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            • MPnews news Who were the top spending NDP candidates in the fall federal election? - TheChronicleHerald.ca
              Megan Leslie (Halifax): $169,960.62. Mira Oreck (Vancouver Granville): $167,662.48. Bill Sundhu (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo): $158,523.06. Olivia Chow (Spadina—Fort York): $157,112.21. Jennifer Hollett (University—Rosedale): $155,181.47. read more
              Apr 03, 2016 12:13 pm> |
              • MPnews news Investment at Kamloops Airport - Enhancing safety in British Columbia - Canada NewsWire (press release)
                ... for Western Economic Diversification and Member of Parliament for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, on behalf of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today announced that the Government of Canada is investing $4,401,747 to enhance safety ...and more » read more
                May 22, 2015 9:19 am> |
                • MPnews news Media Advisory - Government of Canada investment at Kamloops Airport - Canada NewsWire (press release)
                  KAMLOOPS, BC, May 21, 2015 /CNW/ - Cathy McLeod, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and for Western Economic Diversification and Member of Parliament for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, on behalf of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, ... read more
                  May 21, 2015 9:54 am> |
                  • MPconblog Cathy McLeod 86 post Petitions

                    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed predominantly by my constituents in Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. They are calling for the respect of the right of the small-scale family farmer to preserve, exchange, and use seeds. I think our recent legislation clearly articulates that we do that. The other thing of particular relevance is to look at international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and recognize their vital role in the struggle against hunger and poverty.

                    • MPconblog Cathy McLeod 54 post Petitions

                      Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present from my riding of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

                      The first petition is requesting that Parliament pass a new firearms act that contains a provision for licensed handgun owners to carry a sidearm for protection from predatory wildlife.

                      • MPconblog Cathy McLeod 1115 post Railway Safety Act

                        Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand to speak to private member's Bill C-627. I also want to congratulate the member for Winnipeg South Centre on a bill that really reflects the needs that she saw in her own riding. It is very interesting. As we look at this particular bill and speak to it, we are all looking at our ridings and what the impact might be on them. We heard from different members about having a lot of rail running through their ridings. I myself represent Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, which is 45,000 square kilometres. We have CN, which runs from the Alberta border down through Edmonton to Vancouver, and we have CP, which goes through the Calgary route. When I heard the number of crossings mentioned by the previous member, I was thinking that perhaps the bill would have an extraordinarily higher effect in my riding, because out of those 18,000 or 23,000 crossings, the riding I represent has quite a number of them.

                        When I was first heading into the election campaign of 2008, I certainly remember going across one of the highways in the region. We were suddenly warned to slow down and go very slowly, because this was a very hazardous crossing. In this way I was first introduced to a very hazardous crossing very early in my election campaign. Of course, I am very pleased to see that there have been improvements.

                        It is important to reflect that the vast majority of the crossings in our country are well maintained, but there are instances and circumstances that make this particular bill both appropriate and necessary.

                        As a government, we are committed to the safety and the security of Canadian communities. I think we all agree that ensuring a safe, dependable, and modern transportation system is essential to supporting the continuing advancement and prosperity of this country. It is for that reason that I am very proud, as I mentioned earlier, to support Bill C-627, an act to amend the Railway Safety Act (safety of persons and property).

                        Many of us have spoken about the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic. Members will recall that Transport Canada took immediate action to further improve railway safety and transportation of dangerous goods. I want to quickly itemize some of them: classification testing for shipments of crude oil; increased information-sharing with municipalities to facilitate emergency planning; and the removal of the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars from dangerous goods service.

                        I have had conversations with a number of the members of the FCM who were at the rail transportation safety committee. They have been very pleased with their conversations with our minister in terms of her responsiveness to the concerns they identified.

                        To build on these actions, Transport Canada responded to the Transportation Safety Board's recommendations by issuing an emergency directive that requires railway companies to meet standardized minimum requirements for handbrake application and to implement additional securement measures.

                        Transport Canada is also in the process of recruiting additional staff to carry out more frequent audits, recruiting additional staff with engineering and scientific expertise to oversee the transportation of dangerous goods, creating new processes to increase information-sharing with municipalities, and conducting additional research on the hazards of Canadian crude oil.

                        In addition to these departmental actions, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has launched a comprehensive review of the state of railway safety in this country. Among other things, this review specifically targets the issues of railway safety, management systems, and the transportation of dangerous goods. It will further increase our understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to rail safety.

                        Since its introduction, the Railway Safety Act has been amended twice. It was first amended in 1999 in order to provide for a fully modern framework for Canada's rail transportation system. This framework was truly progressive, making railways more responsible for managing their operations safely.

                        More recently, the act was amended on May 1, 2013, in order to further improve rail safety and to reflect the industry's evolution. To keep pace with industry changes, the amendments further strengthened the department's oversight and enforcement capacity, enhanced the implementation of safety management systems, increased the importance of environmental management, and clarified ministerial authority and responsibilities.

                        This bill, which would enhance the power of the minister and inspectors to intervene when people and property are at risk, is the next step towards an even stronger piece of legislation and a stronger legislative framework, putting even more emphasis on pre-emptive prevention and the protection of Canada's most important resource: its people.

                        Approval of this bill would be an important step in supporting a comprehensive railway safety program that would further strengthen the safety and protection of the public. Without a doubt, modernizing the Rail Safety Act to reflect the increasing requirements for public and railway safety is timely.

                        These are changes that few Canadians can argue about. In listening to the debate so far this evening, it appears that few parliamentarians can argue against them either. Without a doubt, modernizing the Railway Safety Act to reflect the increasing requirements for public and railway safety is timely, and these changes Canadians can agree with.

