April 24, 2015

LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary's answer to the previous question I would suggest should have been stated outside, but it does show what kind of a makeup artist the parliamentary secretary really is.

Surely, when the Prime Minister uses a makeup artist, any makeup artist who is given the kind of close access to the Prime Minister would have to go through an RCMP background check. Everything would be documented.

It was found that there were expenses made illegally through the Duffy slush fund in 2010. Will the government come clean and tell us how much it has cost taxpayers for the Prime Minister's blush, makeup and hairspray?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CPC

Paul Calandra

Conservative

Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, taxpayers do not cover these expenses. When it comes to blush and hairspray, I suggest he ask the Liberal member of Parliament for Mississauga—Brampton South. I think she would have much more knowledge of that.

Again, when it comes to the ethics of the Liberals, I understand why they are having such trouble. Again, the leader of the opposition could ask that question but, of course, he accepted money when he was giving speeches to unions, churches and school groups, when he should have been in here, doing his job as a member of Parliament. I guess there is a limited number of MPs on that side who can actually talk about ethics.

We will continue to do the right thing. We will continue to provide the assistance to the Crown. If Mr. Duffy is found guilty, he should suffer the consequences of that.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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NDP

Nathan Cullen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, on April 1, in the form of some cruel joke, the Conservatives shut down the border crossing between Stewart, B.C. and Hyder, Alaska for eight hours every day. The two remote communities share emergency services that will now be closed a full third of the time. Local tourism, mining and other business community leaders say that this is a disaster for the local economy.

It has become so absurd that the Alaska State legislature recently voted unanimously to offer to pay Canada to keep its border open. This has become a ridiculous yet dangerous problem.

When will the minister stand and reverse this idiotic and irresponsible decision?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Canada-U.S. Border Security
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CPC

Roxanne James

Conservative

Ms. Roxanne James (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on ensuring that our shared border is secure, while easing the flow of legitimate travel and trade. We are investing in border infrastructure to support this objective, including new lanes at the busiest crossings.

The port of entry that the member is speaking about has fewer than 10 travellers who pass during non-peak hours. It is simply not feasible to pay a highly trained border services officer to stand at an unused border crossing. Additionally, in cases of emergency, contingency plans are in place to allow smooth passage through the border in non-peak hours.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Canada-U.S. Border Security
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CPC

Ryan Leef

Conservative

Mr. Ryan Leef (Yukon, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, Omar Ahmed Khadr is a convicted murderer. Under the direction of jihadist terrorists, he killed army medic Sergeant Christopher Speer. He left Tabitha Speer without a husband. He left Taryn and Tanner Speer without a father.

The media is reporting that this terrorist will now receive bail and will be out on our streets. Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness please update the House on our government's position on this outcome?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Public Safety
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CPC

Roxanne James

Conservative

Ms. Roxanne James (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the Yukon for his work in public safety.

We are very disappointed with this decision, and I am here to say that we will appeal. Omar Ahmed Khadr pleaded guilty to heinous crimes, including the murder of American army medic Sergeant Christopher Speer. We have vigorously defended against any attempt to lessen his punishment for these crimes.

While the Liberals refuse to rule out special compensation for this convicted terrorist, and the NDP actively tries to force Canadian taxpayers to compensate him, we believe that victims of crime, not the perpetrators, are the ones who deserve full compensation.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Public Safety
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LIB

Mark Eyking

Liberal

Hon. Mark Eyking (Sydney—Victoria, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Cape Breton seniors, like many across the country, have been left out in the cold by the Conservative budget. Eighty-two-year-old Minnie Piercey, who lives in a seniors apartment complex and is president of the North Sydney seniors and pensioners club stated, “I can't see anything in it for seniors unless they have $50,000 or $60,000 stashed away in a bank”.

Like many other seniors she finds it hard to go month to month, let alone save. Why are the Conservatives taking from the poor seniors and giving to the rich?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Pensions
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CPC

Pierre Poilievre

Conservative

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I do not understand how the Liberal Party can conclude that a senior who earns under $60,000 is rich. It is pretty rich coming from the Liberal Party, which wants to raise taxes on those seniors.

This is how it works. When seniors take money out of their RRSP, they put it into tax-free savings accounts. They have a nest egg they can use to draw income to pay the monthly bills. We want to take taxes off that nest egg. That is what the tax free savings accounts do. They give most of the benefits to people earning less than $60,000 a year, people on whom the Liberals would raise taxes.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Pensions
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CPC

Brad Butt

Conservative

Mr. Brad Butt (Mississauga—Streetsville, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, while our government has balanced the budget while lowering taxes, both opposition parties would reach into the pockets of hard-working, middle-class Canadians and reduce their take home pay with a forced CPP hike.

