April 2, 2009

CPC

Ed Komarnicki

Conservative

Mr. Ed Komarnicki (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure how much plainer we can make it. Five weeks is more than two weeks, and those who are unemployed for a longer period of time need those benefits most at the end of their search for employment.

David Dodge, the former governor of the Bank of Canada, said that the first two weeks are there for a very good reason. Many of the people who are being laid off get some sort of bridge payment through that period. That is not where the real issue is. The real issue is that some people will be laid off work for a long period of time. That is when the benefit is required and that is why we have extended it by five weeks.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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NDP

Yvon Godin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, by reducing the quotas allocated to the fishers of New Brunswick and Quebec in favour of certain organizations in her province, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is putting the shrimp fishing industry at peril. She is giving special treatment to Prince Edward Island where there are neither shrimp boats nor shrimp processing plants.

The job of the government is to represent the interests of all Canadians, not just those in a minister's province.

Why does the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans want to punish the shrimp fishing industry of New Brunswick and Quebec? Because they did not vote Conservative?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Fisheries and Oceans
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CPC

Gail Shea

Conservative

Hon. Gail Shea (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that provinces with the lion's share of gulf shrimp, which are Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, will not see any decrease to their normal allocation. As a matter of fact, they will see a slight increase to their allocation.

Any future quota increases will be allocated with a slight upward adjustment of less than 1% for Nova Scotia and P.E.I. To put this in perspective, Quebec has almost 60% of the quota and P.E.I. has 1.1%.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Fisheries and Oceans
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko

New Democratic Party

Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, according to a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, inward inspection of grain ensures that Canadian grain is free from harmful contaminants or other safety hazards.

In 2008, ergot, a dangerous fungal disease, was prevalent along the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border. Canada's grain inspection system was able to ensure that dangerous levels of ergot were kept out of the food supply.

Bill C-13 proposes to eliminate inward inspection by the Canadian Grain Commission. Does the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food agree that this would create a serious gap in the Canadian food safety system?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Agriculture and Agri-Food
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CPC

Gerry Ritz

Conservative

Hon. Gerry Ritz (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. The member opposite has it totally wrong. It is not pronounced “ergo”; it is pronounced “ergot”.

Having said that, inward grading is still available. Inward inspection is still available. It has nothing to do with food safety. It is a blending of product as it moves between inland terminals and export position. The grain is still checked as it goes into the elevator pit. It is still checked as it is exported out of this country. Food safety is retained.

By getting rid of Bill C-13 today, the opposition parties have hamstrung producers again. It is an antiquated act. It is darned near as old as the NDP.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Agriculture and Agri-Food
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CPC

Ed Holder

Conservative

Mr. Ed Holder (London West, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, London, Ontario is a long way from Canada's Arctic, but that does not mean we are not concerned about the issues of the north. In fact, the opposite is true.

The Conservative government's attention and focus on the Arctic is unprecedented. The Minister of National Defence has rightly praised our air force and Norad in protecting North American air space. Canada's Arctic, our true north strong and free, is vast.

Would the Minister of National Defence advise the House, what are the things Canada is doing to protect our Arctic sovereignty?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   National Defence
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CPC

Peter MacKay

Conservative

Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Forces, including the air force, are preparing to exercise Canadian sovereignty in northern Operation Nunalivut.

The operation will highlight the unique capabilities of the Canadian Rangers, their ability to respond in the most remote areas of the north. The Rangers are an integral part of our Arctic policy, where we are increasing their numbers to a total of 5,000.

Our government has just announced the construction of two new satellite ground stations to enhance our surveillance and security there.

Through investments under the Canada first defence strategy, we will acquire ships, a training centre in Resolute Bay, and a new deepwater facility in Nanisivik.

Our government is leading and addressing the challenges and opportunities.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Yasmin Ratansi

Liberal

Ms. Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley East, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, criminal gangs are raking in huge profits in the illegal trade of tobacco products which flow freely across the Canada-U.S. border. This is costing the treasury $2.8 billion, but it also costs the minister's own province of Quebec $300 million. While the RCMP is trying to stop this criminal activity, the CRA is giving licences to operators linked to organized crime.

Will the Minister of Public Safety talk to the Minister of National Revenue and stop this farce?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Contraband Tobacco Products
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CPC

Jean-Pierre Blackburn

Conservative

Hon. Jean-Pierre Blackburn (Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture), CPC)

Mr. Speaker, when someone applies for a tobacco producer's licence, a very stringent process is initiated. First we check with the RCMP for any criminal record. If they have one, it is certain that no licence will be issued. A licence is issued after the process is finished and the person has been found to be on the up and up. But if that person's status changes along the way and some criminal aspect comes into it, the licence will be revoked. Each time a licence is issued, we ask the RCMP to do a check.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Contraband Tobacco Products
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BQ

Thierry St-Cyr

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Thierry St-Cyr (Jeanne-Le Ber, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, Ariel Arenas, a former Mexican police officer, believes his life is in danger because he knows too much about drug traffickers, but his refugee claim has been refused. Mr. Arenas is in a dilemma at the present time. He is the object of an expulsion order from the border services, yet at the same time he has been ordered to appear before the IRB at his wife's hearing.

After question period, could the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism take the 20 steps necessary to bring him over to his colleague, the Minister of Public Safety, in order to explain to him that if Mr. Arenas wishes to comply with the subpoena, he would need to still be in Canada?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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CPC

Jason Kenney

Conservative

Hon. Jason Kenney (Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I cannot comment on specific cases, as that would be contrary to the Privacy Act.