                        In closing, many ridings throughout this country have rail lines running through them, and we all recognize the critical importance of the rail system in transportation. I understand that almost 60% of what is transported by rail is destined for export markets, which is a critical part of our economy. Obviously, it is of great importance to match or balance our support for prosperity and jobs with making sure that it is as safe as possible.

                        I congratulate the member for Winnipeg South Centre on a very positive and important measure.

                        • MPconblog Cathy McLeod 194 post Royal Canadian Mounted Police

                          Mr. Speaker, last week there was a horrific event in my riding of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, when RCMP member Corporal Jean Rene Michaud was shot while on duty. I know the whole community joins me in sending our thoughts and prayers to Corporal Michaud and his family while he is recovering in hospital.

                          Events such as this are dark reminders of the dangers front-line RCMP officers across the country are putting themselves in every day of the year. They will be serving, as we spend time with our families on Christmas Eve and as we sit down to our Christmas dinners, defending and protecting Canadians and their communities.

                          It is important that we extend our appreciation and thanks to those who serve on our behalf. These are individuals who have built a reputation for ensuring a safe and secure Canada. The RCMP is an organization that is recognized around the world for the courage and accomplishments demonstrated by its members.

                          I thank the RCMP and I thank Corporal Jean Rene Michaud for his service.

                          • MPconblog Cathy McLeod 1533 post Committees of the House

                            Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to stand here and talk to this very important issue of youth unemployment and the important report that was put forward by the Standing Committee on Finance with a number of recommendations.

                            First of all, we need to put this into a framework of what the government has been doing and the very important work that we have been moving forward with.

                            I have three children in their twenties, and I remember that back in the nineties when they were quite young I used to think that the baby boomers were all going to retire, so that when my children finished university, finished whatever path they had chosen in their life, the world was going to be their oyster and that they would have many opportunities and, indeed, that there would be a shortage. That has not happened. We know there are some challenges for youth and we know our unemployment rate is higher than we would like it to be.

                            The government understands that it is important that we create the right environment for the economy to thrive, that we create the right environment for the job creators of this country to be successful and to create those jobs. It is ironic that the NDP members like to talk about their great concern about this issue, but every single measure, everything we do to support the job creators in this country, they tend to vote against.

                            For example, as we look at lowering the tax rates for our corporations, it is important to recognize that lower tax rates encourage growth. Money is international these days, there is international mobility, and we are encouraging job creators, groups like Tim Hortons, to come back to Canada.

                            First of all we need to look at the policies that we have in place, including around natural resources. Here again I would have to look at the New Democrats because I do not think there is a natural resource project that I have heard them support yet, especially for our aboriginal peoples. In Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, we have a mine that opened call New Gold, and as part of that mine opening, there were some job agreements created with the local bands that allowed for employment opportunities for their youth.

                            It is important that we have policies in place that support the job creators, whether regarding corporate tax rates or, more importantly, resource development policies whereby we get to a yes or no, so that companies will not have to spend 6, 8,15, 30 years before they get an answer about what are to be doing. That is one thing that we have focused on.

                            The government has played a role in terms of some of the more direct supports that we have put in place for aboriginal youth, youth with disabilities, youth in general. Here I would like to spend time talking about the different programs that are in place. Again, this means significant dollars. It is also important to recognize that the provinces and municipalities are our partners in these issues. We work in partnership with provinces and municipalities.

                            As for some of the important programs in place, we have to start when young. Some of the first work experiences youth have are as high school students. Maybe a first job is supported through our Canada summer student job program. It might be working in a camp, or with an engineering company, or many of those jobs. In the riding I represent, there is over $450,000 that goes into providing that experience for youth, often their first experience in the workforce. We have programs related to paid internships.

                            Again, we have a company that is thinking of the need to expand the number of people it has. With respect to those entry-level jobs, creating those positions and those paid internship is a hugely successful program that encourages our businesses to hire youth.

                            Some of the more powerful programs I have seen are through our skills link and opportunities programs. Sometimes we have youth who experience specific challenges in their lives. I will again use Kamloops as an example; however, in the 308 ridings across the country, there are many similar groups in place. In one case we have a program that is giving funding to support a group called ASK Wellness Society. It has people who have perhaps had issues with drug or alcohol addiction and have had a few challenges in their life, but who have decided to turn their life around. We know that part of supporting people in turning their lives around is to provide meaningful support and opportunities for jobs.

                            I can remember going to a particular announcement where we talked about the ongoing support for some of these programs, and the story of the youth who stood up. He talked about the bad path he had taken in his life, about getting clean in terms of his drug and alcohol addictions, and about the support he had in terms of the basic skills he would need to be successful in his future. He had that support, from federal government funding delivered through an agency in town, and was now gainfully and happily employed. He was pleased and very happy about the change he had made in his life. More importantly, he did not feel he could have done it without the support of the program that was available to him.

                            We also recognize that our aboriginal youth have an unemployment rate that is of particular concern. There is support for aboriginal youth, and also programs like the ASETS program, which not only provides aboriginal youth with some pre-employment skills but actual skills training.

                            Our human resources, skills and development committee had the opportunity to not only look at ASETS, but the strategic partnerships fund, which is where industry works with the communities and community groups to create jobs. It is an important opportunity for supporting aboriginal youth and the extraordinarily high unemployment rate there.