My constituents in Mississauga—Streetsville are concerned with the new Liberal pension payroll tax that could force a family of two workers to pay as much as $3,200 more per year.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance please inform the House of our government's view on a mandatory expansion of CPP?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Taxation
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CPC

Andrew Saxton

Conservative

Mr. Andrew Saxton (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, there are many other options, voluntary options, tax saving options, that we have enhanced to help people save. What we will not suggest is raising taxes on workers, claiming it is for their own good. Under our government, there will be no mandatory job-killing, economy-destabilizing pension tax hike, not for employees, not for employers.

Our government is focused on reducing taxes on the middle class, not increasing taxes like the Liberals and the NDP would do.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Taxation
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IND

Brent Rathgeber

Independent

Mr. Brent Rathgeber (Edmonton—St. Albert, Ind.)

Mr. Speaker, the government has spent almost $5 million fighting 15 losing court cases, including over $1 million trying to defend minimum mandatory sentences and abolishing early parole eligibility.

Why does the Minister of Justice insist on wasting taxpayer dollars on expensive litigation after routinely ignoring internal Department of Justice advice that his proposed legislation is almost certainly not compliant with the charter?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Justice
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CPC

Bob Dechert

Conservative

Mr. Bob Dechert (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is worth noting that while the government at any given moment is involved in some 50,000 litigation files, about 85% of them are not initiated by the government. I would also note for the hon. member that in the majority of these cases the government has been successful.

We remain committed to defending the rights of Canadians and to ensuring their hard-earned tax dollars are spent efficiently and effectively.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Justice
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IND

Brent Rathgeber

Independent

Mr. Brent Rathgeber (Edmonton—St. Albert, Ind.)

Mr. Speaker, budget 2015 predicts a $3.6 billion employment insurance surplus, which the government is using as a revenue source in order to balance its budget. However, the number of Albertans applying for employment insurance benefits rose by a startling almost 30% in February. Now that the EI surplus has been depleted, how will the government fund the anticipated spike in employment insurance claims?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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CPC

Pierre Poilievre

Conservative

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, our policy is that the employment insurance account should balance over the median term. For example, during the recession, it was in a deficit. In the subsequent years the account pays back that deficit. As a result, we are able to reduce EI payroll taxes by about 20% in the year 2017.

Now, the Liberals and the NDP want to raise those payroll taxes to fund a 45-day work year; that is to have people work only 45 days and then collect EI for the rest of the year. That would be expensive. It would drive up taxes and kill jobs. We will not let that happen.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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CPC

Bernard Trottier

Conservative

Mr. Bernard Trottier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for La Francophonie, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the treaties entitled “Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the State of Israel on Air Transport”, done at Jerusalem on January 21, 2015, the “Agreement on Social Security between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People's Republic of China”, done at Ottawa on April 2, 2015, and the “Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Burkina Faso for the Promotion and Protection of Investments”, done at Ottawa on April 20, 2015.

An explanatory memorandum is included with each treaty.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton)

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, the Speaker of the Senate.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Nolin's family and friends and the entire Senate community at this time of great loss.

The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Senate Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin
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CPC

Peter Van Loan

Conservative

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that we learned today of the passing of Senate Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin. He was a real gentleman with true character. He was a strong Quebecker who was proud to be Canadian.

Speaker Nolin was a strong and clear voice, dedicated to serving Quebeckers and all Canadians, and he did so as a member of the upper chamber for over 21 distinguished years.

During his time in the Senate, he contributed to numerous committees covering a broad range of issues, including legal and constitutional affairs; foreign affairs and international trade; national security and defence; and banking, trade and commerce.

After having been unanimously elected Speaker pro tempore of the Senate in 2013, he was appointed Speaker of the Senate in 2014. A strong supporter of the military, Senator Nolin was a member of the Cercle des Honoraires of the Régiment de Maisonneuve since 1995, becoming an honorary lieutenant-colonel of the regiment in 2012. In 2014, he was also named a Commander of the Order of Saint Lazarus.

Speaking in a personal vein, I first came to know P.C. Nolin, as we commonly called him, as a political organizer. He was very much an organizer's organizer, the best kind, and by that I mean one who was determined above all to deliver victory. In 1984, he was a key player on the team that did just that for the Conservative Party in Quebec, restoring and reviving the party in a province where it had languished since the First World War. The result was a positive one, which made our country stronger.

As a senator, P.C. Nolin was serious and diligent in what he saw as the important duty of the Senate: to test and scrutinize the legislation we send over there. A Conservative minister heading to the Senate to testify on a bill might have thought that Senator Nolin, as a proud partisan and a good team player, would give that minister an easy ride. Such a minister was in for a surprise.