I will be pleased to discuss this case with the hon. member if he has received a letter of permission from the citizen in question.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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NDP

John Rafferty

New Democratic Party

Mr. John Rafferty (Thunder Bay—Rainy River, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, each day in the forestry industry, we learn of new layoffs, extended shutdowns and companies that cannot secure credit to maintain operations. Rodney and Carrol Whalley own and operate Whalley Logging Limited in Atikokan. They have seven employees. Whalley Logging does not want a handout. It needs a loan guarantee.

Will the government provide forestry companies like Whalley Logging with the loan guarantees they need to keep operating and keep hard-working Canadians employed?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Forestry Industry
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CPC

David Anderson

Conservative

Mr. David Anderson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, if the member were here a couple of weeks ago and heard the debate on the forestry issues, he would know that we have an integrated approach to this situation. In the long term we have set in place a number of issues, including access to credit, which he is talking about today. We also have the $1 billion community adjustment fund in place. We are trying to develop markets and new technology for folks.

There is an integrated approach to dealing with the pressures on the forestry industry. This government is getting the job done for the forestry community.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Forestry Industry
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CPC

Joy Smith

Conservative

Mrs. Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, autism is an important issue that presents challenges for many Canadian families. This Conservative government has done more for this issue than any other federal government has by funding a chair of autism research at Simon Fraser University and funding autism research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health please tell the House what other measures our government is taking to address this important issue?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Autism
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CPC

Colin Carrie

Conservative

Mr. Colin Carrie (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question and I would like to thank the member for Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont for his hard work and commitment to autism advocacy.

Our government recognizes that autism is an important health and social issue that presents challenges for many Canadian families. I am pleased to inform the House that our government has declared April 2 as Autism Awareness Day in Canada. Better knowledge about autism is essential to family service providers and policy makers. I can assure the House that our government is showing leadership by focusing our attention on building the autism evidence base so that future action by our partners will be well informed.

I strongly believe that through our contributions and by working with our partners, we can enhance Canada's capacity—

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Autism
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LIB

Peter Milliken

Liberal

The Speaker

Order, please. It being Thursday, I believe the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine has a question.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Autism
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LIB

Marlene Jennings

Liberal

Hon. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the government House leader would reiterate his plans for the business for the rest of today and for tomorrow.

At the same time, given that the next two weeks are a scheduled parliamentary break, I wonder if the government House leader could also specifically tell us what House business he and his government are planning for the full week of April 20 when we come back.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Business of the House
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CPC

Jay Hill

Conservative

Hon. Jay Hill (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, today, Bill S-3, the energy efficiency bill, was read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

Just before question period, we were debating Bill C-13, the Canada Grain Act, but it appears the coalition of the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc has been revived and it is supporting a motion that, if adopted, will defeat that bill. It is proposing to kill the bill before it even gets to committee. It is unfortunate that the coalition's first act is to abdicate its role as legislators by denying close scrutiny and study of a bill at a committee.

After my statement, the government will be calling Bill C-5, Indian oil and gas, followed by Bill C-18, the bill respecting RCMP pensions, which is at second reading.

Tomorrow, we will continue with the business that I just laid out for the remainder of today.

When the House returns on April 20, after two weeks of constituency work, we will continue with any unfinished business from this week, with the addition of Bill C-25, the truth in sentencing bill, Bill C-24, the Canada-Peru free trade agreement, Bill C-11, human pathogens and toxins and Bill C-6, consumer products safety. We can see we have a lot of work to do yet. All of these bills are at second reading, with the exception of Bill C-11, which will be at report stage.

During the first week the House returns from the constituency weeks, we expect that Bill C-3, the Arctic waters bill will be reported back from committee. We also anticipate that the Senate will send a message respecting Bill S-2, the customs act. If and when that happens, I will be adding those two bills to the list of business for that week.

Thursday, April 23, shall be an allotted day.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Business of the House
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NDP

Dawn Black

New Democratic Party

Ms. Dawn Black (New Westminster—Coquitlam, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, this might be my last opportunity to stand and speak as a member of Parliament since the House will adjourn tomorrow. I want to announce that I will be resigning my seat on April 13.

You and I were first elected, Mr. Speaker, in the 1988 election, although I must say I am rather envious of your win-loss record. I have had a couple of losses along the way and you have maintained your seat since 1988.

It has been an enormous pleasure and honour to serve the people of New Westminster, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

When I was first elected, Ed Broadbent was the leader of my party, and he remains a very close friend and confidante.

I was a member when my party elected the first woman to lead a national party in our country and was and still am so proud to have served with Audrey McLaughlin. She is a women of tremendous courage and determination. She has also continued to provide me with encouragement and support over the years.

I have been very honoured to be part of an NDP caucus, led by the member for Toronto—Danforth. His boundless energy, ability to think outside the box and to take the road less travelled has been an inspiration not only to me but also many Canadians.

I am proud of my record. I introduced a private member's bill, which was adopted by the House, to declare December 6 a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

I was part of a committee that I suggested do a groundbreaking study on all of the issues around breast cancer, which led to real changes in the treatment of women with that disease and their families.

I brought forward a private member's bill on anti-stalking legislation, which the government of the day passed into law. That is now part of the Criminal Code of Canada.

I have a couple of other private members' bills on the books right now on body armour and non-returnable warrants. I invite the government side to take them over and present them as its own legislation.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Resignation of Member
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CPC

April 2, 2009