                            The last thing I want to reflect on that has been part of an ongoing dialogue in the House, and although not directly related to youth unemployment there is a link, is support for child care. I have said this before, and I will say it again. I will use the example of someone from a rural community, someone who has to work nights, maybe a young mother who is 17 or 19 and needs someone at home. To be frank, the child care spaces proposed by the NDP would not do her any good if she goes to work for a 7 p.m. to midnight shift. Those spaces are not available, though they might be great for a nine to five shift. I understand that recent research has shown that people with higher incomes tend to take more advantage of those low-cost daycare spots. We would put that money in her pocket, so that if she needs to hire a babysitter or an aunt to come to the house, she would have that flexibility.

                            The last point I would like to focus on is what we hear about the extraordinarily high costs of child care. However, what the NDP are neglecting to say is that every province in this country provides support for low-income parents. With the supported child care program, sometimes the parents are paying nothing. If they are on a low income or are a single mom, they might be on a program delivered through the provinces where their child care cost is appropriately subsidized.

                            This conversation has been a little misleading, first in the fact that there is some important support available for those on a low income. More importantly, the jobs that our youth have, and perhaps single mothers, are not necessarily Monday to Friday and nine to five. Our plan is going to provide the parent of a young child with $1,900 a month. In addition to that, we have to remember that they have support from a number of different sources. It will allow them to enter the market more viably.

                            In conclusion, we all agree that the youth unemployment rate is an issue. It is an issue that we need to be concerned about. We need to find important ways to match opportunities to the interests of our youth, and we need to create an environment, both for corporations to be successful and to give youth the skills through the important programs that I have already mentioned. Whether it is the Canada summer student job program, youth opportunities, or disabilities, we have many programs in place, and we will continue to ensure that we have an important focus on this area.

                            • MPconblog Cathy McLeod 1499 post Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act

                              Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to join today in strong support of the Canada-Korea economic growth and prosperity act.

                              As we have said regularly, our Conservative government is committed to protecting and strengthening the long-term financial security of hard-working Canadians. We understand that Canada's prosperity requires expansion beyond our borders into new markets for economic opportunities that serve to grow Canada's exports and investments. That is why we will continue to deliver pro-export leadership.

                              Since coming to office in 2006, we have reached free trade agreements with 38 countries. These countries make up more than half of the global economy and represent nearly one-quarter of the world's countries. When they were in power, the Liberals took Canada virtually out of the game of trade negotiations, putting Canadian workers and businesses at severe risk of failing and falling behind in this era of global markets. In fact, the last time the Liberals tried to talk seriously about trade, they campaigned to rip up the North American free trade agreement.

                              Before I continue any further, I will mention that I will be splitting my time with the member for Huron—Bruce.

                              Our government cares deeply about trade and our country's economic growth. Last fall the Prime Minister announced a historic agreement in principle with the 28-nation European Union that will give Canadian businesses preferred access to half a billion affluent customers.

                              I always go back to what my cattlemen said. They did not talk about the affluent customers but about the hungry customers, because they saw a tremendous opportunity for the cattle export business. Right in my own riding, people are seeing the enormous opportunities that this agreement would provide.

                              Our Conservative government recognizes that protectionist restrictions stifle our exporters and undermine Canada's competitiveness, which in turn adversely impacts Canadian families. That brings me to the issue at hand today, which is the Canada-Korea free trade agreement.

                              Implementing this free trade agreement is critical to maintaining Canada's competitive position in the global marketplace. It would restore a level playing field for Canadian companies in the South Korean market. Right now our competitors, including the U.S. and the EU, are already enjoying preferential access because of their respective FTAs with South Korea.

                              For Canada, the Canada-Korea free trade deal is a landmark agreement. It represents our first bilateral trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region.

                              I heard the critic for the NDP talk earlier in terms of central Canada and eastern Canada, which tend to look to South America and Europe, but to our western provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, the whole Asian-Pacific gateway is incredibly important. It really is a key to increasing our global competitiveness.

                              Of course, trade and investment represent the twin engines of growth for the global economy, and again I have to reflect on the anti-trade ideology of the NDP. Although the NDP may support the bill a little bit, it is a fact that it did try to sabotage this bill at the trade committee. Rather than thinking about what is best for all Canadians, the NDP tabled amendments to remove the investor protection provisions, cornerstones of a modern trade and investment agreement, in order to please a small group of its supporters and perhaps some supporters of the Green Party.

                              On this side of the House, we know that there is no better job creator or economic growth generator than freer and more open trade. Canadians are proud of our long history as a trading nation, and for good reason: one out of every five Canadian jobs is dependent on exports. In fact, trade drives 64% of all of Canada's economic activity every year. That is why we have embarked on a very ambitious pro-trade plan. I believe it is the most ambitious in Canadian history.

                              A diverse range of sectors would have increased trade opportunities because of this free trade agreement, including industrial goods, agri-food products, fish and seafood, and forestry products. Earlier I mentioned beef; another area that is relevant to my riding in British Columbia, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo is forestry. It is incredibly important to open that up, as it has gone through a little bit of a difficult time with the economic recession. There are huge opportunities.

                              Canada's world-class service sectors would also benefit from improved market access, including professional services and research and development services.

                              The Canada-Korea free trade agreement would create thousands of jobs for Canadians by increasing our exports to South Korea by 32% and boosting our economy by $1.7 billion. Over 88% of Canada's exports would be duty free upon entry into force, and over 99% would be once the deal was fully implemented. The huge amount of Canadian exports becoming duty free upon the coming into force of the agreement is important, given the urgency of restoring our competitive position in the South Korean market.

                              It is important to note that when embarking on trade deals with other countries, we do so bearing our responsibilities in mind. I am happy to say that while we are working hard to advance our trade agenda, our government is also ensuring that labour rights and obligations are respected. That is why the free trade agreement with Korea has a labour chapter that includes robust labour provisions.

