlers began moving into the area, and during the War of 1812 the area of the St. Lawrence Islands National Park was visited by both American and British warships. In the early 20th century the area became a gateway for the rich and famous in North America, and today elegant homes and summer cottages are among the beautiful sights seen on the various boat cruises of tourist attractions.

                                            The Thousand Islands region consists of 1,864 islands at the western edge of the St. Lawrence Seaway, right in the region of the park.

                                            Why is the park important and why should it be renamed? The first reason is to accurately brand the area. The name that people use to quickly and easily identify the area is the Thousand Islands. If one were to conduct an Internet search for the St. Lawrence Islands, he or she would find very little information. However, if the search were for the Thousand Islands there would be many hits. This is absolutely an indication that the Thousand Islands name is the one that is popularly used to describe the region and the place where the park is located.

                                            The second reason is to accurately describe the region. The St. Lawrence River passes from Kingston to Quebec and beyond. The St. Lawrence Islands National Park stretches from Kingston to Mallorytown, so it really is centred on the Thousand Islands region. It is important not to confuse the area with the whole of the St. Lawrence River and all of the other islands within the St. Lawrence River.

                                            It is also important to distinguish this particular national park from the phrase “parks of the St. Lawrence”, which is used by the Province of Ontario to describe a number of other attractions in the area, including Fort Henry, which, by the way, everyone should visit the first chance they have. It is important to ensure that tourist buses passing on the 401 stop and visit the region and enjoy what it has to offer. The park is a very important part of the region's economy and provides a considerable number of jobs. The latest statistics show there are 438 enterprises, employing almost 6,000 people in Leeds-Grenville alone, that consider themselves visitor based.

                                            While this is an important initiative for the Thousand Islands region, it is important to point out that the recent cuts to Parks Canada mean that the St. Lawrence National Park could be struggling. The Parks Canada agency is responsible for 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites and 4 national marine conservation areas in Canada, and it falls under the responsibility of Environment Canada. Sadly, the government is gutting Parks Canada through implementing $29 million in budget cuts. In so doing, it is undermining the health and integrity of Canada's world renowned parks, risking some of our world heritage sites, significantly reducing the number of scientists and technical staff, hurting relationships with aboriginal peoples and attacking rural economies. Indeed, a former deputy minister of Environment Canada said that the federal budget cuts would undermine a decade of progress on protecting the health of Canada's national parks, while another critic called the cuts a “lobotomy” of the parks' system.

                                            PSAC reported that 1,689 of its members received affected notices and 638 positions will be eliminated, representing close to 30% of all scientists. According to the union, the affected workers include scientists, engineers, carpenters, mechanics, technicians and program managers. If the scientific monitors are reduced, who will know what is happening to Canadian ecosystems and what will restore endangered species like Canada's woodland caribou?

                                            On July 12, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, CPAWS, issued a sobering report about the state of Canada's parks. It highlighted the dangers to our national parks due to funding cuts, the loss of science and monitoring capacity, the growth of inappropriate development within and adjacent to many current and proposed parks, the shortening of seasons, and inappropriate recreation and tourism activities.

                                            Under the Aichi biodiversity targets, the commitment is to protect at least 10% of our marine and 17% of our land areas by 2020. Currently, just 1% of Canada's marine environment is protected and 627 species are at risk of extinction. The rate of extinction is expected to peak in the next 50 years because of climate change, economic expansion, habitat destruction and pollution, yet the government, through Bill C-38, has limited the environmental assessment process and stripped endangered aquatic species of habitat protection.

                                            According Parks Canada's report on plans and priorities, it is likely that user fees at national parks and historic sites will increase at the beginning of the next fiscal year. These include entry fees, camping fees, lockage and mooring fees. A national user fee proposal is expected to be tabled in Parliament in early 2013, which will outline the business increases.

                                            Our party has criticized the Minister of the Environment's claim that businesses near national parks and historic sites are getting a “free ride”. We have stated that it was insulting to the owners and operators of thousands of small businesses across Canada who are a key pillar of the Canadian economy and employ over 500,000 Canadians.

                                            In conclusion, the name change has been thought through by the community. This is not rebranding but rather about attaching the name of a park to a brand that is very old and well-known throughout the world, and something that people naturally talk about when they talk about the region.

                                            One of my earliest memories is visiting the Thousand Islands and sitting on the dock with my brother and dad, waiting for one of the cruises. In fact, it is that faded picture that my father always hung in his office and that now lies quietly in his drawer. I hope to revisit the renamed Thousand Islands National Park with my family very soon. It is time to take them back there. I encourage all members to do so as well.

Riding Twitter (MP & Candidates)


The electoral district of Leeds--Grenville (Ontario) has a population of 99,206 with 75,075 registered voters and 206 polling divisions.

Riding MPs Social Media Stats

Gordon Brown MP
Twitter page
followers: 2,501
popularity: 4
facebook fans: 0

Steve Clark MPP MP
Twitter pagefacebook pageyoutube page
followers: 5,429
popularity: 1
facebook fans: 804

mp, candidate or riding assotiation missing? add it here

Riding & Local MP Photos

vote.ca Use vote.ca to help find where to vote during a federal election.
user online () viewing this page ()
view mobile version
Processing time: 1.6692 seconds