As I experienced first-hand, friendship and partisan ties were set aside and replaced with a higher duty. Senator Nolin would probe to ensure that a minister was truly master of the legislation presented. Then he would unerringly test the vulnerabilities of a bill and obtain the reasoned assurances that any proposal truly and genuinely reflected the public interest.

He was ensuring through his work that the Senate of Canada performed the diligent task envisioned for it when Sir John A. Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier, and the other Fathers of Confederation built the structures of our new country and a century and a half old parliamentary democracy that endures successfully today.

We wish to express our sincere condolences to his wife, Camille, to his three children, Simon, Louis and Virginie, and to his grandchildren, as well as to his entire family, friends and colleagues in the Senate.

As the Prime Minister said, Pierre Claude Nolin is now part of that small group of persons whose life and example have enhanced the institution they served while contributing to the common good. His distinguished service to the upper chamber and to our country will be remembered and honoured.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Senate Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin
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NDP

Peter Julian

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, this morning we were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, a great gentleman who devoted his career to public life and who served Parliament and the public competently and with dedication.

The Leader of the Opposition, who sent a statement earlier, my caucus and I are thinking of his family and friends during these painful moments.

Ironically, I first met Senator Pierre Claude Nolin outside the Senate, on a panel for the 1997 election campaign on election night. His charm and his friendly manner impressed me right from the beginning.

Earlier today I was upstairs in the parliamentary cafeteria and the sadness of the staff there when they learned of his death is a real testament to how he was appreciated on Parliament Hill.

He was appointed to the Senate in 1993, and then to the role of Speaker only last November. Senator Nolin spent his entire life involved in politics and the betterment of his community and Canada as a whole. Over the years, Senator Nolin became well known and respected for his fierce independence and disregard for partisanship on matters of importance to him. So esteemed was he by his colleagues that they unanimously chose him to be the Speaker of the Senate.

Although he was a loyal Conservative, as my colleague has just mentioned, he voted often across party lines on a number of occasions. Just to mention one, in 2002, he was chair of the Senate committee that called for the legalization of marijuana. He continued to oppose harsh penalties for marijuana possession throughout his career.

As my colleague from Acadie—Bathurst just reminded me, he was always a strong supporter of bilingualism in this country.

As Speaker of the Senate, he was dedicated to being non-partisan in carrying out his duties and to doing everything he could to defend and restore the institution's reputation. Transparency and accountability were the principles that guided his actions as an individual and as a parliamentarian.

Last week, even as he was battling the cancer ravaging his body, Senator Nolin retained his lifelong good humour and determination.

Senator Nolin fought a brave fight against a rare form of cancer which took him far too soon. His courage in his fight is an inspiration to all of us.

To Senator Nolin, his family and his loved ones, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Rest in peace, Senator Pierre Claude Nolin. You will be missed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Senate Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin
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LIB

Emmanuel Dubourg

Liberal

Mr. Emmanuel Dubourg (Bourassa, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have the distinct honour to speak on this occasion.

We were all aware of Senator’s Nolin’s health problems but it still came a shock this morning to learn of his passing. It is a reminder that our lives are finite and our time on this Earth limited. The challenge is make the best possible use of the time we have.

Senator Nolin used the time that he had to make a lasting contribution. He married and raised three children. I extend my most sincere condolences to his wife Camille and his children, Simon, Louis, and Virginie.

Senator Nolin was an influential advocate for the Acadian community in New Brunswick. He was a political organizer and played an important role in building both the Progressive Conservative party and the party that emerged from the merger of the PC Party and the Reform Party, the current Conservative Party of Canada.

He was also an independent thinker. Notably he chaired the Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs, which recommended legalizing the use of marijuana in Canada. He also advocated for the rights of married same-sex couples to equal status in the courts of law. These were positions that were controversial among some Canadians, including many within his own party. Nonetheless, as Senator Nolin himself remarked:

I think it is much easier for senators to carry out their duties if they manage to reduce the influence of partisanship on their decisions. Each individual's free will is often a much better guide.

Those are words we would all be wise to remember.

Near the end of his life he took on the tough and thankless task of reforming the Senate so that it was more accountable and transparent. Unfortunately that work remains to be completed, but it is a testament to senator Nolin’s character that he was entrusted by his peers with this responsibility.

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, I express my condolences to the family and friends of Senator Nolin and I thank him for his contribution to our country.

May Senator Nolin rest in peace.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Senate Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton)

Is the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands rising on a point of order?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Senate Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin
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April 24, 2015