                              Canada and Korea have committed to ensuring that their laws embody and provide protection for internationally recognized labour principles and rights, notably those included in the International Labour Organization's 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. For those who may not be aware, the declaration covers the right to the freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, the abolition of child labour, the elimination of forced or compulsory labour, and the elimination of discrimination in the workplace. Through these provisions, we demonstrate our shared commitment to improving labour standards and protecting the rights of workers.

                              Both countries have also committed to ensuring acceptable protections concerning occupational health and safety, including compensation in cases of injuries or illness; employment standards, including minimum wage and overtime pay; and non-discrimination in respect of working conditions for migrant workers.

                              The labour provisions in this agreement stand out from the pack. For the first time, all obligations are now subject to a dispute settlement mechanism, which may apply financial penalties in the case of non-compliance. The labour provisions are comprehensive and enforceable. That speaks to the level of commitment from both countries to maintain high labour standards in this trading relationship.

                              Our relationship with South Korea is not new. Canada has long enjoyed positive relations with South Korea. In 2013, we marked our 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. While the agreement would provide a modern and stable foundation to grow our bilateral relationship, it builds on a long history of political and economic co-operation. During the Korean War between 1950 and 1953, Canada contributed the third-largest contingent of troops to the United Nations Command. There were some 26,791 Canadian soldiers who served in Korea, of which 516 lost their lives. After the Korean War armistice, 7,000 Canadian soldiers served as peacekeepers between 1953 and 1957.

                              Significant trade and investment ties have further solidified our relationship. South Korea represents an important market for Canadian commodities and has proven to be a valued source of investment. Without question, the agreement will level the playing field for Canadian companies and enhance their ability to tap into global value chains, boosting their global competitiveness, profitability, and long-term sustainability.

                              The benefits of the Canada-Korea free trade agreement for our country are far too significant to overlook. Canadian stakeholders from across the country have repeatedly called for the agreement to enter into force immediately to secure Canada's competitive position in the South Korean market. Our government is equally keen to tap into the Asian market and create more jobs for hard-working Canadians. For these reasons, I call for the urgent passage of Bill C-41 and the rapid implementation of the Canada-Korea free trade agreement.

                              • MPconblog Cathy McLeod 1688 post Business of Supply

                                Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have the opportunity to join this debate today, but to be quite frank, I am very surprised that we are actually having this debate. In British Columbia where I am from, the provincial NDP leader announced that he was not going to support a project which he had originally said he was going to wait for the environmental assessment review on. He announced he was not going to support it, to everyone's surprise and shock. Certainly the voters told him what they thought of that particular move in the recent election there. Here we have a project that has not even been applied for, and the New Democrats are opposing it off the top. We have scientists in place, plans in place, systems in place. They might want to learn from their counterparts in British Columbia about allowing proper processes to go through. Anyway, we are here to speak to this motion by the member for Drummond.

                                As all members know, Canada's energy sector is of great importance to our national economy and our quality of life. Energy is our leading export. The oil and gas sector generates 7.5% of Canada's GDP. All Canadians depend on this energy for their homes and transportation. Over 190,000 people depend on the oil and gas industry for their jobs and their livelihood. In addition, the energy sector provides many other benefits to Canadians. I have to note that almost every time I get on a plane to come to Ottawa, or I go from Kamloops to Vancouver or Calgary, the plane is filled with people who are going to work in Alberta. They are supporting their families. Those jobs are incredibly important to them and to their families.

                                The energy sector has paid royalties and taxes to government totalling over $23 billion annually over the last five years. These government revenues have helped pay for programs and services for all Canadians, including education, health care and pensions. Again, I have to look at the New Democrats. We consistently hear them wanting a whole variety of new spending on social programs, 45-day work years, increases to this and increases to that. Then they say no to absolutely everything that would potentially provide the resources for some of these programs they are asking for. Canada is very fortunate to have a great wealth of oil and gas resources. We can all take comfort in knowing that the energy sector will continue to generate significant economic activity throughout Canada, including jobs and government revenues for many years to come.

                                It is for these vital economic reasons that our government is proud to say that we support Canada's energy sector and all of our resource industries. That is why we created our plan for responsible resource development, a plan to ensure the success of Canada's resource industries and the protection of our environment.

                                Under this plan, we have focused on four key objectives.

                                We have made the regulatory review process for major projects more timely and predictable. That is really important. Investors need to get to a yes or a no in a relatively timely fashion. Now we have set timelines. Again, getting to that yes or no is absolutely critical.

                                We have reduced duplication across federal agencies and with provincial organizations. I remember the day when the provincial government would have a process, for example, for a mining project, and the federal government would have a process. There would be duplication of many things. We have taken those processes and had them make more sense so there is not that duplication across the organization.

                                We have enshrined stronger environmental protection measures in legislation, including new enforcement and compliance tools. We are also strengthening protections for marine transportation, offshore development and pipeline safety.

                                We are also strongly committed to engaging first nations in every aspect of resource development, underpinning all of these objectives and the many benefits they will bring.

                                It is a basic fact that major resource projects will only be approved if they are safe for Canada and safe for the environment.

                                I would like to also note that the Kinder Morgan pipeline has gone through the Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo riding for over 60 years now. When I look at that road, I understand if that pipeline were not there to move that oil to where it goes, there would be 2,300 trucks per day on that highway.

                                I drive that highway, and I know it is a two-lane highway. There are very few passing lanes. There are some horrific accidents, and I can only imagine what 2,300 extra trucks per day on that road would do.

                                The community of Kamloops looked at it just the other day and made some suggestions around the routing of the pipeline. We certainly recognize the importance of the gas to the people in Vancouver who regularly use it. I understand that 90% of the gas they use actually comes through that Kinder Morgan pipeline. They probably need to reflect on that particular issue.

                                I have talked a little bit about pipeline safety, and it is certainly something we all care about. We care about it for the safety of our families, the safety of our communities, and the safety of our environment. I just talked about that road and what the impact to it would be.

                                Canada's pipelines are among the safest in the world. Between 2008 and 2012, 99.999% of crude oil and petroleum products transported through federally regulated pipelines in Canada was moved safely. Furthermore, during the last 3 years, 100% of the liquids spilled on these pipelines were completely recovered. Our pipeline safety record is outstanding and compares well to the record of Europe and the United States.

                                There are some 73,000 kilometres of federally regulated pipelines found throughout Canada. These pipelines transport $100 billion worth of oil, natural gas, and petroleum products each year. That is, of course, just the activity that is within Canada. Beyond our borders, as global energy markets change, other nations are moving quickly to capture growing energy markets in places like China and India. As a result, Canada must act now if it wants to continue to fully benefit from the vast resource wealth.

                                Here, we are talking about the east coast, but I look at British Columbia and the keen interest of the province in terms of the opportunities around LNG. It is very actively trying to enjoy those opportunities for the benefit of British Columbians and Canadians.

                                Virtually all Canadian exports of oil and gas are destined for the United States, but growth of the unconventional gas and oil industry in the U.S. is making it essential for Canada to broaden its customer base. There is no question that Canada will continue to be a key supplier to the U.S., but shifting global demand and supply conditions clearly make it imperative for Canada to access new growing markets for its energy.

                                A key to achieving this market diversification is the development of new Canadian infrastructure. To support such expansion, our government is taking concrete actions to strengthen pipeline safety, marine safety, and rail safety, so that our energy transport system continues to be truly world class. The government will soon be introducing legislation to strengthen Canada's pipeline safety regime, and this new legislation will further contribute to its plan for responsible resource development by strengthening incident prevention preparedness and response, and by increasing liability and compensation.

                                Canada can rightfully be proud of its record for pipeline and marine safety. At the same time, we should never stop trying to do better. It is crucial to keep improving technology and updating regulations to further enhance pipeline safety.

                                We intend to enshrine the polluter pays principle in law, so that polluters, not taxpayers, will be held financially responsible for the costs and the damages they cause. We will introduce no-fault liability. We will require companies operating pipelines to hold minimum financial resources for incident response. For companies operating major oil pipelines, this financial requirement will be set at $1 billion. Together, these measures will significantly strengthen our pipeline safety regime.

                                All proposed pipelines will undergo a thorough, objective, science-based review, which will be through the regulatory process of the National Energy Board.

                                The National Energy Board will consider the potential environmental effects of increased marine shipping activities that would result from proposed projects, including the potential effects of accidents or malfunctions within the scope of its review.

                                As I stated earlier, no project will be approved unless the government is satisfied that it is safe for Canadians and for the environment.

                                In conclusion, right now no country in the world transports oil and gas as safely as in Canada. Canadians expect, and deserve, that government and industry should continually strive for the highest safety standards possible in the movement of oil and gas. The pipeline project would play an important role in the export of Canada's energy. The NEB will fully consider the potential impacts.

                                Again, the NDP wants to say no to a project before there is even an application. It is absolutely absurd. On this side of the House, we believe in having an intense, robust, strong process and letting the scientists do the evaluation, the assessment, make the decisions and advise government on how to move forward.

                                • MPconblog MPLoisBrown 243 post Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

                                  Mr. Speaker, like my colleague from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, I too would like to highlight the work of our Prime Minister in maternal, newborn, and child health.

                                  The Prime Minister and Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie have been in New York this week advocating for children and mothers. When world leaders met in Muskoka, in 2010, our Prime Minister put maternal and child health on the agenda. Our government followed up with an important high-level summit in Toronto, in May, generating tremendous support for this issue.

                                  Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced an important investment through the World Bank that will engage the expertise of the private sector, leveraging funds to make a difference. These are key initiatives, agreed upon in Toronto, that further our record of encouraging involvement by partner countries and organizations.

                                  Our government is a world leader in the protection of mothers and children, and Canadians can rightly take pride in Canada's leadership.

                                  • MPndpblog CarolHughesMP 1614 post Committees of the House

                                    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the remarkable, extremely talented, passionate, and hard-working member of Parliament for Timmins—James Bay.

                                    While I am happy to rise and join in the debate today, I am quite disheartened that this debate even has to take place. I am certain I am not alone in that opinion. I am trying to be mindful of that as a I choose my words today.

                                    This is an issue that has been left to percolate on the back burner of Canadian politics for far too long and in a way that many Canadians are not proud of. The sad story of Tina Fontaine has brought it to the boiling point, and it is clear that the time has come to treat the pattern of missing and murdered indigenous women as something more than a string of crimes, which the government bull-headedly insists is all we are dealing with.

                                    As Canadians, we are coming to terms with what happened to Tina Fontaine. The family and community of Sonya Cywink were holding a vigil in her memory in her hometown, which is Whitefish River First Nation on Birch Island. On that same day they also held a vigil in London.

                                    As MP, I was invited to attend and honoured to participate in that emotionally charged event in Whitefish River First Nation. We heard how on August 30, 1994, Sonya, who was living in London at the time, was found murdered at a historical aboriginal site in Elgin County and how nearly 20 years later Sonya's family, friends, and community still have no answers. As people began to share their stories, others spoke of their experiences with missing friends and relatives, and it became clear that, sadly, Sonya's case is not unique. We know there are close to 1,200 indigenous families across this country who share this experience, who have daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, or friends who are missing or have been murdered.

                                    If we want to contrast the government's inaction with that of the people who are living through this nightmare, we should consider how just last week the residents of Winnipeg have taken to dragging the Red River themselves. The government's response was a big fat zero. It blamed it on crime and left it at that. How can it claim to be taking any real action to address violence against women in this country when it refuses to conduct an inquiry into the close to 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada? The refusal amounts to acceptance, and when we consider that along with the Conservatives' record on equity rights for women, the pattern borders on ideological. In fact, since its election in 2006, the Conservative government has made it more difficult for women in this country. One of its first courses of action was to remove the word “equality” from the funding mandate of Status of Women Canada's women's program. While the word “equality” was eventually restored, its essence was lost.

                                    Additionally, the funding structure was changed, making it impossible for Status of Women Canada to fund the work of organizations when it relates to advocacy, lobbying, or general research on women's rights. At the time, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women expressed concern about the impact of these changes, particularly on access to services by aboriginal and rural women.

                                    We know that the government will claim it is doing something about this, but as others have mentioned today, it is all smoke and mirrors with the current government. While it has some funding for the initial research on missing and murdered indigenous women, it has turned around and cut funding to the second phase of the project, the one dedicated toward action. Organizations are still waiting to hear if projects dedicated toward violence prevention will be funded. How is that for a mixed message?

                                    Today, in 2014, indigenous women in this country are five to seven times more likely to die from violence than any other women. What is wrong with this story? Why is there not any action from the Conservative government?

                                    Why is the government not listening to the families who have lost their daughters, mothers, sisters and friends? Why is it not listening to aboriginal groups, such as the Native Women's Association of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations, or aboriginal leaders such as the chiefs, the grand chiefs and even the national chief? Why is it not listening to the public or organizations such as Human Rights Watch?

                                    Why is the Conservative government not willing to listen to all those voices and why is it refusing to call for a national public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women? It does not matter where these women came from—British Columbia, Winnipeg or northern Ontario—they were taken from our homes and our streets. They disappeared, and justice has not been served, for them or for their families.

                                    Each missing or murdered indigenous woman is a tragedy that could have been avoided. This is an issue that must be addressed, and the fact that the number of indigenous women who go missing or are murdered continues to rise is proof that the partial measures taken to date are not sufficient to address a tragedy of this scope or complexity.

                                    This past spring, the RCMP reported that between 1980 and 2012, there have been 1,181 homicides and unresolved missing persons cases involving indigenous women. To put that into perspective, if we were to stand in the House each day and read out the name of a different missing or murdered indigenous woman, we would not get through the entire list until November 2017.

                                    While my NDP colleague from Vancouver East began work on this issue almost a decade ago, since 2010 the federal NDP along with many other civil society groups have stated that a national inquiry is the crucial next step, and we have been pushing the Conservative government to agree. A national public commission is the necessary next step in addressing this tragedy.

                                    I stand here today with my colleagues, committing that an NDP government would take immediate action. We commit that, on our first day in office, the NDP would begin consulting first nations, women's groups, and other stakeholders on terms of reference for a national inquiry and that, within 100 days in office, an NDP government would establish a public inquiry under Part I of the Inquiries Act.

                                    While indigenous women make up only 4.3% of Canada's female population, 16% of all women killed in Canada are indigenous. Further to that, while murder rates are falling for non-indigenous women across the country, they have remained virtually unchanged for indigenous women. Only a full public inquiry that is properly resourced and involves indigenous peoples at every step will lead to real solutions.

                                    We need to understand what happened and determine what we need to do as a country to end violence against indigenous women and address the systemic issues that have made indigenous women more susceptible to violence. Yet instead of taking responsibility and being part of the solution, the Conservative government continues to make excuses and evasions. Provinces, territories, first nations, indigenous women's groups, communities, and experts from all backgrounds agree an inquiry is needed.

                                    We have Canadian consensus, but the Conservatives are just too stubborn to listen. We need comprehensive solutions that go beyond the government and police. We need to hear from families, communities, provinces, and territories along with other experts. We need a comprehensive and inclusive national inquiry into the hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. That is how we finally end this intergenerational tragedy.

                                    Enough is enough. The time to act is now. For far too many, this is an issue of life and death. It is up to us to take leadership and to commit to bringing justice to these families, to these women, to these communities, and to this country. We will not give up until a national inquiry is called and no indigenous woman lives in fear in Canada.

                                    We are very passionate about this because our colleagues are very passionate about this on all sides of the House, except that on the other side Conservatives choose not to act. Earlier tonight we had one member of Parliament, the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, who said we do not want to line lawyers' pockets with dollars. They feel that what they are doing is enough, but we look at the hundreds of millions of dollars just this past year that they have used to fight on first nations' issues, on their treaty rights, on the issue with respect to Cindy Blackstock, who is fighting for children, on St. Anne's, and on refusing to provide information. The Conservatives are wasting money. Instead, they could better be investing in a national inquiry for missing and murdered indigenous women.

                                    • MPconblog Dave Van Kesteren 334 post Canada Pension Plan

                                      Mr. Speaker, it has been quite obvious that, as my first private member's bill, it is something that most members agree on as I did not see too much disagreement.

                                      I want to especially thank the members for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, Hamilton Mountain, Charlottetown, Richmond Hill, and just now, the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel for their remarks. Certainly everyone seems to be in agreement that this is an injustice in today's society must be remedied.

                                      The purpose of the second reading of the bill is to decide whether the it should go on to committee. I think the greatest area of dissension may be some disagreement as to whether manslaughter should be added to the bill. That is why we do these things. That is why this is a House of debate and why we consider bills. It is to introduce and suggest some possible improvement.

                                      In my opening remarks and in my answers, I mentioned why it was my intent to not include manslaughter, but it is something we will talk about in committee and consider.

                                      I again want to thank all those who participated in and have helped with the bill. I hope the result of all of this effort in the House will make Canada a better and more just place in which to live.

                                      It is an honour to be part of the kind of system, government and country in which we live.

                                      • MPndpblog ChrisCharltonMP 1818 post Canada Pension Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                        • MPconblog Cathy McLeod 999 post Committees of the House

                                          Mr. Speaker, I think it is particularly appropriate that we are discussing this issue today. In the riding of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, it is Take Back the Night, where a large group will gather, people will give speeches, and then there will be a march. It is very appropriate to be discussing this very important issue here today. Of course, part of the goal of Take Back the Night is that eventually we will not have to be discussing violence against women and girls.

                                          It saddens me to hear about these violent acts against women, sisters, mothers, daughters, and wives almost every day in communities across Canada. I am a nurse. I worked in aboriginal communities. I worked in rural emergency rooms, and I saw first hand some of the horrendous situations that young women, girls, and older women face.

                                          I find it a little offensive when opposition members indicate that they do not think we care about this issue. We care passionately about this issue, but we disagree on the best way to move forward.

                                          Our government believes that we know many of the causes. I was on the committee of murdered and missing aboriginal women. We heard about programs that were working. We heard about prevention programs. We looked at this for a year. We heard from families. Everyone was touched by the conversations we had with them. I think we need to look at this issue and not say that one group cares and the other does not care. We all care; we just disagree in terms of how we need to move forward.

                                          Again, it is terribly distressing to know that aboriginal women and girls continue to face violence and that so many go missing or are found murdered. These are issues that require concrete, long-term action to address every aspect of these crimes. Nothing is more important than the safety of families and our communities. Of course, we have made this a top priority over many years.

                                          We have also heard about matrimonial real property rights on reserve. I still cannot believe that the opposition did not support that moving forward. It so important.

                                          We heard from the minister, who talked passionately about how some of the things we have done she believes will make a real difference. She talked about matrimonial real property rights and house arrest. We heard the passion in her voice.

                                          The committee's report had a number of specific recommendations, such as stronger laws so that violent, repeat offenders serve appropriate sentences.

                                          In Kamloops we had a violent repeat offender who took a woman from her place of business and brutalized her. It was an awful thing to hear the history of that perpetrator. It was known that he was on the street and that he was a high risk to reoffend. We are bringing in those tougher sentences, and we are doing that through both government and private members' bills.

                                          The victims bills of rights was introduced on April 14 and is mentioned specifically in the committee report. Once passed, victims' rights would be enshrined in Canadian federal law. It would for the first time establish statutory rights to information, protection, and restitution.

                                          Over the period of the summer, I had the opportunity to be joined by the Minister of Justice in a round table conversation. We had the mother of a young girl who was brutally murdered talk to us about how she felt as a mother and how she was treated within the system. She had very practical, sensible recommendations for the victims bill of rights, and she encouraged us to move forward with it because of the experience she had had. It is an important measure.

                                          Another important measure the report calls for is the creation of a national DNA missing persons index. In budget 2014, we committed $8.1 million to do just that. This index would allow for the national collection and matching of DNA profiles to support the investigations of missing persons and unidentified human remains. We intend to introduce legislation to allow for the creation of the index in the upcoming months.

                                          One of the things we heard from some of the families was a strong desire to have closure and resolution. This measure would help provide these families with that closure.

                                          We are also looking at addressing human trafficking in a very strong national action plan to combat human trafficking. This was launched in June 2012. We have introduced aggressive measures and initiatives to prevent human trafficking, identity and protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. Again, theses are significant investments to specifically address violence against aboriginal women and girls.

                                          In budget 2010, $25 million went toward programs and initiatives that addressed the disturbingly high number of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

                                          In terms of the inquiry, the NDP opposition talked to the process in British Columbia. I know Wally Oppal has very specifically come out and he said that we do not need a national inquiry, that there has been report after report and recommendations have been made. He has said that we need to move on.

                                          I will close with the same comment I made at the very beginning. Everyone in the House cares passionately about this issue. The only difference is how do we best move forward. In this case, the government feels we are best to move forward with action, and that is what we intend to do.

                                          • MPconblog Cathy McLeod 183 post Korean War Veterans

                                            Mr. Speaker, our government deemed 2013 to be the Year of the Korean War Veteran. We are grateful to all the brave men and women who served during the Korean War, and we mourn the loss of the 516 Canadians who gave their lives in the defence of freedom.

                                            It is with great honour that I will be hosting a tribute to Korean War veterans from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo this Saturday, November 23, at the Kamloops Legion.

                                            These include Robert Caffrey, Arthur Duggan, Barry Lister, Gordon MacDonald, Ray Maxfield, Bob Mitchell, John Price, Robbie Robertson, Leon Rushcall, Fred Shelton, Alex Sim, Allan Tassell, Gary Williams and of course those who are no longer with us: Mitsutoshi Arikado, Edward Alexis Fortier, Arthur Oakley and George Wilkinson.

                                            Thanks to the sacrifices of these veterans, the Republic of Korea is one of our greatest allies, sharing our values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

                                            • MPlibblog Rodger Cuzner 1283 post Support for Volunteer Firefighters Act

                                              Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to get up and speak to this particular bill on behalf of the party. I want to commend the member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue for bringing this forward for debate. She has brought it forward as a well-intentioned bill; but certainly, as my colleague from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo has indicated, there are aspects of this bill that remain unaddressed or vague or somewhat strange in the number of ways it could be applied. I am just not certain as to where the problem was that precipitated the bill's coming forward, so I was surprised to see it coming from a member who represents a rural constituency.

                                              I have 50 volunteer fire departments in my riding. They go from Dominion to Donkin to Guysborough, Cheticamp and Port Hawkesbury. Every community has a volunteer fire department. We all stand and offer respect and gratitude to those who offer themselves up to help look over their family and friends in those rural communities. I have done a fair amount of work with the volunteer firefighters, not just in my riding, but nationally I was able to bring a private member's bill forward in the 37th Parliament. The essence of it was a tax deduction for those who put in 200 hours. The Conservatives took that and put it in a bigger omnibus bill. It was probably a rose among many thorns, so we were not able to support it at that time, but had it been broken free I know that my colleagues in my party would have supported it.

                                              At that time, I was able to speak with a great number of volunteer fire department chiefs from across the country and a great number of volunteer firefighters. Never over the course of those discussions did this ever come out as an issue. Certainly in my consultations with the fire chiefs, they have been consistent year after year. Brent Denny from Cape Breton regional fire services has been a strong advocate for the fire chiefs. He is on the national executive and continues to do great work for that organization and for firefighters. They have been consistent year after year in identifying their key concerns, asking for government to designate 10 MHz of spectrum on the public safety broadband, which would provide volunteer fire services and first responders with state-of-the-art communications. This is something they have been advocating for over the last number of years. Improvement to fire services on first nations communities is another issue. They have banded together and are trying to rally for the creation of an independent national fire marshal for first nations communities.

                                              We are very much aware of those initiatives, but this particular one was never heard coming from those whom it would most impact. Since receiving the private member's bill, I have communicated with those people and they still do not see it as being something that is, pardon the pun, a burning issue.

                                              With regard to my party, I want to recognize the work by the member for Wascana who succeeded in passing Motion No. 388. This motion introduces a one-time $300,000 benefit for firefighters who were killed or disabled in the line of duty. It also provides firefighters with priority access to vaccines and medications, very similar to what front-line health care workers have to their avail now.

                                              It calls for the inclusion of firefighter safety in the National Building Code. Again, that motion that was presented by the member for Wascana reflected issues and concerns that have been brought forward by firefighters and representatives over the years.

                                              The other thing that concerns me, and I would think it should concern the members of the NDP as well, is that what we are doing is we are asking the government to change the Canada Labour Code. We know the Canada Labour Code is the bedrock, the foundation, for the relationship between employers and employees. We know it is fundamental.

                                              We have seen the government put forward legislation in this chamber that has been an outright offence to that relationship. We saw the changes that it wanted to undertake in moving from a card check system to a system with a secret preferred ballot. That is a complete change to the relationship between employer and employee.

                                              We have heard from unions that said if the government were to change the Canada Labour Code, it should be done through consultation and consensus. It should not be one-offing. The Sims report that was tabled in the late 1990s said we should not be political with this. The government of the day should not be involved in this. The relationship between employer and employee should be one that is built through consultation and consensus.

                                              If we are going to attack the government for their wrong-minded approach on those changes to the labour code, then I think there has been a certain degree of consistency on the part of the opposition.

                                              I do not know enough about the bill, and I was hoping to learn more through this debate this evening. I have not seen anything in the debate to make me say, “Oh, I get it now. I see where the problem was.” I would hope that over the course of this debate the member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue can bring forward some actual fact, some research, some position papers or voluntary positions put forward by those most impacted. Maybe she could give us some cases where hardship has been met by volunteer firefighters.

                                              In the time that we have had to look at this issue, we just have not seen that. If that comes out over the course of the debate, then we will certainly take that into consideration. Making a change to the Canada Labour Code is something we should not take lightly as legislators.

                                              I think my time is winding down. Each of us in rural communities, whether you are a paid firefighter or a volunteer first responder, know that probably the volunteer firefighters have it even tougher because they are expected to be trained. They have a full-time day job but are expected to be trained just as well as full-time firefighters. They are expected to deal with the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual impacts of being a first responder, of rushing into that house while everyone else is running out, showing up at the scene of a head-on collision on a highway, using the jaws of life or scraping an 18-year-old kid off the dash of a car. When those volunteer first responders do that type of thing, they then have to go back to the hall, change their gear and go back to work.

                                              We believe what they do is important, what they do is noble. We appreciate their efforts. If we believe that in some way this helps those firefighters, then we will support the bill.

                                              • MPconblog Tony Clement 172 post Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2

                                                Mr. Speaker, this topic was just discussed by the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo in her address on this issue about 40 minutes ago.

                                                The member put an interesting fact before this House: the present situation, 80% of the cases that the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is talking about that were appealed because of dangerous circumstances, even including the appeals, were found not to be the case.

                                                Clearly this provision, if I can say it euphemistically, has been overused. I think it does deserve tightening. It the Minister of Labour's responsibility, and she is an excellent person to ask about this issue. I certainly support the Minister of Labour and her changes to the Canada Labour Code.

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Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo

The electoral district of Kamloops--Thompson--Cariboo (British Columbia) has a population of 114,675 with 88,275 registered voters and 202 polling divisions.


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